Cable television was once the up and coming form of entertainment in American households. Then came the Internet and video sharing and interactivity and that was then the new dominant form of entertainment.
Well Cable is fighting back. ActiveVideo Networks announced today that it will be demonstrating the multichannel television industry's first example of the ability of consumers to launch Web-based interactive content from EBIF (Enhanced Binary Interchange Format) prompts at The Cable Show in Washington, DC next month.
What does that really mean? It means that interactive capabilities could be in the pipe for cable television shows. "EBIF represents a significant step for the cable industry in terms of ubiquitous interactivity. Combining EBIF with interactive, video content from the Internet and/or from operators' VOD platforms, creates a media-rich, immersive interactive video ad that maximizes the viewer experience and impact," said John Callahan, CTO of ActiveVideo Networks.
So instead of trying to fight with the Internet, ActiveVideo Networks believes they should embrace it and even tie it directly into their standard, scheduled programming. It makes sense to me, so why not.
EBIF triggers embedded in linear television shows or commercials enable telescoping into a programming or advertising microsite. Keyclicks on standard remote controls initiate local application overlays that enable viewers to navigate through several options, including links to show-related or advertising videos that are streamed from network servers and may themselves contain additional embedded triggers. At the same time, a scaled version of the broadcast stream can continue to be delivered, enabling the viewer to monitor the original programming channel.
ActiveVideo immerses viewers in an engaging experience that combines Web video, Web 2.0 functionality and traditional television. With ActiveVideo, viewers can navigate a completely interactive environment of both linear and broadband programming including rich interfaces and graphics optimized for TV and remote control navigation; social networking; personal media; niche content; and targeted, actionable advertising. ActiveVideo uses intelligent MPEG streaming to deliver the Web 2.0 experience to any digital cable set-top box or broadband-connected CE device.
Now it looks like we're finally starting to see some serious media convergence and that means now more than ever that your videos online could end up in the living room, on the bigscreen TV and the set-top box as well as in the small screen on the mobile phone and portable computers. The more and more the lines blur means that more and more your video is going to need to be portable and work on various devices. So get out there and make that universal content because who knows, it might show up where you least expect it to in the near future.