Based: Rockville, MD
Why it's fierce: Hillcrest Labs is at the bleeding edge of design in the IPTV space and may well have solved the TV content navigation issue: What good are 1,000 channels if the user gets frustrated sifting through them. Hillcrest's UI navigation software makes use of a next-gen remote control that leverages natural movement, slick graphical presentation of content options and a server-based database that manages application metadata and creates content linkages. Hillcrest's software is a much needed reminder to the industry that me-too products will not win the pay TV war against cable. Hillcrest's offerings may provide the wow-effect that will.
What to look for: Look for Hillcrest to build on its original $10 million round of funding as it ramps up R&D efforts and signs its first customers in Europe next year.