News Round-Up:

--Accedo Broadband Develops Interactive TV Game for A&E Television
--ADB in Set-Top Deals with Altibox, ITI Neovision
--Alticast Announces Deployments of its Hybrid Broadcast Broadband Television Solution
--ANT Launches Managed Service Offering for IPTV and Hybrid Environments
--AT&T Launches Broadband Video Web Site
--BBC's Huggers Reveals Plans to Open iPlayer to Third Parties
--Bluestreak's MachBlue Supports "New 3D Flash User Experiences," Is Integrated into Mitsubishi TV's
--Brightcove Expands Partner Program
--Cisco's IPTV Technologies to Be Deployed by Virgin Media
--Clearleap's Platform Deployed by Bresnan
--Concurrent Announces "International Extension" of its "Three-Screen Strategy"
--Dreampark, Ekioh Team for 3D User Interfaces
--Edgeware Announces New Partnerships, New Video Servers, New Customer Win
--Ericsson, Tandberg Showcase VOD Solutions
--eventIS in TV Personalization Deal with Aprico
--GoBackTV, RGB Networks Partner to Improve Bandwidth, Storage Efficiencies for nPVR
--Harmonic Powers Interactive, On-Demand Services for Altibox
--Nagravision Launches Widget Platform for Connected TV's
--Netgem Launches IPTV Set-Top Software, Incorporating Media Center Functionality
--never.no Powers Interactive TV for TV 2
--Opera Partners with Dreampark
--Samsung, Sigma Designs Supporting Microsoft Mediaroom
--Signiant Automates Astral Media's VOD Content Delivery Infrastructure
--SoftAtHome, Orca Interactive, Viaccess Team on End-to-End TV Solution with 3D Interface
--STMicroelectronics Unveils HbbTV Demonstrator Platform
--Trusted Opinion Unveils Social Networking TV Product for IPTV Middleware Providers

Because of the large volume of news generated by the ongoing IBC show in Amsterdam, and because the [itvt] editorial team is currently traveling in the UK, we are covering a number of this issue's news stories in round-up/summary form. We anticipate some additional interruption of our regular news publishing schedule in the coming days, so we apologize in advance for any inconvenience to our readers. Here is the round-up:

  • 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)--has announced a deal with A&E Television Networks' AETN International arm to launch a new IPTV/connected TV game inspired by the latter's History channel. Dubbed "History Quiz" and designed to be played via the remote control, the game features questions based on topics covered in History's programming and is available on Accedo's IPTV games channels.
  • Geneva-based set-top box manufacturer, ADB, has announced a deal to supply Norwegian telco, Altibox (formerly Lyse Tele), with two IPTV devices--the ADB-2810W set-top and the ADB-5812WX DVR--that will allow it to offer its customers an HD IPTV service with optional PVR functionality. The company has also announced a deal to provide its ADB-5720SX hybrid set-top box to Polish satellite TV provider ITI Neovision's n service. Among other services, the box will support HD, VOD and interactive gaming, and will also allow end-users to access content from the Internet, including social networking sites, as well as videos stored on networked devices. In addition, ADB is demo'ing a range of functionality at the IBC show in Amsterdam, including multi-device content sharing, Web 2.0 services on the TV, multi-room DVR, and terrestrial programs on non-terrestrial decoders.
  • Korean MHP, tru2way and Blu-ray specialist, Alticast, has announced the deployment of its Alticaptor HBBTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband Television) solution with Korea Telecom's QOOK TV hybrid IPTV/DTT service and with Korean satellite TV service, SkyLife. "Whilst some players in the industry are trying to re-invent television and Teletext services, Alticast is helping broadcasters and operators by using technology for hybrid broadband-broadcast services already standardized through ETSI," Anthony Smith-Chaigneau, managing director of Alticast GmbH, said in a prepared statement. "It is a shame that some of the consumer electronics industry and certain broadcasters feel they need to repeatedly 're-invent middleware technology' instead of concentrating on delivering the already crafted tried and tested open-standard technologies available on the market."
  • UK-based digital TV client software provider, ANT, has announced a new Managed Service offering, which it says brings a range of new Web-based multimedia content to IPTV and hybrid solutions such as HbbTV. "Activated from a single button press on the remote control or via an on-screen menu," the company says, "the Managed Service can be presented as a portal, integrated service guide or widget, and gives consumers access to a selection of innovative services in addition to standard TV programming. News, information and entertainment services are accessed through the Managed Service which aggregates content from a variety of providers and presents it in an easy-to-use format to the consumer."
  • AT&T has launched a broadband video Web site called AT&T Entertainment. The site features content from broadcast networks ABC and NBC (via an agreement with Hulu), as well as from CBS, Bravo, Oxygen, Syfy, The CW, CNBC, USA Network, and others.
  • In a speech at the IBC show in Amsterdam, the BBC's director of future media and technology, Erik Huggers, stated that the corporation plans to open up its BBC iPlayer to third parties. The proposal will, however, have to be approved by the BBC Trust.
  • Bluestreak Technology has announced that its flagship MachBlue platform now supports "new 3D Flash user experiences that offer consumers visually dynamic ways to search for and discover multimedia content and Web services on their television set-top boxes and mobile devices. With the availability of this new feature in their MachBlue platform," a press release from the company states, "Bluestreak Technology becomes the first company to extend the capabilities of Adobe Flash technology to display rich, 3D user interfaces and applications with high-definition (HD) video across a wide variety of memory- and resource-constrained devices." The company has also announced that the MachBlue platform has been deployed on Mitsubishi digital television sets in North America. "Mitsubishi selected the Bluestreak MachBlue platform, supporting the Adobe Flash 9 format, to drive the entire user interface of Mitsubishi HDTV's, offering consumers a graphically rich way to control their television viewing experience and discover entertainment content," a press release from the company states. "The MachBlue platform began shipping in Q2 2009 on Mitsubishi digital televisions and is now available on all new 2009 models including the DLP, LCD, and upcoming Laser series."
  • Broadband video publishing solutions provider, Brightcove, has announced that its Brightcove Alliance partner program has doubled in size over the past seven months and now includes over 200 technology, distribution and solution partners. The company has also expanded the program to cover new partner categories, including content management, transcoding, email, content and live video; and has launched a new training and certification program for solution providers.
  • Cisco Systems has announced that UK cable operator, Virgin Media, has chosen it to support the migration of its legacy digital TV infrastructure to IPTV. The deal will see the operator deploying Cisco's Digital Video Headend technology in all its regional and central headends, and deploying its IP core and edge network technologies across its national fiber-optic network.
  • Clearleap has announced that Bresnan Communications has deployed its Internet-based TV technology platform across all its systems. Bresnan is using the platform to manage The SPOT, a VOD section composed of localized channels featuring businesses in such categories as jobs, dining and events. According to Clearleap, the platform will enable the operator to easily ingest, distribute, manage and monetize content of all kinds, using the company's clear/flow and clear/profit modules. The deployment will also see Bresnan using the platform to ingest local content and program its local linear channels with local and regional programming--making it one of the first US cable operators to use Internet technologies for ingest and management of linear TV programming.
  • VOD technology provider, Concurrent, has announced "the international extension of its three-screen strategy to bring open, commercial and intelligent video solutions to television, personal computers and mobile devices." The company also says that the next generation of its flagship MediaHawk server will include various capacity and density improvements that can increase ingest capacity and storage density by up to 50%.
  • IPTV middleware provider, Dreampark, and user interface engine developer, Ekioh, have announced a partnership to bring 3D user interfaces to consumers. "Dreampark's flagship middleware product Dreamgallery, their SVG client and Ekioh's user interface (UI) solutions for embedded systems together create a platform that enables operators to easily customize their user interface to the specifications they need for their target demographic," the companies say. More information on the companies' collaboration is available here; while more information on the latest version of Ekioh's SVG UI engine is available here. In other Dreampark news: The company has announced its first IPTV customer win in Latvia.
  • Edgeware, a Stockholm-based provider of VOD server systems, has announced 1) the integration of its Web TV WTV servers with Jet Stream's VideoExchange CDN Management Suite to create what the companies are calling "a complete CDN-in-a-Box" for content and network owners; 2) a partnership with Inlet Technologies to deliver Microsoft Smooth Streaming and Apple Live HTTP Streaming video over the Internet; 3) a partnership with Envivio for Web TV adaptive streaming; 4) new WTV-2G and Orbit-2G video servers designed for gigabit networks; 5) the selection by Dutch cable operator, Caiway, of its Orbit-2X video server platform.
  • Ericsson and its subsidiary, Tandberg Television, have announced that they are showcasing a number of newly or recently launched VOD solutions at the IBC show in Amsterdam. According to the companies, they include "the industry's first device-aware backoffice system for multiplatform TV"; "VOD for digital terrestrial and satellite TV platforms"; "VOD without a set-top box"; and a "one way VOD" solution that "opens the door for on-demand services to all cable set-top boxes."
  • eventIS, the Dutch developer of VOD and linear broadcasting software that was recently acquired by US-based VOD technology provider, SeaChange International (see the article published on itvt.com, September 2nd), has announced that it is integrating Aprico's video recommendation/personalization technology into its TV and VOD platforms. It has also announced a reseller deal for Russia with V-Lux, and a win with Latvian cable operator, Livas.
  • GoBackTV, a provider of digital video headend solutions, and network video processing specialist, RGB Networks, have announced a partnership to offer improved storage and bandwidth efficiencies for nPVR and other unicast TV services. The partnership sees the integration of GoBackTV's GigaQAM IP cable IPTV solution and StreamCache nPVR/timeshifting/VOD server with RGB's Broadcast Network Processor (BNP) digital video platform. Together, the companies claim, the systems "deliver switched multicast IPTV and unicast services like network PVR, VOD, and Startover, while saving as much as 50% on storage capacity as well as bandwidth utilization."
  • Harmonic has announced that Norwegian telco, Altibox (formerly Lyse Tele), has deployed its StreamLiner video servers, Armada asset management solution and ProStream 8000 digital mosaic solution to enable advanced IPTV VOD services and multichannel mosaic viewing for its subscribers in Norway and Denmark. The services are initially being offered in conjunction with Altibox's coverage of Norwegian Elite Series soccer. "To deliver an unrivaled viewing experience to football fans across its network, Altibox relies on StreamLiner video servers and the Armada asset management system for live content ingest and recording, and instantaneous provisioning of up to 10 simultaneous matches to over 200,000 set-top boxes in the Altibox network," Harmonic says. "With this deployment, subscribers can watch a live football match and switch to on-demand viewing of important events in other matches using Altibox's intuitive Electronic Program Guide (EPG). This capability gives subscribers complete control of their viewing experience when multiple matches are played concurrently. In addition, the ProStream 8000 digital video mosaic solution generates the multichannel mosaics that allow the subscriber to watch up to eight simultaneous football matches on a mosaic grid or in full-screen mode, and interactively link to the VOD content to follow highlights from all matches."
  • Kudelski-owned Nagravision has announced the launch of a widget publishing platform for Internet-connected set-tops and TV sets. According to the company, the NAGRA Media widget platform, as the new offering is called, "is initially configured with a core set of widgets organized in a store and controlled by the operator. The store allows subscribers to search for, procure, and install new widgets from a large gallery," a press release from the company states. "This gallery contains widgets that can be customized to fit the look-and-feel of a pay-TV operator's standard interface. It includes live and on-demand recommendation widgets as well as additional core personalized widgets set by the operator. Personalized widgets allow subscribers to share videos and track their updates from online social networks, dozens of video content providers and hundreds of other Internet driven widgets (weather, stocks, social networks, news feeds...) from a variety of providers." The solution also includes the NAGRA Media widget studio, which Nagravision bills as "a powerful service publishing tool that gives operators and their partners the ability to create custom libraries of widget services including services that leverage their established pay-TV offering. The system is a Web-based front end to the powerful NAGRA Media CMS and NAGRA Media SDP transaction system and OpenTV advanced advertising solution," the company says. In other Nagravision news: The company has also announced that it has teamed with Deutsche Telekom to bring the tvister recommendation service to TV screens. "tvister is an intelligent TV program guide currently available on the Internet that provides news about shows, stars, series or movies," Nagravision explains. "Based on what the TV viewer is watching, and using an advanced algorithm, the tvister widget recommends programs available in the schedule. Program recommendations may include channels from pay TV, free TV, VOD catalogs, pay-per-view, etc."
  • French IPTV set-top box manufacturer and software developer, Netgem, has announced the next generation of its software platform, which it says combines a highly visual and intuitive user interface with media center functionality. Dubbed NetgemTV, the solution "enables operators to create their own converged IPTV services by integrating multiple TV and Internet content sources into one, attractive and easy-to-use interface," the company says, and comes with "a full suite of published API's and [a] Software Development Kit to fully customize services such as video-on-demand (VOD), catch-up TV or IP channel connections." According to Netgem, the solution has been tapped by Monaco Telecom to power an interactive TV service that is set to launch shortly.
  • Norwegian interactive TV software company, never.no, has announced that Norway's largest commercial broadcaster, TV 2, is using its Interactivity Suite technologies to enable viewers of its political programs to use Twitter and other Web interfaces, as well as their mobile phones, to comment and ask questions in real time and then see their moderated comments on live TV. never.no's Interactivity Suite was previously used to power TV 2's interactive TV coverage of the Tour de France (see the article published on itvt.com, July 1st).
  • Browser specialist, Opera Software, says that its Opera Devices SDK 10 now supports the Intel Media Processor CE 3100 system-on-a-chip; and that it has renewed its partnership with IPTV middleware provider, Dreampark. Among other things, the companies say, the partnership will see them collaborating to "perfect the performance of Dreampark's SVG-based middleware on the Opera Devices SDK."
  • Samsung Electronics and Sigma Designs have announced joint support for the Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV Platform. "Samsung will be delivering the SMT-E7200 line of set-top box products, based around Sigma's SMP8654 media processor system-on-chip (SoC), and supporting Microsoft's Mediaroom client," the companies say.
  • Content distribution management solutions provider, Signiant, has announced that Canada's Astral Media has tapped it to transform its VOD content delivery infrastructure from a manual process to an automated file-based workflow.
  • SoftAtHome, Orca Interactive and Viaccess have announced what the companies are billing as "the world's first end-to-end TV solution with [a] 3D interface." "The user interface is one of the key battlefields for service providers to maximize customer retention and increase VOD and services revenues," a press release from the companies states. "In order to help service providers meet this challenge, the partners set out to bring to market the first, fully integrated and ready-to-deploy TV solution for the next-generation TV user experience. This unique end-to-end solution blends the core IPTV components with a production-ready set-top box: Orca's service delivery platform including the COMPASS groundbreaking content discovery solution; SoftAtHome's operating platform; and card and cardless conditional access from Viaccess. In addition to the 3D HD user interface," the press release continues, "the solution gives service providers a complete solution to quickly deploy live TV, VOD, PVR, personalization and DLNA content sharing functionality with optimal performance and content protection. It leverages the standard Open Graphics Libraries API combined with hardware accelerators to deliver high-performance HD 3D experience."
  • STMicroelectronics has announced that it has completed a demonstrator platform for next-generation set-top boxes capable of receiving interactive TV services via broadcast or broadband. The platform is designed to support the recently announced pan-European HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband Television) initiative, which aims to harmonize broadband and broadcast delivery of entertainment to end-users through connected TV's and set-top boxes. "ST's demonstrator platform, in conjunction with HbbTV, allows hosting of advanced interactive applications providing seamless access to broadcast and Internet-based services," Eric Jumelet, group VP of ST's Home Video Division, Home Entertainment and Displays Group, said in a prepared statement. "With this platform, ST is showing its commitment to support a common standard for interactive set-top boxes."
  • Social recommendations network company, Trusted Opinion, has announced a Social Networking TV product for IPTV middleware providers. "IPTV subscribers can now connect to their existing friends on all leading social networks (including Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and more), and receive their friends' movie recommendations directly through their TV set," the company says. "Friends can rate movies, give each other 'Respect' for great reviews, and drive VOD sales with targeted recommendations and social games." According to the company, the solution has been selected by IPTV middleware provider, Orca Interactive.

 

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