ActiveVideo Meets Its Match

4:05 PM -- To say ActiveVideo (formerly ICTV Inc.) is a resilient company would be an understatement. In fact, even I'm growing tired of pointing out that the company has managed to survive without scoring much in the way of deployments during its almost 20-year history. (See It... Lives! , TWC Activates ActiveVideo, and ActiveVideo Eyes CE Market.)

To make matters more challenging, ActiveVideo, along with everyone else under the Sun, must contend with a tough economy.

But at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, the company encountered something even the San Jose, Calif.-based firm could not fend off: bad food from a local restaurant. We won't identify the alleged culprit by name, but it sounds a lot like "B.F. Dang's."

Anyway, some bad grub took down seven of the 10 folks ActiveVideo brought to the show, but they still managed to soldier on with meetings after an evening spent retching.

I visited with ActiveVideo CEO and president Jeff Miller, one of the afflicted seven, on Friday night. While I was looking forward to living it up a bit the at the Fluer de Lys at Mandalay Bay later that evening, Miller was preparing to dine on a yummy smorgasbord consisting of Top Ramin, Saltines, and club soda.

Although he wasn’t feeling tip-top, we did discuss some of ActiveVideo's future prospects, and even I agree that they are looking up as the popularity of over-the-top video services explodes, and as some cable operators start to show signs of embracing it. (See Cable's 'Dream Set-Top' .)

That's because ActiveVideo's platform uses a server-client architecture that translates incoming video off the Web -- so cable digital set-tops (even those old crusty, non-IP ones) can display it -- combined with a TV-friendly interface that won't make you squint. To those older cable boxes, that content looks just like any other MPEG-delivered video-on-demand (VoD) stream.

That fact that MSOs are concerned about the effects Web video will have on their traditional video business "is making a difference" in ActiveVideo's MSO strategy, Miller claimed. "We'll see some material deployments in 2009."

So that's food for thought we'll chew on as we head deeper into the year. But, given ActiveVideo's experience in Las Vegas last week, we'll be sure to have a bottle of Pepto-Bismol close by.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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