Interactive TV News Round-Up (I): ActiveVideo Networks, Verizon, BBC, Boxee
--ActiveVideo Awarded $115 Million in Patent-Infringement Case against Verizon FiOS
--New Version of BBC iPlayer for Connected-TV Platforms Launched
--Boxee Launches iPad App, New Boxee Box Firmware Release
Because the [itvt] editorial team has been on the road the past few weeks, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format. We anticipate that it will take us several days to catch up with all the recent news: 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.
- Cloud-based interactive TV specialist, ActiveVideo Networks, was last week awarded $115 million in damages following the jury trial of its patent-infringement suit against Verizon, and is now seeking an injunction to prevent the MSO from continuing "any further unlawful use" of its technology. The company filed suit against Verizon in May, 2010, alleging that the latter's FiOS system infringed upon four of its patents: 1) US Patent No. 6,034,678, entitled "Cable Television System with Remote Interactive Processor"; 2) US Patent No. 5,550,578, entitled "Interactive and Conventional Television Information System"; 3) US Patent No. 6,100,883, entitled "Home Interface Controller for Providing Interactive Cable Television"; and 4) US Patent No. 6,205,582, entitled "Interactive Cable Television System with Frame Server." Said ActiveVideo president and CEO, Jeff Miller: "We're extremely pleased that the judge found that ActiveVideo intellectual property was valid and that the jury found that Verizon infringed on all asserted claims. We are seeking immediate payment of the damages that have been awarded by the court; in addition, our legal team, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, will be filing an injunction against Verizon to prevent any further unlawful use of our technology...We are delighted that this verdict enables us to continue granting our customers unfettered access to the power of our CloudTV technology. Coupled with the court's ruling invalidating Verizon's 6,381,748 patent, this verdict provides further support for our customer, Cablevision, in their defense against Verizon's injunction claims within the US International Trade Commission." Verizon has stated publicly that it plans to appeal the verdict. (Note: for more background on ActiveVideo's and Cablevision's patent disputes with Verizon see, for example, the articles published on itvt.com, May 25th and July 17th.)
- The BBC has launched a new version of the BBC iPlayer for connected-TV platforms. "For the first time, BBC iPlayer on TV is personalized, specifically designed for the living room, and easy to use," the corporation states in its press materials. "The new version gives audiences the control they want directly on the TV, in a design custom-built for the living room, so the BBC iPlayer experience feels just like TV. The new version is: 1) Just like TV--a new, simplified, highly visual TV-friendly design that is as simple as flicking through channels when watching TV. 2) Easy to use--vastly improved search to help you find programs with little effort, quick access to programs you choose as your favorites, and recommendations to help you find something new to enjoy. 3) Personalized--make BBC iPlayer your own by choosing your 'favorite' programs, viewing previous search results, and getting right back to the last program you watched. BBC iPlayer is now available on more than 300 different connected-TV devices, and this new version--launching initially on Sony's PlayStation 3--will be coming to many more TV screens in the coming months as BBC iPlayer evolves beyond catch-up into a complete connected-TV experience." Said Daniel Danker, the BBC's general manager of programs and on-demand: "BBC iPlayer has been tremendously successful. With today's announcement, we're transforming iPlayer in its most natural home: right on the living room TV. By creating a product that's as simple and intuitive as flicking through TV channels, the BBC is bringing on-demand television to mainstream audiences across the UK." More information on the new version of the BBC iPlayer for TV can be found on the BBC Internet Blog. A demo video is embedded below.
- OTT TV specialist, Boxee, has announced the availability of a free "Boxee for iPad" app. "Our new iPad app is accompanied by the Boxee Media Manager (for streaming videos from your computer to the iPad), a new Watch Later bookmarklet and new firmware for the Boxee Box (version 1.2)," Boxee CEO, Avner Ronen, explained on the company's blog. "Boxee for iPad gives you one place to discover, watch, and share video from the Web and your computer. We built the app to be useful for any iPad user, even those who have never heard of Boxee before, but it has the added benefit for current Boxee Box users that you can send video to your flat screen through it (we'll include this for Mac/PC users in the fall update). There's 5 major functions: Friends, Watch Later, Featured, PC to iPad, iPad to TV. 1) Friends--Never miss a hilarious or inspiring new video from your friends again. Boxee automatically delivers new videos your friends share on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr directly to your iPad. Return the favor and share your favorites with two taps. 2) Watch Later--Each day, we're bombarded by video from everywhere. Use the freshly re-designed bookmarklet to...bookmark videos from the Internet and have them waiting for you on your iPad (and anywhere else you've got Boxee). Now you’ve got one place to queue YouTube videos, TED talks, FunnyOrDie videos, a TV show you missed, or anything else you don't have time to watch right away. It's an easy way to create a video playlist for the commute, the bed, the couch or the bathroom...3) Featured--Find stunning, hilarious, creative, and insightful videos shared from Boxee's editorial staff. We'll keep you up to date with the best stuff on the Net. 4) PC to iPad, easily--No need to waste hours converting and syncing videos to your iPad. Boxee streams videos from your PC/Mac to your iPad over WiFi. You pick the video (in almost any format) and we make it play on your iPad. It's all possible through the new Boxee Media Manager, a lightweight app for your PC/Mac that works magic on video files...5) Send to TV--Watching video on your iPad and want it on the big screen? Send videos straight to your TV via a Boxee Box so everyone in your living room can enjoy." Meanwhile, version 1.2 of the Boxee Box firmware includes, according to Ronen: "1) Filtering [of] premium sources in the library such as Vudu, HBO Go, etc. 2) New 'Featured Apps' section. 3) Updated app categories. 4) NFS and AFP support (and improved SMB/CIFS support). 5) Improved HTML5 support in the browser. 6) Support for OS X Lion as a source for video files. 7) Option to receive 'Beta Releases' of the firmware." In addition, AirPlay support has been included as "an experimental part of this release," Ronen's blog post continued. "When you click on the AirPlay button on your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch you will now see your Boxee Box as one of the target devices.