Electra Provides More Details about its Trove Interactive TV Platform, Secures Deal with ST

--Says Trove Will Launch under "Channel Zero" Brand on UK's Freeview DTT Platform "Imminently"

Electra Entertainment--a company that was founded in early 2003 by Static 2358 founder, Jasper Smith, and former Gemstar-TV Guide CTO, Jonathan Drazin (note: Smith serves as its CEO and Drazin as its CTO; its chairman is former BT and BSkyB director, John Swingewood)--on Monday provided a few more details about its flagship Trove interactive TV technology.

According to the company, the technology will power "hours of rich interactive entertainment and IP connectivity" for TV viewers and will "support next year's HD DVB-T2 Freeview services." It can be incorporated into "virtually any mass-market device," including entry-level set-top boxes, DVR's and integrated digital TV's, the company says, in order to provide a rich interactive experience at no incremental cost to the manufacturer. Electra says that it has partnered with semiconductor manufacturer, ST, to deploy Trove, as well as with leading retailers, and that multiple CE manufacturers, including Hylab, are incorporating the technology into their latest product lines.

According to the company, the technology will support rich color, sound and games, and will "generate increased frequency and length of consumer visits, resulting in greater revenues." It says that Trove-based services will be accessed "with one button press, even from standby," and need "less than one percent of the bandwidth compared to conventional interactive TV services." Its services, the company promises, will include content from "top media brands," such as Reuters, IPC Media and Met Office, as well as from Electra's sister-company, PlayJam, which it says will offer over 500 casual and skill-based games in multiple genres on its platform.

Electra also says that Trove supports WiFi and Ethernet connectivity to enable "an even greater range of services and features in mass, entry-level digital TV products." It claims that "this combination of hybrid broadcast and IP technology offers viewers a more connected and integrated solution than separate broadcast and IP services, with new features including Internet radio, social networking, instant messaging, music on-demand and live voting." And it bills the technology as "the ideal choice for manufacturers planning to support the new T2/MPEG-4 HD Freeview platform, delivering enhanced graphics and services in true high definition."

According to Electra, the first commercial implementation of Trove will launch on Freeview in the UK "imminently" under the brand Channel Zero (note: last month, the company announced that it would launch on Freeview in the fall--see the article published on itvt.com, September 9th), and subsequent roll-outs are planned for other European digital terrestrial markets. "Providing a premium interactive service for digital terrestrial broadcasting via mass-market devices at no incremental cost will generate both frequent and loyal usage," Electra CEO, Jasper Smith, said in a prepared statement. "Our next-generation technology will further drive this by offering viewers greater choice of how, where and when content can be consumed."