ActiveVideo Networks Taps Henry Choy to Head New Strategic Initiative Targeting CE Devices

--Company Offers Cloud-Based Interactive TV Solution, Deployed by Time Warner Cable, Cablevision
--Claims Its Platform Will Enable CE Manufacturers to Become Content Providers "Virtually Overnight"

Cloud-based interactive TV specialist, ActiveVideo Networks, announced Wednesday that it has appointed consumer electronics industry veteran, Henry Choy, as VP of business development, tasking him with leading a new strategic initiative to bring its CloudTV platform to consumer electronics devices (note: ActiveVideo's efforts to penetrate the cable industry appear to be enjoying some success--for more on the company's work with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision, see the interview with its president and CEO, Jeff Miller, that was published on itvt.com, October 29th; the company claims that its platform is currently in 5 million homes and that it expects it to be in 20 million cable, IPTV and Web-connected homes by the end of next year).

Choy was previously VP of consumer electronics business development at AnySource Media, an over-the-top-TV specialist that was acquired by DivX earlier this year (see the article published on itvt.com, September 2nd). According to ActiveVideo, while at AnySource, he was instrumental in securing integration agreements for the company's software in connected TV's, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players. Prior to that, the company says, he was VP of DisplaySearch, in which role he developed that company's TV electronics research business and an associated conference. His resume includes a seven-year stint as senior product engineer and senior product marketing engineer at AMD, and stints leading business development, marketing and sales initiatives for such firms as Oak Technology, Yamaha, 3Dlabs, Rendition, 3Dfx, Silicon Motion and Rambus. He also served as an analyst at Jon Peddie Associates. He holds a BS in material science engineering from UC Berkeley. "As we gain more traction in the consumer electronics industry, it's become important that we add the deeper levels of expertise necessary to build stronger partnerships and anticipate the industry's needs," ActiveVideo's Jeff Miller, said in a prepared statement. "Henry Choy possesses all of the qualities we sought: an extensive background in CE, longstanding relationships, and a track record of success."

According to ActiveVideo, previous attempts to bring interactive TV functionality and exclusive content to CE devices have required significant investments by TV and component manufacturers, because of a need to integrated powerful intelligence and processing on the devices themselves. The company says that it offers a compelling alternative: a low-cost system that leverages the power of cloud computing to deliver rich content and interactive services to HDTV's, Blu-ray players, media servers, game consoles, mobile devices and other CE gear. It claims that its CloudTV platform enables rapid development of new content that can differentiate product and service offerings, without increasing bill of materials (BOM) costs. "Get ready: The CloudTV revolution is now coming to CE," ActiveVideo's Miller continued. "With ActiveVideo, CE manufacturers and retailers can simply and cost-effectively increase the value of their products by enabling differentiated content and interactivity and opening up the possibility of new revenue streams. By making their devices ActiveVideo-ready, CE manufacturers and retailers can leverage our infrastructure, expertise and relationships to become content providers virtually overnight."

ActiveVideo bills its CloudTV platform as leveraging content stored and processed in the network "cloud" to expand the reach and availability of rich, Web-based user experiences. According to the company, content is delivered as a single, adaptable MPEG stream to the CE device, which passes keyclicks from standard remote controls through the device to the cloud. The company claims that its platform integrates easily with any device, enabling manufacturers to support Web-infused programming, navigation and advertising that is delivered with the quality and immediacy that viewers expect from TV.

Because the power of CloudTV is in the network and not in the device itself, ActiveVideo says, the impact of the ActiveVideo client is minimal: the thin client can be easily downloaded to the hard drives of existing network-aware devices or built into the chipsets of new devices, according to the company. The company says that, at September's Intel Developer Forum, it successfully demo'd the integration of its client with Videon Central's Blu-ray Disc middleware.

Other benefits to CE manufacturers claimed by ActiveVideo for CloudTV (in addition to reduced BOM and increased product functionality and differentiation) include the ability to: eliminate the need for consumers to buy and integrate proprietary solutions for Web-based and interactive content (i.e. no additional hardware is required); leverage ActiveVideo's established programming relationships and Web standards-based authoring tools and technologies to create and distribute exclusive content; deliver upgrades and enhancements that increase CE device functionality and extend optimal service life; market and sell new devices or provide manufacturer or retailer customer service directly to customers through the CE device, thus enhancing brand loyalty; and replace a single CE sales transaction with recurring content revenues.

ActiveVideo also claims that the deployment of CloudTV on CE devices offers benefits to other stakeholders in the "media ecosystem": according to the company, traditional video programmers can increase reach and viewer loyalty by allowing audiences to consume and share content on their own schedules; Web video programmers can reach the mass audience of television while maintaining the interactivity their viewers have come to expect; CE retailers can leverage their relationships with manufacturers in order to deliver their own branded customer service and tcommerce solutions through the very devices they sell; and consumers can "enjoy a television experience that truly fits their digital lifestyles" (including, for example, social networking capabilities that allow them to link online communities with TV viewing and to share programming recommendations).

Region: 
North America