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CableLabs® to Provide ETV Test Suite and Launch ETV Lab

CableLabs® announced today the alpha version of the Enhanced TV (ETV) Test Suite to support user agent development. Based on the CableLabs’ Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) specification, the test suite comprises a set of test EBIF applications, a test plan, and test controller software (with source code). ETV user agents are the software components that process an ETV application on a set-top box.

The test suite provides preliminary test coverage for developers of ETV user agents. CableLabs will continue to expand test coverage and provide updates to the suite in the coming months.

In support of the ETV initiative, CableLabs hosts ongoing ETV and tru2way™ interoperability events. Interested parties with programs, devices, or support tools are invited to participate. The contact for the interops and for licensing the test suite is Senior Manager of Vendor Relations in the OpenCable Department, Phil Bender, [email protected].

In conjunction with the availability of the ETV test suite, CableLabs also announced additions to its state-of-the-art laboratory facilities that include support for the ETV platform. The ETV Lab includes a comprehensive collection of ETV user agents for both legacy set-top boxes and tru2way devices from the major cable operators, as well as test applications, example commercial applications, and various test tools. The ETV Lab is open to application developers, programmers, cable operators, and device manufacturers. For details, see http://www.cablelabs.com/certqual/development/.

Steve Reynolds, Comcast Senior Vice President of Premise Technology, said: “ETV is going to play an important role in the interactive digital video services MSOs will be introducing as indicated by the large volume of EBIF and ETV applications on display at the recent Cable Show. This new ETV initiative from CableLabs is another example of the cross-industry collaboration that will lead to new ways for consumers to interact with content on their TVs.”

“Our test program and our interoperability process will continue to advance quickly and stands ready to serve suppliers when they are ready to participate,” said So Vang, Vice President of Advanced Media Platforms in the CableLabs OpenCable™ initiative.

ETV is one form of interactive TV technology. Initiated in 2004, ETV is suited for the millions of legacy set-top boxes that don’t support the more advanced Java-based tru2way middleware to run fully featured applications. However, ETV applications also run on the retail tru2way TVs and leased set-top boxes that are currently being introduced to the market.

Examples of ETV applications are voting or polling applications, interactive advertising, and games. Because an ETV application is bound to a specific channel, ETV applications can be integrated into advertisements where the consumer can complete a purchase or request additional information via remote control commands. The CableLabs ETV specifications can be found at http://www.opencable.com/specifications/etv.html.

Founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry, Cable Television Laboratories is a non-profit research and development consortium that is dedicated to pursuing new cable telecommunications technologies and to helping its cable operator members integrate those advancements into their business objectives. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains Web sites at www.cablelabs.com; www.opencable.com, www.tru2way.com, www.advancedadvertising.tv, www.packetcable.com; www.cablemodem.com; and www.cablenet.org.

CableCARD™, CableHome®, CableLabs®, CableNET®, CablePC™, DCAS™, DOCSIS®, Go2BroadbandSM, M-Card™, OpenCable™, PacketCable™, and tru2way™ are marks of Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

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