Interactive TV News Round-Up (V): Orange TVcheck, PlayJam, RGB Networks

--Orange to Launch Social-TV App, TVcheck, in the UK
--PlayJam Names Senior BBC Executive, Charles Tigges, Chief Commercial Officer
--RGB's TransAct Packager Adds "Just-in-Time-Packaging" for VOD, NDVR and TVE Delivery

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.

  • France Telecom's Orange brand plans to bring its automatic content recognition (ACR)-enabled social-TV app, TVcheck, to the UK. The app--which is currently available in the Apple App Store and an Android version of which is slated to launch in the coming weeks--uses image- rather than audio-based ACR technology: users point their smartphone's camera at their TV set in order to check-in to a TV show. According to Orange, it will work in conjunction with 25 channels on the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial platform, Freeview.
  • Interactive TV games company, PlayJam, has named former BBC head of TV business development, Charles Tigges, chief commercial officer. The appointment "swiftly follows the recent appointment of games-industry veterans to PlayJam's board and advisory, namely GameStop president, Tony Bartel; co-founder of Red Octane, Charles Huang; and Chris Lee, co-founder of FreeStyleGames and Media Molecule," the company states in its press materials. "Charles held senior positions at BSkyB and Cablecom GmbH prior to joining the BBC. In charge of their business development division, he drove notable smart-TV projects, including the award-winning BBC iPlayer as well as BBC News and Sports products, now available via hundreds of TV devices and game consoles globally. Charles has extensive deal-making and product strategy experience across both digital and broadcast industries across Europe, particularly with maximizing the value of entertainment via cross-platform media."
  • RGB Networks, a provider of multiscreen IP video delivery solutions, has added "just-in-time packaging" (JITP) to its TransAct Packager. "This new technology enables video service providers (VSP's) to deliver adaptive bitrate video-on-demand (VOD), network digital video recorder (NDVR) and TV Everywhere services without pre-packaging all their video assets in each of the adaptive streaming protocols, thus reducing the need for costly storage and network bandwidth, and allowing VSP's to more quickly and cost-effectively expand their TV Everywhere libraries," the company states in its press materials. "Consumer demand for watching programming anywhere, anytime, on any device and over any network is growing rapidly and cable television operators and other VSP's are racing to provide comprehensive multiscreen TV Everywhere services to satisfy their subscribers. One of the keys to delivering TV Everywhere is the 'packaging' of each program into Apple HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), Microsoft Smooth Streaming, Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS), and the newly-ratified MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (MPEG DASH)--the four major adaptive streaming protocols necessary to support the exploding number of tablets, such as the iPad, smartphones, PC's and other mobile devices, as well as set-top boxes. However, before packaging, VSP's must first create a number of 'profiles' of each program, based on the devices to which they're delivering. Each profile is optimized for viewing on a particular type of device (e.g. smartphone, tablet, laptop, PC, etc.) and for a given bitrate. This is to ensure the best possible picture quality on all viewing devices and to accommodate fluctuations in available bandwidth. This requirement for multiple profiles of each program, combined with the need to save copies of every profile in various streaming protocols, requires a substantial amount of storage and forces VSP's to dramatically increase their storage capacity as they add new programs to their TV Everywhere libraries. The TransAct Packager's new JITP capabilities specifically address this issue. Rather than having to pre-package all the profiles of every one of their programs in all adaptive streaming protocols, VSP's simply package programs in real time into the appropriate protocol only when that content is requested by viewers on a specific device. This JITP substantially reduces the need to add additional storage and enables VSP's to manage their storage and bandwidth costs as their libraries of content available for multiscreen distribution grow...With a simple licensing structure, JITP capabilities can be added to the TransAct Packager at any time without an expensive or labor-intensive hardware upgrade or replacement. In addition, the TransAct Packager with JITP capabilities can encrypt content with industry-standard AES-128 and can be integrated with leading key management server (KMS) vendors, enabling viewing by only authorized client players across the HLS, SS and HDS adaptive streaming formats. It also supports closed captioning (608/708) for HLS, SS and Adobe HDS." Last week, RGB announced that the TransAct Packager supports the MPEG DASH protocol.
North America