Samba TV

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Samba TV
Original author(s)David Harrison, Omar Zennadi
Developer(s)Free Stream Media Corp.
Initial releaseGPL
Written inPython
Operating systemWindows, Mac OS X and Linux
Available inEnglish

Samba TV (formerly Flingo)[1] is a content recommendation engine and viewer tracking application designed for Smart TVs. The developer, San Francisco, California-based Samba, was co-founded in 2008 by early employees of BitTorrent (company), including Samba’s current CEO, Ashwin Navin.[2] Samba TV develops software for televisions, set-top boxes, smart phones and tablets to enable interactive television through personalization. Through its portfolio of applications and TV platform technologies, Samba TV is built directly into the TV or set-top box and will recognize onscreen content—live or time-shifted—and make relevant information available to users at their request. The software will identify what a viewer is watching, and use that information to deliver targeted advertising throughout the household. Through APIs and SDKs for mobile application software developers, Samba TV is usable on a second screen or the TV itself. Samba TV applications are currently[when?] available on over 30 million screens in 118 countries.[citation needed]


VC funded
IndustryMedia, broadcast, television, digital cinema, Internet, Automatic Content Recognition, Social television, second screen, Smart TV, application software, Interactive TV
FoundedSan Francisco, CA (incorporated 2008)
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California
Key people
Ashwin Navin, CEO

The company was founded as Flingo in 2008, to help media companies like Showtime, FOX, A+E Networks, TMZ, Revision3, PBS and CBS develop apps on Smart TVs that synchronize with linear Broadcast programming and Non-linear media.[3] In January 2012, Samba TV launched one-click sharing on social networks like Facebook and Twitter from the television.[4] In January 2013, the company announced further developments and features and named its interactive TV platform Samba.[5]

In September 2013, the company adopted the Samba TV name.[1]

In July 2018, Democratic Senators Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut raised privacy concerns about Samba TV's data collection practices in a letter to Joseph Simons, the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. The letter called for an investigation into how Smart TVs are tracking customers' viewing behavior without their knowledge.[6]


Samba TV tracks what appears on the users' TV by reading pixels; this capability extends to streaming programs and even video games played on the television. Samba TV benefits advertisers by identifying other devices in the home that share the TV’s internet connection, for the purposes of delivering targeted advertising.[7]

The system also allows viewers to access additional content from their favorite TV shows and actors, including thousands of exclusive online videos from over 80 channels. By connecting phones or tablets to the TV, viewers gain access to exclusive content and special offers. Also, as they flip through channels, related online videos or similar TV programs are automatically recommended. Advertisers can also present additional information directly to interested viewers on the TV or any device synchronized with it.[citation needed]


Samba TV was incorporated as Free Stream Media Corp. in 2008, a company founded by Ashwin Navin, David Harrison, Alvir Navin, Omar Zennadi and Todd Johnson.[8] According to the public source code repository, Flingo's open source client was written by David Harrison and Omar Zennadi in Python, and is free software licensed under the GPL.[9]

In February 2012, Flingo announced a $7 million Series A round investment from August Capital.[10] In May 2012, Flingo added additional investors, closing at $8 million, including entrepreneur Mark Cuban and Gary Lauder. Cuban discovered Flingo at CES 2012 when he saw a crowd in the Flingo booth watching a demonstration of its SyncApps technology. The funding helped Flingo expand its presence with smart TV and device manufacturers, building on its existing partnerships.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Flingo Rebrands as Samba TV”. Multichannel News. 2013-09-24. Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  2. ^ Flingo Integrates Web and Television With the First Application Publishing Suit”. Marketwire. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
  3. ^ Flingo Dives Into Social TV with Synchronized TV Apps Archived 9 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine.”. Lost Remote. 2011-11-30. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
  4. ^ Flingo’s SyncApps let you tweet directly from your TV”. GigaOM. 2012-09-01. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
  5. ^ Flingo reveals Samba, a first of its kind dual interactive TV and second screen platform”. PandoDaily. 2013-04-01. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
  6. ^ "Two Senators Call for Investigation of Smart TV Industry". 2018-05-18. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  7. ^ "How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What's On Tonight". 2018-07-05. Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  8. ^ "Ashwin Navin’s Connected TV Startup Flingo Archived 26 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine.". 2010-10-12. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
  9. ^ "Flingo Code Repository on GitHub". 2010-09-29. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
  10. ^ Flingo raises $7m to make your TV smarter Archived 15 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine.”. NewTeeVee. 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-07-12.
  11. ^ Mark Cuban Invests in Social TV Startup Flingo Archived 16 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine.”. Lost Remote. 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2012-07-12.

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