Rovi in EPG Patent Licensing Deal with Freeview Australia

Rovi (formerly Macrovision--for more on the company's name change and the repositioning it heralds, see the interview with Rovi chief evangelist, Richard Bullwinkle, that was published on, July 16th) said Wednesday that Freeview Australia has signed a multi-year cooperation agreement for Rovi-held EPG patents. Freeview Australia--which, as its name suggests, is similar in concept to the Freeview services that have been launched in the UK and New Zealand--is co-owned by Australian free-to-air broadcasters, ABC, SBS, Seven, Nine, Ten, Prime, Southern Cross and WIN, and is billed as upholding "Australians' right to watch quality television for free." It will be delivered via Freeview-endorsed receivers that will be available in retail stores. Earlier this year, it announced that it had selected MHEG-5 as its interactive TV middleware (see the article published on, July 21st).

According to Rovi, the agreement allows Freeview Australia to develop an enhanced EPG for the Australian market under the Rovi patent portfolio. Consumer electronics manufacturers incorporating the Freeview EPG will be able to license the necessary EPG patents directly from Rovi, the company says. "As part of our commitment to offer more choice, more channels and more quality programming, we are now also able to offer the benefits of an IPG based on Rovi's patent portfolio, helping contribute to an even better viewing experience," Freeview Australia CEO, Robin Parkes, said in a prepared statement. Added Rovi's SVP of licensing, Samir Armaly: "Freeview's mission underscores the significance that the digital transformation in free-to-view programming in Australia has provided to home entertainment. Freeview brings cutting-edge technologies to its viewers and we are pleased that our intellectual property will be available for license by Freeview's customers, helping viewers discover the TV programs that are most important to them."