UK Interactive TV Company, Strategy & Technology, Wins Queen's Award for Enterprise

Strategy & Technology, a UK-based company that specializes in software solutions for standards-based interactive TV, has been awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise. According to the company, the award recognizes its achievement in growing sales of its products internationally over the past four years, thanks to a well-defined and effective marketing strategy.

Interactive Display at LA Mall Promotes "Avatar" Blu-ray Disc by Morphing Shoppers into Na'vis

--Users Enter email Address to Receive Video of their Transformation

Inwindow Outdoor, a New York City-based company that specializes in digital storefront and mall advertising, has launched an interactive augmented reality display at The Grove mall in Los Angeles, in order to promote the Blu-ray release of the movie, "Avatar." According to the company, the display--a free-standing structure made up of multiple digital screens--uses custom technology, developed in house, in order to morph faces of shoppers into Na'vis (the wide-eyed blue creatures from the movie) as they watch. "This is by far the most technologically ambitious project we've ever done, and the first by our internal digital team," Inwindow Outdoor managing director, Jeff Cohen, said in a prepared statement.

Rogers Says It Will Offer Canada's Highest Capacity HD DVR

--BH Telecom Selects Espial MediaBase to Power its VOD Services

Canadian cable MSO, Rogers Communications, said Monday that it will offer a new line of Cisco HD DVR's (the Explorer 8642HD) that will include a model with the largest DVR hard drive (500GB) in Canada, allowing customers to record up to 62 hours of HD or up to 280 hours of SD content. "We understand that for our customers, entertainment is about the experience for the whole family and at the center of it is often the PVR," John Boynton, Rogers' EVP of marketing, said in a prepared statement "The new Rogers Cisco Explorer 8642HD PVR is designed with the whole family in mind so that they can each enjoy their own entertainment on their time. No longer will they have to deal with record-delete issues. They can watch what they want, when they want."

Intel Demo's User Interface for the "Integration of TV and Broadband"

Intel has posted on YouTube a demo video that illustrates how it believes "the integration of TV and broadband might look in the near future." According to the company, the demo features "a user-friendly 3D user interface, video multi-streaming and advanced media browsing," all of which "is supported by the power of Intel's System-on-Chip media processors, in this case the Intel CE4100, which help to bring stunning HD video, home-theater-quality audio, advanced 3D graphics, and more to Internet-connected TV's."

The demo, which is embedded above, was recorded at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing earlier this month.

metaio's Augmented Reality Technology Powering Interactive 3D Video in Lego Stores

--Shoppers Hold Lego Boxes Up to "Digital Boxes" to Unlock 3D Video of Assembled Models

Munich-based augmented reality specialist, metaio, contacted [itvt] Monday to let us know that the Lego Group has begun installing in all Lego-brand retail stores worldwide special kiosks, dubbed "Digital Boxes," that unlock an AR experience powered by metaio's technology. Customers at the stores can hold a Lego box up to the kiosks in order to trigger an interactive 3D animation of what the Lego model contained in the box will look like when it is assembled. They can manipulate the animation--and thus see what the assembled model will look like from any angle--by moving the Lego box around.

Seagate Adds Streaming Capabilities to its FreeAgent Theater+ HD Media Player

--Box, Originally Designed to Enable Viewing of PC Files on TV, Now Supports Netflix, YouTube, etc.

Storage specialist, Seagate, said Monday that its FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player--a device originally intended to enable users to move photos and videos from their PC to their TV--now supports streaming of content from Netflix, as well as from other providers such as YouTube, vTuner (provides access to around 8,000 terrestrial and Internet radio stations) and Mediafly (aggregates a broad range of free and user-generated content, including podcasts, news and sports).

Slovenian Interactive TV Technology Provider, BeeSmart, Releases Free IPTV Middleware Package

--Package Includes License for 500 End-Users, "Safe Migration Path" to Full IPTV Middleware Offering

Slovenian interactive TV technology provider, BeeSmart, has released a free, basic IPTV middleware solution, dubbed BeeSmart Lite. The middleware and its accompanying documentation can be downloaded here.

News Round-Up

--Brightcove Names Paul Goetz SVP of Sales for North America
--"Doctor Who" Breaks iPlayer Record
--Sigma Designs Announces Major Corporate Reorganization
--Starz Offering Sneak Previews of "Party Down" on Free VOD, Online
--USC Annenberg to Launch Social Online Video Editing Platform

Here is a round-up of some other recent interactive TV-related stories that we didn't have room for in this issue:

NDS, BlackArrow Form Strategic Business and Technology Alliance for Advanced Advertising

--BlackArrow Raises $20 Million in NDS-Led Series C Funding Round

Advanced advertising technology provider, BlackArrow, announced Monday that it has closed a $20 million Series C financing round that was led by interactive TV and conditional access technology provider, NDS, and that also saw the participation of existing BlackArrow investors Cisco, Comcast Interactive Capital, Intel Capital, the Mayfield Fund and Polaris Venture Partners.

Syabas Launches SDK for its New popbox OTT Set-Top Box

--SDK Lets Developers Transform Existing Flash Apps into popbox "popapps"

Syabas, a Fremont, Calif.-based company that specializes in over-the-top set-top hardware and software, last week released an SDK for its recently launched OTT set-top box, the "popbox" (note: for more on the device, which features a user interface design from Moxi UI designer, Dewey Reid, see the article published on, January 5th).

TubeMogul Launches Destinations, Enabling Free "From-Anywhere-to-Anywhere" Video Distribution

TubeMogul, an Emeryville, Calif.-based provider of distribution and analytics services for broadband video, last week announced the launch of its "Destinations" video publishing suite, which it says allows "from-anywhere-to-anywhere" video distribution--for free.

New Interview with CEO, David Del Beccaro, on Music Choice's New Interactive TV Network, SWRV

--Plus New iTV Doctor Column on ActiveVideo Networks and its Cloud-Based Approach to ITV

[itvt] has just published a radio interview with David Del Beccaro, founder, president and CEO of multiplatform music programmer, Music Choice.

Univision Launches Soccer App for Apple iPhone/iPod Touch

--iPad Version to Launch Before 2010 World Cup

Univision Interactive Media, the digital division of US Spanish-language broadcaster, Univision, announced Wednesday that it has launched a free, video-enabled soccer application, called Univision Futbol, in the Apple App Store. According to the company, the app, which was developed in partnership with July Systems, is currently available for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch, and a version that has been optimized for the new Apple iPad will be available in time for the upcoming soccer World Cup.

BSkyB's Sky Player Broadband TV Service to Launch on New Freeview HD Set-Tops from Humax

UK satellite-TV provider, BSkyB, said Wednesday that its Sky Player broadband video service will be available on Humax's new range of high-definition hybrid DTT/IP set-top boxes for the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial platform, Freeview (note: Humax is the UK's largest provider of Freeview set-tops). Those boxes include the Humax HD-FOX T2, which launched in February and which Humax claims is the UK's first Freeview HD box (note: the box also allows users to access the BBC iPlayer broadband TV service), and an HD DVR that is slated to launch in the coming months.

ABC Player iPad App Downloaded over 212,000 Times Since iPad's April 3rd Launch

--Disney/ABC Says 680,000 Episode Views Have Translated into "Several Million" Ad Impressions

Disney/ABC Television Group on Wednesday released early usage statistics for its recently launched ABC Player app for the Apple iPad. The app, which is based on the Full Episode Player and which Disney/ABC says was designed, developed and launched in less than five weeks, allows users to watch free, ad-supported episodes from around 20 ABC series through WiFi, and also to purchase downloads of episodes from the iTunes store. Disney/ABC is currently the only major broadcaster to offer such an app.

According to Disney/ABC:

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