Verizon FiOS TV Rolls Out Interactive TV Features in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island

--The Features, Already Available in California and Texas, Are Enabled by Upgrade of the FiOS TV IMG

Verizon said Tuesday that it has rolled out various new interactive TV features and navigational shortcuts to customers of its FiOS TV service in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as part of an upgrade of its FiOS TV Interactive Media Guide (IMG). The new features, which are offered at no additional charge, have been available on Verizon systems in California and Texas for some time now, and Verizon says that it will roll them out in all its other FiOS TV markets over the next few months.

News Round-Up

--Adconion Acquires Joost Assets
--Boxee Remote Control Widget Launched
--Ericsson to Cease Using Tandberg Television Brand
--Interactive Mobile TV Services Set to Launch in Korea
--Pace Supplying HD DVR's to Argentina's Cablevision
--Playcast Develops System for Playing Console Games on Legacy Set-Top Boxes
--Rogers' TV Everywhere Service to Launch Today
--English High Court Rules in Virgin Media's Favor in Rovi EPG Patent Case

Here is a round-up of some other interactive TV-related stories we didn't have room for in this issue:

Rovi's TV Guide Interactive TV Widget Launches on Samsung HDTV's

Rovi (formerly Macrovision--for more on the company's name change and the repositioning it heralds, see the interview with Rovi chief evangelist, Richard Bullwinkle, that was published on itvt.com, July 16th) said Monday that its TV Guide widget--which is billed as providing viewers with a snapshot of what programs are available on 28 of the most popular TV channels--has gone live on Samsung's implementation of the Yahoo!

New Social TV App, NBC.com Communicator, Lets Viewers Interact with One Another via VoIP

Broadcast network NBC on Monday announced the launch of a new social TV application called the NBC.com Communicator. According to the broadcaster, the app, which was developed by Toronto-based Itibiti Systems, offers users a "one-stop mix" of custom NBC content, services and communication tools--including, most notably, computer-to-computer voice calling over IP--on the computer desktop.

Rallypoint Teams with Samsung, Best Buy on Interactive TV Widget Promotion

Rallypoint, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in developing widgets for Internet-connected HDTV's, announced a promotion Monday that will see a $59.99 annual subscription to its Rallycast Fantasy Sports widget included free with the purchase of any new Samsung 7100 model or higher LCD or LED HDTV at consumer electronics retailer, Best Buy. In order to obtain their free subscription, Samsung HDTV customers must ask a Best Buy sales assistant for a Rallycast activation card (SKU #9437068) and take it with them to the register when they check out.

Verizon Launches Interactive TV Traffic Widget with Live Camera Views of Major New York City Roads

--Widget Will Eventually Offer Additional Information Services for NYC
--Verizon Claims FiOS TV VOD Library Now Offers 18,000 Titles per Month

Verizon FiOS TV has launched an interactive TV widget that is designed to give its customers in the New York City Metro area (i.e. New York City, Long Island, the northern suburbs and northern New Jersey) a closer view of that city's current traffic conditions.

Targeting TV Widget Space, Sigma Designs Announces "Broad Scale Support" for Android OS

--Will Offer Vantage 8654 SDK's for Porting Android Apps to its IP Set-Top Box and Blu-ray Platforms

Sigma Designs, a provider of system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions for set-top boxes and consumer electronics, announced Tuesday that it is committed to "broad scale support" of the Android operating system on its media-processor SoC's, and also announced the availability of a ported version of Android on its Vantage SMP8654 development platform.

Verizon Launches "Weatherbug" Interactive TV Widget

--Is Considering Making Widgets More Easily Accessible via a "Favorites" List

In a posting on a Verizon blog, Wednesday, the company's SVP of media relations, Eric Rabe, announced the launch of a new interactive TV widget, dubbed the Weatherbug, in its FiOS TV service's Widget Bazaar marketplace.

CBS's TV.com Launches "WatchList" Navigational/Organizational/Social Tool for Online TV Watching

--NDS's LocateTV Launches Affiliate Widget Program

CBS-owned broadband video/community site, TV.com (offers full episodes, clips, entertainment news, show summaries, polls, forums and more), on Wednesday unveiled a tool, called WatchList, which it says is designed to enable viewers to navigate and organize their TV experience and represents "an important step in TV.com's goal to be the navigational interface for television online."

News Round-Up:

--Accedo Broadband Develops Interactive TV Game for A&E Television
--ADB in Set-Top Deals with Altibox, ITI Neovision
--Alticast Announces Deployments of its Hybrid Broadcast Broadband Television Solution
--ANT Launches Managed Service Offering for IPTV and Hybrid Environments
--AT&T Launches Broadband Video Web Site
--BBC's Huggers Reveals Plans to Open iPlayer to Third Parties
--Bluestreak's MachBlue Supports "New 3D Flash User Experiences," Is Integrated into Mitsubishi TV's
--Brightcove Expands Partner Program
--Cisco's IPTV Technologies to Be Deployed by Virgin Media
--Clearleap's Platform Deployed by Bresnan
--Concurrent Announces "International Extension" of its "Three-Screen Strategy"
--Dreampark, Ekioh Team for 3D User Interfaces
--Edgeware Announces New Partnerships, New Video Servers, New Customer Win
--Ericsson, Tandberg Showcase VOD Solutions
--eventIS in TV Personalization Deal with Aprico
--GoBackTV, RGB Networks Partner to Improve Bandwidth, Storage Efficiencies for nPVR
--Harmonic Powers Interactive, On-Demand Services for Altibox
--Nagravision Launches Widget Platform for Connected TV's
--Netgem Launches IPTV Set-Top Software, Incorporating Media Center Functionality
--never.no Powers Interactive TV for TV 2
--Opera Partners with Dreampark
--Samsung, Sigma Designs Supporting Microsoft Mediaroom
--Signiant Automates Astral Media's VOD Content Delivery Infrastructure
--SoftAtHome, Orca Interactive, Viaccess Team on End-to-End TV Solution with 3D Interface
--STMicroelectronics Unveils HbbTV Demonstrator Platform
--Trusted Opinion Unveils Social Networking TV Product for IPTV Middleware Providers

Because of the large volume of news generated by the ongoing IBC show in Amsterdam, and because the [itvt] editorial team is currently traveling in the UK, we are covering a number of this issue's news stories in round-up/summary form. We anticipate some additional interruption of our regular news publishing schedule in the coming days, so we apologize in advance for any inconvenience to our readers. Here is the round-up:

Minerva Networks Unveils Version 4.0 of its iTVManager Platform

--Offers Widget Engine, Whole-Home DVR, User-Selectable Interfaces, Extended Backoffice API's

IPTV middleware provider, Minerva Networks, unveiled version 4.0 of its flagship iTVManager platform Monday. According to the company, iTVManager 4.0 features a widget engine that it bills as enabling blended Internet and TV services, whole-home DVR functionality, new user interfaces, and advanced redundancy and high-availability features. The company bills the new version of its platform as being designed to enable IPTV operators to innovate at a rapid pace.

Sonic Solutions to Launch Yahoo! TV Widget This Fall

Sonic Solutions announced Monday that it plans to launch an interactive TV widget for its Roxio CinemaNow service (note: the company acquired the pioneering broadband VOD service last November and subsequently added the name "Roxio" to its branding). The widget, which is slated to launch in the fall, will be available on Internet-connected TV sets equipped with the Yahoo! TV Widgets service. "Whether on the go or in the home, consumers are increasingly looking to seamlessly access and enjoy their favorite entertainment on connected devices," Sonic Solutions' EVP of strategy, Mark Ely, said in a prepared statement. "With Roxio CinemaNow running on Yahoo!

Interactive TV Games Provider, PlayJam, to Offer Yahoo! TV Widget

--Launches Puzzle Game for the Apple iPhone

PlayJam, the pioneering interactive TV games service provider that was acquired by OpenTV in 2001 (through the acquisition of its parent company, Static 2358), and that was re-purchased in early 2008 by its founder, Jasper Smith (see [itvt] Issue 7.77 Part 1), announced Tuesday that it is developing a Yahoo!

Yahoo! Launches TV Widgets for YouTube, Showtime, eBay

In a posting on the company's corporate blog, Friday, Yahoo!'s SVP of integrated consumer experiences, Tapan Bhat, announced the launch of a number of new widgets, including widgets designed to bring Internet content to the living-room television set through the Yahoo! Widget Engine (note: for an article on the August, 2008 launch of the Yahoo! Widget Engine and Widget Channel, see [itvt] Issue 8.06 Part 2A).

Oddcast Launches Widget Version of its Interactive Video Technology

--Mapping and Rendering Technology Lets Users Appear in Scenes from Movies and TV Shows

New York-based interactive marketing company, Oddcast, announced Wednesday that it has released an embeddable widget version of its 3D VideoStar technology.

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