ActiveVideo Expands with Funai TVs

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ActiveVideo Networks now has a presence in over 5 million U.S. homes. By the end of 2011, it will be in over 20 million, predicts Edgar Villalpando, its senior vice president of marketing. A major part in how the company will get there is in a partnership just announced at CES: Funai Electric Co. of Osaka, Japan, will soon market connected televisions and Blu-ray players using ActiveVideo's technology.

If the name Funai doesn't ring a bell, then perhaps a few of its brands—-Philips, Emerson, Magnavox, and Sylvania—will.

ActiveVideo, which has sagely trademarked the term Cloud TV, is a five-year-old company dedicated to providing cloud services to televisions. Its central idea is to deliver video content in a lowest-common denominator video format playable on any legacy cable or satellite box. By removing the processing from the box and putting it in the cloud, it allows any content to be streamed. It's currently used by Cablevision, Time Warner, and other international companies.

This deal marks the first time that ActiveVideo's technology will be used in a connected television. While Villalpando can't give exact number of Funai sets and disc players in 2011 that will contain his company's technology, he says that "a good portion of them will."

The deal will use ActiveVideo's platform to provide access to YouTube videos, Facebook, and Tag games to home viewers. Because the content is cloud-based, new programming can be added without any software download needed. In fact, Villalpando says there will be major content announcements following in just a few weeks.

"It's open territory right now in terms of content, and we've built the pipe," Villalpando says.

While at CES, ActiveVideo Networks also demonstrated new features, such as iPhone apps and social viewing with friends, that should be available to viewers in the near future.

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