October 2005

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BBC Relaunches its Television Web Site

--Site Now Showcases ITV Applications, Provides Program Previews

Buzztime Launches Single-Player Games Package on Four US Cable Systems

Interactive TV games provider, Buzztime Entertainment (note: the company is a subsidiary of NTN Communications; its customers include EchoStar's DISH Network, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Susquehanna Communications), says that it has deployed its "Buzztime Single-Player Games" package on four US cable systems: Time Warner Cable's system in Portland, Maine, and Susquehanna's systems in Brunswick, Maine and in York and Williamsport, Pennsylvania. All of the systems already offer Buzztime's Buzztime Trivia Channel, a service that allows real-time multi-player gaming and competitions--Buzztime offers its various single- and multi-player games under the brand, Buzztime Network.

TV Guide SPOT Launches on Insight's Free VOD Service

Gemstar-TV Guide's VOD service, TV Guide SPOT, has launched on Insight Communications' free VOD service, The Free Spot. Insight is an existing Gemstar customer: it uses the latter's i-Guide EPG, and carries its TV Guide Channel and its interactive horseracing channel, TVG. As of the second quarter, TV Guide SPOT was available to 12 million Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks digital cable subscribers. It is also available to broadband users of the TV Guide Web site (www.tvguide.com) and to TiVo subscribers with standalone boxes.

Cablevision Offering iO Customers On-Demand Local Election Coverage

Cablevision is offering customers of its iO: Interactive Optimum digital cable service free, on-demand local election coverage from News 12 Long Island, Westchester, Connecticut and New Jersey. The coverage will be available through News 12 Interactive, which can be accessed via channel 612 or the "Enhanced TV" category of the iO menu guide.

Ensequence's on-Q Create Now Supporting MHP and OCAP

Portland, Oregan-based interactive TV authoring tools provider, Ensequence, says that its on-Q Create software suite now supports MHP and OCAP. The suite already allows customers to develop ITV shows and commercials for a range of cable and satellite middleware platforms, and the company says that by adding MHP and OCAP support, it will preserve its customers' investments in their current ITV projects, allowing them to leverage the new open-standards platforms as they are deployed. "With this launch, Ensequence is broadening ITV broadcast capabilities for operators, advertisers and broadcasters," Ensequence president and CEO, Dalen Harrison, said in a prepared statement.

Broadbus Secures Six More Deployments with Adelphia

Startup VOD equipment provider, Broadbus Technologies, says that it has secured six more deployments with Adelphia Communications that collectively pass over 2 million homes. The deployments of Broadbus's solid-state B-1 Video Server are on the MSO's Staunton, Virginia; West Palm Beach, Florida; Loudon, Virginia/Frederick, Maryland; Augusta, Maine; South Dade, Florida; and Canton, Georgia systems. The company's equipment now powers a third of Adelphia's VOD streams and half of the deployments the MSO rolled out in the past year.

chellomedia to Offer ITV Services at Ascent's London Playout Facilities

Liberty Global-subsidiary, chellomedia, is partnering with Ascent Media Network Services Europe (AMNSE) to offer interactive TV capabilities at the latter's playout facilities in London. The companies say that they will thereby enable simple and cost-effective deployment of ITV content on UK cable and satellite networks. The deal will see chellomedia's chello mistral ITV authoring, synchronization, scheduling and playout product suite forming the basis of what the companies are calling a "turnkey solution" at AMNSE's facilities that will allow interactive content to be encoded for multiple platforms and inserted at the point of playout.

Kreatel Makes Two New Hires, as it Prepares to Expand beyond Europe

Swedish IP set-top box manufacturer, Kreatel Communications, has appointed Matthias Trygg as marketing director and Christer Hultcrantz as logistics manager. The company says that it made the hires in order to prepare for a sales and marketing push beyond Europe. In his new role, Trygg will head up the company's marketing and product management operations, leading new product launches for the international market. He previously served in various executive positions at Ericsson, and as EVP for Adcore's Swedish operations. Most recently, he was head of sales and marketing and head of business area industry and defense at Scandinavian systems integrator, WM-data. He holds a master's degree in industrial engineering and management from Sweden's Linköping University.

ICTV Appoints New VP of European Sales

Los Gatos, Calif.-based ICTV (note: the company is best known for its HeadendWare platform, which uses headend-based processing to deliver complex interactive applications, including apps with full-motion video and high-quality audio, to thin-client set-top boxes) has appointed Colin Shave as VP of European sales. Shave, who was previously VP of sales at News Corp.-subsidiary, NDS, will be based in ICTV's international headquarters in Surrey (just south of London) and will be responsible for sales throughout Europe. Prior to his eight-year stint at NDS, Shave held various sales account management positions at Digital Equipment Corporation and its resellers. He also spent five years as a product consultant at Able Communications in Irvine, Calif.

Akimbo Launches its Service on Microsoft's Media Center

--Secures Content Deals with Hallmark, Outdoor Channel

ESPN in Interactive TV Games Deal with Zodiac

Sports programmer, ESPN, has signed an agreement with interactive TV games developer, Zodiac Gaming, and its newly established subsidiary, Zodiac Branded Gaming (ZBG), for the development and distribution of ESPN-branded games for digital set-top boxes. The agreement calls for Zodiac to design and develop a wide range of sports-themed, single-screen ITV games that will integrate ESPN personalities, programming and other properties. ESPN will be responsible for marketing and licensing the games--which its says will cover a range of major sports, including American football, basketball, boxing, and auto-racing--to its affiliates.

"Nearly 70 Sites" Now in Development for Sky Interactive's New Portal

Sky Interactive has sent out an email bulletin, updating participating companies, organizations and individuals on the latest news and the launch schedule for its new e-Business Portal. (Note: the portal, which Sky says will be available through any Sky digibox, will provide access to a range of third-party Web sites--primarily from e-business operators, but also from non-profit organizations and even individuals--that have been adapted for television using Sky's WTVML mark-up language, an extension of WML, which provides a content-authoring format for interactive TV services and which adds various TV-related functions and layout control in order to address the requirements of ITV.

Two Way TV in Deal to Enable ITV for Flextech Channels on Digital Cable

Twtvcasinocasinoroulette2005 Two Way TV has signed a deal with Flextech Television to provide red-button interactive TV services on digital cable for the latter's Challenge TV and Bravo channels. The new Challenge TV service will feature a number of pay-per-play games, including "TV Scrabble," "Family Fortunes" and "Jellyset," as well as two fixed-odds games channels, dubbed "Challenge Jackpot" and "Casino Casino Roulette," which will run alongside the BAFTA-nominat

enteraction tv to Create Interactive TV Channel for UK Film Body, AIM

UK-based digital TV production company, enteraction tv, is teaming with UK film consortium, All Industry Marketing (AIM), on an interactive TV channel--provisionally titled "Inside Movies"--which is scheduled to launch on the Sky satellite platform next February and which, as its name suggests, will feature programming about cinema. (Note: AIM's membership is made up of five different organizations representing the UK film industry: the Film Distributors' Association, the Cinema Exhibitors' Association, the UK Film Council, the Cinema Advertising Association, and the British Academy of Film & Television Arts.) According enteraction tv and AIM, their joint venture will offer an ITV application that will allow viewers to access constantly updated information

New Comedy Series to Exemplify BBC's "TV Plus" Strategy

BBC diginet, BBC Three, says that its new comedy sketch series, "Man Stroke Woman" (note: the show was developed by Ash Atalla, the producer of "The Office"), will be the first to take advantage of all the cross-platform opportunities targeted by the Corporation's TV Plus project. The latter, which is headed up by the BBC's director of television, Jana Bennett, seeks to exploit the opportunities that new, converging technologies offer to extend a program's life beyond traditional linear broadcast.