itaas to license Comcast's TVWorks EBIF platform

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
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itaas and Comcast Introduce a New Program to Enable a Fast, Reliable Way to Bring More Interactive Applications to More Consumers

ATLANTA, GA and PHILADELPHIA, PA — itaas, Inc. and Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) announced today that they are working together to help cable operators quickly and reliably deploy a standard interactive television platform built on CableLabs®’ Enhanced Binary Interface Format (EBIF) specification. This platform will give consumers new and different ways to interact with the programs they watch on television.

itaas will license an EBIF engine developed by TVWorks, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Comcast, and offer MSOs an EBIF deployment package that includes a license, deployment support and maintenance services. As more cable operators move to EBIF, it will be easier for developers and programmers to build new interactive features – from games and information to voting and polling – because they will work on any cable system where this standard interactive platform has been deployed.

“We are excited to support Comcast’s commitment to speed the deployment of interactive television to millions of set-top boxes,” said Vibha Rustagi, CEO of itaas. “We look forward to leveraging the experience we have built from working with cable companies, developers and other technology companies to help cable providers that want to give their customers the latest interactive experiences but may not have the resources to devote to it.”

“We’re using EBIF to help our customers enjoy new ways of interacting with the programming and services on their televisions with applications, like caller ID to the TV, and we’re trialing other EBIF features, including reminders to record favorite programs and using the remote to order from home shopping networks, that we’re planning to launch later this year,” said Mark Hess, Senior Vice President of Video Product Development for Comcast. “Combining innovative applications like these with itaas’ tremendous experience in deploying them will create new opportunities for developers and programmers to build new interactive capabilities that can be delivered to even more consumers regardless of who their cable provider is.”

As part of the EBIF deployment package, itaas will provide each MSO with a list of applications and programmers that have already been validated for deployment. Because these applications are built on the industry standard EBIF specification, they can be launched easily on any cable system that’s deployed the EBIF platform. MSOs can then decide based on their business models which applications they want to deploy. Examples of the verified networks and applications include Showtime Networks Inc (SNI), TAG Networks, Integra5 and iCueTV, Inc.

When MSOs purchase a license and support services program from itaas they are able to leverage itaas’ decade-long expertise from working with multiple technology vendors, application developers and MSOs. The EBIF solution being offered is compatible with Motorola legacy and advanced set-top boxes and also will run on tru2way technology enabled cable systems. The addition of the EBIF engine licensing agreement expands the year-old partnership between itaas and TVWorks under which itaas, as part of its istart Developer Program, offers application developers the TVWorks ETV development kit and support for developing applications that run on the TVWorks platform.

EBIF applications that are ready to be deployed will be on display at the itaas booth (#1401) at The Cable Show ’09, April 1-3 in Washington, DC.