News Round-Up

Total Immersion's 3D AR product demo of the Olympus PEN E-PL1

--Cox's Interactive TV Services Seeing Heavier Usage than VOD among ITV-Enabled Subs
--Google Uses Interactive YouTube Video Game to Showcase Chrome's Native Flash Support
--Move Networks Ceases Operations, Seeks Buyer
--Qualcomm to Offer Augmented Reality Platform and SDK, Forms AR Partnership with Georgia Tech
--Total Immersion Creates Augmented Reality Camera that Takes Photos

Here is a round-up of some other recent interactive TV-related stories that we didn't have room for in this issue:

  • At Light Reading Cable's Cable Next-Gen Video Strategies conference in Atlanta last week, Cox Communications' VP of video strategy and product management, Steve Necessary, revealed that the MSO's suite of interactive TV applications is seeing heavy usage, even though it has been deployed to less than 10% (415,000) of the MSO's subscribers. In fact, Necessary said, Cox subscribers with access to interactive TV are using it more than the MSO's VOD service--with 68% of ITV-enabled customers accessing the main ITV menu in May. "That's better usage than we get on video-on-demand, and video-on-demand is pretty great," Necessary said during a panel. "In terms of access and usage, it's pretty darn remarkable." Light Reading Cable's Steve Donohue has more.
  • In order to showcase its Chrome browser's native support for Flash, Google has created a Flash-based game, called "Chrome Fastball," on top of a YouTube video. "Basically, it's a combination of a YouTube video and a task-based game that you try to complete as quickly as possible," according to an article by TechCrunch's MG Siegler. "A video starts playing showing a Rube Goldberg-like contraption. As a ball travels through it, at certain points, challenges pop up that you must complete before the video continues. One challenge is to find the best route in Google Maps, one is to tweet something (from a generic Twitter account tied to the game), one is to look up artists on, etc."
  • Move Networks, the broadband video company that pioneered adaptive bitrate streaming, has ceased operations and released most of its employees, including its president and CEO, Roxanne Austin. The company says it has retained a financial advisor to assist it "in evaluating strategic alternatives, including a possible sale." An announcement issued by the company can be found here; analysis of the development by TDG's Andy Tarczon can be found here; and a "round-up of the rise and fall" of the company by NewTeeVee's Ryan Lawler can be found here.
  • Qualcomm has announced plans to offer an augmented reality platform and SDK. The platform will initially be available for Android devices and the SDK will be offered free of charge. The company has also announced that it has partnered with Georgia Tech to establish the Qualcomm Augmented Reality Game Studio, which it says will "build upon [the] newly announced augmented reality platform and related graphics technologies to produce new application concepts and prototypes."
  • Total Immersion has teamed with Olympus and Boston-based ad agency, Mullen, to create an augmented reality camera that allows users to take (virtual) photos. "The browser-based AR application enables consumers to explore--and use--a full-featured virtual 3D model of the award-winning Olympus PEN E-PL1 micro camera, the thinnest digital SLR on the market," the company states in its press materials. "The demo lets prospective buyers get a feel for the camera's compact size and the full range of its capabilities. And a click of the virtual shutter provides the same output as the camera itself: a digital photo." A demo video is embedded above.


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