* Foundation for the Future: Relying on Web standards, the ATVEF Enhanced Content Specification provides a foundation cemented by experience. In either a one- or two-way service environment, the specification defines how the program signals the receiver to recognize the enhanced content and display it on the television screen.
* Ease of Programming: Cost has been a major factor in the slow growth of data-enhanced television services. Proprietary programming and receivers, the lack of tools and the need for an experienced creative employee pool has made it prohibitive to get a single enhanced-content program in front of a large audience. The ATVEF specification relies on existing Web standards like HTML HTML
in full HyperText Markup Language
* Low Cost: As programmers are able to rely on existing tools and an expert pool of creative resources, the ATVEF specification provides a cost-effective base for extending beyond today's Web sites and into the realm of network programming. Nearly any digital receiver that is deployed in today's market is capable of supporting ATVEF-based programming, once the software is ATVEF-compliant. There is no need to create new authoring tools or develop new creative talent. Programming created for the Web or television (or any other appliance) can easily be repurposed for new services -- even for delivery of news, weather or stock updates to a pager. Embedding production and inventory management information yields a new, simpler model for managing and reusing assets. Gone are the days of paper tape inscribed with the production data of a program.
* Consumer Satisfaction: Interactive television will no longer be focused on channel surfing or electronic program guides. By extending the creative palette of the program creators to include Web-like data, the consumers' experience can be entirely new. Entertainment, information and even advertising now become new realms in which the consumer can participate at several levels. In October, Sony Pictures Entertainment launched ATVEF-based programming with its Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune game programs allowing at-home viewers to participate in the game being played on television and even to compete for prizes.
* Local Content Made Easy: The simplicity of the ATVEF spec also provides for easy programming at the local level, including regional news, weather, sports and public affairs. Local affiliates and operators would share the ability to expand their services to the local community. When the national crafts program identifies a particular tool, local operators can insert information on where to buy that tool nearby, not only adding value to their customers, but also adding advertising revenue.
* New Business Models: The introduction of data programming and services extends the business models dramatically. By tracking local consumer "remote click" activity, local operators/affiliates would have the ability to sell information to advertisers and national programmers, such as demographic data based on actual consumer activity. By accumulating this data, local operators would have a new revenue source providing more specific and immediate information on consumer television habits and activity than has ever been available. Advertisers could retrieve consumer response information by the next day, either through the local operator or by monitoring and correlating Web access to specific programs or offers. An ad offering a coupon to consumers might be fulfilled via the Web, or through the local retailer, and tracked all the way through the sale without violating consumer privacy. Eventually, the ability to purchase products and services will extend well beyond our historic expectations of television. I, for one, will be thrilled to write my grocery list on the pad on my refrigerator, knowing it will be delivered Saturday morning at 9 a.m. I won't care whether my phone, local broadcast, cable, satellite or Internet service makes this possible, but I'll be glad to subscribe.
* Receiver Management: In-house programming at Madison Square Garden
Current arenas in the National Hockey League
Western Conference Eastern Conference has already taken advantage of the ATVEF specification, not only providing unique programming options to in-house audiences, but also enabling the in-house receivers to be upgraded across the network. No longer is it necessary to visit each receiver to provide software enhancements or new services. They are just a network download away.
One of the greatest challenges in moving to the digital-television age will be to create value for your customers that generates loyalty as well as growing revenue opportunities. The benefits of licensing the ATVEF specification depend on where you take it: for your customers and your business. For more information about ATVEF specification and how to license it, visit us at www.atvef.com.
CJ Fredricksen is also director of Industry Marketing at Intel.
ATVEF Founders and Adopters
NDTC NDTC National Digital Television Center
NDTC National Dance Team Championships
NDTC Northern Drug Dependence Treatment Center (Thailand)
NDTC Naval Desk Top Computers Technology
in full Public Broadcasting Service
Private, nonprofit U.S. corporation of public television stations. PBS provides its member stations, which are supported by public funds and private contributions rather than by commercials, with educational, cultural,
The Walt Disney Company
A&E Television Network
American Film Institute American Film Institute (AFI), nonprofit organization established in Washington, D.C., in 1967 by the National Endowment for the Arts to preserve and catalog American films and television, to provide work grants for new and established filmmakers, and to increase
Bertelsmann Broadband Group
Cable & Wireless Communications
Citytv and MuchMusic
E! Entertainment Television
The Fantastic Corporation
Mixed Signals Technologies
National Geographic Ventures
Nokia Multimedia Terminals
NTL Digital Services
Pace Micro Technology
Panasonic AVC American
ProSieben Digital Media
Regent Electronics Corporation
Screamingly Different Entertainment
Stellar One Corporation
Two Way TV
The Weather Channel
WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Pronounced "wiz-ee-wig." It refers to displaying text and graphics on screen the same as they will print on paper or display on a Web page. Diseno Digital
ATVEF Glossary of Terms
announcements: Announcements are used to announce currently available programming to the receiver.
binding: An ATVEF binding is the definition of how the ATVEF transport specifications are encoded on a specific video network standard.
content creator: An ATVEF content creator has the role of originating the content components of the television enhancement: including graphics, layout, interaction and triggers.
CSS1 (Cascading Style Sheets A style sheet format for HTML documents endorsed by the World Wide Web Consortium. CSS1 (Version 1.0) provides hundreds of layout settings that can be applied to all the subsequent HTML pages that are downloaded. CSS2 (Version 2. , Level 1): CSS1 is a simple style sheet mechanism that allows content creators and readers to attach style (e.g. fonts, colors and spacing) to HTML documents. The CSS 1 language is both readable and writable, and expresses style in common desktop publishing terminology.
datagram: A block of data that carries enough information to travel from one Internet site to another without having to rely on earlier exchanges between the source and destination computer.
DHTML See Dynamic HTML.
DHTML - Dynamic HTML (Dynamic HTML): A term used by some vendors to describe the combination of HTML, style sheets and scripts that enable the animation of Web pages.
DOM (Document Object Model): The Document Object Model is a platform and language-neutral interface that will allow programs and scripts to dynamically access and update the content, structure and style of documents. The document can be further processed and the results of that processing can be incorporated back into the presented page.
ECMA Script: A general purpose, cross-platform programming language.
FEC: Forward Error Correction A communications technique that can correct bad data on the receiving end. Before transmission, the data are processed through an algorithm that adds extra bits for error correction. If the transmitted message is received in error, the correction bits are used to repair it.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol A communications protocol used to transmit files without loss of data. A file transfer protocol can handle all types of files including binary files and ASCII text files. See Kermit, Zmodem and FTP. ): A standard for finding and transferring files on the Internet.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language (hypertext, World-Wide Web, standard) Hypertext Markup Language - (HTML) A hypertext document format used on the World-Wide Web. HTML is built on top of SGML. "Tags" are embedded in the text. A tag consists of a "<", a "directive" (in lower case), zero or more parameters and a ">". ): A collection of tags typically used in the development of Web pages.
in full HyperText Transfer Protocol
Standard application-level protocol used for exchanging files on the World Wide Web. HTTP runs on top of the TCP/IP protocol. (Hypertext Transfer Protocol See HTTP.
(protocol) Hypertext Transfer Protocol - (HTTP) The client-server TCP/IP protocol used on the World-Wide Web for the exchange of HTML documents. It conventionally uses port 80.
Latest version: HTTP 1.1, defined in RFC 2068, as of May 1997. ): A set of instructions for communication between a server and a World Wide Web client.
IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, www.iana.org) An operating unit of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) that serves as a registry for both IP addresses and for a variety of protocol numbers. IANA is not an ISP and does not provide any network services. (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority See IANA.
(body, networking) Internet Assigned Numbers Authority - (IANA) The central registry for various "assigned numbers": Internet Protocol parameters, such as port, protocol, and enterprise numbers; and options, codes, and types. ): The central registry for various Internet protocol parameters, such as port, protocol and enterprise numbers, and options, codes and types. The currently assigned values are listed in the Assigned Numbers document. For more information or to request a number assignment, e-mail IANA at email@example.com.
IETF See Internet Engineering Task Force.
IETF - Internet Engineering Task Force (Internet Engineering Task Force (c/o Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), Reston, VA, www.ietf.org) Founded in 1986, the IETF is a non-membership, open, voluntary standards organization dedicated to identifying problems and opportunities in IP data networks and proposing technical solutions to the ): The IETF is a large, open community of network designers, operators, vendors and researchers. The purpose of IETF is to coordinate the operation, management and evolution of the Internet, and to resolve short range and midrange protocol and architectural issues. The IETF meets three times a year and extensive minutes are included in the IETF Proceedings.
IP (Internet Protocol): This protocol is one of the languages computers use when connected to the Internet.
IP multicast: A one-to-many transmission, in contrast to Unicast. It is an extension to the standard IP network-level protocol.
ISO (1) See ISO speed.
(2) (International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland, www.iso.ch) An organization that sets international standards, founded in 1946. The U.S. member body is ANSI. (International Organization for Standardization International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
Organization for determining standards in most technical and nontechnical fields. Founded in Geneva in 1947, its membership includes more than 100 countries. ): A voluntary non-treaty organization founded in 1946 which is responsible for creating international standards in many areas, including computers and communications. Its members are the national standards organizations of the 89 member countries.
MIME (multipart/signed, multipart/encrypted content-types): A protocol for allowing e-mail messages to contain various types of media (text, audio, video, images, etc.).
NABTS NABTS North American Basic Teletext Specification (EIA-516)
NABTS North American Broadcast Teletext Standard : North American Basic Teletext Specification.
receiver: An ATVEF receiver is a hardware and software implementation (television, set-top box, or personal computer) that decodes and presents ATVEF content.
SAP (Session Announcement Protocol Session Announcement Protocol (SAP) is a protocol for broadcasting multicast session information.
A SAP listening application can listen to the well-known SAP multicast address and construct a guide of all advertised multicast sessions. ): The protocol used for session announcements.
SDP (Session Description Protocol) An IETF protocol that defines a text-based message format for describing a multimedia session. Data such as version number, contact information, broadcast times and audio and video encoding types are included in the message. (Session Description Protocol Session Description Protocol (SDP), is a format for describing streaming media initialization parameters. It has been published by the IETF as RFC 4566.
SDP is intended for describing multimedia sessions for the purposes of session announcement, session invitation, ): SDP is intended for describing multimedia sessions for the purposes of session announcements, session invitations, and other forms of multimedia session initiations.
transport operator: The transport operator runs a video delivery infrastructure (terrestrial, cable, satellite, or other) that includes a transport for ATVEF data.
triggers: Triggers are used to identify the URL URL
in full Uniform Resource Locator
Address of a resource on the Internet. The resource can be any type of file stored on a server, such as a Web page, a text file, a graphics file, or an application program. in the announcement to the user in order to communicate the availability of the interactive television experience to the user, (as opposed to announcing it to the client downloader mechanism).
TV enhancement: A collection of Web content displayed in conjunction with a TV broadcast as an enhanced or interactive program.
UDP UDP (uridine diphosphate): see uracil.
(User Datagram Protocol) A protocol within the TCP/IP protocol suite that is used in place of TCP when a reliable delivery is not required. (User Datagram Protocol See UDP.
(protocol) User Datagram Protocol - (UDP) Internet standard network layer, transport layer and session layer protocols which provide simple but unreliable datagram services. UDP is defined in STD 6, RFC 768. ): An Internet Standard transport layer protocol. It is a connectionless protocol which adds a level of reliability and multiplexing to IP.
UHTTP (Unidirectional Hypertext Transfer Protocol): UHTTP is a simple, one-way resource transfer protocol that is designed to efficiently deliver resource data in a one-way broadcast-only environment. This resource transfer protocol is appropriate for IP multicast over television vertical blanking interval The part of a TV signal that is sent between each video frame. In North American TV (NTSC), the vertical blanking interval (VBI) takes up the last 45 lines of each 525-line frame. (IPVBI IPVBI Internet Protocol over Vertical Blanking Interval ), in IP multicast carried in MPEG-2, or in other unidirectional transport systems.
UUID (Universally Unique Identifier A Universally Unique Identifier is an identifier standard used in software construction, standardized by the Open Software Foundation (OSF) as part of the Distributed Computing Environment (DCE). ): Also known as GUID (Globally Unique IDentifier) A pseudo-random 128-bit number that is computed by Windows and Windows applications in order to identify any component in the computer that requires a unique number. (Globally Unique Identifier A Globally Unique Identifier or GUID (IPA pronunciation: ['gu.ɪd] or [gwɪd] ), this is an identifier that is unique across both space and time, with respect to the space of all UUIDs.
W3C (World Wide Web Consortium): The W3C, an international industry consortium, was founded October 1994 to bring the World Wide Web to its full potential. by developing common protocols promoting its evolution and ensuring its interoperability.
www.atvef.com: The official site of the Advanced Television Enhanced Forum.
www.canaleweb.net: Italian-language ATVEF info site.