Interactive TV News Round-Up (V): never.no, TV 2, Vizrt, Pace, GET

--never.no Powers Broadcast-Synchronized Companion App for TV 2 Norway
--never.no Teams with Vizrt to Demo Synchronized Companion App Framework at IBC 2011
--Pace Powers New Converged Home Service for Norwegian Cable Operator, GET
--Pace Reveals its Exhibit Plans for IBC 2011

Due to the large volume of news generated by the IFA and IBC trade shows--and 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.

  • Norwegian interactive TV company, never.no, says that its Interactivity Suite (IS) was recently used by TV 2 Norway to power a live, broadcast-synchronized companion app for iOS and Android devices. "TV 2 Norway used the IS' new Synchronized Companion App Framework during its live coverage of the Tour de France to enable a completely complementary and immersive two-screen experience," never.no states in its press materials. "The results are in, and they are spectacular: the number of app downloads increased by 267 percent from 2010, while the number of paid VOD users increased by a whopping 533 percent. Synchronized Companion App Framework enables content to be delivered to a tablet, mobile device, or PC in sync with the action on the viewer's television screen. TV 2 developed companion apps especially for the Tour de France, which viewers downloaded to their iPhone, iPad or Android devices before or during the race. Then, using never.no's IS as a framework, TV 2 pushed moment-by-moment stats and other information to viewers to complement what was happening on the TV screen. In addition, never.no's technology allowed producers in the studio to use the apps to interact with the audience via chat and viewer polls relevant to live events...Powered by the never.no IS, Synchronized Companion App Framework monitors frame-by-frame changes in broadcast programming or live production, and then uses the changes to trigger delivery of specified content to the second screen. Additionally the framework provides an active return channel to the broadcaster, making tablets, smartphones, and PC's the perfect peripherals for participation. By using the Synchronized Companion App Framework, broadcasters can develop distinctive, branded applications that push/pull relevant content to and from the second screen, building viewer engagement, loyalty, and value."
  • In other never.no news: At IBC 2011, the company will be teaming with Vizrt on a demo in Vizrt's booth (Hall 2, Stand A31). "During the demo, visitors will see Vizrt touchscreen technology controlling never.no-powered synchronized companion apps as well as social media content, including real-time viewer votes from iPads as they are fed into live graphics displays," the companies state in their press materials. "Viewers will also see how social media data was incorporated live into graphics displays during TV 2 Norway’s Tour de France coverage this summer...Nearly any Vizrt system, like Viz Trio character generation software or the Viz Anchor iPad application, can be used to trigger elements within a companion application for Facebook, the iPhone, or other new media and devices via the never.no Framework. This framework monitors changes frame-by-frame within the broadcast production and makes changes within the application, ensuring constant synchronization with broadcast content. The never.no applications seamlessly integrate with Vizrt graphics systems to feed real-time social and user-generated data into live, on-air graphics. This enables viewer polls and other spontaneous viewer feedback to be displayed within on-air graphics...The IBC2011 demo will also feature technology from two other Vizrt partners: Molden Media and Reaktor--both of which contributed to the development of the iPad app that enables on-air talent to control graphical displays using an iPad." Said Vizrt CTO, Petter Ole Jakobsen: "Because of the seamless, end-to-end integration between never.no technology and Vizrt graphics systems, Vizrt users can even control the second screen right from within their Vizrt systems. Integration from capture to display, coupled with customizable user-settings, makes this combination of never.no and Vizrt technology particularly powerful and practical for broadcasters who want to harness social media and deliver interactive content across multiple platforms."
  • Pace has announced that it has been tapped by Norwegian cable operator, GET, to develop the platform for its new converged home service. "The hardware platform, incorporating Pace's new next-generation Media Gateway and companion HD client device, will deliver media content and data to a variety of devices, giving subscribers the freedom to utilize GET's services when and where they want around the home," Pace states in its press materials. "Using the Pace converged home platform, GET will offer over 440,000 subscribers a wider range of linear, OTT and on-demand content, applications and data services than ever before. The Pace Media Gateway will provide a central hub in consumers' homes for the delivery and remote management of these services. The Media Gateway can repurpose content for different screens, to deliver a tailored, consistently enjoyable experience anywhere in the home, across TV's, tablets, laptops and handheld consumer electronic devices. The new Pace companion HD client device can be used in different capacities to give GET ultimate flexibility in how it rolls out its new services to consumers. It is able to act as a standalone cable or IP set-top box, or as a WiFi-enabled client device in an advanced home networking solution. As part of the home networking solution, subscribers can use the client device anywhere in the home to view content hosted centrally on the Media Gateway. The client device provides powerful media processing and digital connectivity capabilities in an extremely compact, stylish and low-power design, delivering brand appeal and energy efficiency...The Pace converged Home Media Gateway's advanced video processing capabilities and DOCSIS 3.0 modem support ultra-fast downloading and streaming of media content, expanding the range of content that GET can offer subscribers while maintaining a high-quality viewing experience. The platform offers dual-band WiFi and Ethernet connectivity and distributes data using wireless networking to allow maximum flexibility for how content is delivered into and around the home."
  • In other Pace news: The company has announced its exhibit plans for IBC 2011 (Hall 1, B19). According to the company, highlights of its exhibit will include: "1) Cutting-edge set-top box and gateway devices, including a new set of powerful HD set-top boxes that can be used as IP clients within a home network. 2) The Pace Media Gateway, a highly advanced next-generation smartbox that seamlessly interconnects pay-TV and broadband content with any screen in the home, opening up new revenue opportunities for operators. 3) Elements software platform, which supports the design, delivery and management of digital content and services into and around the home to ensure an outstanding consumer experience anywhere, anytime, across any device. 4) Examples of leading-edge customer services, enabled by Pace technology and support. IBC will also provide the first view of Pace's full service range, designed to support operators as they plan, launch, support and expand subscriber services," the company's press materials continue. "The portfolio has been built out of Pace's extensive experience of delivering digital services to broadcast and broadband operators throughout the world, and includes product delivery, technically skilled call centers and other customer care support, and consulting services. IBC 2011 marks a milestone for Pace, as the company delivers on its strategy to broaden out its capabilities beyond its core set-top box business into gateways, smartboxes, software and services. At the same time, Pace’s traditional business has continued to grow; the company remains the global market leader in set-top boxes and has now shipped over 120 million set-top boxes (STB's) globally, underlining Pace's global leadership in the digital TV market."
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