iTV: ATVEF Transport B

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I n t e r a c t i v e | T V

Film & Video
November 2001

PBS' Interactive Initiative
Alexandria, Va.—PBS recently began airing Life 360, a 13-episode documentary series that the network will use as a test bed for interactive services. Using local insertion technology, eight public television stations in Denver, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Portland and New Jersey will build community-related content around each of the program’s episodes by creating locally relevant interactive features customized for each market.

“In terms of the interactivity, at a given moment in the broadcast each station will insert enhancements that connect viewers to local events related to the national theme,” said Deron Triff, PBS’ senior director of interactive television. “For the remainder of the broadcast there will be national enhancements.”

The content is being tailored for six different ATVEF-compliant platforms, including WebTV Plus receivers with MSN TV service, AOL TV; UltimateTV (DBS); Sony’s Interactive Digital Cable Receiver (cable); Microsoft TV (cable, satellite, terrestrial); Zenith (terrestrial DTV); and Wavexpress (terrestrial DTV).

“This is the first time we have developed an enhanced program that is available across all ATVEF-compliant receivers,” said Triff.

Each set-top box has its own nuances, and to create the necessary versions, PBS is relying on Chyron's Lyric iTV toolset. “Lyric understands the particular nuances of each box so that you can create one and it automatically exports the right format for the right set-top,” said Triff.

ATVEF Transport B Trial was a collaboration
between PBS, eight public television stations
including Rocky Mountain PBS, and Microsoft.

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