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ActiveVideo's Year of Reckoning

Jeff Baumgartner
10/30/2009

5:10 PM -- DENVER -- SCTE Cable-Tec Expo -- It's happy days at ActiveVideo After persisting for about two decades with an interactive video strategy that puts most of the processing in the proverbial "cloud" so even the feeblest set-tops can enjoy the experience, its big payoff appears to be in view.

Earlier this week, Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) formally recognized that it's using ActiveVideo 's system to offer "Quick View," an app that offers a mosaic view of multiple channels in specific themes (kids, sports, and news). (See Cablevision Taps ActiveVideo Cablevision Tunes Up With ActiveVideo.)

Quick View's the first announced Active Video app underway at Cablevision, but we hear there are plenty more already deployed or on the way.

The deployment, something we reported in June, means ActiveVideo's client is in about 5 million households when deals with Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and PCCW Ltd. (NYSE: PCW; Hong Kong: 0008) factored in. But going to service providers is just part of the plan. In January, the company announced its intentions to get embedded in broadband-connected TVs and other consumer electronics equipment. (See TWC Activates ActiveVideo and ActiveVideo Eyes CE Market.)

That dual strategy and the sudden explosion of interest in Webifying the TV screen is finally starting to pay off for ActiveVideo, which has taken a licking but has kept on ticking as the rest of the world caught up with its original vision. And, yes, I've written the obit of ActiveVideo (née ICTV) over the years. So I get to eat some crow, but not too much. I mean, most companies don't get 20 years to make it happen. (See It... Lives! and New and Improved?)

Oh, so where was I going with all this?

Right… 2010 could shape up to be a big year for ActiveVideo, which is also pursuing some overseas business, too, after acquiring Avinity Systems. (See ActiveVideo Buys Into European iTV .) ActiveVideo SVP of marketing Edgar Villalpando told me last night here at the show that he expects ActiveVideo's technology to reach 10 million homes by the end of 2010.

He won't say which half of the distribution strategy (direct to service providers or CE) will generate the lion's share of new business, but I suspect that the service provider market will continue to be strongest next year. But the Consumer Electronics Show is only a couple of months away, so I imagine we could be hearing about ActiveVideo hooking up with a TV maker or two pretty soon.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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narayanb69
narayanb69
12/5/2012 | 3:52:56 PM
re: ActiveVideo's Year of Reckoning
Does ActiveVideo have an overlay application option? Does ActiveVideo not need a dedicated channel & take up the entire viewer screen? Is the trend towards applications co-existing with the program, instead of blocking it completely?
dcasellini
dcasellini
12/5/2012 | 3:51:18 PM
re: ActiveVideo's Year of Reckoning
Since ActiveVideo applications are based on standard DHTML and Javascript, we are in the process of implementing z-level ordering into our platform, which will allow overlay.

Regarding ActiveVideo using a dedicated channel: ActiveVideo initiates a unicast session like VOD. Upon exiting the "interactive" channel, the viewer can be returned to the regular broadcast. It's all seamless to the viewer.

I think the trend in interactive TV is towards a seamless and personalized user experience that is not limited by the power G and cost G of the user's device. If anything, the idea of channels will become antiquated. Search and discovery of content will become more personalized and intuitive. We don't need to know the IP address of a website, why should we have to know that Speed is on channel four hundred and something?
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