First HD Interactive TV Experience Begins With Live Strikeforce Challengers MMA Event Friday, Feb. 26th
Showtime Networks and Verizon announced today the launch of the first nationwide, high-definition interactive television application (iTV) using EBIF (Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format), with the new SHOWTIME Sports Interactive. Verizon’s FiOS TV customers will have the first look at the network’s interactive experience — including voting and polling functionality and fighter profiles — during the live Strikeforce Challengers mixed martial arts telecast, Friday, Feb. 26 (11 p.m. ET). All FiOS TV customers with a high-definition set-top box who subscribe to SHOWTIME will have access to the interactive experience.
“SHOWTIME has been leading the industry with digital enhancements and Interactive TV for over a decade. 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,” said Robert Hayes, senior vice president and general manager of digital media at Showtime Networks. “SHOWTIME continues to innovate and provide value-added features to our subscribers and our sports programming provides the perfect setting for the ‘lean forward’ experience that is now possible with Interactive TV.”
Shawn Strickland, vice president of consumer strategy and planning for Verizon, said, “We’re thrilled to partner with SHOWTIME and offer more value to our FiOS TV subscribers. With custom stats, voting capabilities and more, combined with FiOS TV’s amazing picture-and-sound quality, our customers will get a truly high-def, real-time interactive experience. Once again, Verizon is first to offer our customers the most value for their premium subscription.”
SHOWTIME Sports Interactive will enable subscribers to access fighter stats, records, bios and quotes; vote in interactive polls; test their knowledge in a trivia game; and check out a fight calendar—all on their TV screen while watching SHOWTIME. Viewers will respond to an on-screen prompt by clicking “OK” on their remote control. Unlike static on-screen stats displayed during traditional televised sporting events, these features are interactive.
Verizon was the first company to deploy a nationwide EBIF iTV application to all of its subscribers. Showtime Networks is the first programmer to launch a high-definition EBIF application and the first to do so with voting and polling functionalities. EBIF, which is capable of running on all Verizon FiOS set-top boxes, is the accepted platform for the delivery of interactive services across the cable industry.
The latest roll-out from the EMMY Award winning Interactive TV group at SHOWTIME, the enhancement will be included in the SHOWTIME HD MPEG-4 feed for select MMA and Boxing telecasts beginning with the February 26th Strikeforce Challengers event.
SHOWTIME Sports Interactive joins Verizon FiOS TV’s growing interactive offerings, which includes an extensive selection of social TV, news, sports and entertainment widgets; an advanced interactive media guide; remote DVR management; multi-room DVR; FiOS Mobile Remote; and more. FiOS TV also offers a broad collection of programming, with more than 560 all-digital channels including up to 138 HD channels.