Cablevision Preps EBIF Launch

Cablevision Systems has already paddled out with proprietary technology for interactive TV ads, but it's expected to soon get fully on board with the industry's Canoe initiative.

According to industry executives, ITV software developer Zodiac Interactive is providing an Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) user agent for Cablevision's Cisco/Scientific Atlanta set-top boxes.

EBIF -- a CableLabs spec for running interactive apps on low-powered set-tops -- is to be the foundation for Canoe's initial request for information advertising service. Cablevision, one of the six founding MSOs behind Canoe, is targeting deployment of EBIF in the first half of 2010.

Cablevision and Zodiac declined to comment. A Cablevision spokeswoman said the company "has not discussed our plans for EBIF publicly."

Beginning last month, the operator began running interactive ads targeted to the local New York metro region, including those from Unilever, Gillette, Benjamin Moore and department store chain Century 21. That service is based on interactive TV software that runs natively on SA boxes.

On its Web site, Zodiac touts a "long-term relationship with Cablevision, where Zodiac helped build its award-winning iO service, deployed game subscription services, and is a major technology engine behind the next generation of interactive television.

Zodiac is based in Valley Stream, N.Y., about 20 minutes away from Cablevision's Bethpage, Long Island  headquarters. The company, which also has three software-development offices in Eastern Europe, announced the availability of an EBIF agent for Cisco/SA set-tops last December.

The six Canoe cable operators are aiming to have as many as 25 million households ready to run EBIF applications by the end of 2009, Comcast chief operating officer Steve Burke said on the operator's second-quarter earnings call in August.