OpenTV is re-positioning its approach to interactive television, with less emphasis on individual interactive applications, and more emphasis on revenue-generating services, with a concentration on participation television, advanced television platforms, and interactive advertising.

At IBC2005 in Amsterdam, OpenTV launched a new participation television platform, OpenTV Partipate, based on some of the technology the company has gained through its betting business. The end-to-end system is intended to enable the creation and management of mass participation television events synchronised with live or pre-recorded shows.

Jupiter Entertainment, a cable and satellite company in Japan, has signed a long-term license agreement for the system to power a new participation channel, Parti TV.

“This agreement represents a key milestone in the field of participation television,” said OpenTV chairman and chief executive, Jim Chiddix. “Jupiter Entertainment’s new Parti TV channel represents the absolute state of the art for participation TV.”

The OpenTV solution has been integrated with broadcast graphics systems from Vizrt, and the two companies have entered into a worldwide marketing alliance for the provision of technology and services for live participation televison.

OpenTV Core
OpenTV was also demonstrating some of the latest features of OpenTV Core, its set-top box middleware. These include OpenTV PVR 2.0, a personal video recording platform, with support for features such as push video-on-demand and remote event booking. The system will be used by network operators UPC Broadband in Europe, StarHub and Austar.

Also included is in the latest version of OpenTV is support for high-definition television. TPS in France has chosen OpenTV to provide support for its high-definition MPEG-4 satellite services. TPS expects to offer the first high-definition capable set-top boxes within a few months.

In conjunction with Bluestreak Network, there was a demonstration of a clean-room implementation of Macromedia Flash, known as MachBlue, supporting a large subset of the SWF 7.0 specification, designed to run in less than 1MB of memory.

OpenTV is also aiming to embrace the emerging market for internet protocol television, with support for hybrid broadcast and broadband networks and telco television systems. Cabovisao in Portugal will use OpenTV Core 2.0 for interactive television services on their digital cable and broadband IPTV networks.

Also on show were SpotOn, an addressable advertising solution, and demonstrations of how personal video recorders can be used to support advertising. These include ‘speed bump’ banners that display when skipping through an advert, allowing viewers to jump back to the beginning of a commercial of interest, and ‘telescoping’ adverts that integrate material previously downloaded to disk.

OpenTV has acquired cable advertising sales management company CAM Systems, provider of Eclipse traffic and billing software, in a move to advance their ability to provide interactive, addressable and on-demand advertising services for cable television. It will complement its existing AdVision system, adding the advertising sales divisions of Time Warner Cable, Cox and Charter as new customers.

“This transaction is also an important stepping stone toward the provisioning of a complete interactive advertising solution,” said Jim Chiddix. “Interactive, addressable and on-demand advertising will require the ability to manage inventory, track, schedule and invoice the advertisements in order to scale to its full potential. The combination of CAM, our AdVision portfolio and our enhanced advertising technologies gives us the most complete capabilities in the industry.”