Interactive TV News Round-Up (IV): Peel, Showtime Networks, GroupMe, Time Warner Cable

--Peel Launches Android Version of its Programming-Discovery Smartphone App
--Showtime's "Dexter" Smartphone App Launches Social-TV Functionality via GroupMe Integration
--Time Warner Cable Launches Whole House DVR, Start Over, Look Back, Caller-ID on TV in Dallas

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:

  • Programming discovery specialist, Peel, has launched an Android version of its flagship smartphone app (note: for more on the iPhone version, see the article published on, March 8th). "The app's home screen displays colorful thumbnails of 'Top Picks,' or favorite shows," Peel explains in its press materials. "Touch one of the thumbnails and the app displays what channel that show is on, as well as a brief description of the episode that is playing. Alternatively, users can swipe across the screen to explore more shows sorted by genre. As you interact with the app, Peel learns what you like and helps you discover new shows that suit your tastes. With that, Peel moves the channel surfing experience to the smartphone, leaving the television screen available to display programming...Within the app, you can set reminders, so you will never miss the beginning of a show. There is also a search feature that allows users to quickly find what network a particular game or program is on. Peel provides a social aspect as well, allowing you to share what you are watching via Facebook and Twitter. Setting up the Peel app takes just a few minutes. Peel isolates where you are, which cable or satellite provider you are using and your basic TV preferences such as favorite show genres and sports. Once set up, the app immediately begins delivering tailored TV recommendations." The app is free, and works on Android 2.0 or higher. According to Peel, it will "in the near future" support the Peel "Fruit," the $99 pear-shaped wireless device that allows Peel's iPhone app to function as a remote control (see the article published on, March 8th)
  • The latest version of Showtime Networks' "Dexter" app for iPhone and Android offers social-TV functionality via integration with GroupMe, a company that allows users to set up group text-messaging chats on their mobiles. "Now, with GroupMe integration, Dexter fans will be able to chat about the show with their friends while they watch it--and have a chance to win special Dexter collectibles while doing it," GroupMe states on its corporate blog.
  • Time Warner Cable has announced that its Start Over and Look Back features are now available to subscribers in the Dallas area via the introduction of its Whole House DVR. The company says that the features will also be available to subscribers equipped with an HD DVR or set-top by the end of September. Time Warner Cable is also rolling out its Caller-ID on TV feature in Dallas. "Dallas customers with Whole House DVR service now have access to Start Over, a service that enables digital cable viewers to start over from the beginning of a show already in progress on select channels," the MSO states in its press materials. "By the end of September, HD customers with an HD DVR or an HD set-top box will also have access to this innovative timeshifting technology. Viewers can start over certain shows anytime within its programming viewing window, even if they didn't set their DVR to record it and programs can be restarted multiple times within the TV show's live timeframe. If a customer changes the channel, they can resume watching the first show where they left off, as long as the show is still within its scheduled broadcast timeframe. The Look Back feature allows subscribers to view certain shows that have already aired within the past three days. There will be 95 channels (60 in standard definition/35 in HD) that are Start Over-enabled and 45 Look Back channels (23 SD/22HD) enabled in the Dallas area. Channels such as Bravo, Discovery, USA, Disney, Food Network HD, KXAS HD, History and WFAA HD are some that will be available using these features...On average, more than 45% of Time Warner Cable digital customers in Texas use Start Over or Look Back each month. Channels including FX, MTV, Nickelodeon, History, Cinemax and Starz are among the most popular for Texas customers who use the Start Over feature. Top performers for use of Start Over and/or Look Back per Texas market are typically local broadcast news, premium networks, movie channels and children's programming. Dallas digital cable subscribers with Whole House DVR have the ability to record a program on one DVR and watch it from any set-top box in the home connected to the home network. Whole House DVR customers can also start watching a recorded program in one room and finish watching it in another, record up to two HD shows simultaneously and store up to 75 hours of HD content, or more than 200 hours of standard definition programming. There are currently 112 HD channels in the Dallas area. In addition, customers subscribing to Digital Phone with the Whole House DVR will have access to the popular Caller ID on TV feature. This feature allows customers to see who is calling them on their Time Warner Cable Digital Phone line on their television screen with Caller ID on TV. The feature is free to customers who have both Digital Cable and Digital Phone. Time Warner Cable customers can also see the last 10 phone calls."


North America