• ActiveVideo Lights Up 2 Dozen Interactive Channels for Cablevision

    Cablevision, the 5th largest cable operator in the US and dominant provider in the NYC metro area, and ActiveVideo Networks, provider of "CloudTV" interactive solutions are announcing this morning that Cablevision is now delivering over 2 dozen interactive channels to its entire digital video subscriber base.  The offerings include hyper-local sports and news, advertising showcases and "Quick View" mosaic navigational channels. Plans are to roll out additional channels.

    For those not familiar with ActiveVideo Networks, its focus is enabling video service providers to bridge web-based content, including video, directly to the TV. ActiveVideo provides a content developer's kit (CDK) set of set of standards-based tools (Javascript, XHTML/DHTML) so customers can develop web-based content and deliver it to a digital set-top box as an MPEG stream. The CDK allows much faster development cycles plus lots of flexibility. As the name implies, content is delivered from the cloud, with a thin client in the digital set-top box.

    All of this is important because as convergence devices (e.g. game consoles, TiVo, Roku, Blu-ray devices, boxee, etc.) consumers' expectations are growing that they'll be able to get web content on their TVs. That's turning up the heat on service providers to make the TV experience more interactive and engaging.  Whereas "TV Everywhere" initiatives are about bringing TV content online, convergence efforts are about bringing web content to the TV, complete with interactivity and constant updates. Games are another important application and just last week ActiveVideo acquired TAG Networks, a gaming platform that will allow service providers to deliver casual games through their set-top boxes.

    I've seen various ActiveVideo implementations and they are remarkably web-like and responsive. The interface is similar to what you experience online. And using your remote control you're able to quickly navigate around. I expect that as the pressure mounts on incumbent service providers to deliver more web-like content to TVs, but with minimal client or network upgrades, the addition of CloudTV services will make more and more sense.

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    (Note - ActiveVideo Networks is a VideoNuze sponsor)