Enhanced television programming (ETV) is programming with an associated interactive application. The interactive application is delivered with a programme, and its lifespan is tied to viewing of the programme. Examples include voting contestants off a game show or purchasing an item from an advertisement.
The CableLabs Enhanced Television project was initiated in early 2004 to provide a technical solution for ETV on legacy thin-client cable receivers that would also be appropriate for advanced receivers. MSO and vendor participation has been consistently strong and progress has been rapid.
Standards for Enhanced Television (interactive television applications) have been developed by cable MSOs under the auspices of CableLabs. ETV is one element of an Advanced Cable Platform now being deployed by cable MSOs, and which includes the OpenCable Platform common application platform, the OpenCable interface for retail manufacturers, and the DCAS™ downloadable security technology.
ETV enables programmer-driven interactivity for the most popular content across all cable systems on existing, deployed digital set-top boxes. ETV is Enhanced TV, video programming that has an interactive application bound to it and which executes concurrently with that program. A user agent on the set-top box interprets ETV binary commands received via an in-band stream. Both native user agents on legacy digital set-top boxes as well as Java user agents on OCAP receivers are supported. The specifications are intended to provide a national cable footprint for ETV content.