COMMENT: The win by Ice TV will allow for the immediate roll out of an electronic program guide by consumer electronic vendors without the possibility of them being sued by TV Networks who are desperate to prevent the skipping of TV commercials.
At the same time several major Companies can breathe a sigh of relief after Justice Annabelle Bennett in the Federal Court ruled in favour of Ice TV over Channel Nine who had claimed that Ice TV were in breach of Nine copyright by re purposing information to an electronic program guide.
If the case had gone against Ice TV several major search engines include NineMSN, Google and Yahoo Seven could have faced legal action as they in scrapping information from various web sites were delivering a similar service to Ice TV.
What this case has been all about is the easy removal of free to air TV commercials when a consumer records a free to air TV program to a hard drive PVR using the Ice TV program guide.
The Federal Court ruling will see several major vendors including Sony, Sharp, LG, Samsung cutting deals with IceTV to offer the IceTV service with their PVR and recording products.
Microsoft who late last year admitted that a big problem for them in the sale of their Media Centre offering was the lack of an EPG offering are believed to have held discussions with IceTV and could well deliver a EPG service by year end.
In response to the IceTV win the free to air TV Networks could well roll out a free combined EPG service that will allow consumers to access content and record it. What is not known is whether a condition of this service will be that vendors who bundle the free service include pulse code technology that stops commercials being removed.
Several major Companies have told SmartHouse today that they welcome the decision and that they will re commence discussions with Ice TV immediately. Graeme Reardon the Regional Director of Linksys said “This is a great win. We are set to roll out a new Linksys set top box that has various capabilities. The inclusion of an Ice TV service will be a big benefit”.
“We held discussions with them last year when we had the KISS offering. This brand has now been killed off and will be replaced with the new Linksys offering later this. The win is important news and I will talk to the USA immediately”.
Deb Noller the Managing Director of Digital Homeware an organisation that sells a home automation control system based on the Windows operating system said, “This is great news. We have been offering our own version of an EPG and this decision allows us to legitimise the service. What we are now able to do is stream information on both free to air and Foxtel programs. We will also look at bundling the Ice TV service”.
None of the free to air TV or Foxtel has yet commented on the decision.