Tech Briefs: DirecTV Upgrading Set-Top Boxes

May 30, 2005  •  Post A Comment

DirecTV began downloading new interactive capabilities to some of its set-top boxes earlier this month as part of the satellite provider’s larger goal of introducing more next-generation ad-friendly functions into its set-tops and its new digital video recorders. The download will continue for two months and will enable interactive ads and interactive programming, such as its mosaic channels for news and kids and sports content. Also, later this summer DirecTV will fire up the new DirecTV DVR that’s widely considered to be its first step in replacing the TiVo-enabled boxes DirecTV has used for the past few years.

While DirecTV will continue to make TiVo functionality available to new and existing subscribers through the term of the contract ending in early 2007, by the middle of this year it will also offer the DirecTV DVR. The new DVR will serve as a host for new advertising opportunities, such as showcases or long-form ads, along the lines of the well-known industry standard TiVo Showcase, said Eric Shanks, senior VP of advanced services and content at DirecTV. The new DVRs also will allow telescoping, which links a short ad to a long-form one.

“The ability for touch points to the consumers will increase in a DVR experience,” he said. “The ability for people to have multiple ways to experience promotions and advertising on the DVR [is important]. We are definitely going to find ways and will be working and introducing ways and tactics that are definitely advertiser-friendly in the DVR world,” he said. “I really don’t believe that viewers despise advertising. They just sometimes despise when they have to watch it.”

Mag Rack, Details Join Forces

Video-on-demand provider Mag Rack plans to launch next month a new VOD program, created via a partnership with men’s magazine Details. The show, “The Good Life With Details,” includes an original 10-minute film created by Mag Rack that integrates Details advertisers Bombay Sapphire Gin and Jean Paul Da’mage jeans into the plot. The program marks Mag Rack’s first foray into integrated or branded content. The June/July issue of Details includes advertorial content promoting the Mag Rack content.