Softel's MediaSphere Powering Showtime's New HD EBIF Interactive TV Application

Softel, a UK-based company that claims to have over 25 years of experience in providing ancillary data solutions--including solutions for interactive TV, opt cuing/ad insertion, subtitling and captioning--to leading broadcasters and service providers across the world, said Tuesday that Showtime Networks is using the Softel MediaSphere ITV playout platform to power its new HD EBIF application. The app, which launched February 26th on Verizon FiOS TV, and which is offered in association with Showtime's Showtime HD channel, was initially used to enhance the broadcaster's live coverage of the Strikeforce Challengers Mixed Martial Arts event. "We chose Softel and their MediaSphere ITV platform to roll these services out nationally because of their extensive expertise in interactive television both in the US and Europe," Robert Hayes, Showtime's SVP and general manager of digital media, said in a prepared statement. "Softel worked closely with us and our other technology partners, Ensequence, VDS and Verizon, to provide a seamlessly integrated solution." Added Ed Humphrey, president of Softel's Softel-USA arm: "This deployment serves as a starting point from which Showtime Networks will easily be able to expand to deliver interactive applications using EBIF or tru2way--24x7x365 across all of their networks and to all of their viewers, from their single system." Softel bills the MediaSphere ITV platform as an integrated suite of complementary solutions that enable the delivery of rich viewer experiences. According to the company, the system allows parallel playout of multiple middleware applications from a single unit and provides compatibility with all major US and international interactive standards. Showtime is using MediaSphere TX on its satellite uplink in order to deliver EBIF applications nationally. According to Softel, thanks to a comprehensive SDK, MediaSphere is fully integrated with Showtime's scheduling system and with Ensequence's iTVManager.