Itaas Packs 'iLaunch' ITV Apps Starter Kit

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Itaas has put together iLaunch, pitched as a "plug-and-play" suite of interactive TV apps aimed at getting cable operators up and running fast with a variety of EBIF applications.

The iLaunch program provides access to pre-tested applications written to CableLabs' Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format from Itaas, programmers and third-party developers. Itaas is delivering the suite on top of Comcast's TVWorks EBIF platform.

"Time to market is important," Itaas president and CEO Vibha Rustagi said. "This allows [operators] to pick and choose from a suite of applications that are tested and integrated for the EBIF platform, so they can launch quickly."

The three apps in the basic version of the iLaunch package: remind-record (which lets users set reminders about shows or set their DVR to record a show), instant info (a widget that provides weather, news, sports or other info), and QuickStart (a menu bar for launching ITV apps).

Event reminder EBIF app

Companies participating in iLaunch include Showtime Networks and interactive TV advertising vendor BCM (formerly BackChannel Media), Rustagi said.

In addition to the EBIF apps offering for cable operators, the iLaunch program will provide a means for developers and content providers to have their application tested on the TVWorks EBIF platform in Itaas' labs to verify functionality and compliance. Once tested, the application can become a part of the iLaunch program.

SNL Kagan estimates that more than 48 million set-tops will support EBIF by 2012.

Itaas expects to show iLaunch at next week's Cable Show in Chicago, along with several interactive TV and content demos.

In partnership with Clearleap, Itaas will show streaming video content delivered by Clearleap's Web-based video-on-demand platform, Stream On Demand. The video content can be started on an iPad and then paused and resumed on a Roku box connected to the TV.

Itaas also will show EBIF applications from Neustar, Text Everywhere, that can send text messages directly to a television from a mobile phone and vice versa. An event-reminder app for InDemand Networks uses SMS text messaging to a subscriber's cellphone to remind them of an upcoming pay-per-view event.

Finally, Itaas will show enhanced mobile search capabilities for linear programming and on-demand content, delivered on tablets supporting Android, iOS and HTML5 to tune set-tops that use both EBIF and native platforms. For the demo, Itaas has created a "shake and view" feature, which lets a user shake a smartphone and get a random program selection.