Miniweb, Metrological in Technology Integration Partnership

--Seek to Enable Converged Broadband and Broadcast Services on Intel CE 3100-Powered Devices

London, UK-based interactive TV company, Miniweb (note: last September, the company--which is best known for offering an interactive TV alternative to the red button on the Sky satellite-TV platform--announced that it had raised $32 million in venture funding--see [itvt] Issue 8.06 Part 1), said Monday that it has teamed with Metrological Media Innovations, a provider of middleware and reference designs based on the Intel Media Processor CE 3100 (note: the company is part of the Intel Consumer Electronics Network), to integrate its Miniweb services platform with the latter's Metrological Metroconnect OS. It says that the integrated solution--which it claims is ready to order for shipment in around two months' time--will enable converged Internet and broadcast video services on a range of CE 3100-powered devices, including satellite, cable and hybrid DTT/IP set-top boxes, as well as integrated digital television sets.

The CE 3100 is billed as the first in a new Intel family of Systems-on-a-Chip (SoC's) for consumer electronics devices based on the company's Intel architecture. The chip is designed for use in Internet-connected CE products, such as advanced set-top boxes, digital TV's and optical media players. According to Miniweb and Metrological, the combination of the Miniweb platform, Metrological's middleware and hardware platform and the Intel CE 3100 will provide an end-to-end platform for the delivery of a fully converged, high-quality broadband and broadcast experience. The companies claim that the platform will be "equally attractive" to ISP's looking to converge broadcast content with their existing broadband offering and pay-TV operators looking to combine broadband-enabled OTT video with their existing broadcast services. They say that it will include support for Web-style interaction; centralized video search and recommendations; community functionality; and advertising and payments services. "Our partnership with Metrological is an important element in the next-generation TV experience," Miniweb founder and chief architect, Ian Valentine, said in a prepared statement. "The Miniweb Internet Gateway and Services Platform will combine with Metrological's solutions and the Intel CE 3100 to enable the closest convergence ever of broadband and broadcast content. Broadband delivered content has never before been fully integrated with mainstream TV viewing; with this development viewers can use Miniweb's industry-leading search and recommendations capabilities to find video from a variety of different sources based on the media or channel being watched. I'm very excited about the prospect of Miniweb and Metrological working together to converge broadcast video services with the widest range of Internet video content and a slick modern user interface, thanks to the power and flexibility of the Intel chip set." Added Metrological founder and CEO, Albert Dahan: Both Miniweb and Metrological have the ambition of changing the face of television; by collaborating we can work together to fulfill this ambition. The combination of our Mediaconnect TV STB reference design and Metroconnect OS middleware which is able to play all forms of Internet video, with the Miniweb Platform, which enables the discovery of any Internet Video from any Internet source is incredibly powerful. By providing all the services necessary for broadcasters and content owners to interact with and reach the consumer, this combined solution really does offer the best of Internet video and traditional TV in one exciting high-quality service."

Last month (see article published on, July 6th), Miniweb announced that its platform had been integrated into a new range of HD-ready digital television sets from Bristol Interactive Technology. The integration was billed as enabling the sets, which incorporate a receiver for the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial platform, Freeview (note: Freeview is set to launch an HD version of its service later this year), to offer a "converged...entertainment experience" that will include Internet video and radio as well as a range of Internet-sourced interactive TV services.