Verizon Embarks On Interactive TV For Olympics

Olympic rings

Verizon will offer real-time news and information in an interactive television venture during the coming Winter Olympics.

Propelled by an EBIF (Enhanced Binary Interchange Format) platform, Verizon's FiOS service will allow its subscribers to pull up athlete bios and medal counts, while watching the Games on USA, MSNBC and CNBC.

The content -- which also includes updates on U.S. athletes and other news -- will be accessible by clicking an on-screen prompt with the remote control. All 2.9 million FiOS TV homes will have the iTV options through an agreement with NBC Universal.

During programming for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, Verizon offered essentially the same service on a trial basis in Portland, Ore. market. The Winter Games start next week in Vancouver.

All FiOS homes have set-top boxes that are EBIF-enabled, allowing for two-way communication. FiOS is not selling advertising for the iTV Olympic application.

The much-discussed Canoe Ventures is looking to use EBIF-equipped boxes to stream iTV ads into millions of homes. But its challenge is more Olympian. Verizon is a single entity; Canoe is looking to synch boxes controlled by multiple operators.



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