Interactive TV News Round-Up (IV): ES3, Pelmorex, Microsoft, Playcast, Bouygues Telecom, Revision3

--ES3, Pelmorex Launch The Weather Channel/MeteoMedia App for Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV Platform
--Playcast Powers Cloud-Based Interactive TV Games Service for Bouygues Telecom
--Revision3's New HTML5 Player Already Carrying 10% of Company's Video Views

Due to the large volume of news generated by the recent 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.

  • At CES earlier this month, interactive TV applications developer, ES3, and Pelmorex, the company that operates Canada's The Weather Network and MeteoMedia channels, launched a The Weather Network/MeteoMedia app for IPTV operators running the Microsoft Mediaroom platform. "Pelmorex and ES3 have partnered to deliver what is believed to be the most compelling, personalized weather application for TV to date," the companies state in their press materials. "The application provides TV users with localized current conditions, short-term and long-term weather information, weather warnings, and seasonal weather information such as ski, pollen and UV reports and more. Save up to nine alternative locations that could include your favorite locations of any major city in the world, in order to plan your travel and vacations in a more informed way. As the partnership evolves, ES3 and Pelmorex will release The Weather Network widget for ES3's TV Dashboard product and The Weather Network application for over-the-top (OTT) TV devices in 2012." Said ES3 CEO, Doug Edwards: "Our partnership with Pelmorex is important to ES3 as it addresses a significant vertical in our content-based TV application strategy. Our 2012 plans and partnering activities will unleash more compelling interactive TV experiences on ES3 application platforms and other devices, leveraging the wealth of information and innovation that Pelmorex offers as a leading Canadian brand and global partner."
  • Cloud-based gaming company, Playcast Media Systems (note: the company was founded by two Harmonic veterans--Guy de Beer, who previously managed that company's VOD product lines, and Natan Peterfreund, who was previously its principal scientist and who is one of the originators of the H.264 compression standard), said Tuesday that French triple-play provider, Bouygues Telecom, has tapped it to power Bbox Games, a new games-on-demand service on its Bbox IPTV service. "For the first time in Europe, Bouygues Telecom triple-play subscribers will be able to play console-quality video games on their TV's without requiring additional hardware," the company states in its press materials. "Bouygues Telecom's Bbox IPTV subscribers will have access to Playcast's cloud gaming service through their set-top box. Bouygues Telecom will introduce the new service this spring. Playcast's service is already live at Portugal Telecom and SingTel in Singapore. Playcast partners with renowned publishers such as Activision, Atari, Capcom, Codemasters, Disney, Sega, THQ, Warner Bros and more, and the service will go live with some of the world's leading game titles, such as 'Street Fighter,' 'Sonic Generations,' 'MotoGP,' 'Call of Duty,' 'Homefront' and 'Lego Batman.'" Said Playcast CEO, de Beer: "France is one of the most advanced markets in the world when it comes to video games and digital TV services. Bouygues Telecom recognizes that it can differentiate itself in a competitive marketplace by offering this new service which features AAA games. We are now bringing high-end games to a more casual audience--for example, users who play games on their mobiles or Facebook but would like to refrain from buying a console and games, particularly when both are soon out of date. Pay-TV subscribers across the world tell us they already have enough boxes and remote controls in their living room. For this audience, the concept of choosing games from their existing EPG is really appealing."
  • Online video programmer, Revision3, said Monday that its HTML5 player, which it launched just three weeks ago, is now responsible for 10% of the company's video views. "While this doesn't sound like a lot," the company's CTO, Rob DeMillo explains in a blog posting, "consider: 1) Android and iOS streaming combined cover 12% of all our views (many mobile views are still downloaded and played, rather than streamed). 2) Our HTML5 player is not yet available on Firefox (we will make it available on the popular browser in Q1 of 2012). 3) New 'leanback experience' set-top boxes are becoming available in 2012 which are HTML5-only devices. Given all of that, 10% in 3 weeks is pretty remarkable. If that adoption rate continues, almost a half of Revision3's views will be coming from HTML5-enabled browsers and devices when we leave 2012 and go into 2013." More information on the Revision3 HTML5 player is available here.
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