To provide interactive services for lots of people in the near future, EBIF is designed to run on early digital boxes, which have much less functionality than current ones. As a result, its applications are limited to the kinds of things that can be invoked by clicking on some simple selections.
Here are a few of the EBIF examples we saw in action.
Starz Enteract Now
Starz is a premium commercial-free movie channel that has been seeking ways to give its subscribers simple ways to have more choice and control.
At the show, Starz introduced its "Enteract Now" EBIF application with a high profile announcement in the CableNet area, featuring Brian Roberts, Chairman & CEO Comcast, Dick Green, President & CEO Cablelabs, and Bob Clasen, CEO & President, Starz.
Rebecca Lim, Senior Director, Advanced Services of Starz gave us a personal demonstration of Enteract Now. Once MSOs launch EBIF, a viewer clicking to a Starz channel during a program will see an icon indicating that the same program is also available on demand. A click of the remote on the icon takes the viewer to the beginning of the on-demand version. Although the viewer could get there with today's capabilities, it takes several steps and is much more cumbersome.
BIAP Application Demo
BIAP is one of the major providers of EBIF technologies. Ellen Dudar, BIAP's Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder, demonstrated how their EBIF platform allows the rollout of both TV widgets and ad widgets.
BIAP Ad Widget Product Process
To help us better understand how widgets are created, and the entire ad widget product process, Ellen drilled down to show us the tools BIAP has created to build widgets, bind them to an application and accomplish the other tasks such as data collection, anonomizing and reporting.
We saw many other EBIF applications on display. ESPN showed "My Vote," which provides real-time voting, and "In-Game Extra," to provide additional player and team stats during live events. HSN's "Shop by Remote" allows users to purchase items in sync with the on-air broadcast using the TV remote control. A Showtime application lets cable customers sample free episodes and then order the premium channel with a few clicks of the remote.
ActiveVideo EBIF Applications
ActiveVideo Networks creates video streams in the network cloud which can be combined with ETV/EBIF solutions to enable advertising, information services, commerce, entertainment, gaming and social media. We met with them at CES in January, and wrote about ActiveVideo ( www.broadbandhomecentral.com/report/backissues/Report0901_5.html#link5c ) in the March issue of our report. At the Cable Show, Andreas Lennartsson demonstrated several EBIF applications enhanced with live Internet content, including social media linked to Facebook; an e-commerce application showing a customer ordering Showtime; interactive use of Home Shopping Network; and more.