Showtime launches interactive HD with FiOS


CBS Corporation’s Showtime Networks announced that it is teaming with Verizon’s FiOS TV to launch the first nationwide, high-definition interactive television application (iTV) using EBIF (Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format), with the new Showtime Sports Interactive.

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, Februaty 26 (11 pm ET). All FiOS TV customers with a high-definition set-top box who subscribe to Showtime will have access to the interactive experience.

“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,” said Shawn Strickland, VP of consumer strategy and planning for Verizon.

“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, Sr. VP and general manager of digital media at Showtime Networks.

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 interactive 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.