The iTV Doctor Is In!: Verizon FiOS TV's Rachelle Zoffer on Interactive TV Widgets

Dear iTV Doctor:

I've been reading the [itvt] Newsletter and the recent story about Verizon's widgets, and I'm a little confused. People in the industry have been talking about widgets for years, and I guess I've never really understood the difference between a widget and a regular iTV application. What's the benefit of using widgets vs. EBIF "bound" applications? Can programming networks use widgets? Is there a widget standard that can be used on multiple platforms (like EBIF for iTV applications)?

Gidget Widget

Dear Gidget:

First off, thanks for taking a break from the beach to write in to The iTV Doctor. We'll try to get you back to Moondoggie right away. Now, regarding the story in [itvt] Issue 8.82, let's go directly to the source: Rachelle Zoffer, director of interactive TV and international programming for Verizon FiOS TV.

Here's what Rachelle has to say:


A unique feature of FiOS TV is that it has an IP (Internet Protocol) path available to deploy iTV applications. The benefits of FiOS TV widgets are that they are easy to create, quick to deploy and open up the platform to untraditional TV partners such as Facebook and Twitter.

The large development community that has a background in creating Web applications will find it simple to create FiOS TV widgets. They can be tested and deployed across all 7.5 million FiOS TV set top boxes in a week. EBIF on the other hand offers interactivity that is synched to the programming on TV and is available across multiple operators. Widgets will be available to both programming networks and third
parties. Programming networks can leverage interactive bug overlays to launch interactive applications directly from a TV show.

A standards body hasn't been developed for widgets to date. Verizon's widget platform is based on the open source scripting language Lua ( Lua is also a supported scripting language for iPhone applications. For more information on creating FiOS TV Widgets go to:

North America