Wednesday, August 29, 2007

OpenTV Defines the Television Experience at IBC 2007

Showcases Solutions That Make Digital Television Services a Reality

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- OpenTV Corp. , a leading provider of solutions for the delivery of advanced digital television and cross platform interactive services, defines the television experience with a showcase of its latest solutions at the International Broadcaster Conference (IBC) on stand 1.281 at the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands, from September 7 to 11, 2007.

OpenTV will demonstrate how its proven solutions provide the foundation for the new television experience with innovative user interfaces, on-demand delivery, advanced graphics, home media and customer relationship and transaction management.

"OpenTV is building on its track record for both innovation and delivery," said Alan Guggenheim, OpenTV's President and CEO. "As an industry leader, we are focused on delivering innovations that address our customers' critical time-to-market issues. Our new solutions, designed to accelerate service adoption, will change the digital television landscape ultimately enabling network operators the flexibility to deliver compelling and relevant services quickly, cost-effectively and seamlessly with a unified user experience across their entire customer base."

"We are passionate about delivering high quality, creative solutions that consistently meet customer demands, while providing a foundation for rolling out cost-effective new services," added Mike Ivanchenko, OpenTV's SVP of Worldwide Sales.

    OpenTV's IBC showcase will include:
-- Live services from existing OpenTV satellite, cable and IPTV customers
-- OpenTV's proven high definition PVR solution
-- Advanced user interface designs and next generation HD user experiences
-- Innovative on-demand solutions including push and pull VOD
-- OpenTV's industry leading HTML browser solutions
-- Customer relationship and transaction management systems designed for
-- Integrated mobile solutions with OpenTV's partner weComm

Senior executives, sales and product marketing staff from OpenTV will be on site for meetings, demonstrations, and discussions.

About OpenTV

OpenTV is one of the world's leading providers of solutions for the delivery of advanced digital television and cross-platform interactive services. The company's software has been integrated in over 92 million digital set-top boxes and television around the world. The software enables enhanced program guides, video-on-demand, personal video recording, enhanced television, interactive shopping, interactive and addressable advertising, games and gaming and a variety of consumer care and communication applications. For more information, please visit

Monday, August 27, 2007

Samsung to build mobile Internet network in New York

SEOUL, Aug. 27 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Monday that it will build a mobile Internet network in New York to expand its homegrown technology in the United States, one of the world's largest communications markets.

혻 혻 "Recently, we received a request from Sprint Nextel Corp. for the establishment of a WiBro network in New York," Choi Gee-sung, head of Samsung's telecommunications business, told reporters at the 4G Forum currently underway in central Seoul. However, he didn't give details on timetables.

혻혻 WiBro, one of the major 4G communications standards, is an improved version of WiMax that enables high-speed Internet connectivity even when a user is in motion. WiMax refers to a wireless Internet technology developed by the world's largest chipmaker Intel Corp.

혻혻 Samsung, a global tech giant, and other Korean companies hold related core technologies.

혻 혻 In August 2006, Samsung signed a deal with Sprint Nextel, Motorola Inc. and Intel to cooperate in developing and commercializing WiBro in the U.S., one of the world's largest communications markets.

혻혻 It has built the WiBro network in five major cities and regions there including Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston, Samsung officials said.

혻혻 Samsung expects that the number of its WiBro network users in the U.S. will exceed 100 million next year and it will grow to 140 million in 2009 and 170 million in 2010, respectively.

혻 혻 "Within three or four years, we will be able to generate profits from our network business including WiBro," Choi said, adding his company will raise investment for its network business from 120 billion won (US$128 million) a year to 160 billion going forward.

혻혻 Meanwhile, Samsung has held the 4G Forum every year since 2003, aimed at facilitating the emergence of new communications markets and strengthening its market superiority in the sector. This year's event kicked off Monday for a two-day run with around 130 experts from academia, business, and the governments of 26 countries expected to be on hand.

Google to launch gPhone in September

Google is reportedly closing in on the worldwide launch of its branded handset, the so-called gPhone. According to Business Standard, the search giant is currently in discussions with Indian mobile operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar to debut the device in early September. Sources close to Google say a simultaneous North American and European gPhone launch is expected, with the company currently waiting for federal regulatory approval before rolling out the handset in the U.S market. The Bharti Airtel and Vodafone negotiations are said to encompass mobile data, IM and search solutions as well.

Reports suggest Google plans to invest roughly $8 billion on the gPhone and related mobile initiatives. The Wall Street Journal previously reported Google invested "hundreds of millions of dollars" in the gPhone project, and entered negotiations with T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless.

During a keynote appearance last week at the Progress & Freedom Foundation's Aspen Summit, Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt acknowledged the company would "probably" participate in the FCC's upcoming 700 MHz spectrum. Google had said that it would potentially bid up to $4.6 billion in the auction if the FCC would enable open applications, open devices, open wholesale services and open network access.

For more on the gPhone launch:
- read this Business Standard article

Related Articles:
Google in handset talks with operators
Google files mobile advertising patent
Google developing mobile content search
KDDI launches branded Google e-mail
The Google Phone: I want to believe

Friday, August 24, 2007

Clearwire's WiMAX-Lite

Imagine having Net access almost anywhere. Clearwire has a new service that comes close to providing just that

If you're fortysomething or older, like me, you probably remember the thrill of getting your first home dial-up connection to the Net. Then came broadband, which was pure magic. And then Wi-Fi, which delivered fast Web access throughout the home, as well as in cafés and airport lounges. Now I'm completely spoiled. I want my Internet wherever I happen to be.

An emerging technology called WiMAX aims to indulge that craving. It will eventually provide Web browsing speeds many times faster than Wi-Fi and a gigantic range that will keep you permanently connected to the Net—at home, in your car, in a city park, or on the beach. The new WiMAX standard won't be ready for prime time until early next year. But you can get a taste of what's coming if you sign up with Clearwire (CLWR), a Bellevue (Wash.) startup from Craig McCaw that's available in 43 markets including Seattle, where I live. This WiMAX-lite service is disappointing in some ways. But Clearwire will start upgrading subscribers to the real thing next year, and it is also planning to roll out a nationwide WiMAX network in a joint venture with Sprint Nextel (S). If it addresses a few early glitches, it's bound to have tremendous appeal.

Location, Location, Location

To use Clearwire's current service (ranging from $30 to $50 a month), you just set up a nine-inch-high modem and plug it into the Ethernet jack on your PC. This one box is all you need for full Net access—say goodbye to DSL or cable-modem charges and wires—and it will work anywhere in the city, as long as you have a power outlet for the modem. No more searching for a Wi-Fi hotspot: The signals are everywhere.

Well, almost everywhere. In this proto-WiMAX system, there are dark spots, and my home at the bottom of a gully, surrounded by hills, trees, and other houses, happens to be in one. A row of five lights on top of the modem indicates signal strength, and the best I've ever gotten at home is two out of five. Two lights turns out to be fine for e-mailing and other basic tasks. But video and graphics-rich Web sites are sluggish, so check with Clearwire before making a commitment.

Things picked up when I tested the technology at work on the 19th floor of a Seattle office building. I got five lights out of five, and the experience was just like surfing the Web on my high-speed cable connection at home. Out of the dark zone, Clearwire was fast enough for me to catch episodes of the British car show Top Gear on YouTube (GOOG) and listen to a buddy's guitar music on MySpace (NWS). And I had no problem using Clearwire's voice-over-Internet phone service, which carries an additional monthly charge. There has been some subscriber grumbling about Clearwire's restricting network speed for heavy users during peak hours, but I haven't had that problem.

On the Road

The next step was to take Clearwire around town. This is a bit of a nuisance because you have to lug the modem with you and find a power outlet—or purchase a separate car adapter and a 12-oz. battery pack.

I didn't bother with that. Instead, I took my gear to a nearby Starbucks, plugged it in, and enjoyed surfing the Web without having to pay the usual Wi-Fi fee. I did have to tweak the settings on my laptop to turn off the radio that receives wireless signals so it would default to the Clearwire service—but that's not a big deal. And in the next few months, Clearwire will sell a card that slips into a laptop to receive its signal, so you won't need to tote the modem.

Clearwire isn't all it can be, especially if you live in a dark zone. But for folks who want to get out from under their cable or telephone company, it offers a dependable alternative that will get much better when real WiMAX finally arrives.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

OpenTV Announces New Customer Win in Israel

OpenTV Participate(TM) Solution to Power Unique Mobile Interactive Experience for Broadcast of Game Show '1 vs 100'

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- OpenTV Corp. , a leading provider of solutions for the delivery of advanced television and cross-platform interactive services, announced today that its OpenTV Participate solution will power live, synchronized mobile interactive services for the international hit TV game show "1 vs 100" broadcast by Reshet, Israel's largest broadcaster.

The recent adoption of the OpenTV Participate system allows Reshet to provide a powerful, new interactive viewing experience to its audience, enabling viewers to actively participate in the "1 vs 100" game show using mobile phones.

"We are very excited to partner with Reshet on our new mobile interactive solution. It offers unprecedented flexibility for broadcasters and producers alike, as well as an exciting and unique interactive experience for viewers," said Alan Guggenheim, President and CEO of OpenTV. "This latest extension to the OpenTV Participate platform is part of an ongoing initiative at OpenTV to deliver the right content, at the right time to the right device. The power of OpenTV Participate is that it fully embraces the idea that viewers can participate and transact via multiple platforms," concluded Guggenheim.

During the show, a user friendly graphical interface, developed by the Vario Group, a Tel Aviv based Internet and mobile solutions provider, will display synchronized content enabling viewers to select their answer to the actual questions presented on the TV show. The mobile application, which works on both Brew and Java enabled phones, has already been developed and ported by Vario to the majority of mobile handsets in Israel.

"Reshet's goal is to lead Israeli TV into the new media age," said Reshet Deputy CEO Ilan Tovyahu. "Our strategy is to find and adopt technologies that can help us expand our offering beyond the traditional TV viewing experience, and we are happy to be able to partner with companies like OpenTV and Vario. We hope this is just the first such experience we offer our viewers," added Tovyahu. "The user interface created by OpenTV and Vario is so simple and intuitive that anyone can use it; the system offers us a very flexible platform for creating a seamless interactive experience with multiple new opportunities for viewers to get involved."

OpenTV Participate is a server-based system which can process several thousand transactions per second, delivering a personalized interactive experience to viewers who will be able to compete against the studio player, and each other, simultaneously. Powerful competition logic allows points to be allocated for each correct answer and provides viewers with 'on-the-fly' audience response statistics and personalized score and answer results for each response. Prizes can be set in the system, which automatically selects the winner, ensuring a fair process that can be independently audited if required. The system also creates a unique account for each user, allowing the broadcaster to contact winners as well as track weekly retention and usage statistics.

In addition to the synchronized interactive services, OpenTV Participate also allows Reshet to present other value-added content, such as trivia, fun facts, sponsor messages and interactive advertising, to the audience at various intervals during the show and commercial breaks.

About OpenTV

OpenTV is one of the world's leading providers of solutions for the delivery of digital and interactive television. The company's software has been integrated in over 92 million digital set-top boxes and digital televisions around the world. The software enables enhanced program guides, video-on-demand, personal video recording, enhanced television, interactive shopping, interactive and addressable advertising, games and gaming and a variety of consumer care and communication applications. For more information, please visit

About Reshet

Reshet Company, a communication entity, which operates and manages Channel 2 broadcasts ever since the Channel was established in 1993. The Company's new facilities, located in the Hi-Tech compound of Ramat Hachayal in Tel Aviv, include advanced studios; world class sophisticated broadcast room and a school for the various television-industry professions.

About Vario

Vario Group operates several lines of business, dealing with seed capital investments and serving as a "technological incubator." The Group also provides various services in the high tech arena including software development in fields of Web and mobile. Moreover, Vario Media manages various products in all three media platforms: Internet, television and mobile.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Virgin America partners with AirCell for WiFi

Virgin America, which flew its inaugural flight last week, has said AirCell will be offering WiFi connectivity in its planes once the airline receives regulatory approval, according to Zeni Jardin from Boing Boing. She took the Virgin flight last week from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The planes are wired. For every three seats, there are two 110-volt outlets, USB ports, two WiFi access points on board in the front and rear and Ethernet at every seat that connects passengers to a plane-wide network. EV-DO technology is planned for transmitting data back to the ground, which AirCell's technology does. AirCell won the exclusive rights in June 2006 to the air-to-ground spectrum that will enable it to provide wireless broadband services on airplanes. The company announced an agreement with American Airlines to test broadband services with passengers across the U.S. beginning in 2008. AirCell was a FierceBroadbandWireless Fierce 15 winner.

For more about Virgin America's plans with AirCell:
- read this blog post at Boing Boing

OpenTV's High Definition Personal Video Recorder and Push Video-On-Demand Solutions Selected by MultiChoice South Africa

OpenTV to act as System Integrator for the MCSA upgrade to OpenTV Core2(TM) and OpenTV PVR2(TM)

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- OpenTV Corp. , a leading provider of solutions for the delivery of advanced digital television and cross-platform interactive services, announced today that MultiChoice South Africa (MCSA), the pioneer of multi-channel television in Africa and a Naspers group subsidiary, selected OpenTV as a key partner for the roll-out of advanced digital television services on their DStv platform.

"OpenTV is focused on developing innovative solutions that will help operators migrate to the vision of an integrated video and media world where end users have easy access and great entertainment interacting with their content," said Alan Guggenheim, President and CEO, OpenTV. "Our ongoing relationship with MCSA demonstrates that our solutions are proven, rapid to deploy and provide the functionality operators need to support new and innovative services to enhance their offering."

MCSA is investigating high definition personal video recorders (PVRs) with OpenTV Core2 middleware and OpenTV PVR2 software, in combination with Irdeto's content security for digital TV. OpenTV will act as system integrator for the project. The Push Video-On-Demand service will allow MCSA to broadcast a selection of television and entertainment content directly on the hard disk of set-top boxes for immediate access by subscribers. The advanced service will provide MCSA's subscribers over time, with a range of interactive TV content, Personal Video Recorder (PVR), video on demand (VOD), and high definition (HD) services.

"OpenTV has been one of our key partners in our efforts to offer advanced services and improve the overall user experience," said Nolo Letele, CEO MultiChoice South Africa. "We are excited about the new applications supported by OpenTV Core2 and OpenTV PVR2, as well as the other applications and upgrades that will provide customers with new ways to enjoy their video services."

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Startup Hopes To Challenge Apple's iTunes Through Google Ads

NEW YORK (AP)--Add gBox Inc. to the growing list of online-music services hoping to chip away at Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iTunes's dominance.

The Cupertino, Calif., startup was forced out of a stealth mode when Universal Music Group announced late Thursday it would test sales of some digital music without the customary copy-protection technology.

Under the program, gBox will get referrals through ads Universal will buy through search leader Google Inc. (GOOG), gBox Chief Executive Tammy Artim said Friday.

Google will get standard advertising fees rather than a cut of sales under the arrangement. The ads, which would appear when a Google user searches for specific terms such as the name of an artist, will direct the user to gBox.

The arrangement with Universal and gBox is separate from Google's music-search service, which directs users to online music stores when they search for specific albums or artists. The company says it doesn't get paid for such referrals, and it doesn't restrict links to a single retailer.

Google, which has said it has no plans to create a music store of its own, described the new arrangement as strictly an advertising relationship.

Songs at gBox cost 99 cents each. For the Universal songs that are part of the test, gBox will offer an MP3 version free of copy-protection technology known as digital-rights management, or DRM. A DRM-enabled version will be available at the same price.

DRM technology is designed to block or set limits on copying and CD burning.

Although DRM can help stem illegal copying, it can also frustrate consumers by limiting the type of device or number of computers on which they can listen.

Copy-protected songs sold through Apple's market-leading iTunes store generally won't play on devices other than its popular iPod digital player, and iPods won't play DRM-enabled songs bought at rival music stores, including gBox.

Although many independent music labels have for years sold their tunes without copy restrictions, the major recording companies have resisted.

Earlier this year, Britain's EMI Group PLC (EMIPY) became the first of the major labels to embrace DRM-free tunes, letting Apple sell versions of songs with higher audio quality and without any built-in copying hurdles.

The test by Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, while only encompassing a portion of its catalog, is significant because Universal is the world's largest recording company. That raises the prospect that other major labels could follow.

Universal Music will make DRM-free songs available Aug. 21 to Jan. 31. Inc. (AMZN), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), Best Buy Co. (BBY) and RealNetworks Inc.'s (RNWK) Rhapsody are among the other retailers selling such tracks, but only gBox will get Universal's Google referrals.

Although gBox won't formally launch until Aug. 21, it already has a site with music from Sony Corp. (SNE) and independent labels. Artim said the company has negotiated deals with other labels, but couldn't disclose them until the launch.

She also said gBox was working with other major labels to sell DRM-free tracks like Universal's, but such talks are ongoing.

GBox now works only with Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Internet Explorer browser on Windows-based computers, but Firefox support will come by the launch date, Artim said.

It won't be compatible with Apple's Macintosh computers, however. Even though DRM-free tracks can play on any computer, the DRM versions won't, and gBox didn't want to confuse customers, Artim said.

GBox also is developing a "wish list" feature - software code that users can place on their blogs or social-networking profiles at News Corp.'s (NWS) MySpace, Facebook and other sites. Friends visiting the blog or profile can buy a song for that user through gBox.

In relying on referrals through Google and social-networking sites, gBox is taking a different approach to marketing. Other retailers tend to drive music buyers to the store's home page to discover new songs and make purchases there.

"Instead of doing marketing and (advertising on) billboards on Highway 101 to go to gBox," Artim said, "we want to take advantage of the viral element that has been so successful for companies in the past."