OpenTV News:

--NBC Universal in Deal to Use Company's OpenTV Participate Platform

--Brazilian Cable Operator Taps Company to Power HD PVR Service

--Company's EclipsePlus Campaign Management Solution Now Available

--STMicroelectronics Joins Company's Rapid Porting Program


Interactive TV software provider, OpenTV (note: voting control of the
company was acquired last year by content-protection specialist, the
Kudelski Group), has generated a fair amount of news over the past few
weeks:

  • Perhaps most significantly, the company has signed a deal with NBC
    Universal that will see the latter using its OpenTV Participate platform
    to power, centralize and manage cross-platform interactive TV
    applications--including Web, mobile and set-top apps--for its various
    broadcast and cable/satellite networks (note: NBC Universal has not yet
    revealed which programs will feature OpenTV Participate-powered
    interactive services). The new, enterprise-wide deal comes
    approximately a year after NBC used OpenTV Participate to power
    live, two-screen, Web-based interactive services for its primetime
    series, "Heroes.” The services were created, scheduled, managed and
    analyzed using Participate's production tools, and then synchronized
    with the "Heroes" broadcast each Monday night across all four
    continental US time zones: audiences could interact with the show's
    broadcasts in real time by taking part in live polls and offering their
    own predictions on the outcome of its storylines. "We are very pleased
    to have been chosen by one of the biggest media and entertainment
    companies in the world to be the central component of its multiplatform
    interactivity," OpenTV CEO, Ben Bennett, said in a prepared
    statement. "We look forward to a long-term relationship with NBC
    Universal, a company that we consider to be at the forefront of
    innovation in viewer-participation television." Added Jon Dakss, NBC
    Universal's VP of interactive media product development: "OpenTV
    Participate allows us to differentiate our programming and make it
    more engaging and fun for our viewers across all devices. It's an
    intuitive, easy-to-deploy solution that offers our viewers unique ways
    of getting more involved with their favorite shows, and enables new
    interactive marketing opportunities for advertisers as well." OpenTV
    bills Participate as a server-based system that can process several
    thousand transactions per second in real time, in order to deliver a
    personalized interactive experience to viewers on any platform
    (including cable, satellite, terrestrial, mobile or the Web). In addition to
    broadcast-synchronized ITV services, the company says, Participate
    also allows for "virtually unlimited" value-added content, such as trivia,
    sponsor messages and interactive advertising.

  • The company says that Brazil's Net Servicos de Comunicacao, which
    claims to be Latin America's largest cable operator, has selected its
    Core2 and PVR2 middleware platforms to support its launch of HD
    PVR service. Net Servicos, which is an existing customer of OpenTV,
    is the first operator in Latin America to deploy the company's
    combined middleware and PVR solution. The Core2 middleware and
    its PVR2 extension are designed to support both HD and SD display.
    According to OpenTV, Net Servicos has started deploying its HD PVR
    service, and plans to make it available throughout Brazil. "With
    OpenTV's solutions, we are able to provide advanced services to our
    viewers, which allows us to offer meaningful and compelling digital
    experiences to our subscribers and grow our customer base," Net
    Servicos CEO, Jose Antonio Guaraldi Felix, said in a prepared
    statement. "Our new service, Net HD Max, allows customers to
    reproduce and record HDTV content in a personalized and interactive
    experience. We look forward to continuing the convergence revolution
    that Net is leading in Brazil by expanding our advanced services
    offering across the country."
  • The company has announced the general availability of its advertising
    campaign management solution, OpenTV EclipsePlus. The company
    bills the solution--which can be deployed on cable, satellite or IPTV
    platforms--as a complete, end-to-end ad campaign management
    solution that supports the increasing demands of local TV ad sales
    organizations, allowing them to maximize inventory, reduce manual
    tasks and increase their operational efficiencies. According to OpenTV,
    the solution is designed to accommodate the increasing complexity and
    traffic volume of ad sales operations by being able to handle thousands
    of local and interconnect networks, schedule complex channel
    environments, and run multiple DMA's within a single database. It
    incorporates a dynamic scheduler (an automated scheduling system that
    is billed as improving inventory yield and reducing labor-intensive
    activities in large systems) and an advanced Web services interface
    (provides support for electronic, real-time data exchange between
    EclipsePlus and the sales proposal system, and, according to OpenTV,
    "virtually eliminates" the need for paper-based revisions and
    significantly reduces the time spent clearing orders). "We are very
    pleased to announce the general availability of OpenTV EclipsePlus as
    planned and on schedule, bringing the benefits of improved scale and
    performance to the market in time to support Olympic and political
    advertising seasons," Paul Woidke, OpenTV's recently hired SVP and
    general manager of advanced advertising, said in a prepared statement.
  • The company says that set-top box chip manufacturer,
    STMicroelectronics, has joined its Rapid Porting Program, an initiative
    which it bills as enabling rapid, high-quality ports of OpenTV
    middleware to a wide range of chipsets and set-top boxes. As part of its
    participation in the program, ST will be able to create OpenTV Core2-
    certified drivers for its STi520x and STi710x chipsets, which OpenTV
    says will enable manufacturers to expedite their development and
    porting efforts and bring set-tops to market faster. The drivers will
    initially be targeted at the MPEG-4 Zapper (Sagem) set-top box market.
    "OpenTV's program allows us to provide a highly cost-effective
    solution to our customers, perfectly complementing the high-end
    solutions from our partners and allowing ST to have the most widely
    deployed and most complete OpenTV platforms," Philippe Lambinet,
    EVP and general manager of ST's Home Entertainment Group, said in a
    prepared statement. "We are pleased to join OpenTV's program and be
    a part of this unique initiative aimed at providing significant benefits to
    operators worldwide."