Leveraging its TotalGuide interactive programming guide and Lasso and Connected Platform networking technology, Rovi is seeking to become master of all content. The company wants to own the interface between the user of audio and video content and the process of discovering and acquiring that content regardless of source or device platform.
At the CES show in January, the company was touting new content partnerships with Showtime Networks, ZillionTV and Rhapsody in the U.S. along with a list of European based firms. Existing sources include CBS, Blockbuster, YouTube and Roxio CinemaNow. Rovi’s technology is built upon, among other things, the growing metadata and user review databases of its own AllMediaGuide and partner Flixster, along with WideVine’s digital rights management solution. The company claims more than 25 million U.S and 50 million worldwide households using its interactive programming guide which also serves as an advertising platform.
While Rovi’s role in the automotive market is less obvious, the company is more than three years into a drive to resolve content and rights-related challenges to accessing media and content from multiple sources conveniently and legally on mobile devices and in cars as well as in homes. Rovi’s role in the automotive market is growing as in-vehicle device interfaces such as USB ports and Wi-Fi connections proliferate along with external connections via embedded modules or smartphones. More content and media are being brought into cars and Rovi is coming along for the ride. Current partners in the automotive segment include Kenwood and NXP. Rovi’s technology is also used by Apple’s iTunes store among many other online content sellers.
Introduced late last year and currently available, Rovi’s automotive solution combines its Lasso and Connected Platformm technology for the automotive market and includes:
- Media Lookup: the ability to use Rovi's metadata library to identify, tag and manage digital content.
- Rich Entertainment Metadata: information on a variety of music and movies, supports multiple content types from CDs, digital files, DVD, Blu-ray Discs.
- Software Update: periodic updating of embedded databases via removable media or home network connectivity.
- Content Transfer: transfer of audio files and metadata to the vehicle from standards-based devices on a home network.
- Device Sharing: interoperability of portable devices via USB and standards-based connectivity.
To achieve the necessary connectivity, Rovi is supporting the Digital Living Network Alliance’s (DLNA) new guidelines for the service provider market that will enable consumers to play back and share commercial video and music across DLNA Certified devices. DLNA certified devices are proliferating in the PC (Windows 7), set-top box, TV, Blu-Ray, and mobile device markets, paving the way for smoother access to content from multiple sources.
In the consumer electronics market, Rovi wants to become the default programming guide for the next generation of HDTVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes. The importance of this effort is that the company is bringing together both in-home consumer electronics content access and mobile device access. TotalGuide will integrate cable and broadband video content side-by-side, in a single unified interface in the home, but can be expected to deliver a similar solution in mobile environments.
This means, Rovi will help enable the discovery and distribution of content, regardless of the delivery source or device platform. And Rovi also has the user reviews and metadata from partners like Flixster to offer social recommendations for video viewing. Competitors include Vudu, Boxee and TiVo, among others, but Rovi arguably has an edge with its unique combination of content, rights protection, metadata, and user reviews. And Rovi is the only player pursuing automotive opportunities.
Rovi’s rights protection technology comes from Widevine’s video optimization and DRM solutions. Widevine is a provider of adaptive streaming, interactive DVD/Blu-ray and DRM technologies to Internet content services as well as cable, satellite and telecommunications companies. Rovi says that by working with Widevine, consumers using its TotalGuide will be able to have access on their TVs to more content, such as movies and TV shows, from more providers. At the CES show, Rovi showed its new Media Management content management solution. Media Management helps manufacturers of PCs, set-top boxes, mobile handsets, and network-attached storage devices identify, tag and organize digital music, videos and photos by attaching descriptive metadata to the asset for easier filing and searching..