Freesat gets iPlayer without waiting for Canvas
The BBC iPlayer online video service will soon be available to Freesat viewers over broadband. A trial service on the subscription-free satellite platform will launch before the end of November. It calls into question the need for the proposed Canvas platform. A decision from the BBC Trust on whether to proceed with the proposed platform is expected soon. In the mean time, the BBC is hedging its bets and will make its iPlayer available in a number of standard formats.
Cable companies respond to online video
Steve Burke, the chief operating officer of cable company Comcast, opened an industry summit saying that the two big opportunities for cable are interactive television and offering programmes on the web. He warned that if programming providers and cable operators do not note the shift of viewing habits to online they may end up without a business.
Sky and OpenTV plan new interactive services
British Sky Broadcasting is extending its partnership with interactive television middleware company OpenTV to support the ongoing development of the Sky digital television platform. The companies will work on a proof of concept that could lead to the deployment of the latest OpenTV Core3 software on some Sky set-top boxes. The announcement comes as the Kudelski Group steps up its attempts to take full control of the company, arguing that OpenTV faces strategic challenges as a standalone business in view of pressures from more open solutions.
Pace steps up multiroom media delivery
British company Pace has been demonstrating an advanced multiroom digital video recorder system. Its HCS or Home Content Sharing system uses centralised storage with multiple high-definition set-top boxes within the home. It is integrated with an interactive programme guide and connected platform software from Rovi, formerly known as Macrovison, which acquired Gemstar-TV Guide. Pace has experienced something of a turnaround in the last year, which has seen a fourfold increase in its share price.
BBC reduces red button services on Freeview
The BBC is dropping two of its three interactive channels on Freeview to make way for high definition services that will initially only cover half the country and will require new Freeview HD receivers. While digital television purports to offer viewers greater choice and better quality pictures, the BBC is cutting continuously available news, sport and weather bulletins and reducing the range of interactive services on Freeview. It is advertising the “spare capacity” and putting it out to competitive bid.