Interactive TV News Round-Up (I): Accedo Broadband, Roku, ActiveVideo, P&F, Philips, Amazon

--Accedo Broadband Launches Interactive TV Casual Games on Roku 2
--ActiveVideo's CloudTV Technology and TAG Games Now Available on Philips Connected-TV Sets
--Amazon Instant Video Now Offers 100,000+ Titles, Amazon Prime 9,000+ Titles

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been on the road the past few weeks--as well as working on TVOT NYC Intensive 2011--we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format. We anticipate that it will take us a few more days to catch up with all the recent news: so if your company has sent us a press release or briefed us on an announcement, and you don't yet see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us.

  • Stockholm-based interactive TV applications developer, Accedo Broadband, has launched a selection of its Funspot casual games on Roku's recently launched Roku 2 platform. "Accedo's Funspot portfolio of games contains a range of casual games including board, arcade, strategy and puzzles," the company states in its press materials. "The entire game portfolio has been designed to work well in a living room environment with remote control interaction...Seven Accedo games are now available to Roku 2 customers for $0.99 each, and include the following titles: 'Kaboom,' 'Sudoku,' 'Patience,' 'Rockswap Adventures,' 'Texas Hold’Em,' 'Mahjong Fruits' and 'Dracula's Coffin.' Additional Accedo games will be available in the future. The games can be purchased in the Roku Channel Store and can be played with or without the game remote that comes included with the Roku 2 XS player." Said Accedo CEO, Michael Lantz: "Casual games are popular TV applications, and we think that the new Roku 2 devices are very attractive for our range of Funspot games. Initially, we are launching a range of games from categories like board, arcade, puzzle, casino and cards, which we think will be an excellent complement to the Roku experience."
  • P&F, a Funai Electric subsidiary that is the exclusive licensee for Philips televisions in North America, is now offering ActiveVideo Networks' TAG Games (note: the games are powered by ActiveVideo's CloudTV technology, which P&F appears to be planning to use to enable additional interactive TV applications in the future) on its new Philips 4000 and 5000 connected-TV sets. "Now consumers can play more than a dozen different games such as 'Sudoku,' 'Club 21,' 'Mummy Maze' or 'High Stakes Hold 'Em' on the TV by themselves, with a family member or with someone a thousand miles away via Internet connectivity," P&F states in its press materials. "So even those who have the highest score in the house on 'Bejeweled 2' can still take their game to the next level by competing with others all around the globe. These sets also feature Philips MediaConnect, which allows consumers to wirelessly connect the PC to the TV for unlimited access to online movies, photos, documents, videos, social networking and more. The PC is mirrored on the TV screen and the entire Internet is one click away...The new 4000 and 5000 series offer wireless connectivity to allow consumers to not only surf the Web, but also play games with far away friends or test their skills with someone they have never met. There are 13 games available and the convenience of WiFi allows for easy updates as more games and apps are added. In addition to gaming, Philips TV's feature NetTV, which instantly connects consumers wirelessly to a world of services including Netflix, Vudu, Facebook, Film Fresh, Pandora, Twitter and more. V-tuner Internet radio expands consumers' entertainment options allowing the ability to tune into to a host of worldwide radio broadcasts. The addition of the CloudTV service gives consumers the most powerful smart-TV tool available to explore and add a host of applications for maximum access to TV shows, movies and more. P&F continues to explore new partnerships with entertainment and shopping outlets to continue adding apps to the NetTV window." Said P&F's SVP of sales and marketing, Todd Richardson: "Consumers want to do more than just watch TV, and the addition of TAG Games affirms our commitment to creating the ultimate entertainment experience for consumers. Our MediaConnect option leads the way as the only solution on the market that delivers a simple, integrated solution allowing consumers to access all their PC content without boundaries. These sets are also packed with Vudu and Facebook, as well as the world's first connected-TV apps to be powered by ActiveVideo's CloudTV platform, and we are adding more daily. Whether it's family photos, personal documents, social media or online videos, if consumers can access it on a personal computer, they can now enjoy it on their TV as well, wirelessly."
  • Amazon said Thursday that its transactional Amazon Instant Video service now offers more than 100,000 movies and TV shows, and that its subscription-based Amazon Prime streaming video service now offers over 9,000 titles (note: as of last February, the services offered 90,000 and 5,000 titles respectively). "With Amazon Instant Video, customers can rent or purchase new-release movies starting at just $3.99, stream popular TV shows the day after they first air, and access their purchased video content from a cloud-based video library on any compatible device," the company states in its press materials. "Movies and TV shows from Amazon can be viewed on a Mac, PC or directly on a TV with any of the 300 compatible models of Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes from partners including LG, Logitech, Panasonic, Roku, Samsung, Sony, Tivo and Vizio...Amazon Prime is a membership program that gives customers unlimited free two-day shipping with no minimum purchase for only $79 a year. Millions of items are eligible, including books, home and garden products, electronics, video games, clothing, accessories and beauty products. With Prime instant videos, free trial and paid Amazon Prime members in the US also have unlimited instant access to more than 9,000 movies and TV shows at no additional cost." Said Amazon's director of video, Steve Oliver: "We are focused on offering our customers the very best selection and are always working to expand our already extensive list of great video content. The 100,000 titles on Amazon Instant Video range from new hit blockbusters to old favorites, with more than 15,000 of those titles available in HD, and popular TV shows available the day after they first air. On top of that, Amazon Prime members have the added benefit of unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of more than 9,000 Prime instant videos at no additional cost."

North America