CableLabs and Canoe Ventures have announced the completion and issuance of the latest Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) specification – IO6.

Canoe Ventures and CableLabs have been working with MSOs to expand the EBIF specification to satisfy emerging business requirements and are coordinating efforts to educate the technical, programming and advertising community about the capabilities of the EBIF platform.

EBIF IO6 is the latest version of the CableLabs specification for interactivity that can be implemented on disparate digital set-top boxes deployed by cable operators. EBIF also is part of the OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) specification, so EBIF-compliant advertising and programming applications can run on OCAP devices enabled with an EBIF user agent.

EBIF IO6’s key additions are

  • Support for “unbound” applications, such as TV widgets that enable Caller ID on TV and sports/news tickers, and new customer service and Guide extension applications;
  • Support for time-shifted applications, such as the ability to set recording/reminders via the MSO Guide, and the ability for an EBIF application to understand if the viewer is watching live or time-shifted programming;
  • Support for addressability based on customer or device data stored in the set-top box, which allows an EBIF application to make decisions and alter its behavior based on that data, so it can deliver different ads to different demographic groups, while preserving customers’ privacy;
  • Other IO6 additions include support for animation features, new audio resources, selector widget enhancements, application permissions and resource management for well-behaved applications.

"The original EBIF specification, which was tightly focused on just enhancing linear broadcast programming with simple interactivity, has now been expanded to take advantage of more advanced cable platform capabilities," said Don Dulchinos, SVP of advanced platforms for CableLabs.

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