The Comcast Media Center (CMC) will show off some of the interactive TV applications that it has been cooking up on its Hits Advanced Interactive Services (AxIS) platform at The Cable Show this week in Washington, D.C.
Show attendees who drop by “The Lofts on Fast Lane” in The Cable Show ‘09’s “Broadband Nation” exhibit area will have an opportunity to experience more than a dozen advanced iTV applications that are being tested, launched and supported by the Hits AxIS platform.
Launched early last year, Hits AxIS brings together a suite of centralized services, provided by the Comcast Media Center, for the launch, development and support of iTV applications using enhanced television (ETV)/Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) and tru2way technology.
The CMC is currently working with more than 20 iTV developers and has signed four cable MSOs, including Buckeye CableSystem, to serve as beta sites for the Hits AxIS service.
Buckeye was the first cable operator to sign up for the beta testing in July, and the op is testing a dashboard application and a Yellow Pages application (story here).
In addition to Buckeye, BendBroadband, MetroCast Communications and Sunflower Broadband have signed on as beta sites for the Hits AxIS service.
At the show, the ETV applications will be managed at the Denver-based CMC and will be delivered live to Broadband Nation via the local Comcast Cable system headend serving the Washington, D.C., market.
Some of the demonstrations include:
- An i-menu homepage for iTV applications, with a mosaic of 14 thumbnails for telescoping directly to each application, that illustrates the customization and advertising opportunities available to Hits AxIS affiliates. Two of the thumbnails on the i-menu telescope will sample stock ticker and weather applications.
- Two “t-commerce” applications from iCueTV, with assistance from itaas, that allow viewers to order TV shows using the TV remote. Cable show attendees interested in using the app to order complimentary DVDs and Blu-ray discs of the programs will need to pre-register for a PIN by having their Cable Show badges scanned at the CMC booth (# 1613) or the itaas booth (# 1401).
- A “MovieTickets” application from Ensequence that allows customers to request information and schedules for movies currently playing in D.C.-area theaters. In addition, the iTV experience enables viewers to access additional information about each film and watch upcoming movie trailers. Cable customers in Hits AxIS beta areas will also be able to instantly purchase movie tickets via their TV remote controls.
- A “Yellow Pages on TV” application from Biap Inc., where users may search to find local businesses from local listings for the Washington, D.C., area. This application also allows viewers in the Hits AxIS beta sites to save listings as “Favorites,” telescope to video-on-demand content provided by advertisers or connect to a business by using click-to-call.
- A “Widget Dashboard” application template from enableTV that provides one-stop access to local news, sports, top stories, world news, business, politics, entertainment, horoscopes and movie listings.
- The “Buckeye Dashboard,” a version of the enableTV Widget Dashboard application template that was customized by enableTV for Hits AxIS for beta testing by Buckeye CableSystem. This version demonstrates the customization and revenue-generating opportunities available to cable operators that launch the application.
- A request for information (RFI) application from iCueTV, where viewers who have pre-registered at the CMC booth may enter their account and PIN to request more details on Hits AxIS directly from the remote and receive an e-mail containing the information.
- A premium movie application from Starz, featuring a mini-guide that links the Starz linear channel to Starz On Demand content to bring current subscribers more value through an enhanced viewer experience.
- Four iTV applications using the Video-Rich Navigation (VRN) service developed by the CMC and GuideWorks and currently deployed as Comcast Central in a number of Comcast markets. The ETV applications being demonstrated and deployed by Hits AxIS use the TVWorks ETV platform.
“The HITS AxIS demo in Broadband Nation is a great way for Cable Show ‘09 attendees to see examples of iTV applications that are already available using the ETV/EBIF platform,” said Gary Traver, senior vice president and chief operating officer for the CMC. “We are very grateful to the NCTA, our developer partners, Buckeye CableSystem and our sister companies in Comcast for their essential roles in creating this live iTV experience.”