Interactive TV News Round-Up (I): ActiveVideo Networks, Verizon, BBC Worldwide, Samsung, BeeTV

--ActiveVideo-Verizon Patent Infringement Trial Begins
--BBC Worldwide Launches Video and Text News Service for Samsung Connected TV's
--BeeTV Launches "Twitter Client for TV"

Because the [itvt] editorial team is on the road this week, we are covering stories in this edition of the newsletter in round-up format:

  • ActiveVideo Networks' patent-infringement lawsuit against Verizon (see the article published on itvt.com, June 1st, 2010) is now being heard in US District Court. The lawsuit centers on technologies that were patented by then-Virginia Beach resident, Leo Hoarty, in the early 1990's, and Tim McGlone of local newspaper, The Virginian-Pilot, has published a fairly detailed account of the history of the case and of the opening remarks of each side's attorneys.
  • The BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, has launched a VOD and text news service for Samsung Smart TV's. "The Web-based service for connected TV combines rich video clips and text from BBC News Online, curated round the clock by BBC editorial teams, to sit alongside the BBC's international news services," BBC Worldwide states in its press materials. "Users can navigate the content, pausing and re-starting video via their remote controls. The full product is available free of charge, and is accessible from within the Samsung Apps Store on Samsung's range of Smart TV's. The online service will be supported by advertising internationally, with Swiss watchmaker Omega as the launch advertiser. Advertisements for the brand will run as pre-roll to the video content."
  • Social-TV company, BeeTV, has launched a version of its BeeTV HD app for the iPhone and also revamped the iPad version of the app. According to the company, the free app--which it bills as a "Twitter client for TV"--now offers "deep Twitter and Facebook integrations and showcases new features centering the social-TV experience around TV conversations." Key features of the app, according to the company, include: " 1) Start talking about your show, quickly: When users open the app they are presented with a very simple question. The 'what are you watching now?' screen directs users to find the show they are watching. Users are also offered several options of the most popular shows at that moment. Once a user has tuned-in to the show he is watching, he can instantly share what he's watching with friends on Facebook or Twitter. 2) What are you watching? Additionally, the BeeTV iPad app--taking advantage of the larger screen--provides users with a quick post system that lets them quickly string together messages from commonly used phrases, handles, hashtags and emoticons. Users can even create their own custom messages for a highly personalized experience. 3) Finding the conversation for you: Once a user has tuned-in to the show he is watching, BeeTV pulls in all the tweets and posts about that show, all in real-time. Users can filter tweets and posts to see what everybody is saying, or to see just their friends' comments. BeeTV HD also knows which VIP and celebrity accounts are connected to a show and presents tweets and posts from those VIP's to users as well. So the next time a user watches 'How I Met Your Mother' and wants to carry on a bromance with Neil Patrick Harris, BeeTV will make it easy. 4) Get together with friends: Everything is better with friends and watching TV is no exception. Inviting friends to watch shows in BeeTV HD is now super simple. Users can simply drag their friends' pictures onto the invite section to ask them to watch a show. This makes it easier than ever to get together with friends and talk about the shows that users love. Users no longer have to send individual emails, tweets or Facebook invites to invite friends to watch shows together. Once users and their friends are together it's easy to see comments and to talk about the show." Said BeeTV CEO, Yaniv Solnik: "BeeTV is different from other social-TV apps because we take the experience beyond the check-in. BeeTV is focused on the conversation, in a sense like a Twitter client for TV, that lets users instantly find the discussion about what they are watching on TV and easily take part in it. BeeTV does the hard work for users, matching relevant conversations with shows, so they can start talking with friends and fans immediately."
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