News Round-Up (VIII): Softel, Sonic-Boxee-Sears, theChanner, thePlatform, TiVo-FrameChannel

--Softel Announces IBC 2010 Line-Up
--Sonic Solutions in OTT Deals with Boxee and Sears
--theChanner Launches iPhone and Android App for Live, Social, Mobile TV
--thePlatform Enables Video Publishing to Broad Range of OTT Services and Devices
--TiVo's New FrameChannel App Brings Customized Web Content to TV

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been on the road the past few weeks, we are covering recent news stories in summary/round-up form. We anticipate that it will take a couple of days for us to catch up with all the recent news: so if your company has sent us a press release or briefed us on an announcement, and you don't yet see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us. We apologize for any inconvenience to our readers.

  • Softel, a UK-based company that claims to have over 25 years of experience in providing ancillary data solutions--including solutions for interactive TV, opt cuing/ad insertion, subtitling and captioning--to leading broadcasters and service providers across the world (note: the company recently revealed that it is powering Showtime Networks' new HD EBIF application--see the article published on itvt.com, March 24th), has announced the line-up of technologies that it will be showcasing at IBC 2010.
  • OTT video infrastructure provider, Sonic Solutions, has announced: 1) A deal with OTT specialist, Boxee, that it says will see the latter licensing its RoxioNow entertainment platform in order to power premium entertainment storefronts through its Web-to-TV desktop application "as well as upcoming set-top boxes, TV's, and mobile devices running Boxee, pending device review by content providers." According to Boxee's VP of marketing, Andrew Kippen, the deal "will enable us to partner with some of the best-known content providers and deliver more premium content on Boxee over the coming months." 2) A multi-year agreement with Sears Holdings, which it says will see the latter licensing the RoxioNow platform to power digital entertainment delivery services for Sears and Kmart on a range of connected devices, including TV's, Blu-ray players and mobile phones. According to the company, the new services, which will allow consumers to rent or purchase movies and TV shows, will launch later this year and will be "broadly promoted" at retail stores nationwide. 3) The inclusion of a range of its consumer applications in Best Buy's new Software Installer, a connected desktop application that is billed as "help[ing] consumers customize their new or upgrade their existing PC's and netbooks with the latest content, software and service solutions." 4) Blu-ray Profile 5 (3D) certification by the Blu-ray Disc Association of its Roxio CinePlayer for Windows.
  • A company called theChanner has announced an eponymous $1.99 mobile TV app for iPhone (WiFi) and Android (3G). The app is billed as allowing users to "enjoy live Internet television on their phones, respond to TV channel promotional offers and use their social networks to talk about whatever they're watching" via Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.
  • Comcast-owned white-label video publishing company, thePlatform, has announced that its video publishing system now allows customers to publish video to a broad range of OTT services and connected set-top boxes, TV's and Blu-ray Players--including services and devices from Boxee, DivX, Free Stream Media, Mitsubishi, LG, Roku, Samsung, Syabas, TiVo, Toshiba, Vudu and Vizio, among others. In addition, the company says that it will support distribution to the forthcoming Google TV platform. "Media and entertainment companies are looking well beyond today's PC's and conventional set-top boxes to reach their audiences," thePlatform founder and CEO, Ian Blaine, said in a prepared statement. "At the end of the day, our customers produce and distribute compelling video that they want to monetize, and it's our job to alleviate the complexity to make that happen across any device or platform. Our support for these OTT services is just the beginning, and we look forward to assisting our customers' efforts across any number of next-generation, IP-connected devices."
  • TiVo has announced the availability of a new FrameChannel app (note: the FrameChannel service is operated by Thinking Screen Media) for its broadband-connected DVR's that is designed to bring personalized content from the Web--including local news, weather and sports, and updates from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr--to the TV screen. "Essentially, the FrameChannel app helps you create a slideshow of information, based on your location and preferences, which the TiVo box's broadband connection then automatically keeps up-to-the-minute," the company explains on its corporate blog. "You can receive the latest local news, weather, traffic, stocks or see the latest sport scores--all customized based on your zip code. Plus, you can deepen the personalization with thousands of choices, including updates from your social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Digg. You can even create a slideshow of pictures from Facebook, Flickr, and other sites." In related news: Light Reading Cable's Jeff Baumgartner has an update on the "big battle between the cable industry and TiVo" over switched digital video. "Boiled down," Baumgartner writes, "TiVo wants the FCC to install new rules that would offer an alternative way for its CableCARD-based DVR's to access channels in an MSO's switched tier. The cable industry, in comparison, insists that no more rules are required because the current way of doing that--via a separate device called the Tuning Adapter--is handling the job just fine."

 

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