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Comcast Pulling Remote Shopping Trigger?

11:50 AM -- Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is reportedly testing an Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF)-based TV-commerce app from HSN with hundreds of thousands of digital subs in parts of Chicago and the Bay Area.

A Comcast spokeswoman wouldn't confirm whether those tests were underway but noted that "interactive TV is obviously on our radar." HSN did one better, telling InteractiveTV Today that the MSO is trialing the EBIF app, dubbed Shop By Remote, on "certain Bay Area Comcast homes." Any Windy City Comcast customer out there with an EBIF sighting to report?

Here's what the non-EBIF version of the HSN Shop By Remote app looks like on Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH):



The report adds that the MSO has also introduced two other EBIF apps in the Bay and Chicago -- a Request for Information (RFI) app and another called "Ready, Remind, Record" (to bookmark shows for recording to the DVR). Canoe Ventures LLC , the cross-MSO advanced advertising joint venture that counts Comcast as a member, is expected to launch an EBIF-based RFI campaign later this year. (See Canoe Rows Toward Enhanced TV .)

At the recent Cable Show in Washington, Comcast indicated that it had EBIF players -- set-top user agents -- on about 10 million set-tops. As designed, EBIF aims to bring relatively simple enhanced/interactive apps to cable's entire spectrum of digital cable boxes.

TVWorks LLC , now wholly owned by Comcast, has developed an EBIF player of its own that competes in the market with players developed by BIAP Systems Inc. , Navic Networks (now part of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)), and Zodiac Interactive . Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has also created an EBIF player based on the CableLabs specs. (See Cox Severs Ties to TVWorks.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News




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