News Round-Up (X): Two Way Limited, Two Way TV, Verizon FiOS TV, Cablevision, Vidiom, Virgin Media, yap.TV

--Two Way Limited (Australia) in New License Deal with Two Way Media (UK)
--Verizon FiOS TV Enhances its Visual 411 Interactive TV Widget
--Verizon and Cablevision Fail to Resolve their Patent Dispute
--Verizon in TV Everywhere Deal with Disney and ESPN Media Networks Group
--Vidiom Unveils Solution for Accelerating Cable Operators' Migration to IP Video
--Virgin Media Launches 3D VOD Service
--yap.TV Launches Social TV/Content Discovery App for iPad

Because the [itvt] editorial team is busy working on TVOT NYC Intensive (November 18th in New York City), our new show on the national interactive TV platform and the emerging ITV economy, we are covering recent news in round-up/summary form. We apologize for any inconvenience to our readers.

  • Australian interactive TV company, Two Way Limited, has announced that it has signed a new license agreement with UK-based Two Way Media (TWMUK). "Under the new arrangement announced today, the Company will pay TWMUK a total of $286,000, with the final payment due by the end of January 2011," Two Way Limited states in its press materials. "In return, the licenses will become perpetual, with no further license fees payable." Two Way Limited has also announced that its Tab Active interactive TV wagering service will now offer fixed odds race betting. "The enhancement announced today will allow users to place all forms of fixed odds bets offered by Tabcorp on racing events," the company states in its press materials. "Users will be able to switch between tote odds and fixed odds bets, and compare the odds available via the two forms of betting on Win bets. All of this will be delivered using the intuitive, remote-control driven convenience offered by Two Way’s TV wagering technology."
  • Verizon FiOS TV has announced that its Visual 411 Widget--which allows viewers to search for local businesses by name, type of business, or keywords such as "automotive" or "florist"--now allows viewers to send business listings directly to text message-enabled Verizon Wireless mobile devices. In addition, the company says, "sending business listings to customers who subscribe to VZ Navigator results in immediate access to turn-by-turn directions to the business from wherever the customers are...With the FiOS TV remote control, users can quickly access the Visual 411 Widget and navigate through the user-friendly menu to perform a business-category search," Verizon continues in its press materials. "An on-screen virtual keyboard is available for those who prefer to type in a business name or keyword. Users can look up businesses anywhere in the country, change locations and pull up recent searches. After a search is performed and a listing selected, users can to send that listing information (name, address and phone number) to a phone as an SMS text or to the VZ Navigator application. In both cases, the viewer receives a confirmation that the information has been sent to a specific mobile phone number. The application also displays a location map with zoom-in and zoom-out capabilities. This feature assists users in identifying cross streets and other landmarks. FiOS TV viewers can use the Visual 411 Widget capabilities to compile places they'll need to go to and have them ready to access whenever needed as either a text message or VZ Navigator turn-by-turn locations. The widget is easy to use, and viewers continue to enjoy the show they are watching when using the application. The flexible choices, large TV screen and high-quality visuals make the experience entertaining and engaging. To access the widget, users can go to the FiOS TV widgets home screen, scroll down to the News and Info section and select 'Visual 411.'"
  • Verizon and Cablevision "are turning up the heat in their patent dispute over set-top software after the companies failed to reach an agreement through settlement talks held earlier this month," Steve Donohue reports in Light Reading Cable.
  • Verizon has signed a wide-ranging carriage deal with the Disney and ESPN Media Networks Group, that includes a TV Everywhere component: The deal covers "new authenticated services, which will give Verizon's FiOS TV customers the opportunity to watch ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater live online on their PC or on Internet devices like tablets," a press release from the companies states. "FiOS TV customers will be able to access the programming via ESPN's Web sites as well as the FiOS TV Online Web site in the coming months." More.
  • ADB-owned Vidiom Systems has announced that it will unveil at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo a turnkey, open-standards solution, called the Vidiom Open System Solution (VOSS), which can accelerate migration to IP video for cable operators. The solution "is a pre-integrated platform built around the Vidiom Management Control Server, enabling operators to simply and cost-effectively create, install and maintain IP video solutions utilizing their existing cable or fiber infrastructures," Vidiom states in its press materials. "VOSS employs the open standard GEM-IPTV specification and the efficiencies of MPEG-4 to reclaim bandwidth, and allows operators to deliver an expanded array of content and third-party applications--including gaming, navigation, information and social networking--to multiple devices in the home...At the heart of each system, the Vidiom Management Control Server serves as a single point of control for device and service management, combining set-top box provisioning and management, service management and application delivery with interfaces to the operator's existing billing, conditional access, digital rights management (DRM), and video-on-demand (VOD) services. VOSS includes content ingestion, headend management, network distribution, CPE and applications. The Vidiom Management Control Server support for GEM-IPTV specifications enables further differentiation of service offerings by allowing operators to deploy any standards-based CPE from any vendor, including set-top boxes and such advanced devices as multi-room DVR's, home gateways and other IP devices."
  • UK cable operator, Virgin Media, has announced the launch of a 3D VOD service, called 3D Movies On Demand and powered by FilmFlex. "From today, all Virgin Media TV customers with a 3D-ready set-top box, TV and glasses, will be able to experience exciting new 3D on-demand content for themselves, from the comfort of their home," the company states in its press materials. "Following successful tests of 3D technology on its fiber optic cable network and after months of public demonstrations in key Virgin Media stores, the company is now starting to offer a selection of 3D movies and TV programs as part of its on-demand TV service."
  • A start-up called yap.TV has launched a free social TV/content discovery application for the iPad. Notably, the company's advisory board includes Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak. TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid has more.


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