Interactive TV News Round-Up (IV): Hillcrest Labs, Humax, SeaChange, tru2way, itaas, Samsung

--Hillcrest Labs Secures New Customers
--New Humax tru2way STB Incorporates SeaChange's Nucleus Hybrid Gateway Software and Nitro Apps
--itaas Wins Samsung's "Free the TV Challenge" Connected-TV App-Development Contest

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.

  • Motion-control technology specialist, Hillcrest Labs, announced a number of new customers Tuesday: 1) LG, which currently uses the company's technology in its line of connected TV's, will use its Freespace MotionEngine software in its new Smart TV Upgrader products in 2012; 2) Warpia will bundle Hillcrest's Scoop pointer and Kylo Web browser in an upcoming product this year; 3) ASUS will include a custom OEM version of the company's Kylo Web browser in its Xtion media center for PC's; and 4) Texas Instruments will include the company's embeddable Freespace Sensor Modules in its latest interactive DLP projector reference designs. In addition, Hillcrest's Freespace MotionEngine and Scoop pointer were named as International CES Innovations 2012 Design and Engineering Awards Honorees.
  • Set-top box manufacturer, Humax, has launched a tru2way set-top at CES, that is targeted at the North American cable market and uses SeaChange's Nucleus Hybrid Gateway software and Nitro applications. The new box "supports cable operators' QAM, IP and transitional video environments and is entering lab testing with a major US cable operator," the companies state in their press materials. "Humax advanced set-top box demonstrations at the SeaChange booth will show home gateway capabilities such as media sharing across multiple DLNA-enabled and IP-connected video devices which include Apple and Android tablets and smartphones as well as game consoles. The new Humax set-top box is powered by the Broadcom BCM7425 Dual HD Transcoding MoCA 2.0 Gateway SoC platform, offering dual HD decoding and dual transcoding support for streaming simultaneous video broadcast content wirelessly to multiple devices; the BCM3128 Full-Band Capture Multi-Receiver SoC; and the BCM3383 DOCSIS 3.0 cable gateway SoC...The new product is a Gateway Server Set-Top Box which includes DOCSIS 3.0 gateway functions using the Broadcom BCM7425 Dual HD Transcoding MoCA 2.0 Gateway solution and provides home-networking service based on multiscreen features and MoCA 2.0. One of the core features is a multiscreen function which transcodes and delivers two HD channel content to various products including tablets, PC's and other mobile devices. MoCA 2.0 benefits include more than double the video bandwidth, increased security and lower power. The built-in eight tuners provide whole-home DVR service and support client set-top boxes in other rooms. Broadcom's Full-Band Capture digital tuning technology directly samples and digitizes the entire 1GHz downstream spectrum of a cable plant, providing access to any channel anywhere and enabling a more efficient distribution of video streams and IP services to connected devices in the home ecosystem. The SeaChange Nucleus software enables the client box to provide same functions of server DVR's. The product also enables users various additional services with HTML5 server capability, tru2way OCAP and open software platform. SeaChange's Nucleus Hybrid Gateway software is the next-generation solution for supporting cable operators' transition from QAM to IP video so operators can offer consumers multiscreen media sharing, whole-home DVR, access to apps and OTT content, using smartphones as remotes and much more. Supporting the SeaChange Nitro Subscriber Experience software and leveraging its open, standards-based approach, SeaChange produced the Nucleus end-to-end solution to blend the proven tru2way interoperability with Internet functionality through HTML5."
  • Interactive TV services company, itaas, contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know that it has been named the winner of Samsung's 2011 "Free the TV Challenge" connected-TV application-developer contest. This year, participants in the contest--which features a prize pool of $225,000--were invited to submit "converged" apps--i.e. apps that "enable interactivity between Samsung Smart TV and multiple screens such as smartphones, tablets or notebooks." The winning app, dubbed Party Shots, is described by Samsung as "a fun interactive way to enhance any party. Users simply download the app onto their smartphones, snap photos at the party and these photos will instantly be posted onto the Samsung Smart TV as part of a dynamic slide show," the company states in its press materials. "Photos may be customized with captions and stored via the app so that they can later be shared over the Web." Said itaas' VP of marketing, Jim Elayan: "For the past 12 years, itaas has always focused on bringing technologies and platforms together to solve a customer's problem. Samsung's challenged companies to find ways to 'free' the TV--making it more than just a display for video. An interesting problem. An easy solution for itaas to provide. And, itaas has the capability to migrate this application to other advanced platforms including those used by cable operators." (Note: The two other finalist apps in the contest were 1) FREQSHO, which Samsung says allows "music fans [to] create their own music channel to stream music from any artist using a smartphone, tablet or TV," and features "an easy-to-use search engine [that] helps users quickly find their favorite artists and social connectivity [that] allows them to follow the latest artist information and tweets in real time"; and 2) Let's Play Stop, described as "an interactive word game that challenges players to come up with words that correspond to a random letter in five categories: country or city, body parts, fruits, colors and animals": the first player to finish a round with as many unique words as possible is the winner.)
North America