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Rovi Corporation
Type Public
Traded as NASDAQ: ROVI
Industry Digital Entertainment Technology

1983 (as Macrovision)

2009 (as Rovi Corporation)
Headquarters Santa Clara, California, United States
Key people Tom Carson, President and CEO
Peter Halt, Chief Financial Officer
Pamela Sergeeff, Executive Vice-President, General Counsel and Secretary
Andrew K. Ludwick, Chairman
Products Media guide and program guide for television
Net income US$14,900,000 (2012-12-31)[1]
Total assets Decrease US$3.2 billion (2012-12-31)
Employees 1700+ (2014)

Rovi Corporation is a United States-based company that provides guidance technology, entertainment data, algorithms for recommendations, data analytics and interactive advertising solutions for digital entertainment devices and services. Its customers include consumer electronics manufacturers, cable television and satellite television operators, and websites, application developers, consumer brands and advertisers.[2]

Rovi Corporation’s patents, products, and technologies are involved in the navigation, discovery, search, recommendations on millions of devices worldwide. Specifically, its guidance technologies can be found on set-top boxes, digital video recorders, TVs and mobile and table devices. A range of companies including major CE manufacturers, cable operators, popular websites and social networks use Rovi’s entertainment metadata, a collection of in-depth information on movies, television shows, celebrities, music, games and books, to help organize and enable the consumption of digital entertainment.

The company holds over 5,000 issued or pending patents worldwide and is headquartered in Santa Clara, California.[3]

Rovi was known as Macrovision Solutions Corporation (Macrovision) until it changed its name in July 2009.[4]


  • History 1
  • Technology details 2
    • Digital home entertainment 2.1
    • Products 2.2
    • Data 2.3
    • Search and Recommendations 2.4
    • Advertising 2.5
    • Rovi Audience Management 2.6
    • Legacy products and technologies 2.7
    • RipGuard 2.8
    • ACP 2.9
  • Acquisitions 3
    • As Macrovision 3.1
    • As Rovi 3.2
  • See also 4
  • References 5
    • Notes 5.1
    • Further Reference 5.2
  • External links 6


Rovi was established under the name Macrovision Corporation in 1983. The 1984 film The Cotton Club was the first video to be encoded with Macrovision technology when it was released in 1985. The technology was subsequently extended to DVD players and other consumer electronic recording and playback devices such as digital cable and satellite set-top boxes, digital video recorders, and personal media players. By the end of the 1980s, most major Hollywood studios were utilizing their services.

With a number of acquisitions in the 1990s, Macrovision’s products and services managed access control and secure distribution of other forms of digital media, including music, video games, Web text and graphics, and computer software.

John O. Ryan (Founder and CEO of Macrovision from June 1995 to October 2001) and William A. Krepick (president of Macrovision Corporation from July 1995 – July 2005 and CEO from October 2001 to July 2005)[5] led the company through an IPO in 1997 priced at $9.00 a share. Under their leadership, the company was transformed from a private company with sales of under $20M to a global, publicly traded corporation with annual sales of $220M and market cap exceeding $1B.[6]

In July 2005, the company made a change in the management team, and brought on-board Alfred J. Amoroso as chief executive officer and president to succeed William A. Krepick, who announced his request to retire in early the same year.[7]

Under Mr. Amoroso’s leadership the company changed its direction and vision, and announced that it was going to acquire Gemstar-TV Guide May 2, 2008 in a cash-and-stock deal worth about $2.8 billion. The combine company would seek to be “the homepage for the TV experience,” said Mr. Amoroso.[8]

After the announcement of the intent to acquire Gemstar-TV Guide, Macrovision Corporation completed additional transactions, selling its software business unit to a private equity firm, Thomas Cressey Bravo valued at approximately $200 million, to move its business out of the software licensing market and into the entertainment technology market. The divestiture of the software business unit closed on April 1, 2008 and the standalone company was named Acresso Software.

The acquisition of Gemstar-TV Guide closed the following year on May 2, 2008. During the transaction period, Macrovision divested other areas of its non digital entertainment business, including TryMedia, eMeta, TV Guide Magazine, TV Guide Network and the TV Games Network.

The company also made additional acquisitions: All Media Guide on November 6, 2007 and substantially all the assets of Muze, Inc. on April 15, 2009. Both companies provide entertainment metadata.

On July 16, 2009, Macrovision Solution Corporation announced the official change of its name to Rovi Corporation.

Rovi announced the availability of its first product as the new company, on January 7, 2010. The product was TotalGuide™. TotalGuide was launched as an interactive media guide that incorporated entertainment data, to power search, browse and provide recommendation capabilities.[9]

On March 16, 2010, MediaUnbound was acquired by Rovi Corporation for an undisclosed amount, the company helped build static and dynamic personalization and recommendation engines for a number of clients, including Napster, eMusic and MTV Networks.[10]

Rovi began to create advertising offerings announcing the Rovi Advertising Network on June 16, 2010, which bundled guide advertising and third-party interactive TV platforms to extend audience reach even further, into 15.8 million U.S. households.[11]

To help streamline metadata tagging globally, Rovi helped create an international coalition, along with MovieLabs, CableLabs and Comcast that launched the first, non-profit, Entertainment Identifier Registry to catalog movies, television shows and other commercial audio/video assets with unique identifiers. The company hoped to create a standard for metadata tagging that could be used by content creators and providers around the world, with support from Deluxe, Universal Pictures, Neustar, Paramount Pictures, Sonic Solutions, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Walt Disney Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Motion Picture Association of America, Inc., Civolution, Vobile, INA (L’institut national de l’audiovisuel), among others.[12]

On December 23, 2010, the company announced its intention to acquire Sonic Solutions, and its DivX video software in a deal valued at $720 million. Sonic provided digital video processing, playback and distribution technologies and owned RoxioNow (formerly CinemaNow) an OTT technology provider. Sonic acquired DivX in 2010, which at the time had a presence on more than 350 million consumer electronic devices.[13]

With this acquisition, Rovi broadened its range of products and services for content owners, device makers, retailers, and operators with a white-label digital video online storefront and video streaming and delivery technologies.[14]

On March 1, 2011, SideReel was acquired by Rovi Corporation for an undisclosed amount. San Francisco-based SideReel was one of the most successful online video guides, surpassing one million daily visits.[15]

The company announced that Mr. Amoroso’s intentions to retire on May 26, 2011.[16] Tom Carson, formerly the executive vice president of sales and marketing at Rovi, was appointed CEO and President in December 2011.[17]

As the company shifted its focus on “growth opportunities related to its core enabling technology and services” the company announced that it intended pursue the sale of Rovi Entertainment Store business. [18] It entered into separate agreements to sell Rovi Entertainment Store to Reliance Majestic Holdings, a private equity backed company; and its consumer websites to All Media Networks, a new company in July 2013.[19]

Continuing on this path, the company made a similar announcement indicating its intent to pursue the sale of DivX and MainConcept businesses, in January 2014.

On April 1, 2013, IntegralReach, a predictive analytics platform that integrates massive data from set-tops, smart TVs, tablets, stream servers, was acquired by Rovi Corporation. The cloud-based platform was designed from the ground up to deliver timely intelligence and actionable insights that are only possible with data from millions of homes and scaled computing resources.[20]

After the acquisition, this technology became a part of Rovi’s entertainment analytics and ultimately, their Audience Management Solutions.[21]

Facebook began using Rovi Video in April 2013. The social media site wanted a database of in-depth information on movies, TV shows and celebrities to offer people more ways to express the things they love on their profiles.

Technology details

Digital home entertainment

Rovi provides a variety of software and entertainment technologies and metadata. Its portfolio includes search, recommendations, multi-platform advance advertising and interactive program guides for navigating and discovering content on TVs, set-top boxes, tablet and PCs.[22]


  • Guides: Rovi offers guide solutions for service providers and consumer electronics manufacturers with more than 413 million devices using its guidance technology. Specific products include:
    • TotalGuide xD: a white-label media guide for mobile devices that allows consumers to find, manage and watch TV shows and movies.
    • TotalGuide CE: a media guide for consumer electronics manufacturers that enables access to broadcast programming, premium over-the-top (OTT) entertainment and catch-up TV.
    • Passport Guide: An interactive program guide for service providers.
    • i-Guide: An interactive program guide for service providers.
    • G-Guide: Rovi's G-Guide is an HTML5-based interactive program guide for digital terrestrial, broadcast satellite and commercial satellite services.
    • TotalTV: Rovi’s Online Guide that enables news and entertainment organizations to incorporate local TV listings from U.S. broadcast, cable and satellite providers into their websites
    • Rovi DTA Guide: Rovi DTA Guide is an interactive program guide designed for households with DTAs (Digital Terminal Adapters) installed.


Rovi provides entertainment metadata for consumer electronics manufacturers, service providers, retailers, online portals and application developers around the world. The company has over 50 years of metadata for video, music, books, and games. The data covers more than 5 million movies and TV programs, 3.2 million album releases and 30 million song tracks, 9 million in-print and out-of-print book titles, and 70,000 video games. The metadata includes basic facts, local TV listings and channel line-ups for interactive program guides, original editorial, imagery, and other features that can enhance apps, websites, interactive program guides, devices and services. Specific products include Rovi Video, Rovi Music, Rovi Books, and Rovi Games.[23]

Search and Recommendations

Rovi provides search and recommendations solutions that help consumers navigate content, and find and discover entertainment. Rovi Search Service allows consumer electronics manufacturers, service providers and developers to enable intuitive, personalized search and drive entertainment discovery across platforms and media types. The Search Service enables consumers to query program or movie titles, band or album names, track titles and actor or artist names to find and directly access desired content. Rovi Recommendations Service is a cloud-based service that offers consumers entertainment choices similar to their chosen program, movie, album, track, musician or band.


Rovi Advertising Service allows multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), service providers, CE manufacturers, OEMs and developers to monetize entertainment platforms. Rovi Advertising Service places ads that appear as content choices in application menus and user interfaces for set-top boxes, connected TVs, smartphones, tablets, Blu-ray players, game consoles and other devices. Through Rovi’s Advertising Network, advertisers can reach consumers while they seek live, recorded, on-demand, cable, network or web-based entertainment content.

Rovi Audience Management

Rovi Audience Management is a suite of products (Advertising Optimizer and Promotion Optimizer) combining big data with predictive analytics to provide TV audience insights and advertising campaign management. Ad Optimizer allows provides campaign management and media planning capabilities to TV networks and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs). Promo Optimizer uses past viewing data to enable cable and broadcast networks to create plans for on-air promos.

Legacy products and technologies

Rovi (as Macrovision) historically developed technologies and products that helped protect content from being pirated. Its two core legacy products were called RipGuard and ACP (analog copy protection).


Macrovision introduced its RipGuard technology in February 2005. It was designed to prevent or reduce digital DVD copying by altering the format of the DVD content to disrupt the ripping software. Although the technology could be circumvented by several current DVD rippers such as AnyDVD or DVDFab, Macrovision claimed that 95% of casual users lack the knowledge and/or determination to be able to copy a DVD with RipGuard technology.[24]

Analog video formats convey video signals as a series of “lines”. Most of these lines are used for constructing the visible image, and are shown on the screen. But several more lines exist which do not convey visual information. Known as the vertical blanking interval (VBI), these extra lines historically served no purpose other than to contain the vertical synchronizing pulses, but in more modern implementations they are used to carry or convey different things in different countries; for example closed captioning.

Macrovision pulses in an otherwise unused video line. Here they are large, forcing a VCR's auto contrast circuit to make the picture darker.
A couple of seconds later, the pulses have reduced in amplitude, forcing a VCR's auto contrast circuit to make the picture lighter. A couple of seconds later still, the pulses return to their original amplitude, darkening the picture once more.


Macrovision's legacy analog copy protection (ACP) works by implanting a series of excessive voltage pulses within the off-screen VBI lines of video. These pulses were included physically within pre-existing recordings on VHS and Betamax, and were generated upon playback by a chip in DVD players and digital cable or satellite boxes. A DVD recorder receiving an analog signal featuring these pulses would detect them and display a message saying that the source is "copy-protected" followed by aborting the recording. VCRs, in turn, react to these excessive voltage pulses by compensating with their automatic gain control circuitry, causing the recorded picture to wildly change brightness, rendering it annoying to watch. The system was only effective on VCRs made at around the mid-1980s and later.

A later form of Macrovision's analog copy protection, called Level II ACP, introduced multiple 180-degree phase inversions to the analog signal's colorburst. Also known as colorstriping, this technology caused numerous off-color bands to appear within the picture.

Another form of analog copy protection, known as CGMS-A, is added by DVD players and digital cable/satellite boxes. While not invented by Macrovision, the company's products implemented it. CGMS-A consists of a "flag" within the vertical blanking interval (essentially data, like closed captioning) which digital recording devices search for. If present, it refused to record the signal, just as with the earlier ACP technology. Unlike digital recording equipment, however, analog VCRs do not respond to CGMS-A encoded video and would record it successfully if ACP is not also present.

Historically, the original Macrovision technology was considered a nuisance to some specialist users because it could interfere with other electronic equipment. For example, if one were to run a video signal through a VCR before the television, some VCRs will output a ruined signal regardless of whether it is recording. This also occurs in some TV-VCR combo sets. Apart from this, many DVD recorders mistake the mechanical instability of worn videotapes for Macrovision signals, and so refuse to make what would be perfectly legal DVD dubs of people's old home movies and the like. This widespread problem is another factor contributing to the demand for devices that defeat Macrovision. The signal has also been known to confuse home theater line doublers (devices for improving the quality of video for large projection TVs) and some high-end television comb filters. In addition, Macrovision confuses many upconverters (devices that convert a video signal to a higher resolution), causing them to shut down and refuse to play Macrovision content.

There are also devices called stabilizers, video stabilizers or enhancers available that filter out the Macrovision spikes and thereby defeat the system. The principle of their function lies in detecting the vertical synchronization signal, and forcing the lines occurring during the VBI to black level, removing the AGC-confusing pulses. They can be easily built by hobbyists, as nothing more than a cheap microcontroller together with an analog multiplexer and a little other circuitry is needed. Individuals less experienced with such things can purchase video stabilizers.

Discs made with DVD copying programs such as DVD Shrink automatically disable any Macrovision copy protection. The ease with which Macrovision and other copy protection measures can be defeated has prompted a steadily growing number of DVD releases that do not have copy protection of any kind, Content Scramble System (CSS) or Macrovision.

United States fair use law, as interpreted in the decision over Betamax (Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios), dictates that consumers are fully within their legal rights to copy videos they own. However, the legality has changed somewhat with the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act. After April 26, 2002, no VCR may be manufactured or imported without Automatic Gain Control circuitry (which renders VCRs vulnerable to Macrovision). This is contained in title 17, section 1201(k) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. However, there are a number of mostly older VCR models on the market that are not affected by Macrovision.

On October 26, 2001, the sale, purchase, or manufacture of any device that has no commercial purpose other than disabling Macrovision copy protection was made illegal under section 1201(a) of the same controversial act.

In June 2005, Macrovision sent a cease and desist letter to "Lightning UK!", the maker of DVD Decrypter, a program that allows users to back up their DVDs by bypassing CSS and Macrovision. They later acquired the rights to this software.[25]

In June 2005, Macrovision sued Sima Products under section 1201 of the DMCA, claiming that Sima's video processors provided a way to circumvent Macrovision's analog copy protection. Sima received an injunction barring the sale of this device,[26] but the parties ultimately settled without a judgment on the legal issues.[27]


As Macrovision

  • In 2000, Macrovision acquired Globetrotter, creators of the FLEXlm, which was subsequently renamed Flexnet.[28]
  • In 2002, Macrovision acquired Israeli company Midbar Technologies, developers of the Cactus Data Shield music copy protection solution for $17 million. Additionally the same year, Macrovision acquired all the music copy protection and digital rights management (DRM) assets of TTR Technologies (formerly NASDAQ listed under the ticker TTRE).[29]
  • In 2004, Macrovision acquired InstallShield, creators of installation authoring software (later divested to private equity).
  • In 2005, Macrovision acquired the intellectual property rights to DVD Decrypter from its developer.[25]
  • In 2005, Macrovision acquired ZeroG Software, creators of InstallAnywhere (direct competition to InstallShield MP (MultiPlatform)), and Trymedia Systems.
  • In 2006, Macrovision acquired eMeta.
  • On January 1, 2007, Macrovision acquired Mediabolic, Inc.[30]
  • On November 6, 2007, Macrovision announced its intention to acquire All Media Guide.[31]
  • On December 7, 2007, Macrovision announced an agreement to acquire Gemstar-TV Guide[32] and completed the purchase on August 5, 2008.
  • On December 19, 2007, Macrovision purchased BD+ DRM technology from Cryptography Research, Inc.
  • On April 15, 2009, Macrovision announced that it has acquired substantially all of the assets of Muze, Inc.[33]

As Rovi

  • On March 16, 2010, Rovi acquired Recommendations Service MediaUnbound.[34]
  • On December 23, 2010, Rovi announced its intention to acquire Sonic Solutions.[35]
  • On March 1, 2011, Rovi acquired SideReel.[36]
  • On May 5, 2011, Rovi acquired DigiForge.[37]
  • In 2012, Rovi acquired Snapstick.
  • In February 2012, Rovi sold Roxio to Corel.
  • On April 1, 2013, Rovi acquired Integral Reach.[38]
  • On February 25, 2014, Rovi acquired Veveo.

See also



  1. ^ XNAS:ROVI Rovi Corp Annual Report 10-K Filling. (2012-12-31). Retrieved on 2013-12-09.
  2. ^ "About Rovi Corporation - Digital Entertainment Solutions - Rovi". Retrieved 2010-05-24. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Macrovision Solutions Corporation Formally Changes Name to Rovi Corporation, Rovi press release, July 16, 2009
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^]
  10. ^]
  11. ^
  12. ^]
  13. ^]
  14. ^]
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Rovi: Products
  23. ^
  24. ^ "RipGuard DVD - DVD Copy Protection and DVD Encryption Software Protection - Rovi". Retrieved 2010-05-24. 
  25. ^ a b "DVD Decrypter to be removed". AfterDawn. 2005-11-24. Retrieved 2010-05-24. 
  26. ^ Digitizing video signals might violate the DMCA
  27. ^ "Macrovision v. Sima | Electronic Frontier Foundation". Retrieved 2010-05-24. 
  28. ^ "Macrovision Completes Acquisition of GLOBEtrotter Software". Business Wire. 1 Sep 2000. 
  29. ^ "Macrovision moves to acquire Midbar group". MusicWeek. November 11, 2002. 
  30. ^ "Rovi-Acquires-Mediabolic-For-$43,500,000". VentureDeal. 2007-01-03. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  31. ^ "Press Releases - Next Generation Media Guide - Rovi". Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  32. ^ "Macrovision Agrees to Acquire Gemstar-TV Guide. :: Rovi". Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  33. ^ Kaplan, David (2009-04-15). "Macrovision Buys Metadata Provider Muze For $16.5 Million". paidContent. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  34. ^ Ali, Rafat (2010-03-16). "Rovi Acquires Recommendations Service MediaUnbound". paidContent. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  35. ^ "Rovi announces agreement to acquire Sonic Solutions for $720 million". Engadget. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  36. ^ "Rovi Acquires - Launches An Immersive and Interactive Film and Music Site for Entertainment Fans". 2011-03-01. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  37. ^ Jim Barthold (2011-05-06). "Rovi acquires DigiForge, reportedly to improve cable visibility". FierceCable. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  38. ^

Further Reference

  • Fil's FAQ-Link-In Corner: MacroVision FAQ
  • MPAA | DVD Frequently Asked Questions
  • Columbia ISA: Macrovision Details
  • Macrovision Agrees to Sell Software Unit (expired link)
  • Realnetworks Acquires Game Distributor From Macrovision
  • [1]
  • Rovi Acquires DigiForge
  • Rovi Corporation Appoints Thomas Carson as President and Chief Executive Officer [2]

External links

  • Official website
  • Macrovision page at the Wayback Machine (archived March 26, 2008)
  • Rovi Corporation | Stock Quote
  • Howstuffworks: "How does copy protection on a video tape work?"
  • Ars Technica: "Digitizing video signals might violate the DMCA"
  • Should Non Standard Copy Protected DVD Video Discs be labeled as “DVD Video Compatible Discs”?
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