Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): Peel, Roku, Showtime, AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS

--Version 2.0 of Peel's iOS App Adds Social-TV Features
--Roku Launches in the UK and Ireland
--Roku Appoints Clive Hudson to Head Up its European Operations
--Showtime Anytime "TV Everywhere" Service Now Available on iPad

Due to the large volume of news being generated by this week's 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format. We anticipate that it will take us several days to process all the news from the show: 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. While the [itvt] editorial team catches up with CES news, please check out the live Twitter coverage of the show from [itvt] bloggers, Will Keller and Zachary Weiner, by following the @tswedlow Twitter feed.

  • Programming-discovery company, Peel, has launched version 2.0 of its flagship free iOS app, which now features a social-TV platform. "With millions of recommended shows viewed, Peel now enables users to share their favorite shows and 'Guilty Pleasures' as well as see what their friends and family are watching, follow contacts, post recommendations and comment on posts," the company states in its press materials. "Whether using as a standalone app or paired with Peel's Smart Remote device, Peel eliminates the need for complicated TV listings and brings users closer to the shows they love. Peel makes it easy to discover your next favorite show with customized programming recommendations in an elegant and intuitive application. Peel 2.0 connects users to their social network to share their viewing experiences and take TV watching to a whole new level of community engagement. Conversations about TV have traditionally been a 'water cooler' experience. People often learn about new shows they may want to watch from friends and family. Peel is harnessing that social behavior by bringing those conversations into the Peel App experience. Users can see what their friends are watching and marking as their favorite shows. This new social curation complements Peel's intelligent algorithm-driven TV recommendations, offering users two tiers of compelling recommendations...Peel 2.0 enables users to sign up within the app or to create an account using their Facebook login. When users log into Peel Social TV they will see an activity feed of recommendations from people they follow as well as responses to recommendations. Users can share why a show is worth watching (or not) as well as their thoughts on news, sports and movies. When users list a new favorite show or 'Guilty Pleasure,' the activity is posted to their activity feed. Users can see when they have a new follower, enabling them to share Guilty Pleasures, Favorite Programs, Recommendations, Last 5 Shows Watched and Most Watched Shows."
  • OTT specialist, Roku, said Tuesday that its streaming players are now available for purchase in the UK and Ireland. Currently, only two of the company's products are for sale in those countries (via the Roku LT (supports up to 720p HD) and the Roku 2XS (supports up to 1080p HD). "Roku currently features more than 40 channels of content in the UK and Ireland including on-demand films and programs from Netflix and Crackle (Crackle is currently not available in Ireland); live and on-demand sports from MLB.TV and Ultimate Fighting Championship organization; music from Classical TV and TuneIn; photos and videos from Facebook and Flickr; news and entertainment from WSJ Live from the Wall Street Journal, and others from around the world--plus casual games like 'Angry Birds,'" the company states in its press materials. "Roku expects to announce additional major content channels by the time its players ship to customers in the UK and Ireland." The suggested retail prices for the Roku LT and the Roku 2 XS are £49.99 and £99.99 respectively, and both models are expected to ship at the end of the month.
  • In other Roku news: The company has appointed Clive Hudson to head up its European operations. Hudson, who is based in the UK, previously worked at Avid Technology and Aver Media. C21Media's Andrew McDonald has more.


  • Showtime Networks on Tuesday launched an iPad app for its Showtime Anytime "TV Everywhere" service, and announced that Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse now support the service. "Showtime subscribers will need to present credentials supplied by their television provider to watch programs on Showtime Anytime," the company states in its press materials. "Once a user has been authenticated as a Showtime subscriber, they will be able to browse the service on their iPads or online at Showtime Anytime iPhone and Android applications will be available in early 2012. AT&T U-Verse and Verizon FiOS customers can now enjoy Showtime programming online or on their iPads, as the distributors become the newest affiliates to offer Showtime Anytime. Comcast customers can also access the service through Xfinity TV's online service at, and the Showtime Anytime app will be launched soon to their subscribers. Additional participating MSO's will be announced at a later and its iPad app provide users with an intuitive navigation that makes it easy to find, catch-up on and discover Showtime programs. The 'My List' feature enables subscribers to customize their viewing experience, by creating a personalized list of programs to watch. Subscribers can also opt to have new episodes of their favorite Showtime series automatically added to 'My List' as they premiere on the network. The 'play shifting' option allows subscribers to pause a program on one device and pick up where they left off on another. Users can also 'like' or 'follow' their favorite Showtime series on Facebook and Twitter, and 'share' or 'tweet' about their favorite episodes."

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