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Rovi looks to Android and cloud for final pinch of strategy

We have to admit that the merger of Gemstar and Macrovision into some kind of future TV platform under the brand of Rovi, was always something we saw

By PETER WHITE

Published: 10 February, 2011

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We have to admit that the merger of Gemstar and Macrovision into some kind of future TV platform under the brand of Rovi, was always something we saw as far-fetched and unlikely to happen in a meaningful way, but with the addition in recent weeks of Sonic Solutions this has forced us to re-appraise the company and still we see more mist that out and out strategy. But we thought that perhaps if we looked hard enough, we might see a picture of a deeper strategy emerging.

This week it has talked about porting its Connected Platform to the Android platform. The Rovi Connected Platform seems to us a mere pre-requisite to offering any kind of system for content management in the home. You have to have software which will deliver the use cases of the DLNA, and this is more or less the Rovi version of that software. The idea is that consumer electronics manufacturers have enough to focus on, and they want to borrow a design for content interaction complete with its own UI, format and file conversion and management, not build their own.

So far most of the Android and iPad stuff from Rovi has been about showing people what’s on TV, and relies on the knowledge of its listings database. This week for instance it added an iPad application called “What’s On TV”, a free, mobile television listings app with a difference, it knows what’s on where you are based, so varies it from US State to US State.

And on Google TV last May Rovi stood up and put its TotalGuide navigation onto the device. That’s all about merging different video sources onto a single EPG and populating it with data.

The Connected Platform let’s a home user make a link between local PCs so that music, photos and video files can be shared between devices, and this week’s announcement is merely that it now includes Android portable devices in that eco-system. They should now be able to swap content with digital TVs, set-top boxes, digital video recorders, Windows 7 PCs and network-attached storage devices. The Android App will also give the consumer remote management capabilities.

But right now this is not about commercial content, this is about content which does not have to be protected, either because you own it or because someone has already stripped it of its protection when it was downloaded from the internet. Either way system like these, are, as we say, the pre-requisite to the digital home and need that final step, which is the implementation of DTCP-IP on key devices.

Most readers of this publication will know already that this is a DLNA endorsed streaming protection protocol which is reliant on a hardware assist. It doesn’t actually need a hardware based key, but so far the US studios have said, “Let’s see how it goes in hardware first and then we’ll consider software only.”

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