News Round-Up (I): Avail-TVN, Betfair-Samsung, Boxee

--Recent Releases Dominate Avail-TVN's List of Top-20 Most-Watched VOD Movies
--Betfair to Offer Interactive TV Sports Wagering Apps on Samsung's Connected TV Platform
--Launch of Boxee Box Delayed until November, My Damn Channel Launches on Boxee

The [itvt] editorial team is on the road this week, so we are covering most stories in round-up/summary form, and we anticipate that there will be some additional interruptions of our regular news publishing schedule beyond that. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience to our readers.

  • VOD distribution services provider, Avail-TVN, has released a list of the top-20 most-watched VOD movies, based on a national sample of around 14 million homes. "With increased consumer awareness of and access to video-on-demand (VOD) services, and the growing prevalence of day-and-date releases (availability of movies on-demand at the same time as the DVD release), the list is dominated by recent theatrical releases including 'The Hangover,' 'Twilight,' 'Gran Torino,' 'Four Christmases,' and 'The Proposal,' the company states in its press materials, adding that "of the 20 movies on the list, 11 were available on-demand on the day the movie was released on DVD." Avail-TVN has also announced that, starting July 1st, it will be distributing the golf-themed video, "Phil Mickelson: Secrets of the Short Game" on VOD and pay-per-view.
  • UK-based sports betting company, Betfair TV, has signed a pan-European deal with Samsung that will see the companies offering interactive TV sports betting and gaming applications on Samsung's connected TV platform. According to the companies, Betfair has developed "an easy-to-use real-time betting interface that will bring live Betfair betting applications directly to Samsung's Connected TV's and Samsung Connected Blu-ray Disc Players. The application uses a direct link to the data that drives the main Betfair Web site," the companies explain in their press materials. "Our customers thrive on live televised sport," Betfair TV CEO, Simon Miller, said in a prepared statement. "Launching apps on TV is now becoming commonplace. It makes perfect sense for a betting application to sit alongside live sports. In time for the World Cup, our application enables a customer to bet on a match through their TV set as the action unfolds. It simply takes a few button presses on the remote control. Samsung are investing heavily in this technology and we are looking forward to working with them to provide customers with a first-class entertainment experience."
  • In a posting on OTT specialist Boxee's corporate blog last week, CEO Avner Ronen revealed that the release of the company's D-Link-manufactured Boxee Box device has been pushed back to November (i.e. approximately the same time that Google TV-powered devices are expected to launch). "Earlier this week we got confirmation that the Boxee Box by D-Link will ship this November in US and Canada," Ronen wrote. "We realize many of you have waited months to purchase the Boxee Box, and we know how frustrating this is. Believe us when we say that both Boxee and D-Link want to start selling Boxee Boxes yesterday. The original plan was to have the Box out by the end of Q2 (i.e. just about now), but that timeframe proved overly ambitious." According to Ronen, the box will "play HD videos from the Web or a local network in 1080p and use hardware acceleration whenever possible," and will "provide a TV browser experience that can handle almost everything you throw at it, including Flash 10.1." In other Boxee news: The company has announced the availability on its platform of an app for the broadband video programming service, My Damn Channel.


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