Interactive TV News Round-Up (III): EchoStar, iPowow, Miss Universe, Liberty, Metrological, Intellicore

--EchoStar Europe Launches Android-Enabled IP Set-Top Box
--iPowow Powers Second-Screen Interactivity for "Miss Universe" Telecast
--Metrological Tapped to Power Web-Based Interactive TV Apps on Liberty Global's Horizon Platform
--Intellicore Develops iPad App for Liberty Global's Horizon Platform

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.

  • EchoStar Europe has launched the HDX-200, an IP set-top box that supports the Android operating system, among other software options. "The unit provides the interface between the Internet or IP network and a consumer's TV screen and as such will appeal to over-the-top (OTT) entertainment providers, digital TV operators--who wish to deploy hybrid IP solutions--and telco, broadband or IPTV operators," the company states in its press materials. "The HDX-200 supports the Android OS including Adobe Flash Player 10.1 and a WebKit-based browser. The Android community-developed and highly efficient suite of application development tools is freely available and provides an extensive, scalable Internet-centric application development platform. This enables an operator to access an extensive pool of experienced and highly skilled entertainment application developers to readily support the supply of engaging apps and services. This new unit is part of an extensive IP roadmap that offers a scalable migration path to products that support the seamless delivery of hybrid, broadband-plus-DVB-broadcast services. Compact in design, the HDX-200 ships with an impressive feature-set enabling operators and service providers to deliver an optimized user experience and high-quality IP video and audio whilst optimizing the available bandwidth to deliver services cost-effectively. Multi-codec support includes MPEG-2, MPEG-4/H.264 AVC, WM-9/VC-1, VP6, AAC and MP3 standards. A wealth of connectivity is offered with interfaces including high-quality HDMI Ethernet 10/100, S/PDIF and USB 2.0, with further options for powerline and wireless networking to the 802.11n standard. The HDX-200 also supports the industry's leading conditional access, digital rights management and middleware solutions and ultra-low power operation to meet European energy efficiency requirements."
  • Second-screen interactive TV specialist, iPowow, contacted [itvt] last week to let us know that it was powering viewer voting during Monday night's Miss Universe telecast. "The collaboration with iPowow takes fan involvement to the next level by allowing viewers to play the role of 'virtual judge,' while watching at home," a press release from the Miss Universe organization explains. "The free Web application will be available at or as soon as the show starts on September 12 at 9:00PM ET on NBC. Viewers can score each contestant on iPowow's 'Second Screen' voting system from their smartphone, tablet or PC. While the fans are ranking each contestant during the live pageant, they can also share their responses via Twitter and Facebook. Meanwhile, the 'fan voting meter' on the home audience's television screen will instantly reveal which contestant is most favored by the fans. The show's celebrity judges will ultimately decide who will be crowned the next Miss Universe. The iPowow technology captivated audiences of the 2011 Miss USA Pageant with more than 12.6 million total votes and an average of 30,000 votes per second."
  • Rotterdam-based Metrological Media Innovations said Monday that international cable operator, Liberty Global, will use its Widget Framework as part of its newly announced next-generation hybrid-TV platform, Project Horizon (note: for more on Project Horizon, see the article published on, September 11th). "The Widget Framework establishes the bridge between Internet-delivered content and pay-TV services in order to provide digital television subscribers a broad range of innovative interactive applications and enhanced services," Metrological states in its press materials. "The Widget Framework will power the App & Widget Store that is part of the new TV platform. In this store, subscribers will be offered a full catalog of Web-based apps and widgets that are seamlessly integrated in the user interface. This brings interactive TV to the next level as the subscriber will be able to access contextual, related apps and widgets, while watching TV and video content at the same time. With the social-media widget, viewers can share whatever they are watching with their friends and recommend it. TV-show related widgets provide background information and the possibility to interact in real time with the TV program without having to move away from the program itself. The Horizon open platform for apps aims to add a new dimension to experiencing TV in the same way that apps have done for smartphones and tablets. The Liberty Global Horizon ecosystem is an open and scalable platform on which developers can continue to improve and enhance the functionality for consumers. Liberty Global is working with the most influential content providers to develop applications for its standards-based 'App Store.' Liberty Global is reaching out to potential content partners and third-party application developers and will soon launch a software developers' kit for Horizon, inviting them to join the existing 60 content partners that already have developed apps for the new platform. Liberty Global selected Metrological's Widget Framework to secure interchangeability of widgets because of its compatibility with existing platforms. Existing apps and widgets, including those based on Yahoo TV Widgets, W3C, HTML5, will run on this platform with limited or no rework. This makes it easier for content providers to develop TV widgets in a market with an increasing number of platforms to choose from."
  • In related news: Intellicore has announced that it is the company that developed the second-screen iPad application for Project Horizon. The app was demo'd during Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries's IBC 2011 keynote. "We are extremely pleased to have completed the first round of development for what we believe is the most sophisticated iPad TV application on the market today," Intellicore CEO, Christian Trotobas, said in a prepared statement. "The application offers a novel TV consumption experience and is securely integrated with the media delivery infrastructure."
North America