June 2010

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Comcast Unveils Summer Line-Up of Children's Programming Available On-Demand and Online

Comcast on Tuesday unveiled the line-up of children's programming that it will be offering this summer on its VOD platform and online. According to the company--which claims that its customers watch over 25 million hours of children's VOD programming each month (note: the company says that around 1,500 children's programs are available on Comcast On Demand)--the line-up includes TV series, new-release and classic movies, and programming devoted to family games, fitness, crafts, cooking, magic, dance, drawing lessons and more. "We always have something for everyone in the family, and a lot of it," Diana Kerekes, Comcast's VP of entertainment services, said in a prepared statement.

XStreamHD in Deal with EchoStar to Power its Satellite-Delivered HD Movies-on-Demand Service

XStreamHD, a company that is developing a satellite-delivered 1080p HD movies-on-demand service, said Tuesday that it has signed a long-term satellite service agreement with EchoStar's EchoStar Satellite Services subsidiary. XStreamHD says that it has been working with EchoStar for the past two years in order to complete operational testing of the transport technology that underlies its service: it is using capacity from the EchoStar-leased AMC-16 satellite, which is located at 85 degrees west longitude and which it says enables it to offer "exceptional coverage" across North America. According to the company, the new agreement will allow it to increase its capacity on the AMC-16 satellite as its transport needs grow over time.

Video-Games-on-TV Company, Playcast, Partners with Game Controller Specialist, Playfect

Playcast Media--a start-up with offices in Israel and London that offers a games-on-demand system which it says allows consumers to play modern, high-end video games on their existing cable or IPTV set-top box, using a game pad or controller, without lags or latency (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; it recently launched an HD version of its system and revealed that it had signed an MOU with an unnamed Portuguese pay-TV operator--see the articles published on itvt.com, May 16th and 26th)--said Tuesday that it has formed a partnership with games ac

News Round-Up

--Cox's tru2way-Powered Trio Guide Is Live
--Panasonic North America CTO to Answer Consumer Questions on 3D in Live Ustream Webcast
--Sky Sports Pack Subs Given "Bonus Access" to the Service via Sky Mobile TV and Sky Player

Here is a round-up of some other recent interactive TV-related stories that we didn't have room for in this issue:

Interactive TV Company, itaas, Opens New Office in Ontario, Expands Operations in Atlanta, India

itaas--an Atlanta-based company which provides a range of software development, integration and testing services for interactive TV (including ETV/EBIF, tru2way and IPTV solutions), and which last month announced 1) that it had ported the EBIF user agent of Comcast-subsidiary, TVWorks, to Cisco set-top boxes, and 2) that it had signed an agreement with Charter Communications that includes licensing, installation and support for the TVWorks ETV platform (see the articles published on itvt.com, May 11th)--said Monday that it has opened a new office in London, Ontario and expanded both its US headquarters and its offices in India.

Comcast's New Social TV Service, Tunerfish, Rolls Out a Redesign

Just a month or so after its launch (see the article published on itvt.com, May 24th), Tunerfish, a new social TV service developed by employees of Plaxo, the address book/social networking service that Comcast acquired back in 2008, has rolled out a redesign. According to a posting on the Tunerfish blog, the redesign enables:

CBS Unveils a Range of Multiplatform and Interactive Enhancements for "Big Brother"

CBS on Monday unveiled an array of multiplatform and interactive enhancements that it plans to offer around the latest season of the long-running reality TV show, "Big Brother" (premieres July 8th, 8:00-9:00PM ET/PT). According to the broadcaster:

BT in Deal to Offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 on its Hybrid DTT/IPTV Service, BT Vision

UK incumbent telco, BT, said Monday that it has signed a contract with BSkyB for the wholesale supply of the latter's Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 channels. The channels will be made available, via digital terrestrial, on BT's hybrid DTT/IP platform, BT Vision, the IP element of which is powered by Microsoft's Mediaroom software. They are slated to launch August 1st--i.e. in time for the August 14th kickoff of the UK Premier League soccer season.

AMC Pitching Advertisers on Canoe- and Cablevision-Powered RFI Interactive TV Ads

--Wrigley Using Canoe-Powered ITV Ads to Offer Free Samples of Orbit Gum

MediaPost's David Goetzl and Joe Mandese have obtained a document from cable channel, AMC, that casts some light on how the channel is marketing to advertisers the RFI (request-for-information) interactive TV advertising capabilities that Canoe Ventures, the company tasked with implementing the US cable industry's plans for interactive and addressable advertising, recently began rolling out in EBIF-enabled Comcast and Time Warner Cable systems (see the article published on itvt.com, June 28th).

According to Goetzl and Mandese (whose write-up--well worth reading in its entirety--is available here), the document reveals that:

Kantar Hires Executive Team to Lead Launch of its Videolytics Platform

Kantar Video, a division of WPP's market and audience research arm, Kantar (formerly TNS Media), said Monday that it has expanded the executive management team that will lead the global roll-out of its Videolytics online and mobile video syndication, tracking and optimization platform.

Althea Systems Unveils Shufflr "Social Video Browser"

Althea Systems--a San Francisco-based start-up that bills itself as "focused on building solutions that simplify online video discovery and consumption across multiple screens," and which says it recently raised $3 million in a Series A funding round--on Monday announced the official launch of a "social video browser" called Shufflr. According to the company, the browser, which is located at http://shufflr.tv and which is designed for watching OTT video in "lean-back" mode, "blends learning algorithms and social graphs to steer videos towards you from all over the Web," and provides viewers with video recommendations, a social video feed and a trending video feed.

Announcing the Winner of the iTV Doctor's Interactive TV Trivia Challenge

[itvt] is pleased to announce the winner of--and reveal the answers to--the iTV Doctor's Interactive TV Trivia Challenge. For more, please click here.

News Round-Up (I): BBC Trust-Project Canvas, "Doctor Who," Canoe Ventures

--Trust Approves BBC's Participation in Project Canvas
--First "Interactive Episode" of BBC's "Doctor Who" Proves Successful
--Canoe Ventures Launches Interactive TV RFI Advertising on Comcast, Time Warner Cable

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been on the road the past few weeks, we are covering recent news stories in summary/round-up form. We apologize for any inconvenience to our readers. We will resume our regular format and publishing schedule tomorrow (Tuesday).

News Round-Up (II): Comcast Spotlight, DirecTV-Wimbledon, Epix-Cox-Mediacom-Charter

--Comcast Spotlight Exec Says Interactive Remind/Record Spots Proving Successful
--DirecTV Provides Extensive Interactive TV Coverage of Wimbledon
--Epix's Authentication-Based HD Web Site Launches for Cox, Mediacom and Charter Customers

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been on the road the past few weeks, we are covering recent news stories in summary/round-up form. We apologize for any inconvenience to our readers. We will resume our regular format and publishing schedule tomorrow (Tuesday).

News Round-Up (III): ESPN-Xbox, Fox's Bitbop, Current TV

--ESPN, Microsoft in Exclusive Xbox Live Deal, Xbox Live GM Discusses Significance of Kinect for ITV
--Fox's Mobile VOD Service, Bitbop, Officially Launches
--Hollywood Reporter Details "Troubles" Facing Current TV

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been on the road the past few weeks, we are covering recent news stories in summary/round-up form. We apologize for any inconvenience to our readers. We will resume our regular format and publishing schedule tomorrow (Tuesday).