MAKUHARI, Japan With the convergence of consumer electronics and information techology a key theme at this year's CEATEC electronics show in Japan, domestic TV makers are seeking to gain the initiative in networked TV sets by forming a joint TV portal platform.
Six companiesMatsushita, Sony, Sony Communication Network, Toshiba, Sharp and Hitachiformed a joint venture company called TV Portal Service Corp. that will run a common TV portal for digital TVs with broadband Internet access. The new service was promoted here at CEATEC.
The joint venture will launch a portal site named acTVila on Feb. 1, 2007. It is proposing that TV makers make their sets accessible to the common portal. Participants are expected to include most Japanese TV makers.
The partners said they would provide various services through the portal, starting with basic information services in February, video-on-demand later next year and content downloading services in 2008. The service will also handle payment transactions online.
A study group consisting of representatives from 70 companies has released a second version of specifications for the new service. The browser for accessing the portal is defined in the revised spec.
The portal company is considering adoption of digital right management technology under development by Intertrust, Matsushita, Samsung and Sony.
Matsushita is shipping digital TV sets with a proprietary portal site named TVnavi. An accompanying remote control is equipped with a button for direct access to the site. Once the acTVila portal site is launched, Matsushita said it will adopt acTVila on DTVs.