News Round-Up (VI): HSN, Project Canvas, Monsoon Media

--HSN Awarded Interactive TV Commerce Patent
--Kip Meek Named Project Canvas Chair
--Monsoon Multimedia Touts New Vulkano Platform as Replacing TiVo, Roku and Slingbox

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.

  • HSN has announced that it has been awarded a US patent (7,752,083) that it says covers its HSN Shop by Remote interactive TV commerce service (note: news of the development comes just days after interactive TV application developer, Ensequence, announced that it is developing an EBIF-based tcommerce application for rival QVC--see the article published on itvt.com, July 26th; Ensequence previously worked on an EBIF-based version of HSN Shop by Remote, though that version has yet to be deployed). "The HSN patent entitled 'System for Improved Interactive Television Processing' covers many of the proprietary aspects of the HSN Shop by Remote platform and provides for a transactional environment between a server and one or more display devices," HSN states in its press materials. "Utilizing the unique identity of a given customer operating a display device, the HSN Shop by Remote system generates and transmits customized transaction data, creating an individualized transactional experience." HSN has also just been awarded a US patent (7,756,758), entitled "Method and System for Improved Ecommerce Shopping," which it says "includes many of the proprietary features of the HSN.com platform that allows consumers to view multiple video product presentations." In a prepared statement, HSN's VP of advanced services, John McDevitt, said that the company "intend[s] to explore all appropriate business strategies to generate value from the issued patents, which may include direct monetization via non-exclusive licensing arrangements."
  • The partners behind Project Canvas have announced the appointment of Kip Meek, the former chief policy partner at UK communications regulator, Ofcom, as Project Canvas's non-executive chairman (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). He succeeds the BBC's director of future media and technology, Erik Huggers, who has acted as Project Canvas's chair for the past year. Among other things, Meek will oversee the appointment of a CEO for Project Canvas, who will have day-to-day operational responsibility for the venture.
  • San Mateo, Calif.-based Monsoon Multimedia has announced that it is taking pre-orders for a product called Vulkano, which it bills as "integrat[ing] multiple disruptive technologies--DVR, Web video, place shifting, universal plug and play streaming and mobile video recording--eliminating multiple boxes." "Vulkano is a tightly integrated hardware and software platform that has a powerful video processor and local storage," the company states in its press materials. "Vulkano, in addition to replacing multiple boxes such as TiVo, Slingbox and Roku, provides significant other benefits and energy savings, giving consumers tremendous performance at a low cost. Cost of a Vulkano ranges from $259 to $379, depending on storage capacity. When connected to a set-top box and a TV, Vulkano enables a complete video experience across Android, Blackberry, iPhones, iPads, Macs, PC's and the living room TV. Vulkano allows users for the first time to experience their TV channels, videos and photos on whichever screen they want, when they want it...By downloading a free software application on to their device from www.myvulkano.com, or for iPhone/iPad from the Apple App store and installing a Vulkano, consumers can watch and control any home TV channel through a wired, WiFi or 3G connection from anywhere in the world," the company's press materials continue. "They can schedule a recording through an included EPG (electronic program guide) and transfer and watch these recordings at any time on their TV, computers, smartphones or iPad type devices. Software players for PC's/Macs and iPads also come with Pause/Live functions. Vulkano lets users watch YouTube on their big screen TV. Moreover, by using a technology called UPnP (Universal Plug n' Play), Vulkano users can stream video and photos from their smartphones, computers and cameras wirelessly onto their living room TV without having to use messy cables. In the near future, Vulkano will offer free service upgrades such as Google TV, Yahoo! Widgets, Netflix, Hulu and others."

 

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