Macrovision is planning to make television sets a central part of the digital home with new software that will enable consumers to access content from broadcast TV, the internet and their home network, all via the TV set.
The software is codenamed Neon, and is an enhanced version of the electronic programme guide (EPG) familiar to consumers with Freeview and other digital television services. Macrovision expects it to appear in TVs for the UK market sometime in 2010.
Neon will make more extensive use of graphics, and show more information about programmes, such as in-depth synopses, cast lists and even stills, in order to help viewers pick a show they want to watch.
The system will be able to make recommendations based on viewing profiles, and different users in the home can have their own profile with associated recommendations, if they choose.
Neon will also allow digital TVs to find and access home network content, such as photos, music and videos stored on PCs, as well as link to streamed content available online, including movie sites and previously aired shows from broadcasters.
"Entertainment is shifting from traditional to digital media. Consumers still want movies and music, but they want to be able to watch it wherever they like, on a device of their choice," said Dave Jordan, vice president of marketing at Macrovision.
The company claims to provide the technology behind many existing EPGs used in cable and satellite set-top boxes, but Neon will be used for terrestrial channels in the UK, according to Jordan.
Neon is available now, but Macrovision is currently in negotiations with TV vendors to integrate it into connected digital sets. Jordan would not name any specific vendors, but said he was confident that Neon will appear in sets on sale in the UK next year.
"Most TV manufacturers deliver connected sets with an Ethernet interface. We are providing more than just an internet connection; it allows us to consolidate guidance. Using connected technology, it is now possible to get content through your TV, even if it is on the web," he said.
Neon will be able to find and access content on PCs running Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 7 operating system, as both are compatible with Digital Living Network Alliance standards, according to Jordan.
Meanwhile, Macrovision is to change its name to Rovi as of 16 July, as part of the company's move to focus more on digital entertainment technology.
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