News Round-Up (I): ADB, Alticast, EchoStar, Zappware, Amino, AT&T, Avail-TVN

--ADB to Showcase Virtual Gateway, tru2way Analyzer at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo
--Report Ranks EchoStar-Alticast-Zappware HD DVR Solution Highest in Consumer Usability
--Amino to Debut New Set-Tops at TelcoTV
--AT&T Launches New DVR Management Features on U-verse Online
--AT&T U-verse TV Supports Use of Xbox 360 as Supplemental Set-Top Box
--Avail-TVN to Invest $30 Million in Digital Media Services

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.

  • Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) has announced that it will showcase its Virtual Gateway and tru2way Analyzer products at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo this week. "ADB's Virtual Gateway is an advanced software solution that distributes multimedia capabilities throughout the home," the company states in its press materials. "Every set-top box powered by ADB's Virtual Gateway makes its resources available in a smart way, so that the consumer always has the entire home network's content seamlessly accessible on his chosen device. The Virtual Gateway software solution makes use of current-generation ADB and third-party hardware platforms and supports third-party OCAP- and GEM-based guides. It can therefore be deployed without disrupting the operator's installed base of tru2way devices and without large capital expenditures. While large physical gateways are not needed with the ADB Virtual Gateway, they are fully supported, hence providing operators with a complete flexibility, now and in the future. ADB will demonstrate how its solution provides consumers the ability to enjoy pay TV, music and videos from wherever they are in the home: subscribers can use their gaming consoles to tune to a pay-TV channel or watch recorded programs, or access music tracks and videos stored on their DVR and play them on their smartphones." ADB bills its tru2way Analyzer, meanwhile, as "a unique field tool for operators to verify their tru2way signal. This test system, using ADB's tru2way certified platform and CableLabs' EYES software, makes it easy for operators to debug and troubleshoot their tru2way network," the company claims in its press materials.
  • Interactive TV software specialist, Alticast (whose areas of expertise include DVB-MHP, OCAP/tru2way, EBIF, IPTV and mobile TV), contacted [itvt] last week to let us know that a recently published report from TBB (thebrainbehind) on consumer usability of 2010 market-deployed HD DVR's in Germany ranked the Echostar-built Unitymedia HD DVR, running software from Alticast and Zappware, highest. More.
  • IPTV and hybrid/OTT set-top box manufacturer, Amino Communications, has announced that it will give a US debut to its next-generation of set-tops at TelcoTV 2010 in Las Vegas next month. "Visitors to Amino's booth...will be able to see the full range of the latest IPTV set-top boxes running on a variety of middleware--showcasing both Amino's powerful new offering and extensive ecosystem in the US market," the company states in its press materials. "Plus, there will be an opportunity to see the new-look Amino Freedom--including a new user-interface to be showcased for the first time in the US...The Intel-powered Amino Freedom hybrid/OTT media center will run a range of 'hands-on' demonstrations capturing the powerful device's ability to deliver broadcast TV, video-on-demand, home media and OTT content, plus new user interfaces, gaming and applications."
  • AT&T has announced "the launch of new DVR features for AT&T U-verse TV customers on U-verse Online, including the ability to schedule DVR recordings directly from the Web site and to easily see which of your DVR recordings are also available to view on U-verse Online."
  • In other AT&T U-verse news: 1) The Microsoft Mediaroom-based U-verse TV service now allows use of the Xbox 360 as a supplemental set-top box. "Using your Xbox 360 as a U-verse receiver, you can receive chat and game invitations from friends through Xbox Live while watching live TV and switch seamlessly from game to TV mode without switching video inputs on your TV screen," AT&T states in its press materials. "You will enjoy virtually the same U-verse TV experience and features available today, including the ability to watch live TV, manage and play back DVR recordings and access interactive apps, your program guide, the On Demand library and more. U-verse TV on Xbox 360 also allows customers to avoid an extra box on their entertainment center and the need to pay a monthly rental fee for an additional receiver. New customers can order the $99 Xbox kit at 1-800-ATT-2020 when they subscribe to U-verse, and a U-verse technician will load U-verse software on their Xbox 360 during their service installation." 2) U-verse Mobile for Windows Phone 7 devices is slated to launch next month. "Beginning in November," AT&T states in its press materials, "the popular U-verse Mobile app will be preloaded so that any AT&T wireless customer with a Windows Phone 7 device--whether or not they are a U-verse TV customer--can download and watch hit TV shows while they're on the go. This is the first time an AT&T U-verse service will be available nationwide." More.
  • Avail-TVN has announced "plans to invest more than $30 million over the next two years to enhance and expand its video distribution technology, infrastructure and services to support the company's more than 300 content and service provider customers as they roll out the next generation of digital media offerings. Avail-TVN's investments will focus on content preparation, aggregation and ingestion; a next-generation distribution platform; and vastly increased storage capabilities--key areas that accelerate the monetization of digital video on any screen, and increase the titles and formats that will be available," the company states in its press materials.


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