CableLabs® ETV Interop Showcases Wide Variety of Interactive Apps
Louisville, Colorado, February 21, 2012—Convergence of ETV User Agents and creativity of ETV applications were among highlights of the latest Enhanced TV (ETV) interoperability event conducted by CableLabs in association with a wide range of category participants.
The Feb. 6-10 Interop demonstrated how the features and variety of interactive television applications continue to expand in conjunction with the maturation of interactive television specifications developed by CableLabs.
Representatives of these 18 companies participated in the Interop to validate their development work against the latest versions of the CableLabs ETV (enhanced TV) and CoDF (Content Definition Format) specifications: Canoe Ventures LLC, Comcast, Cox Communications, enableTV, Ensequence, ESPN, FourthWall Media, Inc., HSN, icueTV, Inc., Ignite Solutions, S&T, S3 Group, Showtime, Softel-USA, Starz Entertainment, Time Warner Cable, Unisoft and Zodiac Interactive.
The latest CableLabs ETV Interop occurs against a backdrop of ongoing development for ETV technical specifications. In 2011, CableLabs issued the I06 version of its ETV Specifications and the I02 version of its CoDF specification. As both of these specifications mature, the ETV User Agents are able to present increasingly complex ETV applications. (A User Agent is a "player" resident on a set-top box that graphically presents the interactive application on the TV screen.)
Enhancements included in the I06 release of the ETV Specification include a Graphics Device Profile that supports .jpg and .gif image formats as well as increased support of animated widgets. Other added features include support for unbound applications (not synchronized to the underlying video) and time-shifted content, as well as common approaches to navigator functions and extensions of ETV applications to launch video on demand (VOD) content.
Participants at the Interop reported several areas of progress. Applications executed consistently across 10 different user agents, meaning that an application has the same look and feel regardless of playout across different cable systems. In turn, adherence to CableLabs' specifications creates a true national ETV footprint for developers. Application developers expressed optimism that they are able to write their application once for consistent perform across multiple cable systems without major debugging or troubleshooting efforts.
The applications presented at the Interop included a variety of interactive features and capabilities such as t-commerce, polling, trivia, social media feeds, text message fulfillment, coupon offerings, focused mini-guides, and VOD telescoping.
The event culminated with a Showcase Day in which each participant had the opportunity to demonstrate their applications to an audience representing cable companies and programming providers. Many of the applications showcased are currently in test development phases with cable distributors, and will join other deployed ETV applications that reach millions of cable customers today. CableLabs estimates the ETV Platform associated with the CableLabs specifications currently reaches over 30 million U.S. cable households.
"Today we witnessed real examples that create audience engagement, improve customer service, provide new revenue opportunities for operators and programmers, and enhance the overall television viewing experience," stated Don Dulchinos, Senior Vice President of the CableLabs Advertising and Interactive Services Program.
"It was gratifying to see first-hand the progress that has been made with the ETV Platform," said Carol MacBride, Senior Director of New Product Technology Development, Comcast Spotlight. "Interactive television introduces many new business opportunities to cable operators in terms of advertising and customer retention and satisfaction."
Information on all CableLabs activities focused on ETV may be found at www.ebif.tv. Companies working on interactive applications and interested in participating in future events should contact Sheila Keller (s.keller@CableLabs.com), Program Coordinator at CableLabs.About CableLabs: Cable Television Laboratories (www.cablelabs.com) was founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry. A non-profit research and development consortium, CableLabs delivers innovations that enable cable operators to be the providers of choice in their markets. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains web sites at www.cablelabs.com; www.packetcable.com; www.cablemodem.com; www.cablenet.org, and www.opencable.com.
CableLabs® is a registered trademark of Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. Other CableLabs marks are listed at http://www.cablelabs.com/certqual/trademarks. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.