Cable MSOs Take a Shortcut to Compete with Telco IPTV, Report Finds

Jun 3, 2009

Interactive TV services based on EBIF will enable cable operators to compete with telco IPTV before tru2way is available, says Light Reading's Cable Industry Insider

NEW YORK, June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Rather than wait for tru2way to fully develop, cable operators are planning to roll out interactive TV services to compete with telco IPTV by deploying an existing technology that can deliver interactive features to legacy set-tops now being used by customers, according to the latest report published by Light Reading's Cable Industry Insider (, a subscription research service from TechWeb's Light Reading (

EBIF: Cable's Practical Approach to Interactive TV examines the prospects and challenges of using Enhanced Binary Interface Format (EBIF) to deliver interactive TV services and profiles 19 suppliers that support EBIF activity in various ways. It includes an assessment of EBIF capabilities, pros and cons, deployment projections, the competition for interactive TV, and strategies and plans by MSOs, programmers, and suppliers.

For a list of companies covered in this report, please see:

"EBIF represents the most promising opportunity for interactive TV on cable to date," notes Craig Leddy, research analyst with Light Reading's Cable Industry Insider and author of the report. "While tru2way requires new set-top boxes, cable operators can add EBIF to legacy digital set-tops and remain competitive with services such as Verizon FiOS TV, which is using its own version of EBIF to launch a wave of widgets."

EBIF deployments are widely viewed as a transitional initiative that will give way to tru2way once that technology is ready for mass-market deployment, Leddy says. "EBIF will serve as a warmup for tru2way, where richer apps can flourish in a Java-based OpenCable Application Platform [OCAP] environment," he explains.

Key findings of EBIF: Cable's Practical Approach to Interactive TV include the following:

  • About 15 million set-tops will be enabled for EBIF by year end, an amount that will nearly double in 2010.
  • New specs (IO5) and a brand identity are in the offing to expand EBIF capabilities and awareness.
  • Canoe Ventures plans to deploy an EBIF interactive advertising tool in the fourth quarter, and cable networks are trialing bound apps in programming.
  • While EBIF only enables simple ITV, suppliers are seeking to use it as a gateway for IP, mobile, VoD, advanced advertising, and other robust platforms.

EBIF: Cable's Practical Approach to Interactive TV is available as part of an annual subscription (six issues) to Light Reading's Cable Industry Insider, priced at $1,295. Individual reports are available for $900.

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About Light Reading

Founded in 2000, Light Reading ( is the leading online media, research, and focused event company serving the $3 trillion worldwide communications market. is the ultimate source for technology and financial analysis of the communications industry, leading the media sector in terms of traffic, content, and reputation. Light Reading's research arms, Heavy Reading and Pyramid Research, provide the most comprehensive communications research, market data, and technology analysis in close to 100 markets around the world. Light Reading produces nearly 20 targeted communications events including TelcoTV, Ethernet Expo New York and Ethernet Expo London, The Tower Summit @ CTIA, and Optical Expo, as well as focused one-day events tailored for cable, mobile, and wireline executives. Light Reading was acquired by United Business Media in August 2005 and operates as a unit of TechWeb.

About TechWeb

TechWeb (, the global leader in business technology media, is an innovative business focused on serving the needs of technology decision-makers and marketers worldwide. TechWeb produces the most respected and consumed media brands in the business technology market. Today, more than 13.3 million* business technology professionals actively engage in our communities created around our global face-to-face events Interop, Web 2.0, Black Hat and VoiceCon; online resources such as the TechWeb Network, Light Reading, Intelligent Enterprise,,, and The Financial Technology Network; and the market leading, award-winning InformationWeek, TechNet Magazine, MSDN Magazine, Wall Street & Technology magazines. TechWeb also provides end-to-end services ranging from next-generation performance marketing, integrated media, research, and analyst services. TechWeb is a division of United Business Media, a global provider of news distribution and specialist information services with a market capitalization of more than $2.5 billion.

* 13.3 million business decision-makers: based on # of monthly connections

About United Business Media Limited

UBM (UBM.L) focuses on two principal activities: worldwide information distribution, targeting and monitoring; and, the development and monetization of B2B communities and markets. UBM's businesses inform markets and serve professional commercial communities -- from doctors to game developers, from journalists to jewelry traders, from farmers to pharmacists -- with integrated events, online, print and business information products. Our 6,500 staff in more than 30 countries are organized into specialist teams that serve these communities, bringing buyers and sellers together, helping them to do business and their markets to work effectively and efficiently. For more information, go to

SOURCE: Light Reading's Cable Industry Insider

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