Tonight, Verizon and the Showtime Sports Interactive channel are going to introduce what they claim will be the first nationwide, high-definition interactive television application using the Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF).

Showtime said it will deploy the application in its HD MPEG-4 feed for select mixed martial arts and boxing telecasts, beginning with tonight’s live "Strikeforce Challengers" event.

"Strikeforce Challengers” is a mixed martial arts event. Tonight’s broadcast will include EBIF-enabled voting, polling, access to fighter profiles and trivia contests.

Verizon continues to be among the most enthusiastic adopters of EBIF, in isolation from the cable companies, which conceived the technology, most of which are still only beginning to experiment with it. Verizon was apparently the first to commercialize an EBIF application during the 2008 Olympics.

All FiOS TV customers with a high-definition set-top box who subscribe to Showtime will have access to the interactive experience.

Robert Hayes, senior vice president and general manager of digital media at Showtime Networks, said, "With the launch of 'Showtime Sports Interactive,' we are excited to be joining Verizon at the forefront, bringing this state-of-the-art feature to Showtime HD."

Showtime lays claim to being the first programmer to launch an HD EBIF application, and the first to do so with voting and polling functionalities. Numerous TV providers have hosted any number of EBIF applications accompanying various programming in standard-definition.

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