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Charter Lights Up EBIF On 1.6 Million Set-Tops With Itaas

Charter Communications has worked with itaas, an interactive TV software development and consulting firm, to deploy support for the cable industry's Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format spec in about 1.6 million Motorola set-tops in nine Charter systems -- with plans to reach approximately 3.5 million set-tops in the MSO's 24 Motorola systems.

The MSO and itaas originally announced their partnership on EBIF in May 2010. Separately, Charter has deployed FourthWall Media's EBIF agent for Cisco Systems set-tops on nearly 1.5 million boxes to date.

Itaas developed the initial network architecture design and customized the EBIF platform software for Charter. Currently, the company is performing integration, certification testing, deployment and support for the platform and applications within each system.

"Itaas knows the ‘ins and outs' of networks and has experience deploying the comprehensive EBIF platform... throughout cable systems," Doug Ike, Charter vice president of advanced video and applications engineering, said in a statement. "With the EBIF platform in place, we will be able to provide interactive applications that enhance advertising capabilities."

EBIF is the interactive TV technology used to deliver request-for-information spots by Canoe Ventures, the advanced-advertising company formed by Charter and the five other largest U.S. cable operators. Canoe is promoting "ExpandTV" as the consumer-facing brand name for EBIF-enabled interactive elements.

Through a licensing agreement with Comcast's TVWorks subsidiary, itaas offers MSOs an EBIF deployment package for use with Motorola set-top boxes that includes a license, deployment support and maintenance services. Comcast and itaas also have developed an EBIF agent for Cisco set-tops.