Charter Gets Active With ActiveVideo

ActiveVideo announced a string of deals last week with major cable operators involving interactive applications and user interafaces powered by its cloud-based platform.

Charter Communications said it will use ActiveVideo’s CloudTV H5 platform to underpin a new user interface, but didn’t say when it will be ready for primetime. “Early tests have shown favorable results, and the next step is an in-market trial,” Jim Blackley, Charter’s executive vice president of engineering and IT, said in a statement.

ActiveVideo also announced it will be doing more for its current largest customer, Cablevision Systems, which uses ActiveVideo to deliver dozens of applications as “channels” to set-top boxes, including interactive versions of MSG Varsity and News 12, casual games, and mosaic-based “Quick View” channels.

To help it spur more action outside the U.S., ActiveVideo also inked a partnership with Sumitomo for that company to help ActiveVideo target deployment opportunities in Japan and other parts of the Asia-Pacific region. Sumitomo owns a 50% stake in Jupiter Communications (J:Com), Japan’s largest cable operator.

Other ActiveVideo MSO customers include Ziggo, the largest MSO in the Netherlands, and Comcast, which is testing a VOD interface with ActiveVideo in Chattanooga, Tenn. With its consumer electronics deals factored in, ActiveVideo claims to have its software client deployed on more than 10 million devices.

The service-provider announcements tied into ActiveVideo’s launch of an upgraded, high-scale version of its cloud-based platform that’s designed to deliver “TV as an application” and ship a unified version of a pay TV provider’s user interface to a broad array of devices, including QAM-locked set-tops and IPconnected TVs, gaming consoles and specialized streaming boxes.

Instead of requiring operators to write a different version of the UI for each device, operating system and rendering engine, ActiveVideo’s approach looks to avoid that operational nightmare by requiring that it only be written once, in HTML 5, and managed from the proverbial cloud.