The interactive program guide (IPG) firm said Pennsylvania-based Armstrong Cable will launch a trial of its TotalGuide xD during the second quarter, and let subs watch linear and video-on-demand (VoD) content on the iPad, along with streaming video from the Web. The guide also allows subscribers to search TV listings and change channels with the iPad, access social networks such as Facebook and Twitter Inc. , and use the iPad as a remote control to change channels. (See Armstrong Taps SeaChange for VoD Upgrade.)
"It’s designed specifically to support and connect to Rovi's iGuide and Passport guides that are already in the marketplace today,” said Rovi VP of Vertical Markets Sharon Metz. Rovi's IPGs run on set-tops that cable MSOs have deployed from Motorola, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and other suppliers.
While Rovi hasn’t struck deals yet with major MSOs to deploy TotalGuide xD -- a white-label, or MSO-customizable, media guide -– it did recently ink an expanded IPG licensing deal with Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), which has plans to launch three apps for the iPad. (See Cablevision Eyes $50 Set-Top.)
And Rovi's product plays into a bona fide trend. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)’s FiOS TV, DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) and Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) are among major service providers that have also developed apps for the iPad. (See Everyone's Mad About the iPad and Streaming a Subset of Live TV?)
TotalGuide xD currently works with only the iPad, but the company is also developing similar apps for the iPhone, devices that run Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android and other types of smartphones, says Rovi Product Management Director Chris Lee.
Rovi's iPad application features banner ads and it also allows cable operators to run promotional ads on the devices. "It extends Rovi’s distribution reach for the Rovi ad network," Metz says.
Rovi faces competition in the cross-platform guide market, including Technicolor (Euronext Paris: TCH; NYSE: TCH)'s "MediaNav," another white-label system that lets video customers to navigate and run video on connected tablets and smartphones. (See Technicolor's Sneak Peek .)
— Steve Donohue, Special to