News Round-Up

Teevox Interactive Remote

--Broadcom Unveils FastRTV Technology for Fast Channel Changes
--Cablevision Said to Be in tru2way Set-Top Deal with Samsung
--Espial Reports Flat Revenues, Lower Losses
--Hulu Wins Patent-Infringement Case Brought by Ultramercial
--Report: Mafiosi Sending Coded Messages via SMS-Based Interactive TV Show
--Teevox Launches iPhone Remote Control
--Social TV Service, Tunerfish, Launches "Kardashians" Award
--TVO in VOD Deal with Rogers Cable
--Warner Bros. Television Group's Studio 2.0 in Dailymotion Syndication Deal with AlphaBird

Here are some other interactive TV-related stories we didn't have room for in this issue:

  • Semiconductor company, Broadcom, has announced its new FastRTV Channel Change Acceleration technology, which it claims improves TV channel-change speeds by up to five times. According to the company, the technology is now available on a wide range of its system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions for digital cable set-top boxes and universal digital transport adapters (uDTA's). Comcast is the first service provider to deploy the technology in its uDTA deployments, in order to transition from analog to SD digital TV broadcasts, Broadcom says.
  • Cablevision has signed a non-exclusive deal with Samsung Electronics that will make the latter the first vendor to provide the MSO with tru2way-based HD set-top boxes equipped with a new FCC-mandated downloadable security platform, Jeff Baumgartner reports in Light Reading Cable. The boxes will not incorporate DVR functionality--instead supporting Cablevision's planned network-based RS-DVR service.
  • IPTV and VOD technology provider, Espial, has released its second-quarter financial results: revenues totaled $3.1 million, compared to $3.1 million for the year-ago quarter; EBITDA was a loss of $0.2 million, compared to a loss of $0.5 million for the year-ago quarter; and net loss was $0.8 million, or $0.06 per share, compared to a net loss of $1.1 million, or $0.08 per share, for the year-ago quarter.
  • A federal court in California has invalidated a patent at the center of a patent-infringement lawsuit that was brought against Hulu by Ultramercial, a company which claims to own an invention that allows Internet users to view copyrighted material for free in exchange for watching certain ads. The Hollywood Reporter's Eriq Gardner has more on the case and its implications.
  • Mafiosi in Italy are allegedly sending coded messages to their jailed associates via a soccer-themed interactive TV show, called "Quelli che il Calcio," that invites viewers to text in messages for broadcast on an on-screen ticker, according to a report in the Australian tabloid, the Herald Sun. ''The messages often seem ordinary, but in reality they hide important service notes to the bosses," former prosecutor, Enzo Macri, told an anti-Mafia commission of the Italian parliament.
  • A company called Teevox has developed an iPhone app of the same name that allows consumers to use their handset as a remote control for Netflix, Hulu and other broadband video services on their PC. The app, an iPad version of which is expected to launch shortly, also allows consumers to use Facebook and Twitter for social TV viewing. A demo video is embedded above.
  • Tunerfish, a social TV service which was developed by employees of Plaxo, the address book/social networking service that Comcast acquired back in 2008 (note: Tunerfish is a business unit of Comcast Interactive Media--for more on the service, see the articles published on, May 24th, June 28th, July 22nd and August 22nd), recently announced the availability of an "I Love the Kardashians" award/badge, for users of its service who checked into--and helped virally promote--the season premiere of the E! Entertainment Television show, "Keeping up with the Kardashians." "To get this 'virtual object of desire,' available exclusively from E! and Tunerfish," the company stated in a post on its blog, "use Tunerfish to share that you're watching KUWTK this Sunday night--and be sure to send that share out to your friends and followers on Facebook or Twitter (or both!)."
  • TVOntario (TVO) has announced a deal to make its TVO and TVOKids VOD services available on Rogers On Demand. "Rogers On Demand will offer Rogers Digital Cable customers TVO and TVOKids content free on channel 100 at any time," TVO states in its press materials. "TVO on Rogers on Demand will feature current affairs programs including past episodes of 'The Agenda with Steve Paikin.' Younger viewers will find TVOKids' educational programs from 'Gisele's Big Backyard' (ages 2-5) and 'The Space' (ages 6-9)."
  • Warner Bros. Television Group's short-form production arm, Studio 2.0, has announced a distribution partnership with online video syndication company, AlphaBird, that brings four of its original series to Web video site, Dailymotion. The series are a comedy called "Downers Grove"; a thriller called "Exposed"; an action-horror adventure called "Chadam"; and an unscripted series called "High Drama 2: Against All Oz."


North America