Movie Central, a commercial-free premium programmer owned by Corus Entertainment, has launched Movie Central Interactive (MCi), an interactive guide to its programming schedule that is located on a dedicated channel (313) on the Bell TV pay-TV platform (note: it can also be accessed through Bell TV's iTV Home portal).
--New LG Electronics TV Sets to Offer OTT Access to Germany's Maxdome VOD Service
Samsung Electronics America announced last week that owners of its BD-P1600, BD-P3600 and BD-P4600 Blu-ray disc players can now access YouTube via a free firmware update. According to the company--which is demo'ing the new capability in its booth (925) at the CEDIA expo this week in Atlanta, Georgia--owners of the players can access YouTube from the main screen by pressing a button on their remote control. They can choose between watching the most popular or most highly rated YouTube videos, the company says, and can also search for videos via a "mobile phone-like" on-screen keypad. Samsung claims that the experience is "very similar to that on the Web site."
--iPhone Augmented Reality App Launches in App Store
--Arqiva Appoints VOD CEO and Secures Content Deals
--New Magma, Channels.com Services Aim to Facilitate Broadband Video Viewing
--YouTube Expands Revenue Sharing Program
The [itvt] editorial team is traveling to the UK this week, and because we are quite pressed for time we are combining a number of today's news items into this round-up article. We also anticipate some interruption of our regular news publishing schedule over the next few days, so we apologize in advance for any inconvenience to our readers. Here is the round-up:
--Said to Be Closest to Deal with ITV
According to a report Monday in the UK newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, Hulu, the free, ad-supported broadband video venture co-owned by The Walt Disney Company (ABC), NBC Universal and News Corp. (Fox), will not launch in the UK until early next year. It had previously been expected to roll out the UK version of its service next month.
--Servers Powering VOD, nPVR and Timeshift-TV Services
Espial, the Canadian digital TV software company which last year bought US IPTV and video-on-demand technology provider, Kasenna (note: the deal valued Kasenna, which had raised $90 million in funding since its launch in 2000, at around $6.5 million), said Tuesday that triple-play provider, Invitel Hungary (note: the latter, which was previously called Vivendi Telecom, claims to be Hungary's second-largest service provider), has successfully launched--and is now expanding--on-demand services using Espial MediaBase VOD servers. Espial acquired the MediaBase product line through the Kasenna purchase.
--Manchester City vs. Orlando Pirates Streamed Live Last Saturday
--Brightcove Alliance Partner, Goodmail, Enables Brightcove-Powered Video in Emails
Broadband video publishing solutions provider, Brightcove, contacted [itvt] last week to let us know that it is powering online video for UK Premier League soccer club Manchester City's new Web site (mcfc.co.uk).
Faith & Family Entertainment, a company that describes itself as "the leading producer of wholesome, Christian-themed movies and miniseries in Hollywood," announced Wednesday that it is launching a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service with Cox Communications. According to the company, the new service, which will be priced at $6.99 per month and will be accessed through a dedicated "Faith and Family Movies" category on Cox's VOD platform, will offer subscribers 20 "faith-based, family-friendly" movies each month, including six original "never-before-seen" titles; it will add "original faith-based" series and miniseries in the future, the company says.
--Claims New Axiom on Demand Feature Guarantees "Anytime, Anyplace" Video QoS
VOD and advanced advertising technology provider, SeaChange International, on Wednesday announced the availability of a new universal session resource manager (uSRM), which it says will allow operators of managed networks to deliver the best possible video experience to consumers regardless of when they are watching or on what kind of device. The company says that the uSRM will allow operators to guarantee QoS across access, aggregation and edge networks for cable, IP and wireless delivery of video.
--Trial is Part of "TV Everywhere" Initiative, Announced by Comcast and Time Warner Last Month
Comcast, the US's largest cable MSO, and premium programmer, Starz Entertainment (operates 16 premium movie channels, including its flagship Starz and Encore brands), announced last week that Starz will make a selection of its content available online to its subscribers who are also Comcast customers, under the auspices of the MSO's recently announced trial of a service called On Demand Online.
UK cable operator, Virgin Media, and Universal Pictures announced Monday that the latter's subscription-based movies-on-demand service, PictureBox, will launch next month on Virgin Media's VOD platform. Priced at £5 per month, the service will offer 28 films--including recent releases and library titles--at any one time, with seven new titles added to its line-up every Friday. According to the companies, most of the films will be available in HD and many will not yet have been made available on free-to-air television in the UK.
--Comcast to Begin National Technical Trial of "On Demand Online" Service
Time Warner announced Wednesday that it has partnered with Comcast to develop "broad principles" for the "TV Everywhere" model to guide the distribution of its television content online (note: the "TV Everywhere" model, which has long been championed by Time Warner and its chairman and CEO, Jeff Bewkes, seeks to make programming that pay-TV customers have already paid for through their cable, satellite or IPTV subscriptions available to those customers on multiple platforms, and thus aims to head off the threat posed to pay-TV services by the increasing availability of over-the-top programming--for more background, see the articles published
--Will Add 4,000 Hours of Programming to its 4oD Video-on-Demand Service Next Month
UK newspaper, The Guardian, reported Sunday that UK terrestrial broadcaster, Channel 4, is set to make its back catalog of programming available online free-of-charge. Starting next month, around 4,000 hours of the broadcaster's archived content (approximately 10,000 titles) will be available through its catch-up service, 4oD, which until now has offered programs for only 30 days after their broadcast, the newspaper said.
UK commercial terrestrial broadcaster, ITV (note: the name is an acronym for Independent Television Network), said Monday that its broadband video-enabled Web site, ITV.com, enjoyed its best-ever monthly performance in May--due in large part to the success of the FremantleMedia show, "Britain's Got Talent," from which amateur singer, Susan Boyle, sprung to viral video fame.
Wrestling promoter, Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling, announced Thursday that it has launched an online video-on-demand service, called TNA Video Vault, that offers coverage of TNA pay-per-view events and specialty features (200 hours of programming in all), and that will soon offer exclusive, original programming.