Interactive DTV Trials
In the 13-week primetime series, PBS says it will broadcast the interactive television content over terrestrial DTV, cable, and satellite. Zenith DTV set-top boxes built to the Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (ATVEF) specification will be provided to approximately 100 households during the trial and PBS will use Triveni Digital's "SkyScraper" data broadcasting system to insert data into the DTV transmission. The companies say they are providing the ATVEF-enabled products to NJN (Trenton), KQED (San Francisco), WMVS (Milwaukee), KRMA (Denver), and WGBH (Boston), the five PBS digital television stations participating in the trial.
According to Zenith, the DTV boxes are designed to receive and display interactive DTV content using the ATVEF, which allows the enhanced material to be broadcast with the program, rather than requiring a connection to the Internet. "These set-tops will receive the over-the-air DTV broadcast signals, display the program information and user-viewable enhancements, and store the program enhancements for use by the viewer during the program," says the company.
Triveni Digital says its SkyScraper system "allows PBS to allocate and manage bandwidth usage, while merging data packets with video programs to broadcast the complete transport stream. With this architecture, broadcasters can add enhanced content both at national and local station levels." PBS's Deron Triff adds that his company believes that the enhanced Life 360 concepts, designs, and technology will differentiate public television by its use of digital television to "inspire local viewer participation and contribution during and after the broadcast."
According to Zenith's Richard Lewis, "Interactive applications represent digital television's next frontier. Our technology will help PBS begin to demonstrate DTV's full potential in this exciting interactive television trial." Triveni's Mark Simpson agrees, stating that "whether for educational or commercial use, being able to provide easy-to-navigate enhanced programming, without requiring the viewer to be connected to the Internet, will be one of the driving forces of DTV, both for broadcasters and viewers."