Interactive TV News Round-Up (V): Hulu, IP Vision, Panasonic, LG, Philips, Sharp

--Hulu Launches Subscription Service in Japan
--IP Vision's FetchTV Service to Be Offered via App on Panasonic's Viera Connected-TV Platform
--LG, Philips and Sharp to Work Together to Define Common Standards for Connected-TV Apps

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been 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 several 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.

  • As expected (see the article published on, August 11th), Hulu has launched a subscription-based streaming video service in Japan, marking its first international expansion. Subscribers will be able to access a range of TV episodes and movies "on a wide variety of Internet-connected devices including connected TV's, PC's, tablets and smartphones [note: it will also shortly be available on a number of gaming consoles, Hulu says], without advertising, for 1,480 Yen per month," the company states in its press materials. "For the launch of the subscription service in Japan, Hulu has secured licensing deals with top film studios and TV networks including CBS, NBCUniversal International Television Distribution, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company (Japan) featuring content from Disney/ABC Television Group and The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Bros. Additional content will be rapidly and continually added to the service, including Japanese-produced content and content from across the Asian region...For the launch, Hulu has entered into an exclusive mobile marketing partnership with Japan's largest mobile network, NTT Docomo. Details of this relationship will be unveiled shortly."
  • IP Vision--a company which is backed by French set-top box vendor, Netgem, and which offers a hybrid-TV service, called FetchTV, that combines reception of linear channels from the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial platform, Freeview, with OTT access to pay-per-view and subscription-based online video services, as well as to free, online programming catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer--has announced that, starting this fall, its content portal will be available via an app on Panasonic Viera Connect TV sets in the UK and Ireland. "Viewers will be able to access a range of FetchTV's specialist TV channels as well as thousands of hours of on-demand content that comprise the FetchTV content portal," IP Vision states in its press materials. "The FetchTV app has been customized for Panasonic Viera Connect service in order to provide the best possible user experience by simplifying the content-discovery process. Viewers can watch trailers, sample services and select and view FetchTV content, all via a single, easy-to-use application. The FetchTV application will also be made available via Panasonic Blu-ray players at a later date. Via IP Vision's agreements with leading content providers, the FetchTV content portal will offer Panasonic Viera owners on-demand access--on a pay-per-view or mini-subscription basis--to the latest movies and TV shows from Walt Disney, Paramount Pictures, National Geographic, Playboy and others." Said IP Vision's commercial director, David Bloom: "Connected TV is the next logical step for IP Vision as a company and FetchTV as a service, and represents a new era of convenience for TV viewers. It instantly offers enhanced choice of content for the consumer, enabling viewers to pick and choose the best of broadcast and the best of online, while enjoying it all on state-of-the-art display technology."
  • LG Electronics, Philips and Sharp have agreed to collaborate to define common technical standards for apps on their connected TV's, based upon open standards such as HTML5, CE-HTML and HbbTV, LG announced on its corporate blog, Thursday. "The group's first step will be to introduce the first beta version of a common software development kit (SDK), which highlights the need to define the technical requirements that would allow content developers to create a single application that can run on Smart TV's from LG, Philips and Sharp Aquos Net+," LG's blog post continues. "The initiative aims to simplify the way applications are developed and offered, increasing productivity of the application ecosystem for the smart-TV industry. Currently, application developers must spend much time and effort porting and testing their applications on different platforms. By simplifying this step, developers will be able to spend more time actually creating applications such as movies-on-demand, music services, games and social networking services. And developers will be able to maximize their reach across smart TV's on different TV platforms, giving more consumers access to a wider variety of content...LG, Philips and Sharp invite other smart-TV makers and application developers to participate in the initiative and provide ideas for simplifying the development process while improving the user experience. The beta version of the common SDK will be released in early October."

North America