CableLab, Canoe Ventures Announce New Interchange Spec

CableLabs, a non-profit research and development consortium, and Canoe Ventures, a company established by cable operators that focuses on advertising issues, have announced the joint development of a new Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) specification. This latest specification (IO6) was developed to meet interactive television market requirements and is expected to widen the range of programming and advertising that is enhanced by EBIF technology.

“This new release of the EBIF specification is critical to ensuring a continuously expanding and valuable range of interactive television offerings across Comcast’s systems,” said Tony Werner, Comcast Cable’s chief technology officer. “We will ensure that our nationwide rollout of EBIF capabilities will comply with EBIF IO6, in order to assure our digital television subscribers will receive the latest features.”

The new specification provides support for “unbound” applications, enabling such enhancements as caller ID on TV; sports and news tickers; and new customer service and programming guide applications. It also provides support for time-shifted applications and addressability based on customer or device data stored in cable set-top boxes. Other functionalities enabled by the IO6 include animated feature support and new audio resources.

Additional information on the specification is expected to be made available by CableLabs later this month on the organization’s Web site,