Midcontinent Taps SeaChange for Major HD VOD Expansion

--Round-Up of Recent SeaChange News
VOD, IPTV and digital advertising technology provider, SeaChange International, said Thursday that its software and systems are being used by Midcontinent Communications, a cable operator that operates networks in North and South Dakota and Minnesota and that serves around 240,000 subscribers, for a major project that has seen Midcontinent significantly increasing the amount of HD content available to its subscribers from its centralized VOD operation. According to SeaChange, Midcontinent has added nearly 9,000 hours of...

Microsoft, Endemol UK Team on Interactive Sci-Fi Series

Microsoft's MSN service has teamed with Endemol UK and Pure Grass Films on an interactive sci-fi series, called "Kirill." The series consists of 10 three-minute episodes, hosted on MSN Video (it can be viewed in HD quality by downloading Microsoft Silverlight) and supplemented by various blogs, images, "secret" Web sites, and additional audio and video files scattered throughout the Internet. It tells the story of a man who is trying to make contact with a...

Ocean Blue Launches Free App for HD MHEG Development

--Launches New Software for HDTV Sets Bristol, UK-based digital TV software provider, Ocean Blue, has launched a new, free-to-use application which it says will allow digital TV developers using the MHEG standard to design more compelling applications for HDTV. According to the company, MHEGHD Demo, as the new app is called, allows developers to see how their applications will look to viewers, thus enabling them to ensure that their designs are as user-friendly as possible...

TiVo News:

--Signs New HD DVR Deal with DirecTV
--Signs Deal to Bring TiVo Services to BlackBerry
--Launches High-Capacity HD DVR
--Partners with Entertainment Weekly TiVo and US satellite TV provider, DirecTV, have extended their existing partnership with a new, non-exclusive deal that calls for the companies to develop, market and distribute a new TiVo-powered HD DVR service to DirecTV customers. The deal also extends various mutual intellectual property arrangements between...

Alticast Tapped by Korea's SkyLife, Taiwan's kbro

--Company Showcases New Technologies at IBC

Sling Media Launches HD-Capable Slingbox

TV place-shifting company, Sling Media (note: the company is a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corp.; for more news on the latter, see article in this issue), last week launched a new version of its flagship Slingbox product that is capable of "slinging" both standard- and high-definition streams. Dubbed Slingbox PRO-HD and priced at $299.99, the new box can stream HD content from multiple home television sources, including over-the-air HD digital signals (ATSC), digital cable...

Interview: John Callahan, CTO of ActiveVideo Networks

ActiveVideo Networks (formerly ICTV) recently appointed interactive TV pioneer,
John Callahan, as its CTO. Callahan previously spent 15 years at Time Warner
Cable, where he was involved in many of the operator's interactive TV and
VOD initiatives, and where he served most recently as SVP of software
engineering for its Advanced Technology Group. He was a significant
contributor to the creation of the Time Warner Cable Pegasus digital television
system architecture, and to such seminal interactive TV technologies and
standards as the Interactive Services Architecture (ISA), VOD, OCAP and

OpenTV News:

--NBC Universal in Deal to Use Company's OpenTV Participate Platform

--Brazilian Cable Operator Taps Company to Power HD PVR Service

--Company's EclipsePlus Campaign Management Solution Now Available

--STMicroelectronics Joins Company's Rapid Porting Program

Interactive TV software provider, OpenTV (note: voting control of the
company was acquired last year by content-protection specialist, the
Kudelski Group), has...

DirecTV Launches French Open Tennis, GameSearch Applications

Satellite TV provider, DirecTV, recently offered an interactive TV
application to accompany its coverage of the French Open tennis
tournament. Dubbed French Open Interactive and available from May
25th through June 1st, the application was developed by DirecTV in
partnership with the Tennis Channel and ESPN2. It offered complete
coverage of play on five courts during the tournament's first six days,
and eight hours of coverage on Saturday, May 31st and Sunday, June
1st: according to DirecTV, the service offered a total of 350 hours of
tournament coverage. At the core of the service was a "mix" channel
that allowed viewers to watch up to six live matches simultaneously,

DigiSoft in IPTV Deals with Sun Microsystems, Video Ezy

Cork, Ireland-based interactive TV and IPTV technology provider,
DigiSoft (note: the company, which has racked up some significant
successes in the Italian market, also operates offices in the US, the UK,
Singapore and New Zealand; for an in-depth interview with its CEO,
John Allen, see [itvt] Issue 6.40), announced earlier this month that it
has signed a global "Binary Value Added Partner" agreement with Sun
Microsystems for the distribution of a Java Platform Micro Edition
(Java ME)-based software stack for IPTV set-top boxes. The company
claims that the combination of Sun's Java technology-based media
client and its own middleware solution for IPTV set-tops will enable
service providers to quickly launch feature-rich, revenue-generating