Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): Pace, Net Servicos, Samsung, HBO, MTV, Dreamworks
--Pace in Deal to Supply Interactive TV Set-Tops to Brazil's Net Servicos
--Samsung Adds HBO, MTV Apps to App Store, Trumpets New Smart Hub Connected-TV Feature
--Samsung Rolls Out 3D App for Connected TV's in Korea
Because the [itvt] editorial team has been busy this week working on the TV of Tomorrow Show 2011, we are covering recent news in round-up/summary form. Once again, we anticipate that it will take us a few days to catch up with all the news we plan to cover: so if your company has sent us a press release or briefed us on an announcement, and you don't see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us.
- Pace has announced that it has signed an extension of its two-year deal to provide set-top boxes to Brazilian cable operator, NET Servicos. "With their extended partnership, NET will work with Pace...to roll-out three new platforms for 2011," the company states in its press materials. "These will include [a "zapper"] SD set-top box, a high-definition (HD) interactive set-top box and a HD PVR. These platforms will support NET's transition to complete digitized television services for its subscribers through an HD interactive set-top box. The Pace design means that users can quickly and easily upgrade to PVR capabilities by simply inserting a hard disk drive into their existing device...The solution integrates the Nagra Conditional Access system, OpenTV middleware and Teleidea EPG application. The HD set-top box family is fully interactive and means NET's subscribers can enjoy state-of-the-art pay-TV applications such as video-on-demand, HD 3D and interactive games."
- Samsung has announced the addition of apps from HBO and MTV--HBO Go and MTV Music Meter--to Samsung Apps, its app store for its connected-TV devices (which currently offers over 200 free and premium apps), and is also trumpeting its connected TVs' new "Smart Hub" feature (note: for more on the latter, see the article published on itvt.com, February 23rd) and the availability of an SDK for its connected-TV platform. In addition, it is promising that it will roll out a new app later this year that will allow its Galaxy S smartphones and its Galaxy Tab devices to serve as second screens. "HBO Go gives consumers immediate access to more than 1,400 titles of HBO programming, as well as bonus materials, soundtrack and cast information," Samsung states in its press materials. "Available for download via Samsung Apps later this year, current HBO subscribers can instantly watch every episode of classics like 'The Sopranos,' 'Sex in the City,' 'Deadwood' and current award-winning series like 'Boardwalk Empire,' 'Entourage' and 'True Blood.' MTV Music Meter allows fans to discover, consume, share and interact with new music. The easy to navigate interface features a countdown of the top 100 trending artists based on social media buzz as well as audio, video, artist news, tweets, bios and a feature that showcases similar artists. Available soon via Samsung Apps, MTV Music Meter is currently also available on Samsung's Galaxy series smartphones and Galaxy Tabs. Since the launch of Samsung Apps last year, Samsung has seen video, gaming and information apps consistently trending among the top downloads. YouTube, AccuWeather and Google Maps were the top downloads in February 2011. In 2011, Samsung is beginning to deliver on the promise of multiplatform applications that enable developers to create apps that help consumers better manage, merchandise, and control the content they want, when they want it: With Smart Hub, Samsung is helping people organize their applications with a new folder feature that allows the user to control how they access downloaded apps without having to scroll through multiple pages. The Software Development Kit (SDK) for Samsung Smart TV enables developers to bring deep, interactive experiences to the TV. In 2011, consumers will be able to upgrade their app or purchase new content directly from the app--creating a store within a store. This year, Samsung will roll out a new remote control app that turns Galaxy S phones and the Galaxy Tab into a second TV screen. The new app will enable Samsung Smart TV's to encode and wirelessly transmit live TV broadcasting from the TV to the Samsung Galaxy device, making programming more portable than ever. TV app innovation is dependent on the ability of developers to easily bring ideas to life. Samsung continues to work closely with developers to ensure they have the tools and information needed to build new, interactive experiences for the TV. Samsung’s new SDK for Samsung Smart TV, which offers easy integration and compatibility with 2011 Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players, is now available. The SDK includes a new emulator UI that helps improve development efficiency and supports Samsung adaptive streaming and IETF live streaming. These features enable developers to facilitate live and on-demand viewing of content in completed apps. Additionally, the SDK includes a new Open Convergence Interface that supports integration with HID devices, like USB mice, keyboards and game controllers. This makes it possible to control apps on the TV with multiple accessories. To ensure Samsung Apps developers have access to the information and support that they need, Samsung launched a community feature on the Samsung D Forum that facilitates continued dialogue and fosters new app development. The Samsung developer community continues to grow and currently includes more than 2,000 active members." Samsung has also unveiled its new lines of plasma and LED connected TV's, and various accessories, including a QWERTY remote control.
- In other Samsung news: The company has launched a 3D VOD app for its 3D-enabled connected-TV devices in Korea. The app, which is the result of a partnership between the company and Dreamworks, is slated to roll out next in the US and Europe.