NDS's XTV DVR Technology Powers New Interactive TV Services for Foxtel

--Australian Broadcaster, Seven, to Offer TiVo-Powered Interactive TV Advertising

Interactive TV and conditional access technology provider, NDS, said Monday that it has teamed with Australian pay-TV operator, Foxtel, to develop a bookable promos service, based on its XTV DVR technology. The service, which NDS claims is the first of its kind in the Asia Pacific region, allows viewers watching a trailer for a show to book a recording of that show to their DVR by pressing the green button on their remote. According to NDS, the service lets viewers book recordings of movies, individual programs or entire series immediately or up to weeks in advance. It can also be used during commercial breaks, the company says, to allow viewers to receive more details about a project featured in a specific commercial--again by pressing the green button.

NDS also says that it has provided Foxtel with its XTV open infrastructure, an extended version of its XTV DVR technology that is designed to enable operators to launch applications that directly access DVR functionality. The first Foxtel application to be based on the XTV open infrastructure is the iSuggest visual recommendation service (note: the service is also based on technology from OpenTV--see the article published on itvt.com, November 16th), which NDS says presents viewers with TV show and movie posters in a personalized viewing gallery, making it easy for them to browse, select and record programs directly into their planner. "The launch of these solutions in Asia has been made possible thanks to NDS' experience in advanced DVR solutions combined with its systems integration expertise," Foxtel's director of engineering, Peter Smart, said in a prepared statement. "Foxtel continually invests and innovates for the benefit of our subscribers, enhancing their TV viewing experience." Added Peter Iles, general manager of NDS Australia: "We have worked with Foxtel since the launch of its first DVR in 2005. This latest collaboration, which provides cutting-edge services, reaffirms Foxtel's position as an innovator in the provision of advanced digital pay-TV services in the region."

In other news from Australia: Seven will become the first free-to-air broadcaster in that country to offer interactive TV ads, according to an article in The Australian. The ads will be enabled by the TiVo DVR, of which Hybrid Television Services--in which Seven has a 67% stake--is the exclusive licensee in Australia and New Zealand. Using the box's broadband connection as a backchannel, the ads will allow viewers to order a product or receive additional information about it, telescope to long-form content, or access a micro-site. The service is slated to begin trials in January, during Seven's coverage of the Australian Open tennis championship, and to launch commercially in April. "The trial will make promotions interactive that are running in the Australian Open," Hybrid TV CEO, Robbee Minicola, told The Australian. "If I'm watching a promotion for the next Seven show that's coming up, I will be able to Season Pass that show from the promo."