Paidcontent is reporting that TV games maker Two Way Media says it has done a “development and funding deal” from the Ingenious Media investment and advisory firm to fund a foray in to social TV games production.
James Turner, chief executive of Two Way Media, said:
"Focused project funding and development arrangements are critical to the development of top-level, exciting games and helping to drive the market overall."
Two Way has introduced cable, satellite and IPTV platforms game mechanics for the likes of X Factor, Play Your Cards Right and Britain’s Got Talent. But it's expected the deal will push Two Way to push hard into building interactive games via new platforms such as YouView, emerging set top boxes and Smart TV from CES manufacturers.
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Two Way and ingenious say their deal “focuses on Two Way’s social gaming and connected TV projects” and they will “share in the considerable commercial potential” Ingenious already acquired Two Way back in 2007, so it’s not clear what this new deal is but it’s likely a capitalisation of Two Way in order to seek out this new opportunity.
New consumer research from Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) finds that 30% of all households have at least one television set connected to the Internet via a video game system, a Blu-ray player, and/or the TV set itself -- up from 24% a year ago. Overall, 10% of all adults watch video from the Internet via one of these devices at least weekly, compared to 5% last year. This increased usage is heavily driven by Netflix subscribers, with 30% of Netflix subscribers watching video from the Internet via one of these connected devices weekly, compared to 3% weekly use among all non-Netflix subscribers.
"The use of emerging video services rapidly increased over the past year, with Netflix being the key driver of this growth," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. "Even with this growth in emerging video services, this isn't creating a significant trend in consumers 'cutting the cord' to multi-channel video services -- including cable, satellite, and Telco video services. Despite a highly saturated market, coupled with slow housing growth, the multi-channel video market in the US still grew by over 500,000 subscribers in 2010. This survey found few 'cord cutters' over the past year, and little difference in the intent to switch or disconnect service from prior years."
These findings are based on a survey of 1,287 households nationwide and are part of a new LRG study, Emerging Video Services V.
Other findings include:
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The communications powerhouse, which serves 3.5 million FiOS TV subscribers over a fiber-optic network, said the improvements include greater personalization and customization, better search capabilities, easier navigation, larger storage options and optimization for 3D technology. Verizon added more than 25 upgrades to FiOS TV's advanced Interactive Media Guide after collecting customer feedback from its product development labs, field trials and social media forums.
Eric Bruno, vice president of product management for Verizon, said:
“Customers are at the center of everything we do, and that includes how we develop our products and services. We've found that FiOS TV isn't about passive video watching – it has evolved into an entertainment and information destination. Our new generation of FiOS TV is all about increased interactivity, ease of use, simplicity of design and high tech made easy.”
Vision2Mobile elaborates on the features:
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Some of the features include the following: 3D content software that automatically detects when a customer turns to a 3D program or channel and instantly changes the settings for watching these programs on a 3D TV; new parental control options that allow parents to block out portions of programming by rating during certain hours of the day; and a feature that allows customers to record and manage DVR settings from any room in the house provided one of the DVRs is a multi-room DVR.
Sony is taking the next step in an enriched TV experience with its Bravia line, redefining it as they say.
Recent and upcoming enhancements to Sony's connectivity platform include (from their press release):
Netflix: offers an upgraded experience that allows Netflix members to
browse and access thousands of TV shows and movies to watch instantly
streaming from Netflix using the device remote control.
Crackle: expands its offering to include hundreds of full-length, uncut Hollywood movies and thousands of TV episodes – all available for free.
Yahoo! Connected TV Store: features more than 100 easy-to-use TV apps to complement TV viewing, including content from CBS and Showtime, social networking with Facebook and Twitter, sports and finance from Yahoo!, CNBC and USA Today, and more.
Moshcam: provides hundreds of full-length, live music concerts from acclaimed bands such as Jane's Addiction, Ben Harper, Gary Numan, Blondie and Public Enemy.
Billabong: enjoy snow, surf, skate and wake action from around the globe, featuring Billabong's all-star athletes, swimwear and fashion models.
Hulu Plus: expands its programming to include Celebrity Deathmatch, Punk'd, Reno 911! and Comedy Central Presents.
Jeff Goldstein, vice president of Connect Home Products for Sony Electronics' Home Division said:
"Sony makes your TV smart by providing an ever-evolving platform for consumers to access online content. When Sony expands its connected entertainment offerings, both current and legacy products are automatically updated. As an example, in April, an update for all connected Sony BRAVIA Televisions will enhance the Netflix user experience, allowing content selection and instant watching in an easy, one-step process."
Have a look on Engadget for Sony's TV commercial and the full press release.
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Loyalize has rolled out a white-label solution to create apps for everything from TV shows and live sports to reality TV, it offers tools for brands and content providers to create their own apps for real-time participation around any type of event.
“If a guy gets fouled during a basketball game, you could instantly poll the audience if he’ll make the foul shot. Watching a live political debate? Viewers could click how they feel at any given moment during the speech.”
He [Todd Green] said he’s not that excited about social TV, per se — it’s the real-time interactions that interests him. Yes, users can check-in to a TV show. Yet Greene said things get most interesting after the check-in. Loyalize apps can include a number of features, including news feeds, polls, a Smack Talk option that lets sports fans debate about their favorite teams. The apps can also include virtual currency which that users redeem for prizes.
Earlier this month, Loyalize announced a deal to help power Motorola’s new SocialTV Companion Service, which lets viewers engage with their friends on second-screen devices while watching TV. While the app experiences are powered in part by Loyalize, they’re branded Motorola.
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Demand for Internet-based TVs is set to surge over the next few years as running the widgets (simple and small applications) through TV is becoming more popular among viewers. Currently utilized in computers and mobile phones, widgets in the TV sets will enable access to the Internet content for TV viewing on selective basis such as information on weather forecast and online purchase of advertised products. Demand for content variety with capability of anytime access is also leading to the growth of Internet-enabled TVs, which promise to fulfill user needs with seamless viewing experience. Internet is also offering new advertising options that provide an improved return-on-investment (ROI) to prospective customers of streaming solutions.
The last decade proved particularly crucial in revolutionizing the competitive setting with the privatization of telecommunications sector. The enormous success achieved by Internet industry and the cellular technology stirred new entrants into the market. Presently, the industry is again undergoing vital structural changes with ongoing convergence of technologies, devices, networks and content, basically over the IP networks. Advancements in multimedia services have brought telecom, IT, consumer electronics and media & entertainment sectors closer. Convergence would be soon possible, as customers can access any application, any content virtually from anywhere over a range of networks using any device.Add a comment
"The social TV space is nascent and is still being defined," said Sean Casey, Founder and CEO of SocialGuide. "This funding will allow us to continue on the path of creating a true social TV platform that goes beyond check-in, to driving tune-in and creating deep social engagement experiences for consumers and networks."
"With more than half of the nearly 300 million Americans who watch TV having a second screen experience, the market is ripe for a social TV product that connects with consumers and networks," said Alex Zubillaga. "SocialGuide is the only product that is built around the existing social TV behavior that is happening with millions of consumers across the most popular social networks. Consumers now have one place to enjoy their favorite programming, and networks have a way to more deeply engage with their audience."Add a comment
YouView marked the next stage of its engagement with industry today as it published its final core technical specification for launch and announced further device partners.
A single technical document, detailing the core YouView interoperability specification for launch is now available on theYouView web site.
The YouView Core Technical Specification references the Digital Television Group’s D-Book 7 and provides a set of technologies to enable the delivery of broadcast and IP enabled content onto a television set via a broadband connected device.
Any manufacturer will be able to use the specification to bring products to market sharing the same underlying technologies as a YouView device. It will also give those manufacturers interested in developing and deploying a device under the YouView brand a broad understanding of what will be required.
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“We’re delighted to confirm the final launch specification for YouView to help any manufacturer develop a connected TV device. Through promoting common technical standards for connected TV, consumers will get the widest possible range of devices supporting high quality content,” said Richard Halton, CEO, YouView.
"We are extremely honoured that ScreenToo and Snell were chosen for this award" stated Vincent Parisis, CEO of TAS. "It's been a brilliant effort by our team to build the architecture which will enable broadcasters to control the compelling second screen and all the associated benefits of our interactivity engine 'Tapp' enabling monetisation, data collection, additional branding and true interaction with viewers."
Snell's broadcast automation system called Morpheus (used by hundreds of broadcasters worldwide) will supply the TAS Screentoo app with real-time data essential to maintaining synchronicity between the primary broadcast and second screen devices such as smart phones and tablets, enabling broadcasters and producers to effectively create additional companion material and essential metadata.
A panel of judges consisting of TV Technology editors and columnists reviewed ScreenToo, examined it technically and judged it's overall contribution to the industry, before choosing it as a 'Star' of the show.
"The NAB Show serves as the launching pad for thousands of new products and services for audio and video professionals," said Butts. "Our panel of judges walk the show floor in search of the most innovative technologies. The products and services that we select for the award make the cut—they demonstrate their ability to help advance the acquisition and distribution of entertainment and information across the media spectrum."
Only a few companies are chosen annually for the magazine's highly regarded award.
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