Published: May 31, 2018
Updated: Sep 19, 2019

AT&T Entertainment App Challenge

Author: Ben Nelson

Updated June 3: Congratulations to the Winners!


AT&T Entertainment App Challenge

We invited developers, designers, and creators to hack the way we create and experience entertainment. This competition is ideal for those who are develop apps for the second screen or enjoy working with artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), augmented reality (AR), Internet of Things (IoT), and robotics. We’re looking for innovative ideas and solutions that can disrupt content consumption.

Five semifinalists were chosen and demonstrated their apps on Saturday, June  2 at AT&T SHAPE  at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles. Our panel of expert judges and conference attendees voted to determine the top three finalists that moved on to the finals on June 3.  Session hosts were Kevin Petersen, Senior Vice President of Device, Network, and Services Marketing at AT&T Mobility and Entertainment; Vicky Colf, Chief Technology Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment; and Dia Simms, President, Combs Enterprises. Here are the winners they honored:

  • Best Overall App – $20,000 for the team:
  • 2nd Place – $10,000 for the team: Cooler
  • 3rd Place – $5,000 for the team: tapReplay
  • 4th Place – $2,500 for the team: Orion
  • 5th Place – $2,500 for the team : Turris VR

Additionally, we judged the apps in a variety of other categories:

  • Best Use of 2nd Screen Technology – $5,000: We looked for a technology solution that will enhance the entertainment through the use of a mobile device or VR, AR, or wearable. Winner: Pantheon (VR esport) second screen experience
  • Best Next Generation Advertising or Distribution Solution – $5,000: AT&T and Warner Bros. Technology are interested in innovative approaches to advertising or content distribution through the use of AI, VR/AR, blockchain, video content or other methods. The goal is to create a solution that will change the way people interact with content or advertising. Winner: Cooler
  • Best Gaming, VR or AR Solution – $5000: Come up with a solution that will make a member of an audience fell like they are part of a game or a film. Winner: Wings of Pythagorum
  • Most Innovative Entertainment Experience – $5,000: We’re looking for developers to use technology (e.g. IoT, AI, AR, biometrics) to give users a unique entertainment experience. Winner: Orion

Meet the Five Entertainment App Challenge Finalists

After receiving a ton of impressive entries for the Entertainment App Challenge, we went about the hard task of picking the finals. Here are the contenders (listed in alphabetical order): Think of this app as the Instagram for music where users can make music, be heard, and get paid. provides an environment where you can mash and remix music from major record labels and share new mixes with your friends or even publish them to iTunes and Spotify. We aim to solve the problem of the 20 billion non-monetized streams per month due to the complexity of clearing samples with our in-browser remix tool called The tool tracks original content with 100 percent accuracy while providing a portion of digital asset ownership to the original content creator. Our streaming player is monetized using in-browser cryptocurrency mining and audio ads.
Creators: Matthew S. Lewis of Los Angeles, CA and Christopher J. Carr of Boston, MA

Cooler: In today’s age of streaming and binge-watched media, Cooler aims to reconnect audiences around shows and events they love, even if they’re watching at different times. With its built-in content recognition (think Shazam on steroids), Cooler places your reaction to your TV shows at the exact moment of relevance — without spoiling anyone else’s experience. The app also allows fans, friends, and insiders to instantly create smart GIFs of their favorite moments and share these reactions privately, across the Cooler community, or to any social or messaging platform. For consumers, cooler fuels community, content discovery, and word-of-mouth recommendations. While TV and media networks, streaming services, and brands, will find Cooler to be a powerful marketing engine that unleashes the viral potential of user-generated content.
Creators: Members of the Los Angeles-based team are Jason Mercer, Jason Weiss, Ken Keegan, Bea Metitiri, Ashley McAtee, and Antonis Papantoniou

Orion: Home entertainment is a major part of our lives. Despite the numerous platforms that exist in this space, nearly all ‘modern’ solutions are both awkward and inefficient. Orion unifies everything from video streaming and music playback to console gaming in a single home entertainment experience. The best part? We accomplish this with no additional hardware, as the platform runs off of any computer plugged into a TV (or not) and transforms any connected mobile device into a dynamic remote. Our dynamic remote automatically adapts to display useful and interesting information related to what appears on the main screen. A recent update to Orion even allows content creators and broadcasters to take full control of Orion’s fluid remote, letting brands use our custom API to serve up supplementary experiences that accompany their primary content (with possibilities including relevant trivia, marketplaces for related merchandise, and custom social feeds).
Creators: Members of the Philadelphia-based team are Claire Shin, Alexander Belanger, and Justin Rhee

tapReplay – Entertainment at the Tip of Your Finger: We developed an engagement platform that enables filmmakers to create, manage, and monetize immersive entertainment for the television. Our key feature is tapShelf, which allows the content owner to sell products associated with their content via the platform.
Creators: Saket Nigam of Charlotte, NC, and Savalas Colbert and Messiah Jacobs of Hollywood, CA

Turris VR: Our goal is to create the industry standard for how users move around in VR and MR and how content creators develop content for those mediums. Turris’ patented technology reads natural and subtle body motions like lean, tilt, and rotation to direct a user’s movement in VR, freeing up the hands to interact from a safe and sustainable-seated position. This approach of making the body the joystick aligns what the user can see with what their body feels, maximizing immersion while dramatically limiting the motion sickness attributed to current “locomotion” methods. Turris also decouples the point of view from the heading direction, so a user can look around freely (i.e. you can run over a bridge that curves left while looking backwards to shoot at a target). Turris provides the most intuitive movement method in a technology package that simplifies the content creation process for developers and new media professionals alike. We accomplish this by mirroring industry standards of the left and right joysticks on a gamepad controller and giving suggestive force feedback for filmmakers to control a scene that now takes place with the user inside of it.
Creators: Aaron Schradin of West Olive, MI and Adam Fox of Grand Rapids, MI


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