SureWest Deploys Standardized ITV Apps In K.C.

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SureWest Communications has deployed an interactive TV platform in the Kansas City market that uses CableLabs’ Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format specification, making it among the first providers to roll out the standards-based technology.

SureWest’s Kansas City subsidiary launched an EBIF platform in its headend and deployed EBIF applications – including fantasy football, yellow pages and eBay – to its entire digital subscriber base. ITV developer BIAP created the applications and the EBIF platform.

“This EBIF standard is available to all of our television subscribers and we believe it offers an excellent added benefit for our valued customers,” Ken Johnson, SureWest’s Kansas vice president and general manager of operations, said in a statement. "This new standard also places our company and our customers in a great position to benefit as interactive product browsing becomes more of a reality.”

EBIF is CableLabs’ least-common-denominator specification for interactive TV, designed to run on virtually any digital cable set-top in the field, that defines how applications are rendered on TVs and respond to viewer interaction. In theory, any application written to the EBIF standard is compatible with a cable system that supports the spec in its infrastructure.

Verizon Communications claimed to have rolled out the first EBIF-based ITV applications on a broad commercial basis in August in its Portland, Ore., market with an on-screen application tied to the Olympics.

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