Interactive TV News Round-Up (IX): Samsung, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Google TV, Adobe, DirecTV, Shalom TV, Sling Media

Time Warner Cable: Glen Britt at CES 2011 Samsung Keynote

--Comcast, Time Warner Cable to Offer Service on Samsung Connected TV's, Tablets
--Samsung Unveils Google TV Devices, Supports Adobe Air 2.5, Teams with DirecTV on RVU TV's
--Free VOD Service, Shalom TV, Now Available in 40 Million Homes
--Sling Media Launches Subscription Service for Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Customers, Google TV Client

Due to the large volume of news generated by the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which took place last week in Las Vegas, we are covering stories in this issue in summary/round-up form. Our regular news coverage will return shortly.

  • During Samsung's keynote at CES last week, it was announced that the US's two largest cable MSO's, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, plan to offer services on Samsung connected TV's and Galaxy tablet devices. "For the first time on a connected TV, the new [Comcast] Xfinity TV service will offer a rich, Web-like interface, enabling simpler navigation and the ability to seamlessly search across linear TV, DVR recordings, and video-on-demand among tens of thousands of content choices," Comcast states in its press materials. "A sleek graphics-rich display will guide the viewer to their favorite programming. The partnership also will deliver a customized and integrated multiplatform viewing experience on Samsung smart TVs and the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab. On the tablet, the Xfinity TV experience is a virtual television guide and a mobile video player all in one. Xfinity TV digital customers will be able to browse, discover and sort video content, change the channel on a Samsung smart TV in real time, and program DVR's. In addition, they can watch streaming TV programming and movies directly on the tablet, and access that content across multiple devices. The service's roadmap includes the ability to begin watching a favorite movie on the Samsung Galaxy Tab, then pause the movie and resume watching it on a Samsung smart TV from the exact moment it was paused, and vice versa...The Xfinity TV experience will be distributed later this year on the Samsung smart TVs and on the application store for the Galaxy products interacting through the Comcast set-top box, giving consumers yet another access point for discovering and connecting to Comcast Xfinity TV services." Time Warner Cable, meanwhile, describes its new partnership to "allow Time Warner Cable customers to access their cable subscriptions on the Samsung Smart TV and Samsung Galaxy Tab in their homes" as follows: "Available as an app within Samsung's application storefront, the Time Warner Cable service ultimately will give Time Warner Cable's subscribers access to all of their cable channels directly on Samsung smart TV's and Galaxy Tab in the home. All of the content can be consumed through Samsung's award-winning LED, LCD and Plasma smart TV line-up, which delivers a high-quality, visual enhanced and connected entertainment experience to the home." In addition, the MSO says, its customers will be able to "access recorded content from a DVR elsewhere in the home directly on the Samsung Smart TV, without the need for a connected set-top box, [thus creating] a multi-room viewing experience that doesn't require multiple set-top boxes in homes that have more than one connected TV." (Note: In a related development, at CES Verizon was demo'ing a FiOS TV IMG 1.9 TV/DVR app running on various connected-TV devices from Panasonic and Samsung, and it says that it has also ported the app to certain game consoles. The company claims to now be able to run FiOS TV on "over three dozen" devices that are not cable set-top boxes. Technology blogger, Dave Zatz, has more.)
  • In other Samsung news: 1) The company has unveiled a new Blu-ray player and companion box "enabling Google TV as part of its ongoing Smart TV product offerings"; 2) The company has announced that its Smart TV platform "will be the first to integrate support for Adobe AIR 2.5 for TV, making it easy for developers to build, distribute and monetize standalone applications through Samsung's Smart TV applications store, Samsung Apps," and that it will "bring Adobe Flash Player 10.1 to its Smart TV browser, extending the company's current support for Flash Player 10.1 on Samsung smartphones and tablets." 3) The company has formed a partnership with DirecTV "to present the world's first RVU-compatible production televisions, which will provide more than 19.1 million DirecTV subscribers with the ability to watch live broadcast and stored content from their DVR on Samsung Smart TV's, without the need for additional set-top boxes. The RVU protocol will be supported on Samsung's LED D6000, LED D6400 and LED 6420 TV products that reflect the company's commitment to delivering consumers high-quality, visually enhanced and connected entertainment experiences in their home," Samsung's press materials continue. "A RUI technology based on industry standards such as DLNA and UPnP, RVU allows a set-top box server to provide a multi-room, complete viewing experience that includes DVR services, without the need for additional set-top boxes in homes that have more than one connected TV."
  • Jewish-themed free VOD service, Shalom TV, has announced that it has added 10 million homes to its distribution network over the past year, allowing it to pass the 40-million home mark. "The growth of the mainstream Jewish cultural free VOD network came from the 2010 launches on Cox Communications in New Orleans, LA; Time Warner's Texas systems in Corpus Christi, Laredo, El Paso, Rio Grande, Golden Triangle and San Antonio; Service Electric Cable TV in Allentown, PA; WOW! in Cleveland, Chicago, Columbus, OH, and Evansville, IN; and GCI Cable serving Alaska."
  • EchoStar-owned TV place-shifting company, Sling Media, has announced a subscription service that it says will give Verizon Wireless customers "the ability to watch their home TV on new 4G smartphones." Meanwhile, at CES, Sling Media demo'd a Google TV client that enables its place-shifting service to be used on Google TV devices without the company's SlingCatcher hardware. Technology blogger, Dave Zatz, has more.


North America