Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): ruwido, Mediaset, S3 Group, Spike TV, Loyalize

--ruwido's New Companion Box Connects Smartphones to TV to "Personalize the Viewing Experience"
--Mediaset Selects S3 Group's StormTest as its Multiplatform Test-Automation Solution
--Spike TV Taps Loyalize to Add Real-Time Interactivity to "Deadliest Warrior" Season Finale

Due to the large volume of news generated by the IFA, IBC and CEDIA 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.

  • Austrian remote control company, ruwido (IBC booth: 1.F68), has launched a device, dubbed simply "companion box," that it says connects smartphones to the TV set in the living room in order to individualize content offerings and personalize the viewing experience. "The companion box consists of both hardware and software solutions," the company explains in its press materials. "The hardware component is able to send infra-red (IR) commands and to connect to the living-room WLAN (or set-top box WLAN). The software comes in the form of an application for a smartphone. This software is developed in close cooperation with our customers to enhance their service offers. In the initial version, the companion box enables users to control all their infra-red devices in the living room ranging from the DVD player, sound system and set-top box to controlling lights or a jalousie. Given that the specification is publicly available, devices can also be controlled via WLAN or other RF transmission systems. The application on the smartphone provides the control mechanism for all IR- and RF-controlled devices in the living room. It also enables the use of scenarios to support specialized usages. The party-setting scenario combines a set of commands enabling the user to immediately listen to the music for a party, control the volume directly on the mobile phone and have the TV turned off...A broad variety of tasks is possible through the companion box. IBC 2011 demonstrations will show how the new solution can be used in a number of different scenarios, including: 1) Control of the set-top box and the TV via one central destination on the app (via ruwido's voco media navigation and volume control). 2) Enhancement of content via second screen. The EPG can be improved with detailed information related to a program (for example, go to biography of the actor that plays in the movie). 3) Greater usability of the connected system by allowing users to define 'scenarios.' 4) Direct access to functions that enhance revenue (search movie and directly jump to that title to buy it)." In addition to demo'ing the new companion box and its other products at IBC 2011, ruwido is showcasing what it describes as "concept designs of set-top boxes that show how it believes they could, and should, look in the future. The designs have been matched with ruwido's highly innovative and stylish range of input devices, including the organic haptic device, award-winning 'tau' and the r97 range," the company's press materials continue. "tau's smooth glass-like appearance, in combination with an aluminum side-frame, contributed towards the device being awarded the prestigious red dot design award in July 2010."
  • S3 Group said Thursday that Italian commercial broadcaster, Mediaset, has chosen its StormTest Development Center as its multiplatform test automation solution, following an extensive search process. "StormTest Development Center gives Mediaset the ability to accurately validate that the components in its content-delivery platform, including set-top boxes (STB's), are ready for deployment," S3 states in its press materials. "Mediaset recently began delivering services to additional devices such as Web-connected TV's, PC's, mobile phones and tablets, and selected S3 Group's solution and services to ensure these platforms were developed, deployed and operated successfully. A special challenge for Mediaset was that it recently embarked on building its own branded STB's. Mediaset is among an elite set of operators that have taken on the challenge of developing its own STB's and determined that automated testing using the advanced, flexible StormTest Development Center met their requirements...StormTest Development Center allows automated testing to be executed efficiently and effectively across multiple devices and platforms. Each system will test up to 16 different devices simultaneously, each running different interactive applications and embedded firmware. StormTest Development Center can be integrated with the headend systems to provide end-to-end validation of the content-delivery platform. StormTest Development Center's enterprise-class features include centralized resource management, where testing slots can be pooled across systems and sites, as well as centralized reporting and results management. The comprehensive capabilities of StormTest Development Center, coupled with S3 Group's professional services and integration team, has quickly been embraced by more than 20 of the world's leading digital TV operators and vendors." S3 Group is exhibiting at IBC 2011 (Hall 3, Stand 3.B23): more information on the technologies the company will be demo'ing at the show is available here.
  • Spike TV has tapped participation-TV company, Loyalize, to enhance the live season finale of the show, "Deadliest Warrior," with real-time polls on PC's, tablets and iOS and Android smartphones. The interactive features will be available at "This is not a text-in-your-vote-and-sit-back-and-watch kind of thing," Spike TV's SVP of digital entertainment, Jon Slusser, told Multichannel News's Todd Spangler. "It's a living, breathing tool to gauge the audience sentiment about what they are seeing throughout the show. Real-time, visible fan participation has been written in as a key component of this live broadcast."
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