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Interactive DTV Standard Nearly Ready for ATSC Ballot

The ATSC announced this week that the Advanced Common Application Platform (ACAP) standard is nearly ready to be voted on by the organization's members. ACAP is technology that permits interactive digital television, and proponents envision that it will be used for applications such as e-commerce, education and viewer interaction.

Mark Richer, president of ATSC, described ACAP as a "middleware specification for interactive television." Although there were earlier attempts to create an interactive framework for terrestrial television--most notably the technology known as DASE--ACAP draws on similar OCAP and MHP standards used by cable MSOs and European broadcasters.

Once the ACAP standard is established, Richer said that it would likely start with simple applications but grow to include things such as balloting for talent-based shows, gathering information on on-screen products and purchasing products directly from the viewer's TV.

At an ACAP seminar in Washington this week, presenters explained the technology and gave examples of its use. Broadcasters in Korea have been using ACAP interactive technology since earlier this year and there were two presentations that showed its rollout and implementation in that country.