A peek inside the Dutch oven . . .
A slew of technologies were showcased at IBC 2007 in Amsterdam. Here are a few of the xOD-related ones:
Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) teamed up with T-Com Innovations to present a live demonstration of T-Com's interactive Web-on-TV pilot, for which ADB has been selected to supply its ADB-3810TW STBs. ADB is set to launch several new technologies, including push VOD, multi-room content sharing and Internet TV/OTTV.
C-Cor's n5 video server
C-Cor and RGB Networks demoed integrated solutions for digital ad insertion and VOD bandwidth optimization. In the former demo, RGB's broadcast network processor worked in conjunction with C-Cor's n5 video server to splice digital ads into multiple ad zones. In the latter demo, RGB's dynamic bandwidth manager performed real-time statistical multiplexing on VOD streams delivered by the n5, enabling the delivery of 50 percent more programming, in the same amount of bandwidth, without impacting picture quality.
Ensequence showcased its iTV applications for cable, satellite, broadband and Blu-ray, and the company also debuted its on-Q software and services. The Ensequence on-Q create suite accelerates the process of creating, managing and delivering mobile iTV apps. Applications authored with the suite support WCDMA and EVDO and are DVB-H ready.
Espial Group Inc. launched a new HD user interface and demonstrated new services, such as Evo Timeshift TV and mobile convergence capabilities. Espial recently updated features of its Evo DVR, including StartOver TV.
Harmonic's on-demand platform—including the MediaPrism software suite, Armada intelligent asset manager and StreamLiner video servers—was featured. MediaPrism is a new suite of content preparation tools aimed at taking video from any source—including tapes, DVDs, live broadcasts, the Web and user-generated content (UGC)—and preparing it for presentation on-demand.
Reuters' ActiveVideo channel
ICTV delivered Reuters and Fox TV channels, from point of origin to its booth, with the ICTV ActiveVideo distribution network (AVDN). AVDN allows channels to be delivered to any digital cable or IPTV STB. ActiveVideo TV channels combine broadband video, graphics, viewer interaction, and targeted and interactive advertising.
Imake Software & Services Inc. demoed its OpenVision edge resource management (ERM) software—for switched digital video (SDV) and VOD. The software allows cable operators to dynamically assign services to QAMs, enabling them to bring more programs and services to market on the same network. OpenVision ERM is integrated with Arris' D5 Universal EdgeQAM and Harmonic's 9000 NSG QAM.
Omnibus Systems previewed iTX on-Demand, a new version of the company's software-based broadcast automation and playout system. iTX allows broadcasters to transmit conventional channels and save VOD-ready content from the same iTX workflow and hardware without having to re-ingest or reformat material explicitly for VOD use.
Orca Interactive showcased LivePhotos, which is based on the RiGHTv scalable architecture. Orca and muvee developed LivePhotos, the first-ever app for automatic movie-making over IPTV platforms. It combines Orca's UGC capabilities with muvee's automatic video editing and photo movie software.
—Traci Patterson, Web/News Editor - CED, Editor - xOD Capsule
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Yahoo adds to online ad network frenzy with BlueLithium acquisition
Yahoo! Inc. is set to acquire BlueLithium—an online global ad network that offers direct response products and capabilities to advertisers and publishers—for approximately $300 million in cash. In related news, Time Warner's AOL unit has completed its acquisition of behavioral marketing firm Tacoda.
BlueLithium's product capabilities include audience targeting based on consumer interests, remarketing ads to Web consumers who have interacted with an ad or Web page, custom segmentation, and spot-buying capabilities to extend reach and frequency against a marketer's target audience.
According to comScore Media Metrix, BlueLithium is the fifth-largest ad network in the U.S. and the second-largest in the U.K., with 145 million unique visitors per month. The deal is expected to close in Q4.
TVB: TV spot revenue will remain level in 2008
The Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) forecasts that TV spot revenue will remain strong next year, thanks to political and Olympic advertising, but that it will not top 2006 estimates.
TV stations' Web sites and wireless advertising businesses are expected to rise—40 to 50 percent for Internet and 50 to 75 percent for wireless—though the numbers are high due to the mediums' small revenue bases.
TVB estimates that network advertising will rise 4 to 6 percent in 2008, which is slightly higher than 2007 estimates. But in 2009, total TV spot advertising is expected to decrease between 2 and 4 percent.
Concurrent lands VOD deal in Baltic States
It's a new horizon for Concurrent, thanks to the first commercial VOD deployment in the Baltic States.
Elion, the largest telecommunications and IT provider in Estonia, picked Concurrent's MediaHawk 4000 platform to provide roughly 1,200 streams to about 40,000 IPTV subscribers in a decentralized architecture. Concurrent landed the sale through its partner, Scansatec.
"Broadband in Eastern Europe is gaining rapid momentum, with Estonia currently leading the market in penetration," said Concurrent CEO and President Gary Trimm. "The introduction of new services, like VOD, is a key element in this continued growth."
• AmericanLife, TVN launch VOD service
AmericanLife TV Network, through a partnership with TVN Entertainment, has launched a VOD service that is available to cable operators for no additional charge. The service, targeted to the Baby Boomer generation, is offering 20 hours of programming using TVN's Adoniss asset delivery and management system.
• UPC chooses Motorola, TandbergTV solutions for VOD service
UPC Broadband (UPC)—a Pan-European MSO and the European cable division of Liberty Global Inc.—has picked solutions from Motorola Inc. and Tandberg Television to power its VOD service in The Netherlands.
UPC will utilize Motorola's B-1 video server, which provides the streaming of MPEG-2 video content, and TandbergTV's OpenStream digital services platform—a VOD back-office solution. The service is expected to reach more than 500,000 UPC video subscribers this year.
• Starz extends Vongo agreement with PC makers
Starz Entertainment has renewed and expanded an agreement for Vongo, the company's subscription broadband movie and video download service, making it available on Hewlett Packard (HP) and Compaq consumer notebook PCs.
Starz has been working with HP since 2006 and will continue to give new HP and Compaq consumer notebook PC customers a one-month, unlimited, free trial subscription to Vongo, the company said.
• KT launches commercial VOD
Korea Telecom has commercially launched its VOD service, Mega TV, which is now available to KT's 6.5 million Megapass broadband Internet subscribers. Mega TV will also include iTV services such as an electronic program guide (EPG).
• U.K. gets PC-TV service, according to Telephony.
• Lulu sues Hulu and you know why, reports The News & Observer.
• Apple seeks TV price cut, according to Variety.
Company: Edgeware AB
Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden
CEO: Joachim Roos
Claim to fame: Edgeware supplies server systems for VOD. Addressed applications include time-shifted TV, VOD and nPVR for both cable and telco deployments.
Recent news of note: Edgeware AB is tapping into the performance and memory capabilities of Stratix II and Cyclone III FPGAs from Altera Corp. to achieve improved performance and scalability with Edgeware's VOD server, Orbit 2x.