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ActiveVideo Networks Reveals Interactive Video Plans

Santa Clara, Calif. — ActiveVideo Networks, a company that develops interactive video solutions that infuse TV with Web content for cable and IPTV partners, has expanded the capabilities of its systems to simplify and accelerate the availability of Web-based programming and advertising on the television.

At the Connections Conference, here, AV Networks unveiled the first platform that enables consumers to experience Web-infused television — including user-generated content, social media, Web-based channels, games and other programming and applications — through network-connected devices.

The enhanced version of the ActiveVideo Distribution Network is designed to be easier for consumers to include and share Web-based media in their television-viewing experiences while remaining connected to their online social networks, the company said.

Typically, AV Network works in partnerships with major cable operators and IPTV operators (such as PCCW in Hong Kong) and is now extending its capabilities to deliver interactive programming into consumer electronics devices including Internet-connected televisions, Blu-ray players, digital media adapters, DivX-connected devices and other products designed to be connected to the Internet as well as to be televisions or connected to televisions, the company said.

Its systems seek to avoid the fragmentation that typically confronts advertisers and programmers when they attempt to bring programming into network-connected devices, AV Networks said. The company’s approach is to build the interface into the network while delivering the application to the device in the form of an MPEG stream.

As the viewer navigates through the application in the MPEG stream, it continuously processes and reforms the stream in the network in response to what the user is doing with a remote control.

“A way of thinking about it is in something like video on demand, what I am doing is controlling the playout of an asset stored in file. With Active Video, what I am doing is actually directing the movie I’m watching with a remote control,” explained Ed Forman of AV Networks.

Active Video Networks said it allows viewers using standard remote controls to engage with Web content in a high-quality, highly responsive television environment via existing and next-generation CE equipment, without the cost or complexity of integrating new devices into their home entertainment systems.

ActiveVideo television channels combine broadband video, graphics, viewer interaction and targeted interactive advertising. Broadband-driven channels are personalized in the network and delivered to the television via the ActiveVideo Distribution Network at reduced cost for program production and keeping the features of high video quality, immediacy and remote control navigation, the company said.

Forman said the company is in discussions with a number of CE manufacturers and companies that produce software stacks for CE equipment about devices that will be unveiled at the 2009 International CES for implementation around the second quarter of 2009.

Potential partners include TV manufacturers, software developers, digital media adapter makers and IC chip makers.

“While consumers today have a clear desire to experience Web media on the television, they are often paralyzed by the need to choose among a number of conflicting technological options,” stated Jeff Miller, AV Networks president and CEO. “Our platform simply utilizes the strength of the network and the MPEG-2, DivX or H.264 decoders on every Web-connected device and set-top box, enabling even the simplest CE products to deliver Web media in an extraordinary, compelling viewing environment.”

ActiveVideo allows television viewing to be shaped by a wide range of entities, including traditional and Web-based programmers, local cable affiliates, consumer electronics companies, advertisers, social networks and even the audience itself.

With ActiveVideo, viewers can navigate an interactive environment of both linear and broadband programming including rich interfaces and graphics optimized for TV and remote control navigation, the company said. Its dozens of applications, which are all accessed using standard TV remote controls, include:

  • Social-networking functionality that allows viewers to link online communities with television viewing, and to share recommendations of TV shows, movies or other media; and
  • video-on-demand “menuing” that can drive usage by enabling viewers to sample VOD content and easily search for titles, actors and genres of interest.

The company said advertising showcases can be developed to immerse viewers in a brand, create customized and personalized experiences, enable them to learn more about a particular product, and to make a purchase; and casual gaming from TAG Networks with titles including puzzles, arcades, card games, word games, trivia games, sports, and kids games.