News Round-Up

--Brightcove Names David Mendels President and COO
--Clip in Touch Tapped by BMW for Personalized Mobile Video Ad Campaign
--Consumer Advocacy Groups Call for Probe of "TV Everywhere," NCTA's McSlarrow Responds
--DECE Announces "Key Milestones," Adds 21 Members
--ProVision Launches Multi-Room Wireless HDTV System
--Skype to Be Integrated into HDTV's from LG Electronics, Panasonic
--Tivit Device to Bring Mobile DTV to WiFi-Enabled Devices

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

  • Broadband video publishing solutions provider, Brightcove, has named David Mendels president and COO, tasking him with driving its "global expansion strategy and operations." Mendels, who has been a member of Brightcove's board since late 2008, was most recently at Adobe where, according to Brightcove, "he was instrumental in accelerating the adoption of key platform technologies, including Flash, Flex, Acrobat and LiveCycle, into must-haves for today's enterprises and into a thriving billion-dollar business for Adobe." Paid Content's Rafat Ali argues that Brightcove's hiring of Mendels means that the company "is giving a serious indication that it will stay independent for a while."
  • Clip in Touch, a company that specializes in personalized content solutions for Web and mobile messaging, says that it was recently tapped by BMW to power an advertising campaign in China, in which personalized/targeted video messages were delivered directly to customers' mobile phones. The messages, which were distributed December 21st-24th in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, consisted of holiday greetings each of which, Clip in Touch says, was "uniquely tailored to a specific individual." More information is available here.
  • Consumer advocacy organizations, Free Press, Media Access Project, Public Knowledge and Consumers Union, have authored a letter urging Congress and the US Justice Department to investigate the pay-TV industry's "TV Everywhere" plans--in particular, TV Everywhere-related agreements between operators and content providers. The letter claims that TV Everywhere "which transposes the existing cable TV model onto the online TV market, can only exist with collusion among competitors"; an accompanying 40-page report states that TV Everywhere "rests on an illegal agreement among competitors--and that the initiative would not be possible without this illegal collusion." NCTA president and CEO, Kyle McSlarrow, has issued a response which, among other things, states that "as publicly announced, TV Everywhere envisions separate, bilateral agreements between one content company and one or more individual distributors. It is purely vertical in nature--like any arrangement between a content company and a distributor," McSlarrow's response continues. "As online video evolves, various distributors and content companies may--and likely will--come to widely varying bilateral arrangements." Cable Digital News's Jeff Baumgartner has more.
  • The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE, LLC), a cross-industry coalition that is seeking to develop a common digital standard that will allow consumers to buy or rent a video once and play it on any device, announced Monday that it has achieved various key milestones toward establishing "the first open market for digital content distribution," and also announced that 21 more companies have joined it. According to the coalition, the milestones include: 1) "Agreement on a Common File Format, an open specification for digital entertainment, that will be used by all participating content providers, services and device manufacturers"; 2) "Vendor selection for and role of the Digital Rights Locker, a cloud-based authentication service and account management hub that allows consumers rights access to their digital entertainment"; 3) "Approval of five Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions that will be DECE-compatible." More information is available in a press release from DECE, as well as in an article in the New York Times.
  • Bristol, UK-based ProVision Communications has developed what it claims is the world's first consumer electronics technology capable of securely streaming live HD video content across all the rooms of a home. Dubbed AXAR1500 and set to be demo'd at CES this week, the technology is billed as having a distribution radius of over 900 feet and as being "capable of streaming live HD content across an area of more than 2.5 million square feet--three times the floor space of Buckingham Palace" (note: a company spokesperson told [itvt] that it has been tested in "five-bedroom stone-wall houses"). According to ProVision, AXAR1500 "streams HD video content from a Blu-ray player, PVR or HD set-top box to AXAR-enabled TV's or WiFi-connected PC's and mobile phones throughout the home" and its "real-time protocols support fast channel hopping and interactive TV guide operation." More information is available here.
  • Skype has announced partnerships with LG Electronics and Panasonic to offer Skype-enabled HDTV's. According to the company, Skype software will be embedded into Panasonic's 2010 line of VIERA CAST-enabled HDTV's and LG's 26 new LCD and plasma HDTV's with NetCast Entertainment Access. Both lines are slated for commercial availability in mid-2010. According to Skype, LG and Panasonic will offer specially designed HD Webcams, that are optimized for Skype, as accessories that can be plugged into their televisions: the Webcams will support 720p HD and include special microphones and optics that "can pick up sound and video from a couch-distance," the company says. The New York Times has more.
  • A $120 device called the Tivit, whose development has been funded in part by the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), is set to be unveiled at CES this week. The device, based on a similar product sold in Japan, is designed to receive mobile digital TV signals sent by local US broadcasters and beam them to iPhones and other WiFi-enabled devices. More information is available here.


North America