Interactive TV News Round-Up (V): Microsoft, Roku, Facebook, BYUtv

--Report: Microsoft to Launch Zune-Branded VOD Service for Xbox 360
--Roku Updates its Facebook Photos App with Video Support, Other New Features
--BYUtv Channel Launches on Roku

Because the [itvt] editorial team is on the road this week, we are covering stories in this edition of the newsletter in round-up format:

  • Microsoft is planning to launch a subscription VOD service for the Xbox 360 under its Zune brand later this year, according to an article in The Daily.
  • In a posting on its corporate blog last week, OTT specialist Roku announced that it has revamped its Facebook Photos app ("channel") and added video support to it. "We've worked with Facebook to significantly improve the experience of finding and viewing photos from Facebook, and as the channel name suggests, we've also added video support," Roku's blog posting states. "Now you can view photos and videos from your profile, your News Feed and your friends' profiles. With nearly six billion photos uploaded monthly, Facebook is by far the largest photo-sharing site in the world. Earlier this year, Facebook increased the size of the photos stored by 8 times—from 720 pixels to 2048 pixels on the longest edge. This mean all those Facebook photos now look awesome in full-screen on your Roku player! Facebook Photos & Videos can play most videos uploaded directly to Facebook or linked to from YouTube. Since Facebook supports video uploads up to 720p (1280 x 720) in resolution and most recent smartphone and point-and-shoot cameras film in 720p or higher, many Facebook videos will be a delight to watch on your Roku player." Key features of Roku's revamped Facebook app, according to the company, include: "1) Support for multiple users. A first for a Roku channel. Add up to five Facebook users and switch quickly between them in the channel settings. 2) Organization of friends list in a grid. Makes it easy to find a friend. 3) Ability to view photo captions and user comments. 4) Ability to 'Like' a photo. Press DOWN or OPTIONS on your remote from a photo slideshow to surface the Like button. 5) Ability to set your News Feed photos as your Roku screensaver." Roku users who have already installed the existing version of the Facebook Photos app, will receive the new Facebook Photos & Video app via an automatic update, Roku says. Otherwise, users can access the app in the "Photos & Video" category of the Roku Channel Store.
  • In other Roku news: Brigham Young University has launched its BYUtv Channel on the company's platform. According to the university, the channel allows users to "1) Watch live TV. 2) Watch on-demand video from our vast VOD library. 3) Search for your favorite programs or episodes. 4) Log in to your account and 5) access your Playlist and Viewing History. 6) Keep track of your playhead location across all devices. 7) Change the layout between Grid and Poster view. 8) Stream HD video" (provided a user has a connection speed of 2.5Mbps or faster).
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