Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): Criterion Capital, SeeSaw, Sony, STMicroelectronics, Adobe

--Criterion Capital Partners Takes Controlling Stake in UK Broadband VOD Service, SeeSaw
--Sony Launches 3D VOD Service for its Bravia Connected-TV Platform
--STMicroelectronics Ports Adobe AIR to its Connected-TV SoC

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:

  • As expected (see the article published on itvt.com, June 21st), Criterion Capital Partners has acquired a controlling stake in SeeSaw, the online video service previously owned by broadcast transmission company, Arqiva (note: Arqiva launched the service after acquiring the platform assets of Project Kangaroo, the VOD platform developed by UKVOD, a joint venture between the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and terrestrial broadcasters, ITV and Channel 4, for a price believed to be in the £8 million range). The deal, believed to be worth over £10 million, sees Criterion leading a consortium of investors that includes former Channel 4 CEO, Michael Jackson (who will serve as SeeSaw's chairman). Arqiva will retain a 25% stake in SeeSaw, and, Criterion says that it plans to retain most of the service's key staff members. The Guardian has more.
  • Sony has launched "3D Experience," a free VOD streaming service for 3D-enabled Sony Bravia LCD TV's. According to the company, the service--which is currently available in the US, the UK, France, Germany and Canada--will eventually be extended to its 3D-capable Blu-ray Disc Player and Blu-ray Disco Home Theater System. "'3D Experience' will provide instant access to an extensive range of 3D clips and trial content from a wide variety of genres, including movies, music, sports, and documentaries, with about 30 titles available at launch," the company states in its press materials. "Content available via this service will include highlights of 'Wimbledon 2011' (held from June 20th), movie trailers from movies such as 'Green Hornet' and 'Monster House' in 3D, and 3D music promotional video clips. Going forward, Sony plans to further expand the content line-up and promote '3D Experience' among content holders as a forum through which to showcase their 3D offerings."
  • Chipmaker STMicroelectronics has announced the successful porting and certification of Adobe AIR 2.5 for TV on its third-generation system-on-a-chip (SoC) platform for interactive HD set-top boxes. "ST's move puts it squarely at the forefront of technology development for the next generation of connected TV's that are enabled to run Adobe AIR-based games and other applications," the company states in its press materials. "The Adobe AIR software is a key component of the Adobe Flash Platform and enables OEM's, ODM's, application and service developers to create and build rich Internet applications, games and deploy interactive high-definition video for embedded devices and systems, in particular set-top boxes and TV's. ST's latest STi7108-based STB reference design has been successfully verified by Adobe. In addition to Adobe AIR , ST has also successfully ported Adobe Flash technology for the Digital Home to its STi7105 decoder-based platform for entry-level and mid-range HDTV set-top boxes. The new STi7108 Adobe-certified reference design from ST will enable its customers to build upon the platform with minimal development costs, using Adobe software tools to develop ActionScript 3-based applications for TV's, including advanced user interfaces, gaming and high-definition audio/video streaming applications. The Adobe Flash Platform leverages the hardware available on the STi7108 to deliver high-definition audio/video up to 1080p HD allowing service providers to deliver HD streaming services using industry-standard codecs such as Dolby AAC audio and H.264 video."
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North America