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Macrovision Becomes ‘Rovi’, Launches Media Guide

Macrovision last week changed its name to Rovi and began marketing a new multi-faceted integrated graphical user interface for IPTV and CE devices.

Designers can use the interface 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.