ActiveVideo Networks Expands Partnership with TAG Networks

--Companies Seeking to Extend Interactive TV Games Offerings to Connected CE Devices

Cloud-based interactive TV specialist, ActiveVideo Networks, announced last week that it has expanded its relationship with its long-term partner, TAG Networks, in order to extend enhanced gaming experiences to broadband-connected consumer electronics devices. This represents the third in a recent trio of CE-related announcements from the company: earlier last week (see the article published on, January 7th), it announced an agreement with Blockbuster that it said was designed to enhance the consumer VOD and electronic sell-through (EST) experience of the latter's Blockbuster On Demand service across multiple connected platforms; and last month (see the article published on, December 17th), it announced a strategic initiative to bring its CloudTV platform to CE devices.

According to ActiveVideo, the combined ActiveVideo-TAG Networks solution combines TAG Networks' scalability with ActiveVideo's ability to deliver Web-based content as a single MPEG stream, and will bring popular branded games to any connected device or digital set-top box. The companies demo'd the joint solution at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. TAG Networks recently announced (see the article published on, September 15th) a new version of its platform that it claims can support 2,000 concurrent MPEG game streams at 1.25Mbps, running on a single off-the-shelf 1RU dual quad-core server (note: the company claims that this is an industry record for streaming games density and scalability); while, at the most recent Intel Developer Forum, ActiveVideo demo'd the integration of its client software with Videon Central's Blu-ray Disc middleware (see the article published on, September 21st). "Historically, games have been one of the real drivers of interactive service adoption," Henry Choy, ActiveVideo's VP of business development and the executive charged with heading up the company's efforts to penetrate the CE space, said in a prepared statement. "We anticipate that our relationship with TAG Networks will help to drive CloudTV engagement by giving our cable and CE partners access to an extensive library of content and unparalleled streaming games technology." Added TAG Networks co-founder and CEO, Sangita Verma: "CE manufacturers have a real opportunity to benefit from the high demands consumers have for a superior games experience. Our work with ActiveVideo provides an outstanding games environment via the video infrastructure, or via high-bandwidth connections."

TAG Networks offers a games channel, dubbed TAG, that it bills as "seamlessly" integrating into operators' existing infrastructures and as being designed to address such operational concerns as limitations of headend space, power, air conditioning and bandwidth. It says that the channel is currently deployed to hundreds of thousands of households throughout the US via digital cable, and that additional deployments and trials are slated over the next 12 months. ActiveVideo, meanwhile, bills its platform as enabling viewers to "navigate a completely interactive environment of both linear and broadband programming, including rich interfaces and graphics optimized for TV and remote control navigation; social networking; personal media; niche content; and targeted, actionable advertising," and as using "intelligent MPEG streaming to deliver the Web 2.0 experience to a worldwide television audience through both legacy and next-generation digital set-top boxes and broadband-connected devices." (Note: For more on ActiveVideo's and TAG Networks' deployments on US cable platforms, see the interview with ActiveVideo president and CEO, Jeff Miller, that was published on, October 29th: ActiveVideo claims that its platform is currently in 5 million homes, through deployments with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision, and that it expects it to be in 20 million cable, IPTV and Web-connected homes by the end of next year.)

North America