Verismo Partners with Global Digital Broadcast to Bring its VuNow OTT Platform to the UK

--GDB to Provide Verismo with a Range of IPTV Channels for VuNow's UK Launch Next Month
--Microsoft Announces "Party Watch" Feature for Netflix on Xbox Live

Global Digital Broadcast, a Brighton, UK-based company that provides technical services to broadcasters looking to deliver their channels over IP (note: the company offers what it bills as an end-to-end IPTV solution that includes middleware, an IP set-top box, an online "virtual set-top box" application, secure age verification processes, and an app called MyPVR which allows users to save and access previously viewed programs), and Verismo Networks, a Silicon Valley-based company that offers an over-the-top-TV platform called VuNow (note: the platform has traditionally been offered in conjunction with a small set-top box device called the PoD; however, back in February, Verismo announced the launch of a global OEM initiative targeting consumer OEM's, content aggregators and ISP's--see the article published on itvt.com, May 8th), announced Tuesday that they have signed a deal, under which GDB will provide its IPTV channels via the VuNow service, when the latter--which is currently available only in the US--launches in the UK next month.

GDB's channels will join a line-up of content and services on the VuNow platform that includes YouTube and a range of other broadband video sites (including MSN, National Geographic, Wedding TV, CNN Video, and ABC News); the ability to share photos, music and video with family and friends via the TV; video search from Vtap which is billed as allowing viewers to search from thousands of online video sites (Verismo claims that VuNow supports over 1,000 video sites); and a range of movies and TV episodes. "We are pleased to partner with GDB," Verismo EVP, Dhaval Ajmera, said in a prepared statement. "The bouquet of live TV channels provided by GDB is crucial for the success of Verismo Networks' VuNow internet TV platform in the UK." Added GDB co-founder and managing director, Jim Deans: "I am confident that this product, combined with its current capability, GDB's wealth of content and Verismo's award-winning IPTV platform, will catapult to the forefront of both the IPTV and digital TV market, not only because it provides the consumer with everything they want, but, it has all of the correct methods already set in place, and proven, to do so."

In other over-the-top news: Microsoft announced Tuesday an update to its Xbox Live service that will enable "Party Watch"--a social TV feature that allows viewers to use their Xbox Live avatars to communicate with one another in voice or text in a shared virtual environment in real time via their broadband connection while watching a show (note: the feature has been implemented in Europe through deals with BSkyB and Canal+--see the articles published on itvt.com, May 29th and June 30th)--in conjunction with certain Netflix titles. Other Netflix-related Xbox Live updates announced Tuesday include 1) the ability for users to browse through "New Releases" and other genre lists based on the types of shows they have previously watched, "all from the comfort of your couch"; 2) improvements designed to "ensure a better experience when adapting to changing network conditions"; and 3) "richer information" in the Friends channel and the Guide "showing what you and your friends are watching."

North America