News Round-Up (VIII): Philo, Red Bee Media, ITV, Roku, Hulu, Ooyala, Sezmi, YTL, Sony, Google TV
--Philo in Social TV Marketing Partnership with Starcom USA
--Red Bee Media in VOD Deal with UK Broadcaster, ITV
--Roku Unveils New Product Line-Up
--Roku in Content Deals with Hulu, Ooyala
--Sezmi in Wireless Hybrid TV Partnership with Malaysia's YTL
--Sony Launches Line of Google TV Devices
Because the [itvt] editorial team is busy working on TVOT NYC Intensive (November 18th in New York City), our new show on the national interactive TV platform and the emerging ITV economy, we are covering recent news in round-up/summary form. We apologize for any inconvenience to our readers.
- Social TV company, Philo, has announced "a first-of-its-kind partnership with media agency, Starcom USA," in support of the new Touchstone movie, "You Again." "Viewers tuning in to TV shows carrying promotional spots for the film will have the chance to win real-world and virtual 'You Again' prizes," Philo states in its press materials. "In addition to unlocking four 'Movie Related Awards,' every Philo user who checks in to a qualifying series via the Philo Web app or via the Philo iPhone/iPod Touch app will automatically be entered into a sweepstakes, earning the chance to take home a variety of prizes...The only way to qualify for the grand prize of the spa day is to comment 'You Again' after you have checked into a TV show that has a 'You Again' commercial. Shows include 'Glee,' 'Dancing with the Stars,' and 'Project Runway.'"
- Red Bee Media has announced that it has signed a content management services deal with UK commercial terrestrial broadcaster, ITV, under which it will "store, enhance and deliver content to platforms including ITV Broadcasting, Amazon, BT Vision, iTunes, ITV.com and Virgin Media...Each week the company will ingest 240 hours of broadcast quality programming and transcode over 1500 hours of ITV content into multiple VOD and catch-up TV platform formats for delivery and distribution in the UK and around the world," Red Bee states in a press release. "For ITV Broadcasting, Red Bee Media will provide critical digital workflows of scheduled programs and will deliver these to ITV's transmission centers. The deal will also include the management of over 10,000 hours of existing ITV archive content and will make a significant contribution to ITV's focus on continued success across all platforms--television, online and mobile. Red Bee Media won ITV's media management contract because of the flexibility of its digital workflow platform, which enables ITV to control and manage its media, metadata and workflows through a services oriented architecture (SOA)-based interface. This architecture also allows Red Bee Media to prototype new developments in a matter of days, saving ITV time and money and allowing the service delivery to keep pace with the rapidly changing business needs of ITV and its partners."
- OTT specialist, Roku, has unveiled its new product-line-up: "The new $59.99 Roku HD streams video in high definition at up to 720p, and features built-in wireless and Ethernet for easy broadband connectivity anywhere in the home," the company states in its press materials. "The small, sleek Roku HD is only 1 inch tall and less than 5 inches wide, so it fits anywhere and is tiny enough to take on a trip. A composite A/V cable is included so that it can connect to virtually any TV, including standard-definition models. An HDMI port enables HD playback on HDTV's. The new Roku XD ($79.99) and XDS ($99.99) models deliver the next level of streaming performance, with 1080p HD support (delivered over HDMI) and extended-range Wireless-N. In addition, the XDS model features dual-band Wireless-N technology, component video output, optical audio output, and a USB port. Over USB, customers will be able to play stored music, photos, and up to 1080p video using a USB playback channel, available as a free upgrade to XDS owners (expected to be available in November 2010). Both XD and XDS models also feature an industry first in streaming devices for the TV: an innovative Instant Replay button on the remote, enabling the viewer to skip back in 7-second increments without having to wait for a rebuffering delay. It's a convenience that until now has been limited to DVR's and other hard-drive based devices."
- Meanwhile, Roku has also announced a partnership with Hulu to offer the latter's premium service, Hulu Plus, on its OTT devices. The company says that the Hulu Plus channel will be available via subscription to all Roku customers later this fall. In addition, the company has announced a partnership with online video platform provider, Ooyala, under which Ooyala publishers will be able to create custom-branded video channels for Roku boxes.
- Sezmi, a company which has developed a set-top box-based offering that it bills as combining "live television, on-demand movies and television shows, and Web videos in an easily self-installed system that automatically records, recommends and organizes the favorite shows of each individual member of the family," and which last fall announced that it had secured $25 million in new funding, has announced a partnership with Malaysian utilities and infrastructure company, YTL, to launch what is billed as "Asia's first converged intelligent TV and Internet service." The deal marks Sezmi's entry into the global marketplace. "The wireless 'quadruple play' service will be the first of its kind in the world, offering voice, data and television services to the home and mobile devices over a hybrid broadcast and 4G wireless network," Sezmi states in its press materials. "This hybrid television component of the offering is based on Sezmi's comprehensive television solution, which has already been successfully deployed in the US market...Through the partnership, Sezmi will design and manage the build-out of the digital TV network, and provide the platform and professional services to deploy the entirety of technologies and systems required to operate the hybrid television service in a manner that is integrated with a broad range of consumer devices. Sezmi will also support YTL through existing content partnerships to deliver a rich and complete TV offering inclusive of live television, on-demand movies and shows and Internet video."
- Sony has unveiled its Sony Internet TV product line, its implementation of the Google TV platform. The product line includes four HDTV sets (priced from $599.99 to $1399.99) and a Blu-ray player (priced at $399.99). "The combination of Sony's hardware and engineering expertise and Google's understanding of open software provides a unique user experience, merging multiple content sources in one easy-to-use interface," Sony states in its press materials. "From broadcast to streaming video from the Internet, Sony Internet TV offers the ability to quickly search and watch content from wherever, whenever...It is built on the Android platform, runs the Google Chrome browser and includes a powerful Intel Atom processor offering the ability to quickly search across Internet and television content for easy access to entertainment and information. The models also feature Dual View, allowing users to watch television while tweeting about what they're watching, checking their fantasy football scores, or finding related content on the Web. They also deliver a truly personalized entertainment experience with the ability to bookmark content for easy access and add applications from the Android Market (coming in early 2011). The models feature Sony's premium streaming service, 'Video On Demand powered by Qriocity,' as well as pre-installed apps including CNBC, Napster, NBA, Netflix, Pandora, Twitter, and YouTube. The intuitive, hand-held RF QWERTY keypad remote incorporating an optical mouse makes it easy to navigate content, type in search terms, and control the TV's user interface. Additionally, select mobile devices such as an Android phone, can control the TV with an app that will be available for download from the mobile Android Market later this fall. Built-in WiFi makes it easy to connect to home broadband networks to access Web content. Additionally, Sony Internet TV is ready for the future and is fully upgradeable through system updates. Sony Internet TV easily connects to select HD DVR devices from Dish Network to include previously recorded content in the search results and control DVR functionality from the set's user interface." Meanwhile, Sony has also launched a new developer site for Google TV.