Interactive TV News Round-Up (II): BBC, BlackBerry, BigBand Networks, AT&T

--BBC Releases Red-Button Programming Schedule through August 1st
--BBC iPlayer and BBC News Web Icons Launched for BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet
--BigBand Networks to Power Local Ad Insertion for AT&T U-verse TV

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:

  • The BBC has released the schedule of programming and interactive content that will be available via the BBC Red Button service through August 1st. General programming highlights, according to an email from a BBC spokesperson, include: "1) BBC Proms: Press the red button to enjoy Maestro Cam, featuring Sir Roger Norrington conducting Mahler's Symphony no 9...along with expert commentary from Matthew Rowe. 2) 'Dragons' Den': An exclusive opportunity to find out how and why the Dragons choose which entrepreneurs to invest in, and hear more from the entrepreneurs themselves. 3) Bollywood Stars: BBC Asian Network brings all the news, excitement and stars from this year's Indian International Film Awards to the BBC Red Button. 4) 'Horrible Histories' Sing-Along: Sing along with Cleopatra, Dick Turpin and other characters from 'Horrible Histories' from 25th to 29th July. 5) 'Horrible Histories' Quiz: Things get a little gory behind the blood-red button with the 'Horrible Histories' quiz. 6) 'In It To Win It': Press red during the [show to] play along against the studio contestants." Red-button sports coverage highlights, according to the BBC spokesperson, include: "1) MotoGP: Live coverage from Laguna Seca. 2) Football: Northern Ireland Milk Cup Youth Tournament finals. 3) Cricket: TMS England vs. India. 4) Formula 1: German Grand Prix and Hungarian Grand Prix. 5) Rugby League: Warrington and Wigan post-match analysis. 6) Diving: World Diving [Championships] from Shanghai. 7) Swimming: World Swimming Championships from Shanghai."
  • In other BBC news: The corporation has announced the launch of BBC iPlayer and BBC News Web icons (shortcuts) on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. "From today," the BBC's Abigail Khanna explains on the corporation's BBC Internet blog, "all new BlackBerry PlayBook tablets will come with the Web icons pre-installed. Existing users will be presented with a software update notification on their status ribbon or can access the update at any time from the Software Updates item in the Settings Menu. The addition of these Web icons provides more convenient access to BBC News and a wealth of BBC programs on-demand...The BBC News shortcut will link to the desktop version of the BBC News Web site, and the BBC iPlayer shortcut will link to a browser optimized for portable devices. The growth rate in tablets is outstripping that of PC's, so we're pleased to be able to bring these products to a wider tablet audience. Lastly, many of you will have already used the shortcuts we developed for BlackBerry smartphones last year. We've had to roll these back because of technical issues; we're currently investigating these issues and will re-introduce the shortcuts when resolved."
  • BigBand Networks said Wednesday that AT&T's AT&T Services arm has begun deploying the BigBand Media Services Platform (MSP) as part of AT&T U-verse TV's local ad insertion solution. The company says that it expects AT&T to become a "material customer" in the second half of this year. "The BigBand MSP-based advertising solution can help operators increase advertising revenues by supporting specific markets via the preparation and splicing of local ads into national program feeds," BigBand states in its press materials. "BigBand recently announced that its advertising solutions supported over one billion ad transactions in the last year for North American cable operators...The BigBand MSP-based advertising solution enables service providers to maximize advertising revenues while minimizing operational costs. The solution includes the preparation and transcoding of ad assets, ad splicing into linear-TV streams, event reporting to traffic and billing systems, and management using BigBand's Video Management System software. Furthermore, the solution operates completely within the digital domain and seamlessly splices ads into streams encrypted for a variety of network environments. This reduces the cost and complexity associated with ad insertion since decrypting, splicing, and re-encrypting are no longer required."
North America