Electra Entertainment in Deal with Spain's InOutTV to Launch Broadcast and OTT Interactive TV Services
Electra Entertainment--a company that was founded in early 2003 by Static 2358 founder, Jasper Smith, and former Gemstar-TV Guide CTO, Jonathan Drazin (note: Smith serves as its CEO and Drazin as its CTO; its chairman is former BT and BSkyB director, John Swingewood)--said Monday that it has entered into a long-term partnership with Spanish EPG service provider, InOutTV, to offer interactive TV services to consumers in Spain over digital terrestrial television (DVB-T) and OTT. According to the company, the services will launch across the country, during the current quarter, over InOutTV's digital terrestrial network: the launch will commence on "zapper" (i.e. low-end) and PVR-enabled free-to-air and premium DTT set-top platforms, the company says, and a launch on integrated digital TV's will follow shortly afterwards.
The services will be based on Electra's patented Trove technology, which last fall it announced would launch "imminently" on the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial platform, Freeview, under the brand "Channel Zero" (see the article published on itvt.com, October 12th). The company claims that the technology can be incorporated into "virtually any" mass market device--including entry-level set-tops, DVR's and TV's--to enable a "quality interactive experience" featuring "true color, sound and games." It says that services powered by the technology can be accessed with one button press, even from standby, and "use less than one percent of the bandwidth compared to traditional MHP and MHEG-5 interactive TV services." According to Electra, InOutTV will launch a broad range of Trove services this year--which happens to be analog switch-off year in Spain--and expects total DVB-T receiver sales to exceed 10 million units.
Electra also bills Trove as supporting broadband WiFi and Ethernet connectivity, in order to enable an even greater range of services and features in mass, entry-level digital TV products. This combination of broadcast and IP support, the company claims, offers viewers a more connected and integrated solution than separate broadcast and IP services, and enables such features as Internet radio, social networking, instant messaging, music-on-demand, live voting and OTT video. "We are very pleased to be working with InOutTV in Spain and believe that the combination of Electra's Trove and InOutTV's SynchroGuide EPG services comprises a world-beating mass-market proposition for consumers in terms of performance, value and convenience," Electra CTO, Drazin, said in a prepared statement. Added InOutTV CEO, Eudald Domenech: "Electra will combine perfectly with InOutTV services, and this will create the best experience for the end-user, having high-end services and benefits even on the entry-level products. Focusing on the great year we will face in Spain during 2010, and the upcoming analog switch-off, DVB-T will reach all the population and thanks to InOutTV's platform will create new ways to watching and enjoy TV."