Pioneer Digital Technologies Inc., makers of the Passport Echo interactive-navigation guide for digital set-tops, has been renamed Aptiv Digital and has released a new version of its software.
The new Passport Echo DVR IPG 2.7 and Passport DCT IPG 2.7 include two new applications: Interactive Video Mosaic and iSubscribe.
The Interactive Video Mosaic allows subscribers to launch multiple video insets on the TV screen. Dan Ward, vice president of sales and marketing for Aptiv, said the software can accommodate up to 12 screens, depending on the TV’s size.
MSOs will have final say on how many screens can be activated, Ward said, but the number will likely fall between four and eight. Consumers can receive the audio for any screen by clicking on the inset. The application would allow news junkies to watch several news channels at once, or sports fans to go beyond picture-and-picture applications. The inset screens also feature information about the program, Ward said.
The iSubscribe feature allows for impulse ordering of premium channels or subscription video-on-demand content.
Both features have been on the drawing boards for awhile. “We’ve been dreaming this up for a long time,” Ward said. “It’s definitely a request from our bigger customers.”
Both applications, he noted, “rose to the top pretty quickly. Everywhere we go, they understand immediately [that] it means more money.”
In addition to IVM and iSubscribe, the software includes other new features. Passport’s interactive weather and gaming applications have been ported over to the Motorola platform.
Passport Weather offers local and multi-city weather reports, plus five-day forecasts from AccuWeather Inc.
For its part, PassTime Games includes Klondike Solitaire, 21 or Bust and 5 Card Stud Poker.
Passport Echo 2.7 also includes a number of new DVR, guide and parental-control components. The DVR Saved Show Lists features View Disk Info, a summary of disk space usage, including an estimated number of hours remaining on the disk. There are also new “Saved Until Manually Erased” and “Automatically Erased as Needed” highlights.
The “Saved Show List” enables viewers to arrange fare alphabetically or by erasure date. Unseen shows are displayed in bold-faced type.
Under the “Upcoming Episodes List” option, a user can scan the guide for programs to record; this option will open up a title/keyword search page, automatically displaying all episodes of that show that week.
Advanced filtering by channel number and call letters has also been added. The parental control extends definitions for categories, such as “violence” and “intense violence.”