News Round-Up (I): ABC News, Starz, AllVid, Alcatel-Lucent, Microsoft, BBC Red Button

--ABC News, Starz Release iPad Applications
--Multiple Companies and Organizations Submit Comments to FCC's AllVid Inquiry
--Alcatel-Lucent Launches Compact Microsoft Mediaroom-Based IPTV Solution for Smaller Operators
--BBC Releases Red-Button Programming Schedule through July 30th

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.

  • ABC News has announced the release of a new application for the Apple iPad. "The new application takes full advantage of the form and functionality of the iPad, using as the principal navigation tool a unique interactive three-dimensional globe on which news stories appear," ABC News states in its press materials. "With the unique three-dimensional interface, users can spin the ABC News globe by touching the face of the iPad and then can choose the stories of most interest to them. Users are able to define the sorts of stories that populate their ABC News globe on the iPad, from politics, health, entertainment, and more. ABC News' library of archival footage is available as an option for users to explore 'This Month in History.' They are also able to set up their globe to include stories from 'Good Morning America,' 'World News with Diane Sawyer,' 'Nightline,' '20/20,' and 'This Week.' Users can select stories to be bookmarked and viewed later. And, they are able to share the stories they select with friends through Facebook, Twitter, or email." A demo video is available here. In related news, premium programmer, Starz, has teamed with publishing house, Penguin, to launch an iPad app that supplements Ken Follet's book, "The Pillars of the Earth," with video, art and music from an upcoming Starz Originals miniseries based on that book, as well as video interviews with Follet and other multimedia enhancements. According to the companies, updates to the app--which is dubbed "The Pillars of the Earth Amplified Edition"--will "occur repeatedly while the TV series airs, so that consumers who download the app can see exclusive sneak previews."
  • A number of companies and organizations have submitted comments in response to the FCC's Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on AllVid, an initiative that seeks to increase broadband uptake via standardized gateways and adapters that can link pay-TV services with the Internet. Light Reading Cable's Jeff Baumgartner and Ars Technica's Matthew Lasar have published useful round-ups of recent AllVid developments, including coverage of comments from the NCTA, the ACA, TiVo, Google, the MPAA, and others.
  • Alcatel-Lucent has launched a compact Microsoft Mediaroom-powered IPTV solution, targeted at smaller, regional operators with networks of between 1,000 and 100,000 set-top boxes. According to the company, the solution--dubbed the Integrated Solution for Microsoft Mediaroom, and based on the virtualization support that Microsoft launched for Mediaroom last year (see the article published on, May 28th)--enables "new consumer media services through the blending and personalization of Web and broadcasting content," and uses a single equipment rack to support "more than three times as many households than previous versions of [Alcatel-Lucent's] Microsoft Mediaroom-based IPTV solution." The new solution has been selected by Indiana's Cinergy MetroNet, which will begin using it to power IPTV services later this month. "We want to provide our customers superior service and access to such capabilities as WholeHome DVR, interactive applications and over-the-top content," Cinergy MetroNet CEO, John Cinelli, said in a prepared statement. "Alcatel-Lucent's IPTV solution fits our business needs and gives us a powerful, flexible, and differentiating tool to deliver IPTV-based services to our customers." Added Geeta Chaudhury, VP of Alcatel-Lucent's Multimedia Integration Services group: "Operators who support from 1,000 to 100,000 set-top boxes are underserved when it comes to IPTV and next-generation multimedia services. To address this need, we created an optimized IPTV solution that is pre-integrated and lab tested, minimizing the technical and commercial risks associated with launching IPTV services. We estimate that more than 11 million new IPTV subscribers will be served by regional communication service providers in the coming three years and this compact release is designed to help our customers better address this huge opportunity."
  • The BBC has announced the line-up of content that will be available through its red-button interactive TV service through July 30th.


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