Interactive Television Programming Momentum Continues With Increased Support From Key Industry Players

Programming Pioneers Continue Building Interactive TV Foundation

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Dec. 2, 1998 - - At the 1998 Western Cable Show, Microsoft Corp. today announced its ongoing work with industry leaders in broadcast, production and interactive tools development in the creation and adoption of interactive television programming. The continued endorsement of interactive programming by these industries will help make it a mainstream television feature in the future.

"Content and tool providers are seeing the benefit of developing interactive programming today as part of an early effort to explore potential digital applications," said Steve Guggenheimer, group product manager, digital television, Microsoft. "One key benefit of interactive programming technology is that it enables broadcasters and producers to deliver new forms of entertainment and information to consumers."

Viewers can selectively engage with interactive programming on multiple levels, allowing them to enjoy a richer TV-viewing experience based on their individual preferences. Interactive programming can take the form of news, stock quotes, headlines, weather, or additional data and content that coincides with that of any given program. Users of the WebTV™ for Windows® feature of the Windows 98 operating system or a receiver for the WebTV Plus Network service can take advantage of such interactivity.

Interactive programming benefits broadcasters and producers by differentiating their programs and helping to rebuild, retain or create a new audience viewership. Viewers receive targeted, on-demand information, interactive feedback loops and online transaction opportunities, which provide them with a more direct and intimate relationship with advertisers, networks and their favorite programs.

Content providers joining in the development of interactive programming today include the following:

Tools and Technology

Making these programming strides possible are toolmakers who provide interactive television programming solutions. Their newly developed technologies enable broadcast providers to combine data such as text and graphics with the actual broadcast signal. Broadcast producers now can create more dynamic, compelling programs and help move interactive television programs into the mainstream.

Toolmakers currently working on solutions such as these include the following:

The Future of Interactive Television

In the near future, content creators will be able to design enhanced programming that may be delivered over any form of television transport (analog or digital, cable, or satellite) to all types of broadcast receivers that comply with a proposed specification by the Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (ATVEF). Broad industry adoption of the ATVEF specification will enable television viewers to enjoy interactive television programming on a wide variety of compliant receivers and accelerate the market for ITV products and services.


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