DirecTV launched three ‘mosaic’ television channels on Thursday at CES in Las Vegas. The channels aggregate into one screen six or seven video signals by category, allowing a news junkie to keep tabs on CNN, CNN Headline News, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and The Weather Channel on the same screen at one time.
CBS Marketwatch coverage here.
The Sports Mix includes ESPN, ESPN2, The NFL Network, TNT and others, but has the caveat that it may be blacked out subject to local programming restrictions. Kids Mix features children’s networks such as Nickelodeon and Turner’s own Cartoon Network.
These channels (which I was happy to see at home on my DirecTV system on channels 102, 104 and 111) follow the succesful launch of mosaics last Summer and Fall by Echostar’s Dish Network. They broke this ground in the U.S. with an Olympics mosaic over the Summer showcasing the various NBC channels carrying that programming, and followed that up with an election-night mosaic featuring CNN and the other news networks.
The new DirecTV mix channels can’t truly be called interactive, however. They are a static collection of the networks with (on the news and sports channels) a somewhat annoying barker channel talking about news/sports programming on the network. Unlike the Dish version, the user cannot use the channel to move from video to video and change the audio signal. That small detail alone would, IMHO, vastly improve the usefullness of the service. The Dish version also allowed the user to highlight one of the streams and click to tune.
I suspect DirecTV will follow up with click to tune and switchable audio with a new version soon. BSkyB, their sister company in the UK, has numerous similar applications running there which have these features and more, including interactive news feeds and stories.
More screenshots here at Engadget.