via press release:
SHOWTIME® INTRODUCES FIRST HD INTERACTIVE TV EXPERIENCE; VERIZON FiOS TV CUSTOMERS FIRST TO GET SHOWTIME SPORTS® INTERACTIVE
New Interactive TV Experience Begins With Live
Strikeforce Challengers MMA Event Friday, Feb. 26 On Showtime
NEW YORK (Feb. 25, 2010)—Showtime Networks and Verizon announced today the launch of the first nationwide, high-definition interactive television application (iTV) using EBIF (Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format), with the new SHOWTIME Sports Interactive. Verizon’s 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, Feb. 26 (11 p.m. ET). All FiOS TV customers with a high-definition set-top box who subscribe to SHOWTIME will have access to the interactive experience.
“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, senior vice president and general manager of digital media at Showtime Networks. “SHOWTIME continues to innovate and provide value-added features to our subscribers and our sports programming provides the perfect setting for the ‘lean forward’ experience that is now possible with Interactive TV.”
Shawn Strickland, vice president of consumer strategy and planning for Verizon, said, “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.”
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 latest roll-out from the EMMY® Award winning Interactive TV group at SHOWTIME, the 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.
SHOWTIME Sports Interactive joins Verizon FiOS TV’s growing interactive offerings, which includes an extensive selection of social TV, news, sports and entertainment widgets; an advanced interactive media guide; remote DVR management; multi-room DVR; FiOS Mobile Remote; and more. FiOS TV also offers a broad collection of programming, with more than 560 all-digital channels including up to 138 HD channels. For the latest news, updates and information about FiOS, visit www.verizon.com/newscenter and http://www.verizon.com/athomeblog.
About Showtime Networks Inc.
Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL® and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2™, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ ON DEMAND. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, serving more than 91 million customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of approximately 222,900 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.