Macrovision Signs CableLabs' tru2way Implementers' Agreement

--Secures Multiple EPG Deals for Latin America and Europe

Macrovision, the company that recently acquired the US's dominant EPG developer, Gemstar-TV Guide, says that it has signed CableLabs' tru2way (OCAP) Implementers' Agreement, allowing it to build products based on the tru2way interactive cable architecture. The company also says that it has signed an OpenCable Contribution Agreement with CableLabs that will see it providing expertise, resources and day-to-day support toward the development of tru2way as an industry standard. tru2way is billed as providing an underlying common platform for cable operators and consumer electronics manufacturers: Macrovision claims that, as a provider of EPG technology to both the cable and CE industries, it is in a position to serve as a "valuable link" between the two, as they work on implementing tru2way. "tru2way delivers a level of simplification and control that will usher in the next generation of capabilities for digital television viewing," Steve Shannon, Macrovision's EVP of product management, said in a prepared statement. "We are very excited to join CableLabs in its efforts to bring tru2way to more consumers and look forward to building this technological breakthrough into more of our products."

Macrovision says that it will incorporate the tru2way standard into its j- Guide (offers a number of advanced interactive features) and Passport (billed as enabling "simple search, navigation functions, and easy management of content") EPG's. In addition, the company says that its Connected Platform will provide the key DLNA technologies for CableLabs' tru2way Home Networking Protocol.

In other Macrovision news:

  • The company says it has signed a multi-year patent licensing agreement with Siemens Home & Office Communications Devices that will allow the latter to incorporate EPG's based on Macrovision technology into its Gigaset-branded set-top boxes, which are sold in retail in the European market.
  • The company says it has signed a multi-year patent licensing agreement with TechnoTrend that that will allow the latter to incorporate EPG's based on Macrovision technology into set-top boxes distributed through retail in the European market.
  • The company says it has signed multi-year agreements for its Passport EPG products with Latin American cable operators, Claro Guatemala, Claro El Salvador, Claro Nicaragua and Claro Honduras (all subsidiaries of America Movil), Cablevision Argentina, Telecentro Argentina and Videomar Brazil. The Passport product line includes Passport DCT, an EPG solution for Motorola's DCT-series set-top boxes; Passport Echo, a high-resolution interactive application suite that is intended as an interface for HD DVR's; various application options, such as PassTime Games and PassTime Puzzlers; QuickMenu, a configurable menu system; and an interactive video mosaic application that enables viewers to watch multiple scaled video streams on a single channel and to launch services by highlighting and selecting channels (note: Passport DCT and Passport Echo support Spanish subtitles, Latin American parental control ratings, and the ability to pre-stage set-top boxes with a Spanish EPG language setting). According to Macrovision, all its new Latin American Passport customers are using Passport DCT, Passport Echo, PassTime Games, PassTime Puzzlers and QuickMenu; and Videomar Brazil has also launched the interactive video mosaic option.
  • The company says that it has extended its multi-year EPG license agreement with Sony Corporation for the Europeanmarket to allow the consumer electronics giant to use technologies covered by its patents in a new product line: PlayTV, a combined TV tuner and PVR for the PlayStation3, which is scheduled to be released by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe later this year. "Macrovision is pleased to extend its relationship with Sony in Europe to cover PlayTV," Samir Armaly, Macrovision's SVP of patent licensing, said in a prepared statement. "This agreement demonstrates the strength and importance of Macrovision's IPG patent portfolio on new platforms."
  • The company has teamed with Axel Springer to launch a HOERZU-branded version of its GUIDE Plus+ EPG for the German market. HOERZU, which is owned by Axel Springer, is Germany's largest weekly TV listings magazine. In addition to HOERZU branding (which it features prominently), the new version of the guide incorporates the magazine's listings and reviews. GUIDE Plus+ is an eight-day EPG that is built directly into such digital devices as iDTV's, DVR's and DVD recorders and that, according to Macrovision, has to date been integrated into over a million units deployed in the German market. The company's partnership with Axel Springer sees a team of editorial specialists from HOERZU providing the EPG with daily recommendations on the best programs to watch in six categories: Movies, Sports, Children, Entertainment, News and Other. The HOERZU team also evaluates and rates the programs and writes reviews and synopses for the EPG. "By introducing HOERZU into the field of electronic program guides via the GUIDE Plus+ system, we have again successfully completed the transformation of a well-established brand and premier content into the digital world," Jochen Beckmann, director of program magazines for Axel Springer, said in a prepared statement. "We look forward to working with Macrovision to deliver market-leading content and services to consumers in Germany."