Interactive TV News Round-Up (V): Ocean Blue, Revision3, Roku, MLB.TV, Plex
--Ocean Blue Software Powers "Talking" Set-Top Box for the Visually Impaired
--Revision3 Hires Three New Ad Sales Employees, Leases New NYC Office Space
--Roku Surpasses 100-Channel Milestone in UK and Ireland
--Updated MLB.TV Channel, Official Plex Channel Launched in Roku Channel Store
Because the [itvt] editorial team has been working on The TV of Tomorrow Show 2012, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format.
- Digital TV software company, Ocean Blue, has partnered with Hills Antenna & TV System to release a "talking" set-top box in Australia, that will be targeted at visually impaired people. "The Talking Set-Top Box, Hills HD94003G, was developed with the assistance of the Australian government and Vision Australia," the company states in its press materials. "As part of the digital switchover scheme, the Australian government have adopted the text-to-speech software and is investing millions to provide visually impaired users with digital talking set-top boxes that contain Ocean Blue's award-winning, advanced Talking TV software. It is designed to enable blind and partially sighted people to navigate through the various digital channels, using a text-to-speech menu and EPG. The Hills HD94003G is a high-definition set-top box using Ocean Blue's award-winning text-to-speech software. This assistive technology was first developed between Ocean Blue Software and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) in the UK. The software provides human speech to voice the program guides and menu items to the user. It is designed to give greater visual clarity in operation, to be more intuitive and easy to use, creating a better user experience than normally associated with digital receivers."
- Online video programmer, Revision3, contacted [itvt] last week to let us know that it has expanded its New York presence via the hire of three new ad sales employees and the leasing of a new office space in Manhattan. "Meredith Moore and Marcus Velazquez have joined Revision3 as regional sales managers, covering NYC and the east coast territory," the company states in its press materials. "Moore joins Revision3 from Izea where she covered clients in NYC, the mid-Atlantic and southeast as a senior account director. Velazquez most recently worked as an account executive at Microsoft, creating custom solutions for partners. Randi Eaton joins as New York ad sales coordinator to support Revision3's growing east coast sales operation. She previously worked at MTV and Nickelodeon in project and account management."
- Roku announced last week that it now offers 100 channels of video, music and casual games in the UK and Ireland--having launched in those countries in January with 40 channels. "People are accustomed to streaming content on their computers, but the ability to stream programs and films on their TV's is starting to take hold in the UK with the availability of dedicated platforms like Roku," Clive Hudson, Roku's general manager for Europe, said in a prepared statement. "In the US, we are adding about one new channel per day and this gives us an enormous appeal to a wide variety of audience segments. We aim to follow this model in the UK with content for different communities and special interest groups in addition to mainstream channels like Netflix and BBC iPlayer."
In other Roku news: 1) The company has updated its channel for MLB.TV. Key features of the update, according to the company, include: "an updated user interface for better game organization; a handy shortcut to all games playing today; the ability to browse archived games by team or date; a 'favorite teams' setting so your top teams will always be listed first; 2x the highest bitrate offered last year for even crisper HD quality; the ability to turn game score display on/off throughout the interface (no spoilers!); archived games for the entire season...accessible via 'Browse by Team'"; and the ability to "try the channel before you buy--MLB will offer one free game of their choice to anyone with a free MLB.com membership on most days," the company explains. 2) The Plex Roku channel is now officially available in the Roku Channel Store (it was previously only available as a private channel). Key features of the channel, according to Plex include the following: "a) Full myPlex support: Sign into your myPlex account, and you get instant access to your media queue, shared content, and your own servers that you've published through myPlex...b) Audio and Photo support: We now support browsing and playing the full range of media that the Plex Media Server supports, both from your library and channels. c) Revamped UI...we're now using grids on a lot of screens now, and there's a nice Plex-like theme throughout. d) Direct Play: For media formats that are supported by the Roku, we'll try to play it without transcoding."