Innovative digital TV development receives award

Enriching digitally transmitted TV programmes
Enriching digitally transmitted TV programmes
20 October 2004

A project called Embedded DIgital Broadcast Services (EDIBS), funded by the European Space Agency, has won a 'Prize of the Jury' award for "innovative digital TV development". The Austrian Ministry of Commerce presented the award at the National Multimedia and e-Business awards in Vienna, Austria.

The EDIBS project began in 2003 to address the problem for TV providers who lose advertising revenue because viewers fast forward (or skip) advertisements with their digital video recorders; a problem that will only intensify with the current digital television switchover. The company F5 EMedia IQ, made a simple yet unique solution that involves motivating and rewarding frequent viewers.

Set-op box
Set-op box

EDIBS makes it possible to piggyback additional content onto any digital television program. A typical configuration of the system works on any common set-top box. Software collects the content and records data on viewing habits such as whether the viewer has not changed channels throughout a programme including, for example, commerical breaks.

Viewers benefit from the increased content
Viewers benefit from the increased content

Viewers who have remained tuned in throughout the programme are instantly awarded extra content in the form of, for example, a 'The Making of' type documentary. Not only will viewers benefit from the increased content but television providers can strengthen the customer connection to the channel and lessen negative effects of digital video recorders for advertisers.

Prototype device
Prototype device

A multitude of customer relationship TV services have already been developed that utilise the EDIBS technology; after market introduction, it has the potential of being as widely used as 'Teletext' or 'Dolby'. Before this can happen however, F5 is still planning to adapt the technology for the wide variety of broadcaster configurations. This includes ongoing development of the EDIBS ECS (Embedded Content Server) prototype.

Harald Hackenberg, owner and managing director of F5 said after the awards ceremony: "The national and above all international reverberations of our development are overwhelming, something we had not expected at the beginning."

ESA Telecom financed the development of the project through its Start-up Projects Initiative. F5 will give a presentation and a full demonstration of the EBIDS solution at the upcoming Telecommunications Applications Workshop in Frascati, Italy on 10 and 11 November.

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