News Round-Up (VII): Project Canvas, Orange, Five, Redbox, MP3tunes, Roku, S3 Group, BSkyB

iTunes Music On Any TV (Without A Home Server!)

--Reports: Orange May Join Project Canvas, Five May Re-Join
--Redbox Planning to Offer Video Streaming
--MP3tunes Support Lets Roku Customers Play their Personal Music Collections on the TV
--S3 Group Trumpeting its Work on Sky's New HD Set-Top Boxes

The [itvt] editorial team is on the road this week and next, 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.

  • UK mobile phone company, Orange, is considering becoming a member of Project Canvas, according to a report in The Guardian (note: Project Canvas is an initiative that sees 1) the BBC and other UK public-service broadcasters, 2) UK ISP's, BT and TalkTalk, and 3) UK broadcast transmission company, Arqiva, partnering in order to attempt to develop a common standard and interface for the delivery of online video and interactive services to broadband-connected Freeview and Freesat set-top boxes). Meanwhile, according to other reports from the UK, Richard Desmond, the Express Newspapers mogul who is attempting to buy UK broadcaster, Five--which recently ceased its participation in Project Canvas (see the article published on, July 11th)--will seek to have Five rejoin Canvas if he succeeds in acquiring the broadcaster.
  • Upstart video rental company, Redbox, is developing an online streaming strategy to remain competitive with Netflix, according to a report by Bloomberg that cited an interview with Redbox president, Mitch Lowe.
  • OTT specialist, Roku, has announced support for MP3tunes, a cloud-based service that allows users to store their personal music collections online. "For the first time, music lovers can play their personal iTunes music collection on their TV without a home server," the company states in its press materials. "Available now on all Roku players, the MP3tunes channel connects securely to a customer's personal music stored online in their MP3tunes Locker. After a few simple steps to connect and sync music to a Web-based locker, any Roku becomes a rich music player...Roku customers can find the free MP3tunes channel in the Roku channel store. By adding this channel to their Roku, customers can access their song libraries and playlists which have historically been available only on their PC in iTunes or portable players which they sync. The MP3tunes channel defaults to a one-click shuffle mode, which immediately plays a random mix of music along with a visual display of accompanying cover art. Customers may choose to browse their music and select artists, albums or playlists to hear." According to Roku, customers will receive 10GB of free storage space from MP3tunes, which should allow them to store up to 2,500 songs. If they need more storage, they can purchase premium "locker" accounts of up to 200GB.
  • S3 Group, a company that provides a range of products and professional services to the digital TV industry, is trumpeting its collaboration with BSkyB on the development of the latter's latest HD set-top boxes, the DRX890 and the DRX895. "These boxes include highly integrated and advanced STB technology from Broadcom Corporation," the company states in its press materials. "Both boxes boast enhanced features, increased storage capacity and energy-saving capabilities. And, as with Sky's existing Sky+ HD STB's, the boxes have also been designed to support future services launching in 2010 such as broadband-enabled video-on-demand and 3DTV. Broadcom's BCM7335 HD DVR satellite system-on-chip (SoC) solution features a high level of integration and performance to enable broadcasters such as Sky to offer advanced features and low power consumption. Furthermore S3 Group's coLinkTV software product helped Sky get these products to market faster. S3 Group also used its own automated testing solution, StormTest, to test the functionality of the boxes throughout the entire development and system test cycle. Sky has been routinely utilizing StormTest for in-house testing of their boxes since early 2009."


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