News Round-Up

--ANT Reports Higher H1 Revenues, Lower Losses
--BBC Outlines iPlayer Design Strategy
--Evolution Digital to Incorporate EBIF into its DTA's
--Harmonic Reveals Exhibit Plans for IBC
--IMPALA Welcomes BBC's Decision to Open Source its MHEG+ Toolkit
--Netgem Posts Strong H1 Financial Results
--Sony Launches Qriocity OTT VOD Service in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK
--Interactive TV Company, Two Way Media, Launches Web Game on

Here is a round-up of some other recent interactive TV-related stories that we didn't have room for in this issue:

  • Cambridge, UK-based digital TV client software company, ANT, has released financial results for the first half: revenues totaled £2.1 million, compared to £2.0 million for the year-ago period; and losses from operations totaled £0.5 million, compared to £0.9 million.
  • The BBC has published a detailed account on its BBC Internet blog of the design strategies it has been following--and the design challenges it has overcome--in developing the new version of its BBC iPlayer broadband VOD platform. "Good design is simple, reducing complex tasks to straightforward sequences of elegant interactions, making sure that there is no unnecessary step in the way," the account explains. "The big design challenge for the next version of iPlayer was how to create this simplicity in light of more features and functionality without overwhelming our audience."
  • Evolution Digital plans to use EBIF as a quasi-middleware layer within its one-way DTA's, in order to support customizable user interfaces and video apps, according to a report by Jeff Baumgartner in Light Reading Cable. Evolution says that it has formed a partnership with an unnamed provider of EBIF user agents and "envisions the creation of an open architecture that would allow third parties to write EBIF apps for its DTA's," Baumgartner writes.
  • Harmonic has announced its exhibit plans (booth 1.C61) for the IBC in Amsterdam next week. It says it will unveil several product enhancements, showcase its portfolio of solutions for delivering video to multiple devices, and conduct a demo of 3D compression powered by its Electra encoders, which it says are capable of supporting frame-compatible 3D video.
  • The International MHEG Promotion Alliance (IMPALA), an organization that was set up in 2006 by Strategy & Technology, Cabot Communications and EchoStar Europe to promote use of the MHEG middleware standard beyond the UK (where it powers the free-to-air Freeview and Freesat services), has welcomed the BBC's recently announced open source release of its MHEG+ programming language and toolkit using the Apache 2.0 license (see the article published on, August 23rd). The organization says that its founder members will be releasing MHEG+ extensions that support international profiles into the open source process started by the BBC.
  • Set-top box and middleware provider, Netgem, has posted strong financial results for the first half: revenues, at EURO 74.3 million, were up 6% from the year-ago period; operating profits, at EURO 25.9 million, were up 34%; and net profits, at EURO 19.7 million, were up 54%.
  • Sony has announced the launch of its "Video On Demand Powered by Qriocity" service in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. The service, which has been available in the US since April, allows users to access a range of content from major studios through Sony's 2010 Bravia connected TV's and Blu-ray Disc players and home theater systems.
  • UK-based interactive TV applications developer, Two Way Media, has announced the launch of a new casual game, called "Word Up," on UK cable operator Virgin Media's Web site (note: the company also recently announced that it had teamed with FremantleMedia to launch two new interactive TV games on Virgin Media's cable TV platform--see the article published on, August 18th). According to the company, "Word Up" is "a TV-themed entertaining word game where you collect the names of TV shows, characters and celebrities. The game is a word search within a word search," Two Way Media explains in its press materials. "First you find words in a grid of letters; words are made by linking together adjacent letters. When a word is made it is removed from the grid and any corresponding letters in the TV name puzzle are crossed off. Your aim is to cross off all the letters of the TV name puzzle. The game is played against the clock, with wild letters and score boosters adding to the excitement." Two Way Media--which enjoys a long relationship with Virgin Media--says that "Word Up" is the first in a range of casual Web games that it plans to launch over the coming months and that will be based on its catalog of interactive TV games.