Interactive TV News Round-Up (VII): Opera Software, MIPS, Intel, Orange, Orca, Viaccess

--Opera TV Store Update Includes Companion SDK, Pre-Roll Ads, WebGL Support, Side-by-Side Apps
--Opera Solutions Now Available for MIPS Architecture, Intel 32nm SoC
--France's Orange Migrates its IPTV Service to Orca Interactive, Viaccess

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been working on The TV of Tomorrow Show 2012, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format.

  • Opera Software said Tuesday that it has expanded the capabilities of the Opera TV Store, its HTML5-based app-store solution for connected TV's and set-top boxes (note: for more on the solution, see the article published on itvt.com, January 10th). "So what's new?" the company asks in its press materials. "With companion-screen interaction becoming an increased reality, the Opera TV Store now provides publishers the opportunity to create a companion experience for their app. Opera's Companion SDK concept helps viewers to turn a smartphone into a smart remote control, making app navigation and interaction extremely easy. Seamless interaction between handset and TV enables the user to seize the full potential of the application. Now, developers can write their own companion apps to create new, engaging ways to interact with their own content. The Opera TV Store has been enhanced with the ability to display ads, thereby enabling publishers and content providers to inject pre-roll ads and monetize their applications. The pre-roll video would then show up prior to application launch. The Opera TV Store now packs in support for WebGL, the emerging Web standard that has excited many publishers of graphics-rich content. As an example, game developers can finally bring their WebGL-based games to connected TV's running the Opera TV Store. Sometimes doing one thing on your TV is not enough. Side-by-side applications, now implemented in the Opera TV Store, give viewers a new way to interact with Web content without losing focus on the show they are watching. Want to check scores from other games while watching your favorite football team? No problem; just launch your favorite live scores app in side-by-side mode. Want to play your favorite game when your partner is viewing a favorite TV show? Fighting for a remote control is over; now, the TV screen is all about sharing."
  • In other Opera news: 1) The company has teamed with MIPS Technologies to bring its Opera Devices SDK to the MIPS processor architecture. "Based on this collaboration, the Opera TV Store and the Opera TV browser with WebGL support are now available for MIPS-based DTV's, set-top boxes and other digital home devices," the companies state in their press materials. 2) The company has announced that its TV browser with WebGL runs on the newly launched Intel Atom Media Processor CE5300. "WebGL extends the capability of Web standards by directly accessing the powerful graphics hardware on the chipset to implement interactive 3D graphics in a browser--without the need for plug-ins," the company states in its press materials. "WebGL brings the power of OpenGL into the hands of JavaScript developers, making it possible to implement advanced 3D graphics with smooth animations and cool effects. Opera Software and Intel worked together previously to bring the Opera Mobile Web browser to Intel-based Android devices, a collaboration that was announced in February."
  • IPTV middleware provider, Orca Interactive, and its parent company, content-security solutions provider, Viaccess, have announced that they are powering Orange's newly revamped IPTV service. "France-based Orange has launched 'la nouvelle TV d'Orange,' a next-generation subscription-TV service which allows Orange to upgrade its IPTV service with a state-of-the-art user-experience and prepare the infrastructure for the new challenges of over-the-top (OTT) video, multiple screens and unlimited content," the companies state in their press materials. "'la nouvelle TV d'Orange' boasts a new user interface, which includes VOD, catch-up TV, content discovery and recommendations, EPG, PVR, self-developed applications and more. Viaccess [and] Orca Interactive...provide a unified service platform which includes the service delivery platform, content discovery platform, conditional access system and native multiscreen solution. It is adapted for IPTV, OTT delivery and hybrid, combining different delivery modes. Beginning in late November 2011, Orange began migrating its customer base of IPTV customers to Viaccess and Orca's Unified Platform. Migration of satellite customers will follow. Overall, Orange has over 5.1 million customers to its TV services in Europe as of December 31st, 2011. This represents the largest-ever IPTV middleware migration, a process in which three different existing services over ADSL, FTTH and hybrid satellite-IP will be converged onto a single unified platform from Orca and Viaccess. To date, approximately 400,000 subscribers have joined the new service platform in less than three months. Orange's primary motive for adopting this unified platform concerned service velocity--the ability to rapidly develop and introduce innovative new apps into the market without being dependent on the vendor. It also provides the ability to seamlessly combine linear and non-linear viewing and increase device independence. Today, Orange faces stiff competition in the French market. A key differentiator in the new service is COMPASS, a unique content-discovery platform which personalizes the content offering for each user according to their preferences and usage habits."
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North America