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Video services

CMC Plays Host to iTV

The small guys need interactive services, too.

The Comcast Media Center (CMC) and a raft of partners have introduced a centralized interactive television (ITV) services platform tailored to small- and mid-sized cable operators.

The platform, dubbed HITS Advanced Interactive Services (AxIS), will support tru2way, a uniform set-top software and headend system operators are starting to deploy, as well as Enhanced Television-Binary Interchange Format (ETV EBIF)-based apps that can run on less powerful, already deployed digital set-tops. (See Cable's 'tru2way' Play .)

The CMC is spearheading the initiative with two key partners: TVWorks LLC , the iTV joint venture of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Cox Communications Inc. , and Vidiom Systems, a Colorado-based company that specializes in middleware for the tru2way platform.

The hosted AxIS service is also getting off the ground with a handful of other vendors with software and hardware products that tie into the cable ITV ecosystem, including Alticast, BIAP Systems Inc. , Emus, Ensequence Inc. , Sofia Digital, vivoTRAK, and Zodiac Interactive .

As the concept goes, AxIS will centralize the development, delivery, and management of ITV apps for Comcast Media Center's HITS Quantum cable affiliates, giving those operators, regardless of market size, an alternative to more operationally-intensive headend-based systems. AxIS will also encompass licensing and interoperability testing.

The CMC has not announced any deployments for the centralized ITV platform, but the company anticipates making updates later this year, a spokesman says. Today, the CMC serves more than 400 cable affiliates that operate more than 2,000 headends.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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