Multiplatform/Interactive TV News Round-Up (III)

--Deutsche Telekom, DISH Network, Google TV, Dreampark, DVB, Ensequence, Entone, Envivio, Epix, Ericsson, Espial, FCC, Freeview NZ, Frontier Communications

Since February 3rd, [itvt] Daily News has been on hiatus, while the [itvt] editorial team produced the TV of Tomorrow Show 2010--and then took a few days off to recover. This is the third of eight round-up articles, in which we are covering some of the more significant developments in the multiplatform/interactive TV space that took place during our hiatus:

  • Deutsche Telekom has announced the winners of its 2009 Deutsche Telekom Interactive TV Award. The company also recently tapped Dublin-based interactive TV applications developer, emuse, to develop new ITV capabilities for its soccer programming service, LIGA total.
  • DISH Network is teaming with Google to test a new set-top box service that lets viewers search for broadband video on sites such as YouTube, as well as for regular pay-TV programming, and also allows viewers to personalize a line-up of shows, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. A report in the New York Times provides more detail on this Android-based project, dubbed Google TV, which also sees Google collaborating with Sony, Intel and Logitech. DISH Network has also announced the winners of its 9th Annual Interactive Television Awards, and recently partnered with NBC Universal to provide interactive TV coverage of the Winter Olympics.
  • IPTV middleware provider, Dreampark, has announced the availability of its Dreamgallery IPTV middleware as a frontend solution to complement an operator's existing middleware. "Today, many operators have launched interactive TV services but may have found that their solutions are lacking in flexibility and user experience compared to the current generation of middleware solutions available," the company explains in its press materials. "For an operator to do a complete change-out of the entire TV infrastructure it is extremely complicated and costly. In order to retain the investments already made, Dreampark's frontend solution offers a new approach to solve this issue by allowing operators and system integrators to use the Dreamgallery TV client together with their existing backend."
  • The DVB has announced that the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has formally adopted as standards the new release versions of the MHP 1.2.2 and GEM 1.2.2 specifications. "This," the DVB explains, "marks the culmination of the refactoring work that makes GEM a self-contained specification. GEM now takes over the role of DVB's primary middleware specification, and MHP becomes a derived specification based on GEM. The acknowledged importance of GEM due to its adoption in Blu-ray, tru2way and other Java-based TV standards led to DVB's decision to make GEM the primary middleware specification."
  • Interactive TV authoring solutions provider, Ensequence, recently emailed [itvt] to let us know that it was tapped by NBC Universal to enable the latter's interactive TV coverage of the Winter Olympics on DISH Network and Verizon FiOS TV (note: Ensequence was not responsible for DISH Network's interactive mosaic for the Olympics). "This represents the second time that NBCU and Ensequence have teamed up to deliver interactive TV for the Olympics," Ensequence's email stated. "41% of DISH Network viewers interacted with the NBCU 2008 Summer Olympics ITV experience developed by Ensequence." Ensequence also recently teamed with History to develop an interactive TV application for the show, "Battles BC." The application won the award for Best ITV Program at DISH Network's 9th Annual Interactive Television Summit Awards, and the award for Best Newcomer at [itvt]'s Awards for Leadership in Interactive and Multiplatform Television.
  • Broadband video and home connectivity solutions provider, Entone, has announced a deal with OTT specialist, Vudu, to enable hybrid TV for telco operators (note: Vudu has been acquired by Walmart--see article in this issue). According to Entone, operators that deploy its Vudu-enabled Janus Media Hub and Amulet IPTV Receiver will be able to offer end-users access to over 100 apps, including news services, popular Internet destinations, and Vudu's Vudu Movies service. The company has also announced two new executive hires for the EMEA region.
  • Envivio has launched Envivio On Demand, which it bills as "a new set of solutions that enable operators to turn their subscribers' recorded content into premium on-demand assets that can be made available to mobile and PC screens for later viewing...When a user requests the recording of a program on their PVR, a request is also sent to the operator's Envivio On Demand system at the headend to simultaneously transcode the program into the appropriate formats for the end-user's other devices," the company explains in its press materials. "The content is available immediately after recording completes for viewing by the consumer via streaming or download. The generated asset can be watched as it is being downloaded to the device."
  • Epix, a premium programming service which is a joint venture between Viacom, its Paramount Pictures arm, MGM and Lionsgate, has secured distribution deals with Charter Communications and the NCTC, and has unveiled the mobile component of its multiplatform offering.
  • Ericsson has launched a product called the Ericsson IPTV Remote, which it describes as "a single interface for controlling Internet video, the TV, both live and on-demand, the PC and the mobile phone in the home," and as "provid[ing] a second screen for previewing content, exploring program guides, browsing the Web and chatting with friends and family without a distracting window on the TV screen." The company has also announced a deal to provide advanced IPTV functionality to Telekom Austria.
  • Canadian IPTV and VOD technology provider, Espial, has unveiled a new version of its TV Browser product for connected TV's and set-top boxes. The company has also released its fourth quarter results.
  • As part of its recently unveiled National Broadband Plan, the FCC has called for the development of a cross-industry, network-agnostic gateway device. More information and analysis are available here, here, here, and here.
  • Freeview New Zealand has announced that it has adopted the MHEG Interaction Channel from D-book 6.1 in order to enable hybrid services to be provided on its platform. The MHEG-IC gives access to streamed on-demand video, in addition to traditional text and graphics, and also provides the ability to support secure transactions.
  • Regional telco Frontier Communications has launched an OTT Web site (www.mifitv.com) that features content from such providers as ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, Food Network, Bravo, FX, Syfy, HGTV, National Geographic, Oxygen, Comedy Central, ESPN360 and TBS, and that is open to non-Frontier subscribers. Connected Planet's Sarah Reedy has some analysis.

 

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