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Macrovision Becomes ‘Rovi’

Santa Clara, Calif. – Macrovision
revealed today it has changed its name to Rovi and is now marketing a new
multi-faceted integrated graphical user interface that IPTV and CE device
designers can implement to simplify the process of finding and selecting
digital entertainment content from a wide variety of sources.

Richard Bullwinkle, Rovi’s chief evangelist, said the name
change, which is taken from a portion of the former Macrovision label, will
help the company better reflect its transition from primarily being a content
security technology developer to its new role as a developer of digital entertainment
content solutions.

Central in this new mission is the
Rovi Liquid Media Guide, which is an expanded integrated program guide (IPG)
that has evolved out of the TV Guide electronic program guide that Macrovision,
as the technology owner, has supplied through TVs and set-top boxes of various
types in the past.

“We have shifted our focus from 25
years of protecting content to discovering, recommending and enabling the
enjoyment of entertainment content, and we have acquired several companies to
help us do that, so we felt that we needed a new unified brand with a common
vision,” Bullwinkle said. “We have seen a very clear shift
from consumers. They are buying more and more of their content online,
downloading their content, watching online videos, storing their photos online,
and there is no clean way to organize it all and easily play it back.”:

The flagship product of the new
renamed company is the Liquid Media Guide, which will provide a user friendly
interface bringing together a wide range of content choices from many disparate
networked sources and devices.

Through its past acquisition of TV
Guide, Rovi gained control of a wide portfolio of IPG technology patents, which
Macrovision has leveraged in building the new, more expansive Rovi Liquid Media
Guide.

In addition to the Macrovision
moniker, Bullwinkle said the company is phasing out the TV Guide name for its
purposes, using it only to communicate the transition to the new Rovi
trademark. The TV Guide trademark will continue to be used by other companies
that have licensed it for non-competing uses, he said.

The Rovi Liquid Media Guide was developed
after extensive consumer focus studies that found that people have a lot of
devices in their homes and are looking for a simplified method of finding all
of the content they have scattered around and sharing it with various devices.

Bullwinkle said the studies have
found that 74 percent of people start their TV viewing today at some form of
onscreen menu.

The Rovi guide will integrate TV
programming data, Internet content and personal content (pictures, music and
video clips from PCs, servers and other devices) to present programming choices
in a friendly, graphical way.

The new media
guide solution is comprised of three distinct, but integrated, solutions: a
television content guide, a broadband content guide and a personal content
guide.

The television
content guide is a linear broadcast television discovery solution that CE
manufacturers can embed into their devices. 

The broadband content
guide connects users to their favorite full-length television and movie content
for both free and paid services, as well as additional content including
Internet video, popular music, social networking and other Internet
destinations.

Rovi said it has
reached a deal to work with Blockbuster to easily integrate access to
Blockbuster OnDemand content and services directly through the Liquid guide.

“This integration
will enable consumers to enjoy Blockbuster’s growing library of digital content
with their family and friends directly and easily on the TV,” the company said Thursday.

The Liquid guide
is also designed to provide a direct access to content from leading online
entertainment services such as Slacker radio and YouTube XL, a Web site that is
optimized for watching YouTube videos on large displays. It is also compatible
with leading movie technology providers Roxio
CinemaNow
and Flixster.

The personal content
guide component helps consumers navigate their media collections and gives them
the ability to share their content from their television screens.

The guide has been designed to
assist viewers in finding the content they want to access, and in deciding what
they want to watch through recommendations offered by the system based on viewer
profiles, by showing artist/actor data with photos and video scene clips, and
by presenting content previews in some cases.

The guide will also incorporate
recommendations from trusted friends made through various social networks,
Bullwinkle said.

Bullwinkle said the guide was
designed with emphasis on maintaining the lean-back experience of television
watching.

The guide will facilitate the
connection of various networked devices throughout a home into a central
viewing spot, to simplify the selection process.

To start, the Liquid Media Guide
is expected to be placed in higher-end connected TVs, set-top boxes and other
devices to aggregate content choices from the Web, connected PCs, video disc
players, multi-channel TV services and other areas onto one TV screen.

Bullwinkle said the guide, or a
form of it, may eventually be transitioned for use in other devices, “but right now we are focused on connected
televisions and set-top boxes early next year. It may eventually appear in
things like game consoles, computers and things like that.”

Bullwinkle said the initial
iteration of the guide will not be optimized for use with Tru2way
bi-directional cable devices, but such plans are in the works for later
applications.

The guide is software-based and
will be built on the platform of the TVs, he said. It will require an ARM
processor, but nothing very exotic among plans for next-generation TVs,
according to Bullwinkle. It will lean a little more heavily on memory space, he
said, but memory costs have become much cheaper, he observed.

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