News Round-Up I: Connected TV

DivX TV

--DivX Launches DivX TV: Will Be Deployed by LG Electronics
--Home Jinni Launches Social Entertainment Platform/Media Center for Android-Based HDTV's/BDP's
--LG Electronics Expands its Netcast Entertainment Access Service
--Panasonic Adds Fox Sports, Netflix, Pandora, Twitter and Skype to Viera Cast
--Samsung Launches App Store, Napster Launches TV Widget on Samsung's Internet@TV
--Sony Launches 3D-Enabled Bravia Connected TV's, Blu-ray Players
--Toshiba Launches Broadband-Connected CELL TV, Featuring 2D-to-3D Conversion and More
--Trinity Convergence Working with Skype to Embed Skype Video Calling in Connected TV's
--Vizio Launches New Connected HDTV's, Expands its Vizio Internet Apps Service

A number of pieces of connected TV news came across [itvt]'s desk, Tuesday. Here is a brief--and by no means exhaustive--round-up (note: also see "Vudu Unveils Vudu Apps OTT Service," "ActiveVideo Networks in Deal to Provide Blockbuster with Cloud-Based User Interface," and "Showtime Networks, Betfair Launch Interactive TV Widgets"):

  • DivX has announced DivX TV, which it bills as a "comprehensive embedded Internet TV platform that provides access to a diverse line-up of online media content streamed directly to any connected device from any manufacturer...including digital televisions, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, pay-TV operators' set-top devices, multimedia storage devices, and even mobile phones." The company says that LG Electronics is the first manufacturer to license the DivX TV platform, and will incorporate it into upcoming Blu-ray players and home theater systems. According to the company, the platform currently has over 70 content channels in place from such partners as the AP, blip.tv, Break, CNET, Roxio CinemaNow, Dailymotion, Diggnation, Pandora, Picasa, Revision3, Rhapsody, TED, Tekzilla, TheStreet.com, Twitter and VBS.TV. A demo video of DivX TV is embedded above.
  • Home Jinni, a company that bills itself as "addressing the usability challenges of the connected home," has announced a product called ConnecTV that it bills as "the world's first social entertainment platform and media center for Android-based embedded systems." According to the company, ConnecTV allows CE OEM's to offer consumers the ability to stream Internet TV and other online content directly to Blu-ray players and digital TV sets without PC's, media adaptors or OTT set-top boxes, and provides an "advanced content aggregation and search engine for Internet TV with the potential to bring content from thousands of sources to TV." (Note: In other Android news: At CES this week, MIPS Technologies and a number of partners are demo'ing what the company claims are the world's first Android-based set-top boxes.)
  • LG Electronics has announced new streaming content and interactive service partners for its NetCast Entertainment Access OTT service, including Skype, Picasa, and AccuWeather, and says that it is also making a number of new Yahoo! widgets available through the service.
  • Panasonic has announced that Fox Sports, Netflix, Pandora, Twitter and Skype will be available through its Viera Cast-enabled connected HDTV's and Blu-ray players this year. "In addition," the company says, "an upgrade to the Viera Cast user interface makes application access even faster and gives the user the flexibility to customize the Viera Cast Menu screen."
  • Samsung has launched an app store called Samsung Apps, which it bills as "the world's first HDTV-based application store where users can download and purchase applications from select 2010 Samsung HDTV's, Blu-ray players and home theater systems" via an upgraded version of its Internet@TV service. According to the company, the store's applications are designed to be downloaded and viewed while watching TV, the first batch of apps will launch in the spring free of charge, and premium apps will be available for purchase via a transactional interface in the summer. "This year," the company says in its press materials for Samsung Apps, "consumers will be interacting with their televisions through a wide range of applications. They'll be streaming HD video, viewing personal photos, interacting with friends, and playing casual games all with the push of a button on their remote control." Separately, digital music pioneer, Napster, announced Wednesday that Samsung televisions equipped with the company's Internet@TV platform, now feature a Napster TV widget.
  • Sony has launched its first 3D-enabled Bravia connected TV's, as well as new 3D-enabled Bravia Blu-ray players.
  • Toshiba has launched the ZX900 series CELL TV into the US market. "At the heart of the CELL TV is the CELL Broadband Engine, designed for superior multimedia processing and previously used in advanced PC's and high-end gaming consoles," the company says in its press materials (note: the engine incorporates multiple eight-core 3.2GHz processors). "By incorporating the CELL Engine into CELL TV, Toshiba has designed an unparalleled TV with an exciting array of advanced features that were previously unthinkable." According to the company, those advanced features include, among other things, 1) "TriVector 2D to 3D Conversion" which "takes any 2D content and converts it into 3D in real time," meaning that "with CELL TV you can 'Watch Everything in 3D!' including 2D sports, movies, TV shows, video games, and more"; 2) technology that "detects noise compression inherent in low-resolution Internet content and separates and corrects the image data to produce sharper, cleaner Internet images, even on super large screens"; 3) video conferencing capabilities; and 4) access to a range of OTT content, including Netflix, Vudu, Roxio CinemaNow and Pandora. Wired has more detail.
  • Embedded device software company, Trinity Convergence, has announced that it is working with Skype to add Skype video calling capabilities to HDTV's and other connected CE products. "Trinity Convergence has successfully integrated its VeriCall voice and video software engine with the Skype embedded SDK to enable fast integration of a Skype video client for equipment manufacturers," the company says in its press materials. "As part of this effort, Trinity Convergence developed the Skype video solution to run on Broadcom Corporation's BCM3549 digital TV (DTV) system-on-a-chip (SoC) solution and will demonstrate this solution in its hospitality suite at CES 2010." The company says that it has secured commercial agreements with "multiple TV manufacturers": those manufacturers include Panasonic and LG Electronics, which are demo'ing Trinity-powered Skype capabilities in their connected TV's at CES this week.
  • Vizio has announced three new connected HDTV sets, the extension of its Vizio Internet Apps service to 12 new HDTV models and to various additional product lines (including Blu-ray players), and a range of new OTT content providers for its connected devices.

 

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