Interactive TV News Round-Up (V): EIDR, Entone, Google TV, Gotuit Media (Digitalsmiths), Harmonic, Hoodlum, Huawei, "ITV Idol," Interactivation

[itvt]'s daily news coverage went on hiatus October 18th in order to allow our editorial staff to work full time on TVOT NYC Intensive. This issue contains a round-up of some of the major interactive TV-related news stories that have broken since then. Due to the volume of news we are covering in this issue, our summaries of each item are somewhat more abbreviated than usual (note: extensive background information on most of the companies and technologies covered in this issue can be found by using itvt.com's search functionality). We apologize for any inconvenience to our readers.

  • A new international coalition, led by MovieLabs, CableLabs, Comcast and Rovi, has launched the Entertainment Identifier Registry (EIDR), which its backers describe as "a non-profit global independent registry that provides a uniform approach to cataloging movies, television shows, and other commercial audio/video assets with unique identifiers (ID's)," and as "an industry resource to help streamline digital commerce and simplify consumer transactions...Each year," the Registry's backers continue in their press materials, "millions of new entertainment assets from many sources and distribution channels are being added to the massive amount of content available in the marketplace. With the growth of digital and other alternative distribution channels, keeping track of all of these content products, especially videos, is becoming an increasingly complex task for many businesses in the entertainment supply chain. EIDR has been developed to address a critical need for a universal ID system for all types of audio/video assets in the entertainment industry, making it easier for businesses to search, track rights and report revenue based on an asset's unique ID. The expected results are increased accuracy of information flowing to consumers, and lower cost and more efficient backoffice processes."
  • Entone has launched a managed hybrid TV service, called FusionTV, which it bills as "combin[ing] linear HDTV programming and OTT media into a single, unified user experience. With FusionTV," the company states in its press materials, "linear HDTV is delivered by traditional programming sources such as cable TV, IPTV, or OTA broadcasts. Live HDTV programming is complemented with online media services such as video-on-demand (VOD), music streaming, photo sharing, social media, and other popular Web content and services." Entone also recently launched the Janus Media Hub which it bills as a "powerful platform that enables live HDTV reception and recording from a variety of IP and broadcast sources and provides access to a growing array of online services, such as video-on-demand (VOD), music streaming, photo sharing, social media, and other popular Web applications." (Note: Light Reading Cable's Jeff Baumgartner reports that Entone "plans to go after Tier 2 and 3 US MSO's in a big way using CableCARD-based media hubs and boxes that blend traditional cable TV services with over-the-top apps and services from Vudu, Inc. and other third-party partners.")
  • Google TV has, of course, generated a fair amount of news over the past few weeks. Among other developments: 1) The platform has been blocked by a number of broadcasters, networks and content providers, including ABC, CBS and NBC; Fox; Viacom; and Hulu. 2) YouTube Leanback, YouTube's implementation of its service for the living room, is now available on the platform. 3) Google has announced that it will "give away 10,000 Google TV devices to help developers start building for TV." 4) Irdeto has announced that it has been tapped to provide content protection technology for the Logitech Revue with Google TV. 5) Sony's decision to reduce the price of its Google TV-enabled Blu-ray player by 25% for the Black Friday shopping weekend has led some observers to speculate that Google TV sales may have been slower than expected. 6) Toshiba and Vizio plan to unveil Google TV products at CES in January, and Samsung is also considering building Google TV devices, according to a report by Bloomberg.
  • Gotuit Media--a company that offers metadata technologies which, among other things, allow end-users to instantly access the parts of a piece of video that interest them, and which can also be used by video publishers to allow end-users to make mash-ups out of their content, using metadata-defined virtual video clips--has been acquired for an undisclosed sum by video metadata solutions provider, Digitalsmiths.
  • Harmonic has announced that regional cable operator, Armstrong, is using its NSG 9000 universal edgeQAM with Privacy Mode edge encryption to expand its VOD service in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
  • Hoodlum has teamed with Foxtel on an interactive drama series called "SliDE." The companies are billing the new series as "a multiplatform online/television drama featuring social media and an online experience that stands to revolutionize how television programs connect and communicate with the audience. In addition to tuning into the show each week on FOX8," the companies continue in their press materials, "you will be able to experience 'SliDE' on the Internet at FOX8.tv and via social media, Facebook and Twitter, providing viewers with an entertainment experience like never before."
  • Chinese set-top box vendor, Huawei, unveiled two new tru2way set-top boxes at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo earlier this fall, and is apparently targeting the US cable market. Light Reading Cable's Jeff Baumgartner has more.
  • An interactive TV application from Starz won the "ITV Idol" contest that was held at the CTAM Summit earlier this fall. Broadcasting & Cable's Marisa Guthrie has more.
  • Interactivation has launched InteractiveXML, which it bills as a "free Web-based interactive video scripting toolkit (available at www.interactivexml.com and www.interactivexml.net) which allows Web developers to quickly build video applications that can, interact with consumers' clicks, touch, text and voice." Examples of applications based on the new toolkit can be found at http://www.frixxer.com. "InteractiveXML allows developers to incorporate variables, branching logic, Web service calls, screen overlays and more, to produce rich interactive video experiences that can live anywhere a Flash Player can be embedded, including Facebook," Interactivation states in its press materials.