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Deals, launches and products

The US Supreme Court has upheld a lower court decision pushing back against a Californian law that banned the sale of violent video games to children,

By PETER WHITE

Published: 30 June, 2011

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The US Supreme Court has upheld a lower court decision pushing back against a Californian law that banned the sale of violent video games to children, due to it infringing on the First Amendment, which protects free speech in the US. The gist of the logic was that games communicate ideas through characters, dialogue, plot and music and that means it must have First Amendment protection. If the government was able to regulate depictions of violence then Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Snow White, might have been seen as too gory to release in their time.

SeaChange International owned On Demand Group which aggregates movie content for VoD, mostly in Europe, has cut a deal to provide Malta’s first VoD service through the Melita Group. This takes ODG to 18 platforms in 12 countries including du in Dubai, Virgin Media and Three UK.

Vodafone has re-launched mobile broadband in the UK for SME users which will start at £3 a month and run in contracts as short as 3 months, and offer real time alerts to show what broadband you have used so far. This last requirement was one added at the insistence of the European Commission and all operators will have to make broadband usage transparent, especially when roaming abroad. The new service will offer a free WiFi online backup service using BT Openzone Wi-Fi and the packages will work with any devices including tablets. Over using the data allowance is not too punitive and is just 5p per megabyte over the contract allocation.

A new study by the US Natural Resources Defense Council says that DVRs, cable and other pay TV boxes waste huge amounts of electrical power, and cost American consumers $1 billion in electricity when they are in active use, but a further $2 billion while inactive, because they are still running at near full power. The Council says DVRs squander the annual energy output of six coal burning power plants (500 MW) because they are not equipped to power down when not being used. Dramatic energy savings could be achieved by having set-tops go into a low power mode when not being used or when recording a show.

The DVB Project and the European Union are mounting a joint visit to Manila in the hope of convincing the Philippines to adopt DVB-T2 instead of Japan’s ISDB-T. They hope to head off an imminent decision which would be taken without a DVB-T2 field trial and claim that DVB-T2 provides 100% more payload. Yes, but no signal that can be picked up by mobile devices, as ISDB-T does.

Italian broadband and IPTV player Fastweb has launched a new Over The Top video service with the help of mgMEDIA which offers multi-device support called Chili TV which will available on Italian LG and Samsung devices (Smart TVs and Blu-ray players). It will offer movies from major film studios like Warner and Paramount and content is available in HD. Over the next few months, Chili will be integrated with Android devices. Currently it offers 1,000 videos priced at €2.95 each.

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