Interactive TV News Round-Up (V): Rovi, Toshiba, TiVo, TV Genius

--Rovi and Toshiba in Multi-Year Deal for Rovi TotalGuide, EPG Patent Portfolio
--TiVo App Now Available for iPhone/iPod touch
--TV Genius Launches Facebook-Integrated TV Guidance Solution

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:

  • Rovi and Toshiba have signed a multi-year agreement for use of Rovi's TotalGuide EPG (note: for more on the latter, see the article published on itvt.com, January 11th, 2010) and the company's EPG patent portfolio in Toshiba TV sets, Blu-ray players and recorders, as well as in mobile and tablet devices that Toshiba plans to sell in the US and Europe next spring. "Rovi TotalGuide unifies search, discovery and recommendations to provide consumers with one destination where they can access content seamlessly from the Internet and from broadcast services," Rovi states in its press materials. "In addition, Rovi and Toshiba will be working together to launch new interactive advertising capabilities on Toshiba devices with TotalGuide, helping to expand the value to advertisers, and extend the reach to consumers on the Rovi Advertising Network...In addition to the latest licensing agreement, Rovi is powering a number of other digital entertainment capabilities on Toshiba's connected devices. The company's RoxioNow entertainment platform is behind the recent launch of a new retailer-branded entertainment storefront on the Toshiba VX700 and WX800 3D series LED HDTV's, and DivX Certification helps the optimized playback of video content in the popular format."
  • TiVo has announced the availability of a free TiVo App for iPhone and iPod touch (note: the company already offers an iPad version). "The TiVo App allows users to search, browse, explore and share comments about their favorite programs all without interrupting the programming currently playing on their TiVo box," the company states in its press materials. "Based on TiVo's signature TV experience, the TiVo App also brings intuitive remote control operations to the tips of users' fingers with simple gesture-based controls. Users can quickly uncover program guides and information, view, schedule and manage recordings, get recommendations, or even explore an actor's entire career with a single tap. The high-resolution screen and Retina Display of iPhone and iPod touch make viewing the onscreen navigation simple and easy. Since the controls are built right into the app, TiVo lovers never need to worry about losing the remote control to their entertainment universe." Key features of the TiVo App for iPhone/iPod touch, according to the company, include: "1) NEW! Guest Mode--Even if you don't currently have a TiVo DVR, you can still sample the TiVo experience through the new Guest Mode. Users can browse, search and scroll through program and channel guides and experience the simplicity of the TiVo interface. 2) NEW! TiVo Series3 Support--Now users who have TiVo Series3 HD and HD XL DVR's can also download the app to browse, search and schedule recordings as well as make use of the reinvention of the TiVo remote. 3) Gesture-based controls--Take complete control of all recordings, even move forward and backward through a show with a simple tap or swipe. 4) Program Guide--Browse your full-screen TV program guide without interrupting TV viewing. 5) Schedule--Schedule one-time recordings and Season Pass recordings from the device at home or on-the-go. 6) Get more from your shows and movies--Explore cast and crew and other recommendations of your favorite shows without interrupting the big screen. 7) Search--Search for all of your favorite TV shows, movies, actors or directors across both broadcast and broadband from Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and more. 8) Share comments with your friends--From within the TiVo App, comment and share your thoughts on your favorite programming on Facebook or Twitter."
  • London-based programming search and recommendations company, TV Genius, has announced the launch of a Facebook-integrated TV guidance solution. "The new solution [which can be seen here] uses TV Genius' award-winning Content Discovery Platform to personalize TV guides," the company states in its press materials. "When a user logs into the EPG with Facebook Connect, all the shows their friends like are instantly highlighted in the grid. As a cloud solution, the Content Discovery Platform makes it easy to deploy Facebook-integrated EPG's on the Web, connected TV's, smartphones, and tablets. Users of the TV guide will be able to quickly and easily find new content to watch that is personally relevant, while encouraging them to connect and engage with their friends in a new way. The solution taps into the increasingly popular use of social media. A ResearchNow study, sponsored by TV Genius in September 2010, shows that while traditional media remain dominant over TV content discovery, newer media are also having an emerging influence, especially among the younger generation of 'Digital Natives.'" TV Genius says that it is already powering "TV-centric" Facebook apps for ITV, Freeview and Tjek TV. "In a world where operators are battling to be the key entertainment hub, a Facebook-integrated TV guide will increase stickiness, encouraging users to interact with the TV guide and their friends," TV Genius CEO, Tom Weiss, said in a prepared statement. "Powerful social recommendations will help viewers stumble across the content they want, while helping providers offer relevant, timely content."
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