Interactive TV News Round-Up (VII): thePlatform, Alcatel-Lucent, TiVo, Zodiac Interactive

--thePlatform Teams with Alcatel-Lucent on Multiscreen Video Platform
--TiVo Unveils Two New Set-Tops to Power "Next Generation" of its Whole-Home Solution
--TiVo Revamps its iPad App with New Features Tailored for Cable Operators
--Zodiac Interactive to Demo New PowerUp Solutions at Cable Show

Due to the large volume of news being generated this week by the Cable Show, we are covering today's stories in abbreviated round-up/summary form:

  • thePlatform and Alcatel-Lucent have announced that they have jointly developed a "multiscreen video platform that supports the delivery of live scheduled TV, video-on-demand (VOD) and 'TV Everywhere' services to a variety of screens, allowing pay-TV subscribers to access their video content in the home or on the go, on whichever device is most convenient to them at the time. The solution offers advanced video management capabilities together with optimized video distribution through a content delivery network (CDN) deployed by the service provider," the companies' press materials continue. "It also brings the security and reliability found today on TV set-top boxes to a broader range of devices." According to the companies, the Alcatel-Lucent Multiscreen Video Platform, as the new solution is called, is made up of three main components: "Multiscreen Cloud" (powered by thePlatform's cloud-based mpx video management system); "Multiscreen CDN" (based on Alcatel-Lucent's Velocix Digital Media Delivery Platform); and Multiscreen Clients (supporting playback on PC's, tablets and mobile phones). "Our alliance with Alcatel-Lucent allows us to address the new opportunities and challenges facing TV service providers today," thePlatform CEO, Ian Blaine, said in a prepared statement. "Expanding the use of our capabilities beyond online and mobile video to manage TV itself represents a significant new business opportunity for thePlatform. Alcatel-Lucent's strong customer relationships and experience in the service provider space will help us reach a broader set of customers than was possible previously. Our joint solution will enable pay-TV providers to create groundbreaking consumer services that unify content delivery across any screen."
  • TiVo has announced "the next generation of its whole-home solution with the addition of robust HD video streaming and two new set-tops to its service provider product family. TiVo Premiere Q, the company's first-ever quad-tuner gateway set-top box, and TiVo Preview, its first non-DVR HD set-top box, will join TiVo's existing advanced television solutions offered to cable operators," the company's press materials continue. "These new products enable TiVo's operator partners to provide a superior advanced television experience to non-DVR households, single DVR households, as well as multi-room DVR households. With its four tuners and support for broad range of video-on-demand content over IP, the TiVo Premiere Q serves as an advanced video gateway, while TiVo Preview provides the full TiVo user experience for non-DVR households and also functions as a thin-client complement to those using a TiVo DVR, creating a fantastic multi-room viewing experience. Both set-top boxes support the full integration of operator services such as video-on-demand, PPV, Caller-ID on the TV and linear programming, plus access to broadband applications and services...Beyond its quad tuners and industry-leading DVR features, TiVo Premiere Q brings a number of benefits to operators deploying whole-home solutions. TiVo Premiere Q is unique in that it supports four simultaneous recordings and the ability to view streaming broadband content, while at the same time supporting up to three HD streams over a MoCA or Ethernet home network. It is also the only STB of its kind that integrates a bridge between the MoCA and Ethernet networks to simplify and reduce the cost of installation, allowing the Premiere Q to easily connect to existing home networks. TiVo Preview completes the whole-home solution for operators that can now deploy the TiVo user experience in every room of the home. It provides the same HD user experience as the TiVo Premiere and Premiere Q and fully integrates an operator's linear and VOD content with broadband content and application choices, and immediate streaming access to DVR content from a TiVo Premiere or Premiere Q. Similar to Premiere Q, Preview includes integrated MoCA and Ethernet for home networking and multi-room applications." According to TiVo, RCN will be the first domestic cable operator to offer the new boxes, alongside its current TiVo Premiere offering.
  • In other TiVo news: The company has announced that it has enhanced its TiVo App for iPad to incorporate "new features tailored to its cable partners" (note: TiVo bills the app as allowing users to "search, browse, explore and share their favorite entertainment, all without interrupting what's playing on the television. Once found," the company says, "the user simply 'flicks' the selected content from the iPad to their TV screen"). According to TiVo, the new version of the iPad app "automatically adds the operator's video-on-demand into the search and browse features within the App, allowing viewers to quickly find a TV program or movie and enjoy it on TV. The App also automatically detects and integrates the operator's branding, linear programming and VOD catalog when connected to a TiVo box provided by the operator," the company says.
  • Zodiac Interactive has announced that it will showcase Social Media and Messaging Solution Suites for its PowerUp AMS platform at the Cable Show's CableNET exhibit; and that it will also demo HTML5 applications that will be based on its PowerUp for HTML5 platform (which is currently under development) as well as the PowerUp OpenGL module which is now available for its PowerUp for tru2way platform. "PowerUp AMS provides a non-intrusive cloud-based software server infrastructure through which service providers can unify Web, mobile and set-top box device technologies with enterprise and third-party services, as well as Web-based applications," the company states in its press materials. "Standard, as well as customized, AMS Solution Suites and Utility Modules leverage core server functionality to deliver use-case specific capabilities. Also of note is that the AMS cloud-based server farm provides an extendable and re-usable backend foundation capable of supporting numerous AMS Solution Suites and Utility Modules." Said Zodiac CEO, Brandon Brown: "The capabilities and economies of scale delivered by PowerUp AMS have, to date, resulted in platform licenses for carrier-wide usage by two North American MSO's, which are deploying four Utility Modules and two solution suites. In addition, Zodiac also now provides the opportunity for service providers to utilize all the advantages of HTML5 and OpenGL on tru2way and IPTV, which we will showcase to the general public at this week's Cable Show in Chicago."
North America