Interactive TV News Round-Up (I): Amino, Cablevision, Cisco

--New Amino STB Targets Operators Seeking to Add OTT Functionality to their Pay-TV Offerings
--Cablevision Launches Interactive TV Application for Facebook Photos
--Cisco Unveils "Videoscape" Hybrid-TV Solution

Due to the large volume of news coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show, which kicked off Wednesday in Las Vegas, we are covering stories in this issue in summary/round-up form. We anticipate that it will take us several days to catch up with all the news generated by the show: so if your company has sent us a press release or briefed us on an announcement, and you don't yet see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us. Our regular news coverage will return shortly.

  • Amino Communications has launched a "companion" set-top box, called the Freedom Jump, that is targeted at network operators looking to add OTT functionality to their existing pay-TV and broadcast offerings. The new device "is designed to complement existing cable and satellite set-top boxes, working alongside them to offer access to the wealth of additional content available on the open Internet such as applications, movie-on-demand services, catch-up TV, music services and social networking," Amino states in its press materials. "Based on the company's multi-award-winning Amino Freedom hybrid/OTT media center, the Freedom Jump is powered by the Intel Atom Processor CE4100 and MeeGo for the TV, and has been designed to support common Internet formats such as Adobe Flash together with high-definition 1080p capability. The provision of a HDMI input to connect the existing service provider's STB to the Freedom Jump is designed to deliver a seamless entertainment experience with the operator's existing service offering. A wireless option also enables connectivity to content from other networked devices in the home--with a further option allowing games controllers to be added via Bluetooth." Said Amino CEO, Andrew Burke: "There is a real gap in the market for a powerful, low-cost device that works with--rather than competes against--operators' existing pay-TV devices. Initial feedback from operators has been very positive. They want OTT functionality to meet changing viewing habits--and counter 'cord-cutting'--but also a companion device that blends seamlessly with their own user interface and branded customer experience. The Freedom Jump minimizes costly product change-outs, whilst at the same time offering a new layer of content to customers." Amino will be demo'ing the Freedom Jump in Intel's booth (7153) at CES.
  • Cablevision has launched an interactive TV service called iO Photos which allows customers of its iO digital cable service to view Facebook photos on their TV set. "The new iO Photos channel, available across Cablevision's entire service area on channel 640, allows iO TV digital cable customers with a Facebook account to view and display Facebook photos on televisions throughout the home and easily move between pictures and television programming with a simple click of the remote," Cablevision states in its press materials. "This new flexibility gives customers the opportunity to view and share in more places their own photos, other photos in which they have been tagged, or even their Facebook friends' albums...Available on any iO TV digital set-top box in the home, there is no limit to the number of Facebook accounts one customer home can access. iO Photos users simply need to complete the registration process on Cablevision's consumer Web portal, Optimum.net, and accept the terms of service. With iO Photos, customers can view Facebook newsfeed photos (including comments); photos in which they have been tagged; [and] friends' albums."
  • Cisco has unveiled Cisco Videoscape, which it bills as "a comprehensive TV platform for service providers that brings together digital TV and online content with social media and communications applications to create a new, truly immersive home and mobile video entertainment experience." The company says that it is working with Telstra and several other major service provider customers to enable "next-generation video experiences" through the new platform. According to Cisco, the components of the Videoscape offering include: (in the home) the Videoscape media gateway ("for the integration of voice, linear and online video, high-speed data, WiFi and network traffic routing"), the Videoscape IP set-top box ("engineered to support all video forms delivered to a TV, including pay-TV, broadcast channels, premium channels, VOD and the Web"), and Videoscape software clients ("extend the Videoscape experiences to a wide variety of home and mobile devices, from connected TV's to tablets, smartphones and more"); (in the cloud) the Videoscape Media Suite ("offers full lifecycle content management so that service providers can efficiently and cost-effectively manage and publish content across multiple screens"); and (in the network) the Cisco Conductor for Videoscape ("orchestrates various services and subscriber-management functions across the cloud, the network and client devices"). "For consumers," Cisco states in its press materials, "Videoscape delivers: 1) immersive experiences--access to vast entertainment content sources, including broadcast channels, pay-TV and the Web, integrating the Internet, social media, communications and mobility. The result is an experience that offers: a) Ease of use. Videoscape provides easier access from multiple devices to content from multiple sources. b) More entertainment possibilities on-screen, as content is delivered from a greater range of sources, including broadcast channels, on-demand TV, DVR and the Web. c) More social and interactive features that integrate popular social networking Web sites and Cisco umi Telepresence video conferencing technology to allow you to show, share and engage with others through the TV. d) More choices for content on the go, enabling consumers to take their TV experiences with them, viewing multiple forms of content over a wide range of mobile devices and smart phones. 2) Cisco quality-of-experience. Videoscape has network intelligence built in to enhance Internet video on the TV and to deliver the premium quality necessary for a higher-resolution experience instead of 'best-effort' quality." Meanwhile, Cisco claims that Videoscape offers service providers expanded business models ("Videoscape differentiates service-provider video offerings from the competition and extends service opportunities for revenue generation," the company says. "New models could include capabilities such as application delivery, home telepresence, in-video ecommerce and more") and extended service reach ("Videoscape enables service providers to monetize activities outside their own network or traditional device footprints," the company claims. "For example, a service provider can offer a branded and personalized experience to its customers, regardless of their location or method of accessing content").

 

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