THE TVB announced that ePort is now live, allowing media-buying agencies to place electronic orders with TV stations. 644 stations are participating in 186 markets, reaching 97.8 percent of the country. The system can currently handle orders, confirmations and makegoods. A full range of features will be rolled out in the coming months.
THE NTIA announced that over 1 million converter box coupons were requested in the first 40 hours of availability. If this rapid pace continues coupons will run out by February.
LANDMARK COMMUNICATIONS will put its assets up for sale, including the Weather channel, nine daily newspapers, 50 community papers and TV stations in Las Vegas and Nashville. The Weather Channel offering will include Weather.com, which draws over 30 million unique users per month. NBC and Comcast have shown interest in buying the property, which may fetch over $5 billion.
NETFLIX and LG are teaming up to create a device that will bring streaming movies directly to TV sets, expanding Netflix’s current PC-based movie service. The service will reportedly be integrated into LG’s combination HD DVD / Blu-ray player and be available by mid-year. Netflix had been developing its own hardware to access the service but canceled those plans after finding a large demand from third-party device makers. The DVD rental company is preparing for the post-DVD era and plans to embed its service into many more devices, including video game consoles.
CINEMANOW and MACROVISION are partnering to integrate the CinemaNow video download service with products that use Macrovision software. Macrovision creates middleware for a large number of consumer devices, including network-ready TVs and set-top boxes. The deal will add CinemaNow capability to those products. CinemaNow already has 1.5 million monthly users and is available on Xbox 360, the Archos media player and certain HP LCD TVs.
WIRELESS HDTV will be an emerging, popular technology showcased at this year’s CES. Several different companies will exhibit technology capable of transmitting HD audio and video signals wirelessly over short distances, bridging the gap between TVs and video devices. Leading the push will be the WirelessHD consortium of Sony, Toshiba and (as of today) Intel. The WirelessHD technology can transmit signals up to 30 feet using radio spectrum around 60 gigahertz.