Cable Tech

ActiveVideo Reaches Roku

ActiveVideo Networks Inc. is venturing into new territory through a deal with media company Net2TV. Net2TV's Portico TV service is launching on Roku Inc. boxes in late June by exploiting the ActiveVideo CloudTV platform.

CloudTV lets service providers build new program guides based on HMTL5 technology. In Net2TV's case, the company created its UI initially for services on Royal Philips Electronics NV smart TVs before porting the same guide over to the Roku-enabled set-tops.

With the move, ActiveVideo is expanding beyond its initial base of cable customers. For cable operators, the technology company creates a virtualized environment that allows them to run a browser-based interface not only over an IP network, but also on top of a QAM-based cable system.

Set-top giants Cisco Systems Inc. and Motorola Home (now Arris Group Inc.) have both licensed CloudTV for their Videoscape and Medios platforms, respectively. The technology lets them offer a guide platform to MSOs that spans both legacy and newer IP set-tops. (See ActiveVideo Makes Another Cisco Connection and Moto Hooks Up with ActiveVideo.)

ActiveVideo's main cable customer in the U.S. is Cablevision Systems Corp. But the company has also teamed with Comcast Corp. in a CloudTV platform trial in Chattanooga, Tenn. (See ActiveVideo Breaks In at Comcast.)

With the new Net2TV deal, ActiveVideo also shows how MSOs could transfer their UIs to the 5 million-plus Roku devices in U.S. homes. Time Warner Cable Inc. debuted its own app on the Roku back in March, making it the first large MSO to do so.

Comcast and Verizon Communications Inc. aren't on the Roku box today, but both large pay-TV providers have IP apps that run on Microsoft Corp.'s retail Xbox platform. (See TW Cable App Debuts on Roku and Comcast, Verizon Connect with the Xbox.)

Separately, Roku announced earlier this week that it raised US$60 million in a fresh round of investor funding. Fidelity and Hearst Corp. led this round, joining prior Roku investors BSkyB Ltd. and News Corp. Roku has now raised more than $140 million.

— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable

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