Softel, a UK-based company that claims to have over 25 years of experience in providing ancillary data solutions--including solutions for interactive TV, opt cuing/ad insertion, subtitling and captioning--to leading broadcasters and service providers across the world (note: the company recently revealed that it was powering Showtime Networks' new HD EBIF application--see the article published on itvt.com, March 24th), on Tuesday launched a workflow technology, dubbed ScheduleSmart, that it says uses proprietary heuristics and algorithms to determine the optimum point in the workflow at which to bind captions, subtitles and other ancillar
--Services Include Video Mosaic, VOD, Startover TV
GoBackTV, a company which has developed a platform--dubbed RetroVue and targeted at smaller cable operators--that delivers switched multicast and unicast IPTV content to IP set top boxes across a traditional hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) cable plant via standard DOCSIS 1.1/2.0 and 3.0 cable modems, using CMTS-Bypass technology, contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know that Wilmington, Vermont-based Duncan Cable TV has selected the RetroVue platform to power new, interactive services. "We want the same new services as the large operators, but we have fewer customers over which we can spread the cost," Duncan Cable TV owner, Cliff Duncan, said in a prepared statement.
In a posting on its corporate blog last Thursday, Netflix's VP of marketing, Jessie Becker, announced that the company is "in the final phase of getting ready for the launch of streaming" to the Nintendo Wii games console (note: the Wii is currently the most popular games console in the US).
--CBS Reported to Be Working to Ensure its Online Video Offerings Support HTML5/iPad
In time for the April 3rd launch of the Apple iPad, broadband video platform providers, Brightcove and Ooyala, have both announced HTML5-based solutions that support delivery of online video to the new tablet device.
Multiscreen media measurement and research company, Rentrak, announced last week that it has signed a deal to provide Canadian motion picture distributor, Alliance Films, with VOD measurement services via its OnDemand Essentials service. Alliance's recent VOD offerings--which are available on such major Canadian pay-TV platforms as Cogeco Cable, MTS, Rogers Cable, SaskTel, Shaw Cable, Telus and Videotron--include "Inglourious Basterds," "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," "Four Christmases" and "Coraline." According to Rentrak, the Alliance deal means that it "continues to build its leadership position in providing measurement services" for the Canadian VOD market, where it claims to have seen a 19% increase in on-demand content usage between 2008 and 2009.
--Virgin Media Player to Launch Later This Year, More Information on Virgin-TiVo UI Revealed
UK satellite TV operator, BSkyB, announced last week that its Sky Player online TV service (which offers both live and on-demand content from a range of broadcasters) will launch on a number of new Internet-connected TV sets and set-top boxes, as a result of new deals it has signed with Cello, a manufacturer of LCD TV's, and 3View, a provider of hybrid DTT/IPTV set-top boxes.
Oslo, Norway-based browser specialist, Opera Software, last week announced a deal with Germany's max communication that will see the latter launching a new eviado-branded hybrid HD set-top box for the retail market, equipped with Web technology from the Opera Devices SDK.
In a posting on a corporate blog, Wednesday, Verizon announced the availability on its FiOS TV platform of a new interactive TV widget that provides access to the online social networking/local business search/reviews service, Yelp. In order to use the new widget, viewers first enter their ZIP code, to pull up a list of businesses in their local area. By clicking on a business's listing, they can access its address, phone number and the ratings it has received from Yelp users, as well as information on, among other things, price range, parking availability, and whether the business stipulates a dress code and is child-friendly (e.g.
--CBS Lets Viewers Decide Which Song Brooks & Dunn Will Perform at CMA's
--Fox Mobile Group Launches Mobile Subscription VOD Service, Bitbop
--Univision to Offer All World Cup Soccer Games on VOD and Live Online
--Showtime Teams with Comcast on Free VOD Promotion
Turner Broadcasting-owned cable channel, TNT, and NBA Digital, the new media arm of the National Basketball Association (NBA), will tonight (Thursday) present a special interactive edition of the show "TNT NBA Thursday," (airs at 8:00PM Eastern) that integrates TNT, NBA TV and NBA.com.
Miniweb, a London-based company that offers a platform designed to enable converged broadcast and broadband entertainment on the TV, said Wednesday that it has signed a deal with Eurosat, an EU-wide distributor of terrestrial and satellite TV products, to integrated its flagship Connected TV Services Platform and its broadband content guide with Eurosat's new Manhattan range of set-top boxes, which are designed for use with Freeview HD, the new HDTV service from the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial platform. The Miniweb-equipped boxes are slated to be available in retail later this year.
In a posting on its corporate blog, Wednesday, over-the-top-TV specialist Boxee announced the availability of an app for its platform that provides access to KoldCast TV, an online video service that offers programming in 720p HDTV.
--Brightcove Powering Broadband Video for New Sports Social Media Site, Sportpost
--FTC Seeking Input on Whether COPPA Should Be Updated to Reflect Interactive TV, Other New Tech
--Harmonic Secures VOD and Web/Mobile TV Deals in China and Switzerland
--Hulu Sued by Hulavision
--LG Electronics Demo'ing Mobile Phones with Broadcast DTV Reception
--Twitter-Based Interactive TV Show Launched in Spain
--Widevine and Verimatrix Settle Patent Dispute
Here is a round-up of some other recent interactive TV-related stories that we didn't have room for in this issue:
--Orca, Viaccess Powering White-Label IPTV Platform
--ITU Announces First IPTV Interop Event
UK-based set-top box company, Pace, on Wednesday launched a new set-top platform that uses Microsoft's Mediaroom IPTV software. According to the company, its engineering team developed the customizable platform in order to enable operators to quickly and easily roll out IPTV, hybrid broadcast/broadband and OTT services.
--Platform Can Be Upgraded via Modules to Support Interactive TV Services
SysMedia, a UK-based company that specializes in content transmission and production systems for teletext, subtitling and interactive TV, contacted [itvt] Wednesday to let us know that it has launched a digital-ready teletext version of its Plasma Gold production system.
--Opera Software in OTT Deal with PeerTV
--IP Vision Demo's Sky Player on its FetchTV Hybrid Broadcast/OTT Platform
Intertrust-subsidiary, SyncTV, has launched an online video platform, called SyncTV Web Services (SWS), which it says is targeted at premium video service providers such as network operators and broadcasters that are seeking to expand their services to Internet-connected devices. According to the company, the new platform will allow those providers to easily deploy fully branded video services to a broad range of devices, including connected TV's, Blu-ray players, standalone set-tops, game systems and smartphones. It also supports a broad set of ecommerce business models, content ingestion and management, and turnkey app deployment to connected devices, the company says.