10 Startups to Watch: Miso

Social TV App Lets Viewers Share What They're Watching, Chat With Other Fans or Answer Trivia

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There are already a gaggle of social-TV applications born off the check-in boom: open up an app in front of the tube, tell your social networks what you're watching and see all the chatter stream in.

What we like about Miso, one of many social TV apps founded last spring, is that it recently hooked up with DirecTV so that your set-top box can tell your smartphone what you're watching through a home Wi-Fi network. (Miso has a similar deal with French set-to-box manufacturer Netgem.) That means no searching in an app to find a show, or activating listening technology to sync the app with what's on-screen. After that , viewers can share what they're watching to social networks, chat with other viewers or answer trivia.

So far, the San Francisco-based startup has raised a little less than $2 million in funding from investors like Google Ventures, Hearst and YouTube cofounder Jawed Karim. What's next? A tool to create social apps to supplement Miso's own service. Miso will be releasing a platform so anyone -- a celebrity, a superfan, a network -- can build a mobile companion to a show or movie.

"For the last year, you've seen networks say this is the [social-TV] experience people want," said Miso co-founder-CEO Somrat Niyogi. "Turns out we're all wrong. Only the fans know what they want."

That has a lot to do with how differently individuals experience TV, he added. Think about how you watch "X Factor "(say, for the music) vs. your spouse (perhaps for gossip on the contestants). With the coming Miso platform, there could be apps for both.

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