Softel’s MediaSphere Platform Adds Interactive Dimension to Showtime’s MMA Coverage

Showtime Networks is currently using the Softel’s MediaSphere interactive television (iTV) playout platform to become the first television network in the United States to distribute ETV Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) applications nationwide with the integration and commissioning of MediaSphere TX at its network operation center in Hauppauge, N.Y.

On February 26, Showtime first delivered an interactive EBIF application to all of its Verizon FiOS subscribers on its flagship Showtime HD channel. The application enhanced was featured during its live coverage of the Strikeforce Challengers Mixed Martial Arts fight card.

“We’re always willing to break new ground to continue delivering top quality, cutting-edge entertainment and services to our viewers,” says David Preisman, VP, Interactive Television, Showtime Networks. “We chose Softel and its MediaSphere iTV platform to roll these services out nationally because of the firm’s extensive experience and expertise in interactive television both in the US and Europe. Softel worked closely with us and our other technology partners, Ensequence, VDS and Verizon, to provide a seamlessly integrated solution. MediaSphere is ideal for delivering interactivity to our broad viewer base.”

Encompassing the complete interactive application lifecycle, Softel’s MediaSphere iTV platform is an integrated suite of complementary solutions that enable the delivery rich interactive experiences. The system enables parallel playout of multiple middleware applications from a single unit, providing compatibility with all major US and international interactive standards.

“Showtime has yet again demonstrated the creative and technical leadership that has won it such wide acclaim. Showtime has used EBIF to make interactive television a reality on a national scale,” says Ed Humphrey, President, Softel-USA. “This deployment serves as a starting point from which Showtime will easily be able to expand to deliver interactive content — EBIF, tru2way, or OpenTV — 24/7/365 across all of its networks and to all of its viewers, whether on cable or satellite, from its single system.”

Showtime is using MediaSphere TX, complete with a redundant failover solution, on its satellite uplink to deliver EBIF interactive applications nationally for Showtime subscribers on Verizon FiOS. Via its comprehensive SDK, MediaSphere is fully integrated with Showtime’s scheduling system as well as with Ensequence’s iTV Manager.

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