Interactive TV News Round-Up (VIII): PlayJam, Rovi, Sagemcom, RVU, DLNA, Softel, Tapcast.TV

--PlayJam Names Games-Industry Figures to its Board, Receives Investment from LVP
--Rovi in DivX Plus HD Deal with Sagemcom
--RVU Alliance Remote User Interface Included in DLNA Interoperability Guidelines
--Softel CEO, Sam Pemberton, to Present at NAB
--TapCast.TV Launches Social-TV Platform

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been working on The TV of Tomorrow Show 2012, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format.

  • Interactive TV games company, PlayJam, has added three senior games-industry executives to its board and advisory board: Tony Bartel, president of GameStop; Charles Huang, co-founder of Red Octane; and Chris Lee, co-founder of FreeStyleGames and Media Molecule. The company has also received an investment from London Venture Partners (LVP), a specialist investor in the games sector. More information on the new board members is available here.
  • Rovi said Monday that French set-top box manufacturer, Sagemcom, has signed a DivX technology licensing agreement and integrated DivX Plus HD support into its BPRSI88-250 HD TNTSAT set-top. According to the company, the box is the first DivX Plus HD Certified set-top for the European market. "Whether the content is on optical disc, USB drive, or streamed wirelessly between devices over a home network using DLNA, devices certified for the DivX Plus HD profile can easily play back personal and protected Hollywood entertainment in DivX (.divx and .avi) and DivX Plus HD (.mkv) formats," Rovi states in its press materials. "DivX Plus HD certification offers stunning visual quality and supports video resolutions up to 1080p. DivX Certified devices contain digital rights management technology to enable the secure playback of premium content in the DivX format, making it easy for consumers to enjoy video entertainment across an extensive, multi-manufacturer ecosystem of consumer electronics devices."
  • The RVU Alliance (note: the latter is an industry group that seeks to encourage adoption of a client/server-based technology--dubbed "RVU"--which is designed to allow TV viewers to experience a consistent, pixel-accurate, server-generated user interface across various CE client devices) said Monday that its Remote User Interface (RUI) has been incorporated into the Digital Living Network Alliance's (DLNA) Interoperability Guidelines. "DLNA understands that today's consumers aren't tied to the living room for watching movies," DLNA chairman and president, Nidhish Parikh, said in a prepared statement. "They expect to be able to access the premium content that they receive from their service provider subscriptions on a multitude of devices. By incorporating RVU RUI into our Interoperability Guidelines, we're providing consumers with new, innovative ways to connect and consume their digital content. Imagine being able to access DVR functionality on a non-DVR device. RVU RUI makes this possible and can now be included in DLNA Certified products."
  • Softel contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know that its CEO, Sam Pemberton, will be delivering a session at the 2012 NAB show, at 4:00PM on Sunday April 15th, entitled "Using State of the Art (Including Speech Analysis Technology) to Reduce the Cost of Captioning/Subtitling Creation and Repurposing." "In this session, Pemberton will give an overview of the most recent technology developments that are helping broadcasters stay ahead of the curve in the face of ever-increasing legislative and business pressures," Softel states in its press materials. "In particular, Pemberton will review emerging automatic file-timing solutions that can automatically re-sync captions and subtitles after content edits, thus considerably reducing operational costs. Broadcasters today must support more channels and formats on an increasingly wide variety of platforms, such as the Web, iPads/tablets and mobile phones, and within very tight budgets. Meanwhile, important mandates for content accessibility (such as the Accessibility Act in the United States) are becoming more stringent and have been extended to include emerging platforms. To optimize revenue, broadcasters are delivering more multilanguage channels using captioning and subtitling to reach a wider audience. Cost-effective captioning and subtitling is a key challenge for broadcasters evolving to meet these demands, and so the session will offer practical steps to assist the modern broadcaster."
  • Toronto-based start-up, TapCast.TV, contacted [itvt] last week to let us know about its recently launched "turn-key" social-TV platform, which it is targeting at broadcasters, advertisers and content producers. "A platform that drives increased viewership to traditional TV by providing engaging experiences via a second screen, TapCast provides social and interactive experiences via smartphones and tablets in synchronization with broadcast TV and live events," the company states in its press materials. "TapCast's platform allows programming from broadcasters, content producers, cable networks and other video providers to become more social, interactive, personalized, and connected with viewing audiences...TapCast's platform features enhance Web, mobile, and connected-TV apps to enable viewers to discover new shows based on what their friends like on Facebook, interact with shows via live polls and contests, buy what they see on TV, view the schedules of their favorite shows, set reminders, and post messages related to the show they are watching via Twitter and Facebook. The following are some popular features that broadcasters can offer their audiences by integrating TapCast's turn-key solution: 1) Social Chat: allows users to view Twitter and Facebook posts about a show and engage in two-way conversations via Twitter and Facebook at the same time. 2) Friends: displays all of the viewer's friends that 'Like' the show. The viewer can post messages and send recommendations with show times and descriptions. 3) Interactive: provides synchronized interactive content to TV viewers--live voting, tcommerce, real-time polls, or interactive ads and discounts can be offered for each episode that airs. Broadcasters have the ability to create interactive content via TapCast's proprietary Content Management System. 4) Show Metadata: TapCast displays metadata related to shows and specific episodes currently airing or upcoming. TapCast uses television metadata from Rovi, a global leader in digital entertainment technology solutions. TapCast receives television metadata through Rovi Cloud Services to power its Web site."
North America