News Round-Up (VIII): Pace, 2Wire, Panasonic (tru2way), Philo

--Pace Targets US Tier-One Telco Market with 2Wire Acquisition
--Panasonic No Longer Selling tru2way Devices in Retail
--Social TV Start-Up, Philo, Secures Funding, Launches New Features

The [itvt] editorial team is currently on the road, 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. It will likely take a short while 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 in advance for any inconvenience to our readers.

  • UK-based set-top box manufacturer, Pace, has announced plans to acquire 2Wire, a US-based provider of residential gateways and associated software and services, for $475 million in cash. The price is inclusive of 2Wire's balance sheet cash at closing, which Pace anticipates to be approximately $55 million. "2Wire has established customer relationships in the tier-one telco market, in particular with service providers in North America," Pace states in its press materials announcing the acquisition. "AT&T has been a customer of 2Wire for 10 years and 2Wire provides software and hardware solutions to enable AT&T's U-verse suite of services that includes multiroom high-definition TV, high-speed broadband and telephony...The Pace board believes the acquisition is a logical extension of its successful strategy and will enhance its established position in cable and satellite markets in the US with entry into the tier-one telco market. At the same time, 2Wire's software and gateway expertise will support Pace's development of its home entertainment convergence strategy. Following the completion of the acquisition, Pace, already the number one global digital set-top box company, would also become the number-one provider of telco residential gateway devices in the US and the number-three globally." 2Wire is owned by a consortium that includes Alcatel-Lucent, AT&T, Telmex and Oak Investment Partners.
  • Panasonic has announced that it is no longer selling tru2way-powered HDTV's in the three Comcast markets--Atlanta, Denver and Chicago--where it previously offered them. "We currently have no tru2way products at retail and there are no announced release dates for Panasonic tru2way retail products at this time," the company said in a prepared statement. However, while Panasonic might have abandoned its retail plans for tru2way, it has not completely given up on the technology: "We decided that the most scalable way to approach tru2way was on the set-back box," Jeff Cove, Panasonic's VP of technology and alliances, told Multichannel News's Todd Spangler, adding that the company is developing a standalone set-back tru2way adapter. Spangler and Light Reading Cable's Jeff Baumgartner have some analysis of the development.
  • Los Angeles-based social TV start-up, Philo (note: for more on the company, see the article published on itvt.com, June 2nd), has announced that it has secured financing from a consortium of institutional and angel investors, including North Bridge Venture Partners, DFJ Gotham Ventures, ENIAC Ventures and Studio Lambert CEO, Stephen Lambert. The company has also launched 1) version 1.2 of its flagship iPhone/iPod touch app, which it says now supports check-ins to time-shifted TV content, and 2) its Web-based social TV service, located at www.playphilo.com. Philo describes the enhancements provided by v. 1.2 of its iPhone/iPod touch app as follows: "Users now can tune-in to and comment on DVR'd shows as well as live programming; with the new iPhone/iPod push notifications, when friends tune in, users receive alerts delivered to their handhelds even if they're not currently playing Philo; Philo's new and improved activity stream lets users see how friends and other viewers are tuning in, commenting, winning awards, and earning credits; Philo added more awards for viewing behavior (some secret and some not so secret), which send users on a virtual scavenger hunt through television programming; new 'credits' like Director and Executive Producer let users climb the Hollywood ranks on their favorite shows by tuning in and interacting more than other viewers; and, of course, the new app is optimized for iOS4."

 

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