The effort to develop and standardize common specifications for interactive television applications and content continues moving forward, and the playing field is growing more crowded by the day.
The NCTA Show in New Orleans is the target launch site for a new industry forum established to promote TV Extensible Markup Language, or TVXML, a TV-specific markup language based on XML for interactive television applications. Multimedia software and services company Comverse is formally introducing the new alliance, called the TVXML Forum, and will host an introductory kick-off conference on May 7 at the show.
The iTV messaging division of Comverse, called TV Gate, has developed an iTV platform that will be the baseline for the alliance's new standards. The common platform will aim to deliver interactive services like iTV messaging, TV telephony, multi-user games, TV commerce and enhanced advertising.
The new forum, though, isn't alone in its efforts to standardize iTV around XML. Recently, a group of content providers, including AOL, Turner Broadcasting, Dick Clark Productions and Lions Gate Entertainment, announced their support for a platform that supports XML-based specifications from iTV provider GoldPocket Interactive. Rounding out the iTV specifications crowd, CableLabs also is moving forward with the development of its common middleware platform, called OCAP, or Open Cable Application Platform. However, the OCAP movement is likely be limited to applications for the cable set-top, while both the GoldPocket group and the new TVXML Forum will develop standards for use across multiple platforms.