Interactive TV News Round-Up (II): Envivio, Hulu, Facebook, Immersive Media

--Envivio Appoints VP of Internet Television in Bid to Enhance its OTT Strategy
--Hulu Relaunches "Facebook on Hulu"
--Immersive Media Launches 360-Degree Interactive Video App for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch

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:

  • Envivio, a provider of processing solutions for live and on-demand multiscreen IP video, has named Matt Smith VP of Internet television, in what it bills as a bid to enhance its OTT strategy and solutions. Smith was previously VP and chief systems architect at Inlet Technologies and subsequently an architect at Cisco, after Inlet was acquired by the latter. He also spent a nine-year stint at Yahoo!, working on video compression technologies and workflows for covering live events and creating other digital media offerings, Envivio says. "We are seeing a significant increase in the demand for multiscreen TV headend solutions and some of the greatest innovation is occurring in the creation of new business models and services that take advantage of delivery over the Internet," Envivio president and CEO, Julien Signes, said in a prepared statement. "Service providers and content owners around the world come to Envivio because we help them take advantage of the latest adaptive bitrate streaming technologies and use advanced content preparation and distribution architectures with solutions like our Halo Network Media Processors, 4Caster C4 multiscreen transcoder and the Genesis mezzanine format. Matt's experience in developing, evaluating and implementing technologies with world-class customers will help Envivio extend its leadership role as a pioneer in over-the-top IP video delivery."
  • Hulu has relaunched Facebook on Hulu, an integration with Facebook Connect that is designed to facilitate social viewing, personalization and content discovery. The service was originally launched earlier this month (see the article published on itvt.com, July 5th), but was almost immediately taken down, when it came to light that the profile information of what Hulu termed "a small number of users" (approximately 50) had been compromised. In a blog posting published on the day or Facebook on Hulu's original launch, Hulu product manager, Betina Chan-Martin, described the key features of the service as follows: "1) Interact. We are excited to announce a new feature that is the first-of-its-kind and one that we think will become a staple at Hulu going forward. One of the most exciting features we are launching today is the ability to comment on a specific moment in time while watching any video on Hulu, and with one click, instantly share those remarks--and the relevant video moment from the program--on Facebook for all your friends to see. When you comment on a Hulu video, that exact moment will appear on Facebook so your friends can jump in and react right away. And since friends can respond to your comments, you can have those water cooler conversations online at any time...2) Personalize. Now you can easily log on to Hulu--or create a new account--using your Facebook account. From there, you'll be able to interact with all of your Facebook friends. You'll log into a homepage tailored to you, where you can see your friends' favorite shows, and start conversations with anybody who follows the same shows you do. 3) Discover...With Facebook on Hulu, you can introduce your friends to shows you're rooting for, and discover new favorites with the help of your friends, too." A demo video of Facebook on Hulu is embedded above.
  • Immersive Media, a Canadian company that specializes in the capture, delivery and playback of 360-degree interactive video (note: customers of the company's patented technologies include Google Street View, MapQuest, Microsoft, NBC, ABC.com and CNN), has launched im360/im360 Lite, which it bills as the first iPhone/iPad/iPod touch app to allow consumers to watch 360-degree videos on their mobile devices, using the touchscreen or motion-control feature to interact with what they see: im360 Lite is a free, ad-supported version of the app, while im360 is priced at $1.99 and also allows consumers to use Immersive Media's publishing tools to view their own images in 360 degrees. Both versions offer a "View in 3D" setting. "With the app, viewers select from a diverse set of videos in the online library that they can download to put themselves in the middle of the action," Immersive Media states in its press materials. "As each video plays, they can move the video up and down, pan left and right, and zoom in and out to see everything in the scene as if they are actually there...Videos include content in the following categories: Arts & Entertainment, City Highlights, Helicopter Tours, Museums & Science, Nature & Wildlife, News & Events, Parks & Gardens and Sports & Action. The currently available videos include Red Bull's extreme sports competitions; helicopter tours over Alcatraz, the Vegas Strip, Los Angeles and Chicago; footage from Northstudio360 of the June 15 Vancouver riots; tours of leading museums, zoos and botanical gardens; and much more." According to Immersive Media, future upgrades will provide access to live, streaming videos of concerts, sports events and other real-time content. "With im360, everyone can be an armchair adventurer," Immersive Media CEO, Myles McGovern, said in a prepared statement. "If you've always wanted to surf the world's biggest waves or explore the Chicago Art Institute, you can do it all from your iPhone or iPad. This is the same cutting-edge technology we've provided to the Black Eyed Peas for their BEP360 app [see the article published on itvt.com, January 31st] and to ABC.com for the Oscars, among many others such as NBC, CNN and Google. It is disruptive and addictive technology that really demonstrates the interactive power of mobile devices." Examples of 360-degree interactive videos created with Immersive Media's technology can be seen here.
     
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