News Round-Up: Interactive TV Technologies and Operators

--Sky Reveals its 3D TV Plans
--Miniweb in Advertising Deal with Real Media
--Rovi in Multi-Year EPG Patent License Agreement with Austar
--RTB Launches Interactive TV Service

Because the [itvt] editorial team is busy working on The TV of Tomorrow Show (March 3rd-4th in San Francisco) and on our new EBIF Intensive event (March 5th in San Francisco), we will be covering most stories in summary/round-up form over the next few weeks. Here is a round-up of interactive TV technology/operator news for the past few days.

  • BSkyB announced last week that it will launch Sky 3D, which it bills as "Europe's first dedicated 3D TV channel," this April. It previewed the new service Sunday by broadcasting live 3D TV coverage of the Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Manchester United at select pubs around the UK and Ireland. "As 3D TV's become more widely available, Sky will roll out its 3D channel to hundreds of pubs from April, allowing football fans across the country the opportunity to experience a live Premier League match in 3D each week," the satellite TV operator says in its press materials announcing its 3D plans. "Once 3D TV's begin to reach the consumer market later this year, Sky will then make Sky 3D available to all Sky+HD customers, giving millions of people the opportunity to watch a wide range of content in 3D, including movies, sport, documentaries, entertainment, and the arts. Sky 3D works with all existing Sky+HD boxes and will initially be introduced at no extra cost for customers who subscribe to Sky's top TV package and the Sky HD pack. Sky 3D will also be compatible with all 3D Ready TV's coming to the UK and Ireland this year, including all models from Sony Corp, Samsung, LG Electronics and Panasonic." In other Sky news: In its latest earnings announcement, the company revealed that it is now offering only HD set-top boxes (which incorporate broadband connectivity) to new customers. Paid Content has more.
  • Rovi (formerly Macrovision--for more on the company's name change and the repositioning it heralds, see the interview with Rovi chief evangelist, Richard Bullwinkle, that was published on, July 16th) announced last week that it has signed a multi-year agreement with Australian pay TV operator, Austar, that provides the latter with a license to use Rovi's EPG patents. Austar is an affiliate of Liberty Global-owned UPC, which recently negotiated a similar agreement with Rovi.
  • London, UK-based interactive TV company, Miniweb (note: in September 2008, the company--which launched with an interactive TV alternative to the red button on the Sky satellite TV platform, and which is now targeting its technologies at the emerging hybrid TV space--announced that it had raised $32 million in venture funding--see [itvt] Issue 8.06 Part 1), has signed an exclusive deal with digital marketing company, Real Media, for the latter to serve ads on Miniweb's broadband content platform. According to the companies, Real Media's Open AdStream ad management platform will "enable Miniweb to deliver advertising with a new level of relevance and sophistication, as the broadband connected TV market looks set to grow in 2010... The adoption of Open AdStream will help Miniweb to integrate advertising campaigns into their broadband content platform, and create the ability to deliver targeted advertising messages within one easily managed tool," the companies say. "This will enable advertisers to effectively track ROI on their TV advertising in the same way as the Web, extend existing Web campaigns to the TV, and use their TV advertising in a more targeted way." According to Miniweb founder and chief architect, Ian Valentine, the company's new partnership with Real Media "is the first deal of its type, marrying existing, well known Web-based ad serving technology and a TV-centric broadband content platform."
  • Radio Television Brunei (RTB) has now officially launched its interactive TV service, which is based on technologies from Finland's Icareus (see the article published on, January 18th). Among other things, the service features an EPG; an "Electronic Public Information Guide" that provides information on such topics as the weather, prayer times and foreign exchange rates; and a games portal.


North America