Interactive TV News Round-Up (IV): RCDb, Rovi, Flixster, Samsung, TWC, Verizon, DirecTV, Panasonic, LG

--RCDb, Rovi Power Flixster "Disc-to-Digital" App for Samsung Connected TV's
--Samsung Showcases Apps that Bring Comcast, TWC, Verizon FiOS, DirecTV Services to its Smart TV's
--TWC to Bring Pay-TV Service to Panasonic TV's, Verizon to Bring Pay-TV Service to LG Smart TV's

Due to the large volume of news being generated by this week's 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format. We anticipate that it will take us several days to process all the news from the show: so if your company has sent us a press release or briefed us on an announcement, and you don't yet see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us.

  • Related Content Database (RCDb) contacted [itvt] earlier this week to let us know about its role in the development of a "Disc-to-Digital" Flixster application for Samsung connected TV's and Blu-ray players. "The disc-to-digital feature will allow consumers to add their existing [Blu-ray and] DVD libraries, from participating studios, to their UltraViolet digital library, which will then be viewable on a wide range of devices," the company states in its press materials. "RCDb's Watchwith Delivery Platform helped accelerate the development for this innovative service and RCDb provided design and development services for the Flixster consumer experience." Said RCDb CEO, Zane Vella: "With the new disc-to-digital capability, Flixster and Samsung are helping consumers transition disc-based content to a more flexible and convenient digital format. Consumers can now store their movie collections in the cloud and then enjoy them on their Samsung TV's through the Flixster Smart Hub app. This is a big step forward in our mission to help content owners unlock the potential of their digital content libraries." The Flixster Disc-to-Digital app was unveiled at CES earlier this week during a press event by the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), the organization behind UltraViolet. It uses Rovi Digital Copy Solution, which is designed to integrate into consumer electronics devices and PC applications, in order to allow them to recognize a movie on a physical disc, authenticate its origin, and then trigger access to a copy from a cloud-based digital library. "Disc-to-Digital can work with any authorized retail service and will initially be available using a new Flixster application on Samsung's Smart Hub," Flixster states in its press materials. "When consumers insert an eligible physical disc into a 2012 Samsung Blu-ray player and select the Disc-to-Digital icon, they will launch the Flixster application and can easily add the movie to their UltraViolet locker for a nominal amount. If high-definition versions are available, they will have the option to upgrade their standard-definition movies for an additional fee. Once digital copies have been created and added to the consumer's UltraViolet collection, the content will be available to enjoy through the Flixster Smart Hub application on Samsung's Smart Hub, as well as a broad range of mobile and portable devices such as iPhones, iPads and Android-based devices, as well as PC's and Macs. UltraViolet also allows consumers to share their entire UltraViolet digital library with other members on their account, and they can even watch the same title simultaneously from different locations." (Note: Earlier this week, Flixster also announced that it is bringing its movie app to Panasonic's Viera Connect connected TV's and Blu-ray players. "Flixster is currently the leading movie discovery application on mobile platforms with over 50 million downloads to date, including Android, Blackberry and iPad, and ranks among the most downloaded of iPhone apps of all time," the company states in its press materials. "Flixster provides access to UltraViolet, a new industry standard that gives consumers greater flexibility with how and where they watch the movies and TV shows they purchase. UltraViolet also allows consumers to share their entire UltraViolet digital library with other members on their account, and they can even watch the same title simultaneously from different locations.")
  • At CES this week, Samsung has been demo'ing pre-release versions of apps that will bring pay-TV services from Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS TV to its connected-TV devices. The Comcast and Time Warner Cable apps will feature VOD content, while the FiOS TV app will offer VOD and 26 live channels. (Note: Multichannel News's Todd Spangler has more on Samsung's "cable app" plans; and Verizon's press release announcing its partnership with Samsung can be found here.) Samsung also announced this week that it is partnering with DirecTV to "offer DirecTV's more than 19.7 million customers the ability to watch live broadcast and stored content from a compatible DirecTV DVR on Samsung's 2012 line of Smart TV's without the need for additional set-top boxes. This newly enabled feature will also provide the same seamless user experience and replicate the full user interface (UI) of a DirecTV DVR set-top box," Samsung's and DirecTV's press materials continue. "Installers and homeowners alike will benefit from the ability to mount the TV without having to worry about locating an additional set-top box. As founding members of the RVU Alliance, Samsung and DirecTV are committed to providing a more seamless entertainment experience for consumers across multiple rooms and a variety of screens through the use of standardized Remote User Interface (RUI) technology. Samsung and DirecTV previously announced the launch of the first RVU-enabled television models at the 2011 CES, with DirecTV launching their first RVU-capable DVR in late 2011. This year, Samsung will embed the RVU protocol in its entire line of Smart TV's and underscores the company's ongoing commitment to deliver to consumers high-quality, visually enhanced and connected entertainment experiences in their home. Based on industry standards such as DLNA and UPnP, RVU allows a set-top box server to provide a complete, multi-room viewing experience that includes DVR services across all the connected TV's in the home through a single set-top box...Capable of supporting multiple connected televisions simultaneously, DirecTV's HR34 Home Media Center HD-DVR enables the set-top box UI and features to be displayed directly on Samsung Smart TV's. DirecTV customers can enjoy the full DirecTV experience, including DVR services, live pause abilities on all screens in the home, 200 hours worth of shared storage, picture-in-picture capabilities and the ability to record up to five shows at once. Samsung's RVU-compatible Smart TV's will be available in spring 2012."
  • In related news: 1) Time Warner Cable has developed an app that brings its pay-TV service to Panasonic's Viera connected-TV devices. 2) Verizon and LG Electronics announced Wednesday that a Verizon FiOS TV app will launch on current LG connected TV's and Blu-ray players later this year. Like the Verizon FiOS TV app for Samsung, the LG version of the app will provide access to 26 live HD channels, as well as 10,000 VOD titles offered through Flex View, "Verizon's at-home or away-from-home on-demand entertainment service for TV's, PC's, tablets and smartphones." (Note: In other Verizon news: 1) the company has rolled out the next generation of the FiOS TV Interactive Media Guide in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island; 2) the company is now providing FiOS TV subscribers with access to Showtime Networks' Showtime Anytime "TV Everywhere" service.)
North America