--Initiative Billed as Enabling Pan-European Footprint for Interactive TV Services
Cable Europe Labs on Monday announced the launch of a European Middleware Initiative, which aims to develop a next-generation middleware specification for the European market. The organization says that the initiative will accelerate the development of an open middleware platform for evolving applications and services, and will grow the footprint for and increase the speed of new interactive services. "Our members deliver the latest and greatest services to more than 73 million homes," Cable Europe Labs managing director, Malcolm Taylor, said in a prepared statement.
--Box Began Shipping to German Retail Outlets Earlier this Month
Digital TV client software provider, ANT, said Monday that it has partnered with set-top box manufacturer, Humax, to bring what it claims is the first Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) set-top box to market. According to the company, Humax has chosen the ANT Galio HbbTV platform for its new iCord HD+ satellite set-top, which began shipping to German retail outlets earlier this month. The box is billed as allowing viewers to access a range of hybrid services including ARD Mediathek, Tagesschau, ARTE, Internet radio, Maxdome and Wikipedia.
Hulu, the free, ad-supported broadband video venture co-owned by The Walt Disney Company (ABC), NBC Universal and News Corp. (Fox), contacted [itvt] Monday to let us know that it has beta-launched a Captions Search service that it says allows users to search the captioning of "thousands of videos from hundreds of shows" (including, for example, "Glee," "Modern Family," "30 Rock" and "The Colbert Report") on its platform.
A report by Sam Schechner and Yukari Iwatani Kane in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal claims that Apple is planning to launch a subscription-based over-the-top-TV service, and that CBS and Disney are considering participating. The report, which cites unnamed sources "familiar with the matter" (note: Apple, CBS and Disney all apparently refused to comment), also claims that Apple is hoping to launch the service next year.
--New "Navigate YouTube" iPhone/iPod touch App Launched
Paris-based video-sharing site operator, Dailymotion, on Monday announced the launch in the Apple App Store of an iPhone/iPod touch app that incorporates both content channels and capabilities for creating and uploading videos. According to the company, the app allows users to search a library of over 12 million videos and to surf 14 themed channels, including Music, Film & TV, Funny, and Sports & Extreme, as well as lists of viral videos. It also lets users share videos with their friends, Dailymotion says, and access and manage their Dailymotion accounts. In addition, it allows iPhone 3GS users to record and upload videos straight from their handset to their accounts.
--Babelgum in Deal to Offer Cinelan's Library of Three-Minute Non-Fiction Films
--Bambuser's Live Streaming iPhone App Receives App Store Approval
--Conviva Names Former NBCU CTO, Darren Feher, President and CEO
--Episodic Powers Showtime Sports' "Strikeforce: All Access"
--Justin.tv Launches Unified Chat Option, Plans to Launch Pay-Per-View Service
--Livestream to Provide Live-Streaming Coverage of Times Square New Year Celebrations
--Netflix Web Site Updated to Push "Watch Instantly" Option
--Next New Networks Announces "Next New Creators" Program
--NHL Teams with NeuLion to Launch "NHL VideoCenter" Player
--VidZapper Integrated with Amazon CloudFront
--Chinese Broadband Video Site, Youku, Raises $40 Million
A number of items of broadband-video and live-streaming news have come across [itvt]'s desk over the past few days. Here is a brief round-up:
--Vodafone Portugal Launches IPTV Service on Xbox 360
--Digisoft to Power IPTV for Russia's PMT
Accedo Broadband--a Stockholm-based provider of interactive TV applications and content for IPTV and broadband-connected consumer electronics devices (note: the company, which was founded by telecom and media entrepreneurs, Michael Lantz and Fredrik Andersson, offers a range of applications, but is best known for its games)--said last week that it has launched an interactive TV games service on Colombian telco UNE's IPTV platform.
--Social TV Round-Up: Verizon FiOS TV Viewing Parties, New Facebook Feature on YouTube
Video search specialist, TV Genius, announced last week that UK commercial terrestrial broadcaster, ITV, has selected its Content Discovery Platform to power a personalized recommendation feature on a new ITV Player app for Facebook. According to the company, the app, which is called "ITV Favourites" and which is available now, will "promote Christmas and New Year scheduling, as well as into 2010," through recommendations of content available via the ITV Player online catch-up service; and will also remind users of upcoming shows that might be of interest to them.
--Plans to Use TiVo Box's OTT Capabilities to Provide Customers with VOD
Evolution Digital--a division of Evolution Broadband, a reseller of digital equipment to independent cable operators--said last week that it is supplying TiVo HD DVR's to TVMAX, a regional cable operator that specializes in providing services to MDU's and that serves the greater Houston area.
--VOD Round-Up: Karaoke Channel, Police Blotter, Comcast's 100th Day-and-Date Movie, Ofcom
Clearleap, an Atlanta-based company which offers a technology platform for bringing Internet-sourced video content to television sets, announced last week that it has signed a deal with Break Media, the company that operates Break.com, an entertainment Web site which targets a male demographic, to bring the latter's broadband video content to the TV screen. According to the companies, their partnership will enable Break.com to dynamically deliver a portion of its video library to Clearleap's Content Marketplace, where it will instantly be available for cable and IPTV operators to use as VOD programming.
--BBC Trust Expected to Approve BBC's Participation in Project Canvas this Week--But With Conditions
IP Vision--a company, backed by French set-top box vendor, Netgem, which currently offers a hybrid set-top box, called the FetchTV SmartBox, that combines reception of linear channels from the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial platform, Freeview, with OTT access to pay-per-view and subscription-based online VOD services, as well as to free, online programming catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer (note: the company says that the box--which can be connected to any broadband access service--will support BSkyB's Sky Player service early next year)--last week announced plans to offer its FetchTV platform on third-party set-tops
--Claims the App Can Run on EBIF-, tru2way- or WebKit-Enabled Set-Top Boxes
Boulder, Colorado-based start-up, FreedTV, on Wednesday launched what it bills as "the first cross-platform social media television application supporting real-time connectivity to mainstream television set-top boxes." In association with its existing Facebook WIWA (stands for "What I'm Watching") and iPhone applications, the company says, the new FreedTV Video Service Provider (VSP) app "combines the compelling content of broadcast and cable television with the peer-to-peer communication of social networking to create a new standard in interactive television." "Television viewing was once a social experience based on 'event' programming, like 'The Wonderful World of
The National Basketball Association's (NBA) NBA Digital arm (note: NBA Digital is comprised of a portfolio of digital assets, jointly managed by the NBA and Turner Sports) contacted [itvt] Wednesday to let us know that it has experienced "significant growth" across all platforms so far this season.
According to NBA Digital:
--Company Offers Cloud-Based Interactive TV Solution, Deployed by Time Warner Cable, Cablevision
--Claims Its Platform Will Enable CE Manufacturers to Become Content Providers "Virtually Overnight"
Cloud-based interactive TV specialist, ActiveVideo Networks, announced Wednesday that it has appointed consumer electronics industry veteran, Henry Choy, as VP of business development, tasking him with leading a new strategic initiative to bring its CloudTV platform to consumer electronics devices (note: ActiveVideo's efforts to penetrate the cable industry appear to be enjoying some success--for more on the company's work with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision, see the interview wit
--Lori Schwartz Elected Co-Governor of ATAS Interactive Media Peer Group
--Ex-Digeo CEO, Greg Gudorf, Resurfaces at Thomson Technicolor
--Free Press: Comcast's "TV Everywhere" Service Poses a Threat to Online Video Competition
--New Online Reality Show Involves Hulu, MySpace
--Jinni Secures $1.6 Million in Series A Funding Round
--Ooyala Provides Live Streaming Coverage of Vans Triple Crown of Surfing
--Report: SeeSaw Secures Content Deals with Channel 4, Five
--Teletext Closes Down
--Thoughts from thePlatform's Ian Blaine and SysMedia's Andrew Lambourne
--Google's Eun: YouTube Mulling Subscription Option
Here is a round-up of some other interactive TV-related stories we didn't have room for in this issue: