Zodiac's EBIF Plays With Everyone

Monday, January 18th, 2010
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EBIF User Agent Breathes iTV Life into New & Legacy Boxes

VALLEY STREAM, NY — Zodiac Interactive, an Emmy award-winning developer of software for interactive television, announced today that its EBIF™ (Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format) player (user agent) is successfully operating using applications from multiple vendors and development environments within the cable iTV ecosystem, including NDS for addressable EBIF-based interactive ads to individual Cisco Systems/Scientific Atlanta (NASDAQ: CSCO) set-tops.

Additionally, Zodiac’s EBIF UA (user agent) will be deployed next year by several Top 10 N. American MSOs, who are gearing up for commercial EBIF deployments in the first half of 2010, enabling iTV capabilities such as T-Commerce, addressable, targeted advertising and TV widgets, such as telescoping to long form content, voting, polling, click-to-call, caller ID, movie guides, local search and much more.

EBIF is a CableLabs®-specified platform that enables MSOs and programmers to deliver simple interactive applications across cable’s entire universe of digital cable set-tops, including older, low-end models. EBIF requires a player that sits on top of the set-top. The Zodiac EBIF agent is uniquely fully compliant with CableLabs’ EBIF specification.

“Our EBIF player/agent works well with all environments and applications because it follows the CableLabs’ EBIF spec, without waver,” said Zodiac’s CEO Brandon Brown. “Because the user agent was built from the ground up based on CableLabs specs, we can assure applications will run properly across various environments including legacy and new set-tops and iTV-enabled TVs, and more importantly, without another layer of integration concern.”

EBIF deployments will come fast and furious from MSOs (as part of the industry’s Canoe initiative) who plan to EBIF-enable about 25 million set-top boxes by the end of 2009. By the first half of 2010, MSOs will start to generate revenue from their EBIF-enabled homes.

Brown continued, “The N. American cable industry is looking to EBIF’s simple interactive capabilities as a step toward a more advanced iTV experience, but all EBIF players must carefully follow the specs to avoid interoperability issues, and most don’t, which is why iTV still hasn’t hit mass adoption. Zodiac’s EBIF player/agent gives operators the jump start they need to bring interactivity to the TV – no other EBIF agent can cross both legacy set-top boxes and next gen TVs and set-tops, which is a key differentiator for Zodiac.”

Cable’s quick movement toward deploying EBIF represents a lofty step toward advanced interactive TV, including tru2way®. With tru2way, however, new boxes are needed. With EBIF, simple iTV applications can be added quickly to existing and new boxes and TVs.

Zodiac’s EBIF player will help advance the deployment of standards-based interactive television. Zodiac is one of several MSOs and vendors on board to beta test a hosted EBIF service headed up by the Comcast Media Center (CMC).