CES 2009: Macrovision Streams Web Video To TVs


Las Vegas -- Macrovision Solutions is enhancing the next version of the interactive program guide it licenses to TV manufacturers -- code-named Neon -- to include access to Web-based video and a viewer’s personal photos, music and movies. 

(Click here for MCN 's complete CES coverage.)

In a separate concept demo here at CES, Macrovision also will show Web video provided by CBS being streamed to a networked TV set. 

The Neon software will let CE manufacturers build devices that use the IPG as a central source for consumers to find and play TV shows, Internet-delivered video and music as well as access and manage content from their personal media libraries, Macrovision executive vice president of marketing Corey Ferengul said. 

“There’s massive interest from the TV manufacturers in this,” Ferengul said. “The No. 1 request we get from the TV guys is, they want direct-to-TV content… They definitely believe the TV is losing ground to the Web.” 

In the CBS demonstration, select content from the network -- including episodes from its top-rated drama, CSI -- will be accessed directly from Macrovision's CE IPG. Macrovision previously announced a relationship with content provider CinemaNow to bring downloaded movies to the television.

Macrovision officials emphasized, however, that the partnership with CBS is simply a proof-of-concept. Specific content and features that are made available will be up to the consumer electronics manufacturers, Ferengul said. “We’re using the TV as the Web portal,” he said. 

In another demo at CES, Macrovision also will exhibit a newly released Sony Bravia TV developed with My TV Guide, an interactive program guide with personalization features and recommendations.

Macrovision, which acquired Gemstar-TV Guide International last year, also sells IPG software to cable operators. Asked whether delivering “over the top” video content to TVs could be seen as competition to cable’s on-demand services, Ferengul noted that there are already a number of ways to view Internet-based content on televisions. “It’s just like having a Web browser, but it’s on the TV,” he said. 

A key feature of the Neon IPG (pictured, right) will be the ability to access home media, such as personal photos, using the Digital Living Network Alliance standard. Neon-enabled TVs would be able to play music and movies and display photos from a home PC or other DLNA-compatible storage device. 

Neon, previously called TV Guide On-Screen, will be available for CE manufacturers to begin developing with by the second quarter, according to Ferengul. It will be able to access Internet video and other content over a home network. 

Other enhancements are to include cover art for TV shows; a personalized TV "dashboard" called My Guide; DVR functions for recording and playback of TV programs; and recommendations to help consumers discover new programs. 

Macrovision plans to release a follow-on version of the IPG in the second half of 2009, code-named Liquid, that will provide streaming Internet video directly to a TV and also will integrate DLNA support directly (whereas Neon provides DLNA support as an add-on). 

According to Macrovision, 58 million CE devices around the world are enabled with its IPG for on-screen program listings. TV manufacturers that have licensed previous versions of the TV Guide On-Screen IPG include Panasonic, Sony, Samsung Electronics and Sanyo.