Want to reinvent TV? Don’t forget the TV

The future of TV may not be about apps, second screens and over-the-top at all but about new types of screens that fill entire walls and work together in a modular fashion. And the TV of the future may be a bit like your dog.

Cox Improves Search and Discovery With New Program Guide

Cable provider Cox Communications is rolling out a new program guide that will improve search and discovery of broadcast and on-demand TV content. The new Trio program guide, which will be released as part of Cox’s Plus Package, will be available on Cisco (s CSCO) tru2way set-top boxes that will be rolled out through all Cox markets by the end of the year.

The Plus Package, which includes whole-home DVR, more DVR storage and additional high-definition channels, will be available for a small additional fee to Cox subscribers. The package will be rolled out in select Cox markets by the end of the second quarter, and to the rest of Cox’s footprint by the end of the year.

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BlackArrow Nabs Strategic Investment from NDS

Interactive advertising startup BlackArrow has secured a $20 million Series C Round of financing, led by new strategic investor NDS. The investment also underlines a new strategic alliance between the companies, which will attempt to extend BlackArrow’s interactive capabilities to new markets.
In addition to NDS, existing investors Cisco Systems (s CSCO), Comcast Interactive Capital (s CMCSA), Intel Capital (s INTC), Mayfield Fund and Polaris Venture Partners also participated in the round. BlackArrow most recently raised a $20 million round in October 2008. Altogether, the interactive ad starup has raised a total of $58 million since being founded in 2005. Read More about BlackArrow Nabs Strategic Investment from NDS

In the Future, Ads Will Skip You

TV networks and advertisers alike have long been looking for ways to make ads more relevant to consumers prone to skipping, or simply ignoring advertising. This quest has become even more urgent with the advent of new advertising opportunities online that are increasingly rivaling the 30-second spot. Personalized TV advertising is an obvious solution in theory; making it a reality however, has proven to be difficult, with major efforts to develop the technical infrastructure to serve different ads to different consumers stalling.

UK-based pay-TV solutions provider NDS has come up with a new approach to personalized advertising that’s not only much more feasible than previous efforts, but should also please privacy advocates worried about the implications of behavioral targeted marketing. In fact, the technology is so simple that it could easily be rolled out to millions of consumers tomorrow — if it wasn’t for the fact that it forces cable operators and TV networks alike to rethink a major part of their business.

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Vid-Biz: Apple and Adobe, Electus, Disney

iPad Puts Focus on Apple’s Flash Feud; Apple and Adobe, which used to be cozy partners, have become increasingly estranged since the computer maker unveiled its iPad tablet late last month. (Wall Street Journal)

Electus Hires Starcom Entertainment Vet Caraccioli-Davis; entertainment marketing specialist Laura Caraccioli-Davis is leaving her job at Publicis Groupe’s Starcom USA to join Electus, the entertainment joint venture of Barry Diller’s IAC and former NBC Entertainment executive Ben Silverman. (AdAge)

Disney to Break Windows; Disney has boldly told U.S. exhibs it wants to break the theatrical-to-DVD window on at least two titles a year, shortening the gap to just over 12 weeks vs. the usual 16. (Variety)

Hulu Could Still Launch on the iPad; one industry insider says Hulu is working on an iPad-friendly version of its site that should be ready by the time the iPad hits the market. (TechCrunch)

Current TV Taps SnapStream; Current TV will use SnapStream’s TV search server for its half-hour satirical news show, InfoMania, enabling it to search online and grab TV clips for use in the program. (Multichannel News)

AT&T Brings Fans Interactive Coverage With Olympic Games Multiview App; AT&T launched the U-verse NBC Olympics Application, a new TV app that lets subscribers watch up to four different channels featuring Olympic content on a screen at any one time. (press release)

New on Clicker: “Search Within” Everywhere!; the startup has expanded its “Search Within” capability to let users search for more types of information in more places, from categories like Comedy to media pages like TV or Movies. (Clicker blog)

Reelzchannel Steps Up VOD Content Frequency; Reelzchannel said it will increase the frequency of its video-on-demand and pay-per-view movie promotional content to a biweekly basis to keep it as current and relevant as possible. (Multichannel News)

TV Genius Joins NDS Recommendations Engine Partner Program; Through the deal, NDS will offer the services of video recommendations service TV Genius to its customers. (press release)

NDS Adds Jinni for Video Recommendations

Finding what you want to watch on TV is going to be a big problem in the coming years as more video choices crowd into your living room. As a result, recommendations will play an increasingly important role in our video discovery. To that end, NDS, which makes middleware and applications for multi-service operator set-top boxes, announced today that it has launched its Recommendations Engine Partner Programme, and video recommendation service Jinni is the first company to join.
In a recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. cable customers conducted by NDS, having TV recommendations was one of the top applications desired for their cable service.

Jinni’s recommendations are powered by the company’s Movie Genome and can provide suggestions based on previous viewing patterns, mood-based browsing, or a semantic search like “action with a surprise twist.”
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Vid-Biz: YouTube, Conviva, RollingShutter

Music Videos Back Online on YouTube in the UK; video site reaches agreement with the PRS for Music rights collection society; premium videos to return in the next few days. (YouTube Biz Blog) Speaking of online music videos, Vevo is reportedly in talks with NBC and CBS to develop original programming for its forthcoming music video site. (Reuters)
NBCU CTO Leaves for Conviva; Darren Feher will be CEO of the online video distribution company, which has a multi-year agreement with NBCU. (paidContent)
RollingShutter Removes Video Wiggle; plug-in tool for After Effects straightens objects that get tilted because of the CMOS sensors. (The Foundry)

Livestation and Telestream Pick Wowza for Multiple Screen Streaming; the Wowza Media Server 2 streams live entertainment to devices like the iPhone. (emailed release)
NDS and TNS Team Up for Individual TV Tracking; the opt-in service is able to monitor viewing habits of individual users. (Multichannel News)
Cable Cos Cry Foul Over Franchise Fees; they are lobbying hard to get a law passed in California that would require satellite operators to pay up to provide service. (The LA Times)

Where’s Our TV Guide for the Web?

There’s a lot of free video on the Internet these days, and you don’t need to go spelunking on BitTorrent to find it. But it’s not always obvious where to get high-quality versions of TV shows and movies. Between Hulu, Amazon, Netflix and many, many more sites, it would be nice if someone would come along and lay out our options in clear fashion.
This week, I talked to a couple newly launched and relaunched video discovery sites, so today, on the sad occasion of John Hughes’ death, I put a few of these sites to work to find where I could watch his generation-defining films online.
locatetvFirst up, a fellow from PayTV software provider NDS came by our office to show off a new web project. LocateTV, which just relaunched a couple weeks ago, is a free online interface that analyzes TV listings, online DVD stores and legal web stream databases so that users can track when their favorite shows, movies, actors and the like will be appearing in a format accessible to them.
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