Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): Audible Magic, httv, Never.no, TV Dinner, Two Way Limited, LG

IBC 2011: The never.no / Vizrt Companion app (2nd screens)

--Tradeshow Round-Up: Audible Magic, httv, Never.no
--TV Dinner Launches Social-TV App in Semi-Private Beta
--Two Way Limited in Deal to Bring Interactive TV Wagering to LG Connected-TV Devices in Australia

Due to the large volume of news generated by the recent 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format. We anticipate that it will take us several more days to process all the news from the show: 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.

  • A number of companies have contacted [itvt] this week to let us know about their exhibit plans for upcoming tradeshows: 1) ACR specialist, Audible Magic, will be exhibiting in the Mobile App Zone at MacWorld (Booth 818-P7). "Please join us at MacWorld 2012 to see a demonstration of Audible Magic's new Live TViD solution, a live television automated content recognition (ACR) and synchronization service that identifies over 150 channels of live, never-before broadcast content in real time," the company states in its press materials. "As a platform, Live TViD provides application developers an easy way to integrate this capability into their applications." 2) French interactive TV company, httv, will be exhibiting at CSTB 2012 in Moscow (526-Pavilion 1-Hall 3) "At CSTB 2012," the company states in its press materials, "httv highlights will include: a) httvStream HbbTV: A robust, cost-effective DVB data streamer and real-time multiplexer dedicated to hybrid interactive applications. It is used both for production and pre-production. It has been the first datastreaming solution for the HbbTV standard commercially deployed on the French market. b) httvBOX: an innovative STB turnkey solution which simplifies and unifies access to all types of delivery platforms: broadcast, broadband and OTT. It is an embedded software, which can be adapted to accommodate any device, ranging from a simple IP or DVB zapper to an advanced hybrid PVR with a media center feature. It offers an extensive range of features (non-linear TV services, enhanced EPG, etc.). Thanks to its HbbTV player, the solution benefits from the interactivity powered by HbbTV." 3) Norwegian interactive TV company, Never.no, will be exhibiting with Vizrt Middle East at CABSAT (Stand S2-E11). "At CABSAT, Never.no will highlight its Synchronized Companion App Framework, the latest advance for its flagship Interactivity Suite (IS) and how it works seamlessly within the Vizrt graphics environment," the company states in its press materials. "Companion app buzz is growing with this new emerging technology, which enables the viewer to sync tablets, PC's, or smartphones to the action on television. Stand visitors will enjoy a full 360-degree view of an interactive broadcast and companion-app workflow, thus gaining firsthand understanding of the benefits IS and the Synchronized Companion App Framework can bring to broadcasts--from every viewpoint from viewer to producer. Furthermore, an exclusive demonstration and behind-the-scenes look at the first-ever live television synchronized companion iPad app for Norwegian TV2's coverage of the Tour de France will be on display highlighting how the Never.no and Vizrt systems work together."
  • TV Dinner, a start-up that raised $400,000 in a seed round last year (note: the founders of the company are John Swords and Adam Broitman, co-founders of creative shop, Circ.us, and Eddie Babbage, former CEO of electronic music company, Resonant Vibes), has launched its flagship social-TV application in a "semi-private beta." The app is initially available on the iPad, but the company says that it will bring it to "all devices" in the near future. "TV Dinner's unique recipe for delivering real-time events around television," the company states in its press materials, "combines four key elements: 1) a true real-time infrastructure based on massively multiplayer online games, 2) a proprietary approach to structuring and displaying conversation, 3) fun self-expression tools, and 4) engaging gameplay elements. These elements grew out of inventor John Swords' deep experience in virtual worlds and massively multi-player online games." Said Swords, who serves as the company's CEO: "While working on an Emmy award-winning virtual world initiative for 'CSI: New York' in 2008, I came to the realization that a simplified interface without avatars could lower barriers to entry and engage a broader audience. When the iPad came out, I knew it was the perfect time for this. We are very focused on solving the problem of how to allow friends and fellow TV fans that are scattered in different places to truly share the experience of watching television together in a unique way. Some of our competitors have tried to entice viewers by looking to existing concepts like 'check-in' or ancillary features like using their iPad as a remote control. Our focus is completely different and our initial release of the product is only the beginning. Our team has begun planning exciting future iterations of the product." More information on the TV Dinner app can be found here.
  • Australian interactive TV company, Two Way Limited, has signed a three-year contract with LG Electronics Australia which it says will see it distributing its wagering apps on the latter's connected-TV sets, Blu-ray players and home theater systems. "Two Way has already finalized exclusive deals with two of Australia's leading wagering operators, Sportingbet Australia Pty Ltd. and Betfair Pty Ltd., to build and operate TV wagering services," the company states in its press materials. "These applications are in advanced stages of production, and are due to be launched in the first quarter of calendar 2012...The applications to be deployed by Two Way on LGE devices in Australia will be capable of taking bets, via the TV remote control, on all sports events broadcast by free-to-air TV, pay-TV, or any form of IPTV. The three-year deal provides for a revenue-sharing arrangement between Two Way and LGE for all revenue generated via Two Way's wagering applications. This revenue-sharing deal is on standard commercial terms." In other Two Way Limited news: The company has announced that its managing director, Ben Reichel, will step down on January 31st. He will remain on the company's board as a non-executive director, and will be replaced by Chris Grant Foster who will not, however, hold the title of managing director.
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