News Round-Up (II): Bravo, Groupon, CableLabs (tru2way), Citrus Suite, Project Canvas

--Bravo Launches Two-Screen Social/Interactive TV App for iPad, Partners with Groupon
--CableLabs Interop Demo's Sharing of DVR Content Between tru2way STB's and DLNA-Certified Devices
--Citrus Suite Tapped to Develop Interactive TV Application for Project Canvas

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been on the road the past few weeks, we are covering recent news stories in summary/round-up form. We anticipate that it will take a few days 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 for any inconvenience to our readers.

  • Bravo has announced the launch of Bravo Now, a free two-screen social/interactive TV application for the Apple iPad that allows viewers to engage with shows during Bravo's live social TV events, such as "The Talk Bubble" (formerly known as "Virtual Viewing Parties"), INFO Frame and live voting. The app launched with a "Talk Bubble" event during the August 5th finale of "Bethenny Getting Married." "Bravo Now gives fans the ability to have a full, engaging, and interactive experience with the brand while using the easy functionality of the iPad," Bravo explains in its press materials. "The app will allow users to engage and participate during Bravo's live social media events, access video clips updated in real time so fans will always get the latest content, read their favorite Bravolebrity blogs, as well as share content with friends via Twitter and Facebook. Fans can bookmark their favorite content for quick and easy access including talent tweets, video, and 'Talk Bubble' extras, or download full episodes of their favorite shows via iTunes and get a schedule of upcoming live events and episodes." Said Lisa Hsia, Bravo's SVP of digital media: "Bravo Now restarts the conversation around live viewing. It's a great companion application for viewers who want to deepen their experience while they watch the shows through voting, polling and connecting with Bravo talent, friends and fans--allowing for a real-time watercooler experience. At the core, it's a companion application to our linear content, combining the fun functionality of the iPad and marrying it to the intense engagement of fresh content--a win-win for our audience and for us." Bravo also recently partnered with Groupon on a promotion for its reality show, "Top Chef." "Beginning on August 4 and running until August 8 at, Groupon will offer consumers a discount coupon at eight “Top Chef” related properties across the country," the broadcaster states in its press materials. "The deal marks the first partnership between Groupon and a TV network."
  • US cable-industry research, development and standardization organization, CableLabs, is trumpeting the success of an interop it held last month that was designed to demo the sharing of premium DVR content among multiple tru2way set-top boxes and DLNA-Certified devices, including connected TV's, game consoles, PC's and mobile devices, over a home network in a secure manner. The event, which took place July 19th-23rd, saw the participation of 11 companies, including set-top manufacturers ADB, Cisco, Samsung and Motorola; DLNA-Certified device manufacturers, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony; and DLNA technology component vendors, Microsoft and Cyberlink; as well as Irdeto, Myriad and NDS. The event used program guides with multi-room DVR capability from Cox (Trio) and Time Warner Cable (OCAP Digital Navigator v. 4.0). "CableLabs issued the latest revision of the home networking extension specification and associated reference implementation that is part of the tru2way suite of specifications in June, 2010," the organization explains in its press materials. "Integrating home networking into the overall specification enhances the tru2way platform, making premium content sharing possible among multiple set-top boxes and DLNA-Certified devices within a home network. The DLNA Interoperability Guidelines are the foundation of tru2way home networking specifications. The premium cable content is protected using DTCP-IP as it is transmitted over the home network." Said Mike Hayashi, EVP of advanced engineering at Time Warner Cable: "By using the tru2way home networking specification we can now offer pre-recorded premium content from cable set-top boxes to various DLNA-Certified devices, enabling consumers to watch cable content anytime using any device in the home."
  • Liverpool-based interactive development studio, Citrus Suite, has announced that it has been tapped by Project Canvas to develop a prototype that "demonstrates how viewers can interact directly with one of the BBC's existing TV shows." "This is a golden opportunity to collaborate with the BBC and deliver a product using state-of-the-art technology--from a creative point of view¬ this is where we want to be!" Citrus Suite's development director, Chris Morland, said in a prepared statement. (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.)


North America