Canoe Floats VOD, Interactive Demos


Canoe Ventures will roll out the first
public looks at two key projects from inside its boathouse.

The company, the joint venture of the six largest U.S.
cable companies, will show off an initial interactive-TV
advertising feature publicly for the first time at the 2010
Cable Show, as well as how it expects to deliver dynamic
video-on-demand ads nationwide.

The show floor’s
Canoe Channel, at
channel position
1200, will comprise
short videos with
commercial breaks
featuring Canoe’s
template. The demo,
to be housed in the
My World exhibit,
will trigger mocked-up RFIs during spots, including PSAs
for Autism Speaks and Broadband for America and a History
Channel promo that lets viewers request a brochure.

The Canoe demo is being powered by a special-purpose
headend Time Warner Cable is setting up at the Los Angeles
Convention Center.

“It’s a real EBIF application being sent by Time Warner
specifically for the show,” Canoe chief technology officer
Arthur Orduna said.

Canoe expects to commercially launch the RFI service
within the next two months with one unnamed cable network.
The launch will deliver a national RFI campaign
that lets subscribers request coupons, product samples
or information to be sent in the mail. Canoe has been field
testing the interactive template, which is based on Cable-
Labs’ Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format, with all
MSO members since late 2009.

“We’ve tested the RFI template with all the commercially
deployed EBIF UAs [user agents] and across multiple
classes of set-tops,” Orduna said. Canoe’s demo at the
Cable Show will use a higher-end TWC set-top capable of
displaying 8-bit graphics, but the EBIF apps also can run on
low-powered cable boxes such as the Motorola DCT 2000.

In addition to the RFI
app, Canoe will stage a
multivendor demonstration
in the CableNET exhibit
area that shows
dynamic insert of different
ads into VOD content. That
demo will use the SCTE 130 standard for ad insertion as well
as CableLabs’ Stewardship & Fulfillment Interfaces spec.

“It’s to prove that Canoe can work with national programmers
and their non-linear inventory, and steward a national
campaign across multiple MSO systems,” Orduna said.

The dynamic VOD ad-insertion project is being developed
at Canoe’s Innovation Lab in Centennial, Colo. Vendors
working in the lab’s prototype-only environment,
established with CableLabs to test prototypes of future
applications, include Cisco Systems, OpenTV, Ericsson,
Motorola and This Technology LLC.

The Cable Show demo will feature VOD ads being
served in two ways: one in which the campaign execution
is handled by the MSO at the local level through its ad
decision server; and another in which Canoe handles the
execution at a national level. Canoe was formed in 2008 by
Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, Cablevision Systems
and Bright House Networks.