Interactive TV News Round-Up (V): MTV, Samsung, NDS, OIPF, bmcoforum, Omek Interactive
--MTV to Launch Music Meter App on Samsung Connected-TV Devices
--Zon TV Cabo Becomes First Customer for NDS Snowflake UI
--OIPF, bmcoforum to Merge
--Gesture Recognition Specialist, Omek Interactive, Expands Management Team, Closes Series-B Round
Because the [itvt] editorial team has been busy this week working on the TV of Tomorrow Show 2011, we are covering recent news in round-up/summary form. We anticipate that it will take us a few days to catch up with all the news we plan to cover: so if your company has sent us a press release or briefed us on an announcement, and you don't yet see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us. Our regular daily news coverage will return shortly.
- MTV has announced plans to launch its MTV Music Meter app (which tracks trending artists based on their social media buzz, and which launched late last year as a standalone Web site and on various smartphones and tablets) on Samsung connected-TV platforms. "MTV will partner with Samsung Electronics America, Inc. to bring the MTV Music Meter to select Samsung HDTV's, Blu-ray players and Blu-ray Home Theater Systems as part of Samsung Apps, the world's first HDTV-based application store," the company states in its press materials. "This announcement marks the first time the MTV Music Meter will be made available on connected smart televisions and follows the successful launch of the MTV Music Meter on Samsung devices across all platforms including Samsung's Galaxy series smartphones and Galaxy Tab tablet...Developed by MTV, working with The Echo Nest, MTV Music Meter allows fans to discover, consume, share and interact with new music. The easy-to-navigate interface features a countdown of the top 100 trending artists based on social media buzz as well as audio, video, artist news, tweets, bios and a feature that showcases similar artists. In the coming months, MTV plans to launch MTV Music Meter on additional connected devices, TV's and platforms including iPhone and iPad. The connected-TV app, which MTV will provide to consumers at no cost, will be available later in the year and provide fans with the same music discovery tools as the online and mobile versions, turning one's television into an unparalleled resource for music discovery."
- NDS has announced that Portuguese pay-TV operator, Zon TV Cabo, has launched the NDS Snowflake user interface, powered by the company's MediaHighway middleware, as the basis for its new "Iris" service. "Zon has selected NDS to deliver their next-generation TV service following formal trials of a number of technologies," NDS states in its press materials. "Zon TV Cabo will be the first to launch the NDS Snowflake UI, which has been applied to the Zon brand to provide a consistent end-to-end brand identity for the platform. Enabled by MediaHighway, Zon will provide its high-end subscribers with access to a broad range of services including VOD, catch-up TV, widgets, DVR functionality and recommendations within the operator-branded UI." NDS Snowflake was designed by Paris-based NDS Studio Design, which has also been engaged by Zon for branding consultancy across its platform, including advertising and point-of-sale design.
- In other NDS news: The company has announced that Sky Deutschland has launched CI+ modules based on the NDS VideoGuard conditional access system.
- The Open IPTV Forum (OIPF) and the Broadcast Mobile Convergence Forum (bmcoforum) have announced plans to join forces and merge the activities of the latter into the former. "This will result in a strong single entity with broad representation and influence across the fixed and mobile broadband industries, as the two bodies have each established a leading position in their respective spheres of activity," the organizations state in their press materials. "The merged activities will combine and optimize the resources and efforts of the leading organizations engaged in an effective standardization of mass market services and devices. Multiscreen approaches including TV's, PC's, mobile devices and other screens are a logical next step for TV and media consumption, and as more mobile devices are integrated with IPTV they will bring an increasing level of interactivity and flexibility. Personalized linear and on-demand content services will be delivered into multiscreen environments both in the home and for consumers on the move. In particular, mobile devices may be used not only for watching TV, but also as service control points, allowing selection and control of personal content services." Said OIPF president, YunChao Hu: "The merging of bmcoforum's activities into the OIPF will create an entity with the influence and energy to more effectively drive the development and deployment of the blended services market."
- Omek Interactive, an Israeli provider of gesture-recognition and full-body tracking technology for smart TV's, set-top boxes, game consoles, PC's and other devices, has announced the appointments of Jonathan Epstein as president and of Jon Grande as EVP of publishing. The company also says that it has closed a Series-B funding round. "Omek's software engine interprets the raw depth data provided by 3D sensors and uses patented and proprietary algorithms to perceive human bodies within the field of view and to overlay skeleton models on them," the company explains in its press materials. "Specific movements of these skeletons can then be interpreted as gestures. Omek's Shadow Development Suite provides application and interface developers with this engine and a full set of application programming interfaces for a wide range of programming languages and operating systems, as well as rapid development tools for gesture definition. By using the Shadow Development Suite, developers can write software that is immediately supportable on all of the major 3D depth sensors and a wide range of PC and embedded processors."