John Ryan was born in Tipperary, Ireland and attended University College Galway where he studied Physics and Mathematics. During his time at university he developed a strong interest in electronics, particularly its application to the telecommunications field. This was not on the university’s curriculum at the time, but he was so determined to make a career of it that he taught himself the subject between his formal studies.On leaving university he worked as an electronics engineer, initially at RTE, the Irish television broadcasting authority and later at Yorkshire Television in England.
In 1974, John and his family moved to California’s Silicon Valley to engage his love of electronics in earnest. Initially he worked as a staff engineer in the television camera development group at International Video Corporation. In 1976 he moved to Ampex Corporation, then a world leader in broadcast television technology, where he eventually became head of research and development for television cameras.
In 1983, in the tradition of many Silicon Valley engineers, John left Ampex and co-founded a technology company, which he named Macrovision Corporation. At Macrovision, John invented a technology which eventually became the world standard for video copy protection, and which today is included in virtually every DVD player and cable/satellite decoder world-wide. Macrovision grew to become the world’s leading provider of technologies that protect video and software for rights owners. The company was floated on the NASDAQ in 1997. In 2007 Macrovision acquired Gemstar Corporation, then the leading provider of electronic program guides. This moved the company away from its traditional markets and in 2009 it rebranded itself as Rovi Corporation. Today Rovi has a market value of close to seven billion dollars and employs about 2000 people. John served as Macrovision’s CEO from 1993 to 2001 and as chairman of its board of directors from 1993 until he retired in 2008.
John is the inventor of over sixty U.S. patents in the fields of video copy protection, video scrambling and television camera technology. In 1997, John was named Inventor of the Year by the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers’ Association.
Today, John is involved with several start-up companies in Silicon Valley, as an investor, advisor or director. He has a house near Kenmare in County Kerry where he spends a few months each year reconnecting with his roots and enjoying the ever-changing Irish weather.