News Round-Up (IV)

--FCC Grants Studios Waiver of Laws Covering "Selectable Output Technology"
--Intek Digital Licenses ANT Galio Suite for HbbTV
--itaas Ports TVWorks EBIF User Agent to Cisco Set-Top Boxes
--itaas, Openet Team on Demo of Real-Time Order Fulfillment and Upsell Applications

The [itvt] editorial team is currently on the road, so we are covering today's stories in round-up/summary form. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience to our readers.

  • The FCC has granted MPAA-member studios a waiver of laws governing "selectable output technology," thus providing them with the legal ability to turn off any secondary outputs on TV's and set-top boxes during the viewing of any film not yet available on DVD. The goal of the waiver--which is opposed by the National Association of Theater Owners and Public Knowledge, among others--is to boost VOD services by enabling studios to digitally distribute new-release movies into homes with less fear of piracy. The Wrap's Ira Teinowitz has more.
  • Cambridge, UK-based digital TV client software company, ANT, has announced that set-top box manufacturer, Intek Digital, has licensed its HbbTV-ready ANT Galio Suite. HbbTV--short for "Hybrid Broadcast Broadband Television"--is a pan-European initiative that was launched last August and that describes its goal as "harmonizing the broadcast and broadband delivery of news, information and entertainment to the end-consumer through TV's and set-top boxes with an optional Web connection."
  • itaas has announced that it has ported the EBIF user agent of Comcast-subsidiary, TVWorks, to Cisco set-top boxes. "This will enable MSO's, including Comcast Corporation, to expand their current EBIF-enabled footprints and accelerate deployment of interactive advertising and other enhanced applications--such as caller ID, widgets for news and weather, customer self-service and instant subscription type interactive applications--to set tops already in customers' homes," the company states in its press materials. "We are excited to provide development expertise to extend the reach of the EBIF platform," itaas CEO, Vibha Rustagi, said in a prepared statement. "The in-depth experience that we have gained in porting this user agent lends itself to our ability to support it for other MSO's also wishing to deploy EBIF applications in the near future, regardless of which set-top boxes their customers are using." Comcast, which says that it has deployed the TVWorks EBIF user agent across 12 million homes (i.e. 20 million Motorola set-top boxes), plans to begin trialing the newly ported user agent in its Cisco footprint later this year.
  • In other itaas news: The company has announced that is teaming with transactional intelligence specialist, Openet, to demo new applications at the NCTA Cable Show in Los Angeles this week, that work with Openet's eWallet solution and that are designed to upsell cable subscribers in real time. According to the companies, the demo (in itaas's booth, #439), "will feature a new, real-time sports package ordering and fulfillment application, and a premium channel upsell application."


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