Interactive TV News Round-Up (III): Comcast, DirecTV, Disney/ABC, Ensequence, IMPALA

--Comcast Launches Android Version of its Xfinity TV App
--DirecTV Releases its iPad App
--Disney/ABC Multiscreen Interactive Oscars Offerings Generate 3 Million+ Views
--Ensequence Named One of NYC's "Hottest Companies"; Relaunches its Web Site
--IMPALA Hails Inclusion of MHEG as Part of Asian DVB-T2 Transmission Trial

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been busy this week working on the TV of Tomorrow Show 2011, we are covering recent news in round-up/summary form. We anticipate that it will take us a few days to catch up with all the news we plan to cover: 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.

  • Comcast has announced the availability of an Android version of its Xfinity TV app in the Android Market. "The Xfinity TV app originally debuted on the Apple iOS in November, and since then it has been downloaded more than 1.3 million times," Comcast states in its press materials. "Now, customers with Android-powered mobile devices can also enjoy its many entertainment controls and features, including: 1) Browse and discover video content from either TV listings or selections from the On Demand library in a rich user interface with colorful poster art and details. 2) Use it as a TV guide so, in just a few finger taps, users can find what to watch by reviewing their TV listings and change the channel in real time. 3) Program their DVR's to record TV shows, series and movies so they never miss their favorites. 4) Sort content based on different filters like HD, New, Networks, or type such as Movies, Kids, or Sports. 5) Search by keyword or by title A-Z in TV listings or On Demand. 6) Coming soon, customers will also be able to watch On Demand TV shows, movies and other video content directly on an Android-powered device...Through a series of regular development updates," Comcast's press materials continue, "the Xfinity TV app for Android will continue to expand its features and functionality. Soon, customers will be able to access even more personalization features that enable them to create and manage a watchlist, customize their favorite TV listings and receive recommendations, plus other shortcuts and controls. Later this year, Comcast plans to enable live TV streaming in the home, so customers can turn their tablet into an additional TV screen."

  • DirecTV has now released its new iPad app, which was covered in an article published on, February 25th.
  • Disney/ABC has provided some "preliminary" usage data for the interactive experiences it offered on the Web site and on its Oscar Backstage Pass iPad/iPhone app (see the articles published on, January 28th and February 23rd). According to the company, the interactive offerings collectively received over 3 million total video views, representing a 29% increase over last year's multiplatform offerings for the Oscars.
  • Interactive TV solutions provider, Ensequence, contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know that it has been included in Lead411's "2011 Hottest New York City Companies" list; and that it has also relaunched its Web site. According to the company, the revamped site offers "segmented information for programmers and service providers, detailed product information on the iTV Manager Programmer Edition and iTV Manager Service Provider Edition, as well as deeper social media integration."
  • The International MHEG Promotion Alliance (IMPALA), an organization that was set up in 2006 by Strategy & Technology, Cabot Communications and EchoStar Europe to promote use of the MHEG middleware standard beyond the UK (where it powers the free-to-air Freeview and Freesat services), is trumpeting the fact that "MHEG is forming a key part of the DVB-T2 technology workshop and transmission trial immediately prior to the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union Digital Broadcasting Symposium in Malaysia. MHEG is included in the draft receiver specification for the Malaysia DVB-T2 roll-out expected to start in 2012," IMPALA's press materials continue. "The trial and associated workshop, which has been designed to explore and explain the DVB-T2 standard, will benefit from a supporting MHEG application. This will be broadcast as part of the DVB-T2 transmission and provides details of the trial as well as about those companies participating. It will highlight to broadcasters the effectiveness of MHEG as an interactive TV middleware. The transmission trial and workshop is being held from 4-7 March, with the ABU Symposium immediately following from 8-11 March at the Hotel Istana, Kuala Lumpur. Broadcasters from across the region will attend the event."
North America