Sunday, February 7, 2010

New EBIF Specification Enables TV Widgets, Time-Shifting

CableLabs and Canoe Ventures releases a new EBIF (Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format) specification (version I06) that features functionality to support interactive television.

EBIF I06 can be implemented on digital set-top boxes. It also is part of the OCAP (OpenCable Application Platform) specification, so EBIF-compliant advertising and programming applications can run on OCAP devices enabled with an EBIF user agent.

EBIF I06's key additions are:

  • Support for "unbound" applications, such as TV widgets that enable Caller ID on TV and sports/news tickers, and new customer service and Guide extension applications;

  • Support for time-shifted applications, such as the ability to set recording/reminders via the MSO Guide, and the ability for an EBIF application to understand if the viewer is watching live or time-shifted programming;

  • Support for addressability based on customer or device data stored in the set-top box, which allows an EBIF application to make decisions and alter its behavior based on that data, so it can deliver different ads to different demographic groups, while preserving customers' privacy

  • Other I06 additions include support for animation features, new audio resources, selector widget enhancements, application permissions and resource management for well-behaved applications.

"We are very pleased to see this latest version of the EBIF specification completed and released to the MSOs, Canoe and the rest of the industry," said Arthur Orduña, Chief Technology Officer of Canoe Ventures. "I06 adds critical functionality that enriches the value and revenue-generating potential of both bound and unbound iTV applications. This is a significant step in helping us meet our goal of enabling national enhanced and interactive advertising for MSOs, programmers, agencies and advertisers."