Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): MPEG LA, Nintendo, Netflix, Rovi, Toyota

  • US Justice Department Launches Antitrust Investigation of MPEG LA
  • Nintendo to Offer Netflix on its 3DS Portable 3D Games Console
  • Rovi Launches TotalGuide xD Solution for Cable Ops Looking to Extend Service to Mobile Screens
  • Rovi to Power Interactive TV Advertising Campaign for Toyota

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 couple of 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.

  • The US Justice Department has launched a formal antitrust probe of MPEG LA, the organization that licenses patent pools for H.264 and various other video technologies, and is investigating whether the organization or the companies on behalf of which it operates (including Apple and Microsoft) are trying to cripple Google's VP8 Web video format, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday. 
  • In a keynote at the Game Developers Conference 2011 earlier this week, Nintendo revealed that Netflix will launch on its 3DS 3D portable games console later this summer. According to the company, Netflix subscribers will be able to watch streaming video on the device when they are out of the house and resume watching the same video on their Nintendo Wii when they get home. IndustryGamers' M.H. Williams has more.
  • Rovi has announced TotalGuide xD, a customizable white-label media guide that it bills as "connect[ing] and extend[ing] the cable video experience from set-top boxes to mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones. TotalGuide xD provides multiple system operators (MSO's) with a solution that addresses the rapid changes taking place within the digital entertainment market, as entertainment consumption quickly moves to an 'anytime, anyplace' experience," the company's press materials continue. "TotalGuide xD can enable cable subscribers with legacy native guide applications on their set-top boxes to now connect with and enjoy their favorite entertainment content from tablets and handheld devices, whether that content is broadcast TV, video-on-demand (VOD) or authenticated streaming video content, using one visually stunning mobile interface. The market for pay-TV subscribers is becoming increasingly more crowded and competitive. TotalGuide xD is intended to help MSO's expand upon the engagement with their customers beyond their home television. As a fully customizable white-label platform, the service allows MSO's to extend their user experience to other connected devices, starting with an iPad application. Powered by the Rovi Media Cloud Web service, the platform can be deployed with minimal infrastructure costs and complete preservation of the MSO’s unique brand identity." Rovi says that Pennsylvania-based cable operator, Armstrong, which currently uses the Rovi i-Guide EPG, will trial Rovi TotalGuide xD, including its iPad implementation. TotalGuide xD on the iPad is slated to be available for trials next quarter to support Rovi i-Guide and Passport Guide services. The company says that additional reference designs for other devices will be made available throughout the year. Key features of TotalGuide xD, according to Rovi, include: "1) Robust search functionality, enabling users to find their favorite TV shows and movies; 2) Rovi 'six degrees' discovery and recommendations, which helps consumers find more relevant video content and provides the flexibility to connect to a variety of video content sources such as authenticated video and playback on portable devices, as determined by each MSO; 3) Dynamic recommendations including most popular, similar, friend recommendations and exclusive editorial recommendations from the Rovi editorial team; 4) Social network connections via Facebook, Twitter and email integration; 5) Remote connections to set-top boxes in the home to schedule DVR recordings, channel tune or start a VOD session; and 6) Cross-device access to a subscriber user profile, which is designed to make access to content seamless across other TotalGuide-enabled devices."
  • In other Rovi news: The company has announced that it is collaborating with Toyota Motor Sales USA to launch--on March 7th--an interactive TV advertising initiative for the Toyota Tundra on its Rovi Advertising Network (note: for more on the latter, see the article published on, June 24th). "Rovi's product offering gives Toyota the ability to bring an innovative advertising experience to consumers and enables viewers to learn more about Toyota's products through rich and dynamic content made available through advanced portals on the Rovi Advertising Network," the company states in its press materials. "The Rovi Advertising Network offers advertising on Rovi guides--the 'home page' of the television where consumers go to find out what's on TV--and on third-party interactive TV platforms, including set-top boxes, TV's and Blu-ray players. Rovi guides provide advertisers with a unique platform for reaching and engaging viewers via consumer destinations, or portals, while they are actively looking for new programming and in 'decision-mode.' Rovi guides represent a highly trafficked area on TV: 87% of monitored households access the guide weekly; guide users on average visit the guide nine times daily; and users spend 13 minutes in the guide daily...Because users of the Rovi platform are not limited to 30-second commercials, Toyota is able to offer consumers the opportunity to dive deeper and learn more about the Toyota Tundra. By accessing Toyota banner ads on Rovi guides, consumers can use their remote controls to view videos, photos and other Tundra product information."
North America