News Round-Up

--Project Canvas Price Tag Revealed, Venture Seeks to Take More Open Approach
--Blitz Develops Interactive Augmented Reality Music Video for John Mayer
--Cablevision Using Zodiac Interactive's EBIF User Agent
--IneoQuest Launches Video Quality Assurance Solution for iPhone
--RVU Alliance Attracts More Members
--Channel 4 Exec Tapped as Commercial Head of Arqiva's SeeSaw Broadband VOD Service

Here is a round-up of some other interactive TV-related stories we didn't have room for in this issue:

  • Project Canvas--the joint initiative between the BBC, UK commercial broadcasters ITV and Five, and UK incumbent telco BT, that seeks to develop a common standard and interface for the delivery of online catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer and the ITV player, as well as other Internet-based VOD services, to broadband-connected set-top boxes--is expected to cost over £115 million to develop, launch and operate for its first four years, according to figures just released by the BBC. It is expected to recoup £17 million in revenues during that period. The Guardian has some analysis. The partners behind the venture say that they are now looking to open it up to any media or telecommunications company that wants to join it. The Financial Times has more.
  • Marketing agency, Blitz, has developed an interactive augmented reality music video for John Mayer's single, "Heartbreak Warfare," from his forthcoming album, "Battle Studies." According to the company, the video, which is available on, "lets fans enjoy a whole new experience by interacting with the settings around Mayer while he performs the song, delivered via the Adobe Flash Player software, which is already installed on 99% of Internet-enabled desktops. To launch the AR music video," Blitz's press materials continue, "fans hold a printable marker, or 'glyph,' in front of their Webcam and then get to watch the dynamic experience unfold on-screen. As Mayer starts to sing, his fans can then play with the animated living room scene by moving their glyph around--spinning, rotating and even flipping John's virtual world upside down."
  • Multichannel News's Todd Spangler has a report on Cablevision's deployment of Zodiac Interactive's EBIF user agent on its Cisco/Scientific-Atlanta set-top boxes. The relationship between Zodiac and Cablevision dates back several years (see, for example, the interview with Zodiac co-founder, Alex Libkind, that was published on, December 15th, 2005). Meanwhile, Translation Please's Leslie Ellis provides an EBIF refresher.
  • Digital video quality and service assurance solutions specialist, IneoQuest Technologies, announced the availability Wednesday of a solution for real-time monitoring, analyzing and reporting of the quality of streaming content for the Apple iPhone. "Unlike traditional video delivery methods, Apple's new HTTP Live Streaming protocol requires video to the iPhone to be segmented into small clips and then downloaded in correct sequence, increasing the complexity and need for real-time video and transport monitoring," the company explains in a press release. "To assist providers looking to deliver quality content to the iPhone, IneoQuest has extended its award-winning Cricket probes and iPhone application knowledge to support this new protocol and enable complete visibility of traffic flows throughout the entire transport process." IneoQuest also says that it will launch a new tool for optimizing Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV deployments at next week's TelcoTV show.
  • Motorola, Humax, Thomson, Pace, Entropic, NXP Semiconductors and JetHead Development have joined the RVU Alliance as its first "Promoter" members. The Alliance is attempting to develop a specification for a new "pixel accurate" Remote User Interface that will form the core of a new "RVU" (pronounced "R-view") home networking technology, whose goal is to "make it simple and easy for consumers to connect multiple electronic devices to create powerful home entertainment systems." The Alliance says that its technology approach, which will use DLNA as its foundation, will be to serve content via a single server in the home, that then communicates via IP links with networked devices in the home. Key benefits of this client/server-based home-network architecture, according to the organization, include elimination of set-top boxes, resulting in reduced clutter for consumers and reduced costs for operators, and flexibility for the consumer to watch TV on any device on the home network while maintaining a common user experience.
  • Arqiva--the broadcast transmission company which recently acquired the platform assets of Project Kangaroo, the VOD platform developed by UKVOD, a joint venture between the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and terrestrial broadcasters, ITV and Channel 4, for a price believed to be in the £8 million range (note: Project Kangaroo was believed to be close to launch, when it was nixed in February by the Competition Commission, an independent public body that investigates mergers, markets and regulated industries at the UK government's behest), and which has announced plans to use those platform assets to launch a new, Web-based, consumer-facing VOD service called "SeeSaw"--has named former Channel 4 executive, Matt Rennie, as the new service's commercial head. Rennie was previously the broadcaster's development manager for content and distribution and his duties included managing its relationships with YouTube, MSN, Virgin Media, BT and iTunes.