Interactive TV applications were front and center at the new media lab during the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing’s annual summit here last week.
ICTV Inc. announced content deals with gaming services Zone4Play and LuckyGolfer for its Headend Ware platform. Zone4Play will become an Elite Solutions partner for games of skill and chance, said ICTV. The company also will create a channel that features blackjack, slots, video poker, Caribbean poker and roulette.
The company also teamed with LuckyGolfer, which runs a simulated gold Internet site that draws 500,000 users a month. LuckyGolfer will create three-, nine- and 18-hole simulated golf tournaments that will run on HeadendWare and digital set-top boxes.
Video-on-demand indexing service Gotuit Media Corp. is working on several new applications, including a local dating service and classified ads. Gotuit president Mark Pascarella said online dating is a $500 million business, and MSOs could offer local on-demand dating services, with profiles posted on on-demand servers.
'REAL’ ON DEMAND
Pascarella said real estate is a natural genre for VOD, allowing sellers to place information and house video tours online for consumers to view.
Sony Corp. was in the new media lab showcasing its “location-free portable broadband TV sets, which come in seven- or 12-inch LCD versions and are linked via a broadband wireless connection to a base station that is connected to a consumer’s set-top or a TiVo Inc. device. The equipment has a range of several hundred feet, enough to allow a consumer to “watch” TV on their portable device on their deck or poolside.
N2 Broadband Inc. said it will integrate OpenStream into Pioneer Digital Technologies Passport DCT for Motorola digital set-tops. Pioneer said the deal gives cable operators more options for deploying OpenStream across VOD platforms.
For its part, Concurrent Computer Corp. announced a deal to add video streaming to the barker window in Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc.’s interactive program guide for VOD content. The technology allows full-motion video to be streamed to the barker window when a subscriber navigates to a potential on-demand selection.
Concurrent said cable operators won’t need to produce layered video or dedicate separate broadcast channels with the new technology.
The company said its in-band video streaming solution is tiered (the same on-demand channel can be used for each video clip), and the video appearing in the program guide barker window is automatically scaled from the video located in the content library. A subscriber choosing an MSO’s dedicated on-demand channel might see a “how-to” video in the barker window. The barker window automatically changes as the consumer goes through the guide.
Since Concurrent is accessing content already on the server, it automatically scales to fit the barker window, allowing operators to stream more video on their VOD systems. Concurrent was showcasing the solution with Starz On Demand at CTAM. “Streamlined navigation and barker previews allow subscribers to 'window shop’ before choosing on-demand content,” said Starz SVOD vice president Greg DePrez.
And Microsoft Corp. has formed a media and entertainment technology group headed by former Universal TV & Networks Group executive Blair Westlake.