The satellite TV subsidiary of Canada-based Shaw Communications Inc. has launched an over-the-top (OTT) video-on-demand (VoD) service that uses adaptive bit rate techniques to deliver a library of more than 1,500 movies and TV titles to IP-connected set-top boxes. Shaw Direct launched a version of the service for Web browsers last April, but this week's launch marks the first time it's been offered directly to set-top boxes. Shaw, one of Canada's major cable operators, said Shaw Direct customers will automatically receive a free software update to enable the new OTT capabilities. Shaw has made no commitment to offer a similar service for its cable platform. (See Shaw Deploys Arris Video Gateway.)
Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) expects ad impressions for free VoD content to jump tenfold in the next 12 months as the operator expands the deployment of its dynamic ad insertion platform, Comcast Spotlight exec Chip Meehan said Wednesday at an event held by Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable. He said about 80 percent of Comcast's 400 million monthly VoD views are of free, ad-supported TV content, and expects VoD ad revenues to continue to rise as Comcast works out VoD agreements with additional programmers. (See Comcast Ready to Mine for VoD Gold .)
Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has issued takedown notices to Ihned.cz and other sites that are hosting a leaked, 56-page document that apparently details some of the new features that might grace Microsoft's next-gen Xbox gaming console, including support for Blu-ray and a more accurate Kinect accessory, reports The Verge. Microsoft hasn't confirmed what's on the roadmap for the purported Xbox 720 console, but the notice gives the document some added legitimacy.