Interactive TV News Round-Up (I): AOL, Huffington Post, Sony, Boxee, Facebook

--AOL HD App Launches on Sony Connected-TV Devices
--Report: AOL's Huffington Post Media Group to Launch Live, Interactive Online News Channel
--Boxee Launches Facebook App
--Boxee's VP of International Quits to Start Connected-TV Company

Due to the large volume of news generated by last 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 more 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.

  • AOL said Wednesday that its AOL HD app is now available for download on Sony connected-TV devices, including Bravia Internet TV's, Blu-ray players and Home Theater in a Box systems. The app--which has previously launched on the Samsung Smart TV, Google TV, Roku, Boxee, DivX TV and Yahoo! Connected TV platforms--features daily-updated HD programming on technology, lifestyles, celebrities and entertainment, from AOL Huffington Post Media Group properties, including Engadget, TechCrunch, Translogic, Moviephone and Huffington Post Celebrity. "Today's announcement signals AOL HD's commitment to creating an interactive and engaging environment that takes our incredible video from the Web to the living room," AOL HD general manager, Robert Delacruz, said in a prepared statement. "Sony is one of the premier consumer electronics brands innovating the way content is delivered to your living room. So extending AOL HD across their product line-up allows us to meet the growing consumer demand for free HD video content via their connected-TV devices--and we've made discovering new content as easy as the click of a remote."
  • In related news: Forbes reported earlier this week that AOL's Huffington Post Media Group plans to launch a live, interactive OTT news channel, called Huffington Post Streaming Network (HPSN). Among other things, Forbes claims, the channel will hold editorial meetings on-camera, allowing viewers to interact with its editors and reporters via social media; and will also incorporate social-media feedback from viewers into its broadcasts.
  • At CES last week, Boxee launched a Facebook app which it bills as "extend[ing its new] Live TV [dongle] beyond your living room and onto your Facebook Timeline. Boxee was built from the ground up to allow you to share with friends and receive video recommendations from them," the company's head of marketing, Andrew Kippen, wrote on its blog. "With a Boxee Box and Live TV there's nearly an infinite amount of video to watch. To help you sift through it all, we're taking social one step further. Boxee is one of the first TV apps to let you share what you're watching on your Timeline and to help you sort through what's on. The new TV app for Facebook Timeline will make it easy to discover new video with friends and share the experience with them. Let me show you what we're talking about. I've got Boxee Live TV tuned into 'Parks and Recreation.' After 2 minutes of watching, Boxee can post this to Facebook if I've given permission to do so and it appears...first in ticker, then my timeline, and finally in aggregate. If friends click on the link, they're taken to a brand new landing page with more information about the show, including the episode and season information. In this way, I can 'check into' a show. These features are opt-in of course, so people will never know what you're watching, unless you really want them to. You can always edit your settings from your Application Settings Page on Facebook, or can remove specific activity directly from timeline or from your personal Activity Log on Facebook. And this new Timeline app will allow us to display what friends are watching in Live TV channel listings." In related news: On Thursday, Facebook announced that a number of other TV-related companies are launching Timeline apps, including zeebox, Snapstick, Netflix, Hulu, Dailymotion and Cinemur (French online video rental service).
  • In other Boxee news: 1) The company's VP of international, Wil Stephens, who was its first European hire, is stepping down after less than a year in order to form his own gaming and connected-TV start-up, C21 Media's Andrew McDonald reported Thursday. "We're aiming to launch probably mid-February, but probably our products won't be ready for another few months," Stephens told C21 Media. 2) The company participated in Wednesday's protest against SOPA by placing three "Stop SOPA" signs on the home page of its Boxee Box, that directed users to a video outlining problems with the proposed anti-piracy legislation. TechCrunch's Matt Burns has more.
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