Interactive TV News Round-Up (VII): Philo, FX, PlayJam, STMicroelectronics, Adobe, Ocean Blue, Qwiki

Qwiki at TechCrunch Disrupt

--Philo Teams with FX on Social TV Event for "Lights Out" Premiere
--PlayJam in Interactive TV Games Partnership with STMicroelectronics
--STMicroelectronics in Partnerships with Adobe, Ocean Blue Software
--Qwiki Raises $5 Million of Planned $8 Million Series A Funding Round

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.

  • Social TV check-in company, Philo, teamed with FX for a "virtual premiere party" Tuesday evening for the latter's new series, "Lights Out." "Fans of the show can 'check-in' on Philo to chat live, unlock a variety of exclusive badges, as well as be entered to win limited edition 'Lights Out' posters from FX," a company spokesperson stated in an email to [itvt]. "What's unique about this virtual viewing party is that in order to win, you need to be tuned in live to the show on Philo."
  • Interactive TV games company, PlayJam, has announced that it is teaming with semiconductor manufacturer, STMicroelectronics, to bring its games to connected TV's and set-top boxes. "PlayJam will integrate its award-winning games channel across a wide range of ST platforms, including Freeman Ultra, a high-performance TV System-on-Chip (SoC) processor," the company states in its press materials. "The new FLI7540, with its first-of-its-kind integrated 3D graphics accelerator, offers access to a host of Internet-TV services enabling the delivery of dynamic user interfaces and rich content including games. In addition to promoting their own titles, PlayJam is working with games developers worldwide such as Puzzler to bring much loved and renowned titles to TV. PlayJam is the world's largest TV games publisher, delivering over 1,000 branded casual games titles via a common Application Program Interface (API) to a vast global network including Sony and Samsung's connected-TV services as well as digital-TV operators BSkyB, DISH Network, Freeview and UPC. A pioneer in connected and Over The Top (OTT) TV games content with over 12 years' international operating experience, PlayJam has generated over 6 billion downloads during the last 5 years. The games network currently enjoys conversion rates from free-to-pay players of 56%, with a unique repeat games purchase per month of 4.8."
  • In other STMicroelectronics news: 1) The company has announced support for Adobe Flash Access, a content-protection solution that is a key element of Adobe Flash. "Flash Access is integrated with Adobe's AIR for TV platform, which enables OEM's, ODM's, and application and service developers to create and build optimized applications that take advantage of ST's hardware acceleration and software," ST states in its press materials. "Support for Flash Access with a high level of robustness enables ST to lead the TV revolution as it transitions from a passive medium to the center of home entertainment with infinite choices. Featuring a high-performance 3D graphics processor unit and advanced security hardware, ST's latest generation of set-top boxes and TV SoC's are geared to support consumers' growing expectations for applications with slick user interfaces and access to premium video content across multiple devices." 2) The company recently partnered with Ocean Blue Software to demo a proof-of-concept HbbTV solution at CES (note: HbbTV is a pan-European initiative that aims to harmonize the delivery of broadcast and broadband content through connected TV's). "The HbbTV solution...will enable CE vendors and OEM's to offer a feature-rich, low-risk solution with reduced time to market," the companies state in their press materials. 3) STMicroelectronics and Ocean Blue also teamed to showcase "Talking TV" technology at CES. "Incorporating an advanced user interfaces and text-to-speech solution for the USA, European and Asian markets, the technology has been developed by Ocean Blue Software, in partnership with digital-TV chip giant, STMicroelectronics, whose processors lie at the heart of most TV's and set top boxes," the companies state in their press materials. "The new generation of set-top boxes will be able to talk to their blind or partially sighted owners--advising, via speech technology, the TV programming schedule, for example. Owners will be able to adjust the speed and verbosity of the voice to suit their needs, choose to enlarge or reduce font sizes and change background and text colors. A re-designed and easy-to-use remote control will also be included. Phase two of the development will introduce voice activation technology to allow owners to talk back to their TV sets--'channel up,' 'channel down,' 'volume up.'"
  • Visual search company, Qwiki, whose flagship technology won top prize at TechCrunch Disrupt and was showcased in a "New User Experiences" session at TVOT NYC Intensive, has raised $5 million of an $8 million Series A funding round. TechCrunch's Erick Schonfeld has more.


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