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Enhanced TV Applications Video Vault

Enhanced TV is now seen as the next big opportunity to drive mass market audiences to interact with their televisions, to press the “red button” and drive up revenues per subscriber.

It is hoped that presenters or promos will provide a much more effective incentive to the audience to participate with their remote controls.

However as iTV genres go, Enhanced TV is very, very new. It would appear that good enhanced TV requires meaningful co-operation with the digital TV platforms, the TV channels and the programme makers and remains the most immature of iTV genres.

The examples below clearly illustrate the technical and logistical challenges of providing valuable supporting information whilst not detracting from the main programme narrative. One of the biggest challenges facing broadcasters is how to integrate iTV production into the main production cycle. Another major issue is how to reliably synchronise interactive elements with the linear programme.

TV3, Catalonia�s Television � Interactive SMS
With this application the viewer can control when and how to read the messages that appear on the screen. Using the red button, the user can activate a menu where they will be able to choose how to see the SMS. They can choose to either place the messages at the top of the screen, at the bottom, or alternatively they can make use of the entire screen to display their messages, allowing them to see numerous messages at one time.
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TV3, Catalonia�s Television � Formula 1
TV3, Catalonia�s Television � Formula 1

This application is launched with the Formula 1 World Championship, for which Television de Catalonia has the broadcasting rights. The launch of this application takes place on the Friday afternoon prior to the first F1 World Championship race. The application has two phases.
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TV3, Catalonia’s Television � European Football
TV3, Catalonia’s Television � European Football

This application can be seen when the football games are being broadcasted by Televisi� de Catalunya, every Saturday during the football season (September � June).

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Sky TV – Hells Kitchen on ITV1

TV1’s new nightly reality TV series Hells Kitchen has just completed its two week run.

Produced by the team behind ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!’, the show followed 10 celebrities working as chefs in a new , exclusive London restaurant run by Gordon Ramsay.

The entertainment factors in the show include the triple Michelin-starred chef’s liberal use of four-letter words as cameras are trained on the novice cooks.

Click here to play
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Australia – Fat Cow Motel on Austar

In 2003, Australian broadcaster ABC broadcast ‘Fat Cow Motel’ an interactive comedy, mystery series produced by Brisbane based ‘Hoodlum Entertainment’.

Each episode of the 13-part drama ends with a cliffhanger mystery that the audience can solve for themselves by paying close attention during the programme or by looking for additional clues when interacting with the show online, via email, SMS, voicemail, or via interactive TV.

Click here to play
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sky uk – Disney Active Portal on Sky Digital

Dropping its original enhanced TV portal, Disney Channel UK has re-launched its interactivity with a new ETV service, this time created for Sky’s WTVML browser, developed by Sky Interactive and supported by a comprehensive management and scheduling system from Tamblin.

According to Disney the new application is a major step forward from their previous solution and offers Disney a greater deal of flexibility and control of their interactivity in terms of design and dynamic update.

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uk sky – Pop Idol on ITV1

Pop Idol illustrates how easily the core programming of the UK’s main commercial broadcaster, ITV, can lend itself to interactivity.

Despite supporting the Pop Idol programme with a simple and fast-loading application that enables viewers to gossip around the show and participate in the vote on Saturday nights, ITV’s execution of the application does seem to lack something in terms of its creativity and design.

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uk sky – David Blaine interactive on Sky Digital

Magician and performance artist David Blaine’s latest challenge ‘David Blaine: Above the Below’ is being featured on Sky digital as a 24/7 interactive service.

The stunt involves Blaine spending more than 6 weeks in solitary confinement in a clear-plexi glass box supsended above the River Thames surviving on just water alone.
The glass box is just seven feet deep, seven feet long and three feet wide, where he aims to remain for 44 days. He will have no food, no communication and no distractions of any kind. He will have to exist with a tube feeding him water and a waste tube to urinate.

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uk sky – Bloomberg eTV service on Sky Digital

After many years of planning and several months of development, Bloomberg has finally launched an interactive service on digital satellite in the UK. Whilst other European digital operators such as Stream in Italy and CSD Spain already offer interactive financial services, this is one of the first to be part of an enhanced broadcast.

This is not Bloomberg’s first foray into interactive TV. A UK cable service, developed for the Liberate platform has been available for a number of years, however this service was heavily influenced by Bloomberg’s web development teams in the US and certainly has a TV-Internet feel about it. This new OpenTV application, developed by NDS goes much further than the Liberate service and it would seem that the wait for the application has been worthwhile.

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greece – Big Brother ‘The Wall’ on NOVA

This interactive application on Greek satellite platform NOVA supports the Big Brother ‘The Wall’ reality TV show broadcast on terrestrial network ANT1.

Viewers with Nova in Greece can switch to channel 69 and access a 23h per day feed from the Big Brother house – (Live Mix1) which includes a text chat service. By pressing OK, the viewer can then switch to the application which features a mosaic channel with the second live feed (Live Mix2) in the larger window whilst the smaller window shows Live Mix1.

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uk bbci sky – Test the Nation 2003

3rd May 2004 saw the BBC’s latest “Test the Nation – The National IQ Test”.

Attracting over 9 million viewers in 2002, the show’s format remains the same, and once again, has made use of their very simple but effective interactive application templates.

These allow Sky Digital and Digital Terrestrial viewers to participate in the show simultaneously using their remote controls to answer each question using one of the four corresponding colour keys on their remotes.

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uk sky – I’m a Celebrity!

This interactive voting application supports the ‘I’m a Celebrity – Get me out of Here!’ reality TV show that recently commenced its new series in May 2003.

Produced by Granada Interactive using Emuse’s ‘Modelstream’ tool, the application allows Sky Digital viewers to choose which celebrity takes the ‘Bush Tucker Trail’ challenge and participate in other votes related to the show.

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uk sky – Sky Music Channels

Mid April 2003 finally saw the launch of Sky’s much talked about music channel offering, specifically designed to compete with the existing music channel offerings of EMAP (The Box, KISS etc.) and MTV’s MTV UK, MTV Dance, MTV Hits, M2 TMF etc. Borrowing heavily from the ‘The Box’ model, the three new channels ‘Scuzz’, ‘Flaunt’ and ‘The Amp’ have launched with their own individual lifestyle identities and demographic target

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uk bbci sky – The Murder Game

The BBC’s The Murder Game series commenced on Saturday 30th March on BBC One, with an associated and very comprehensive interactive service that is available to Sky Digital homes from 21.00 – 02.30 daily via the Red button.

The programme focusses on 10 real people try to solve a fictional murder. The ten chosen investigators, chosen out of 100,000 applicants, must find out who the murderer is under the close scrutiny of the cameras.

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uk sky – MTV UK ‘Peep’ Multi-Stream

By pressing the red button when the ‘Peep’ call-to-action appears, viewers can explore 4 separate video feeds making use of a similar template to the original Sky News Active, Big Brother and Star Ticket applications.

The streams are ‘News’ providing 24/7 access to MTV News, ‘Tunes’ which offer MTV’s exclusive, latest and most talked about videos. ‘Prime’ which includes out-takes and sneaky peeks at upcoming episodes of The Osbournes, Dirty Sanchez and Real World. According to MTV’s website, at night ‘Prime’ clips will be uncensored and they advise that viewers ‘be prepared for swearing galore and late-night festivities!’ Finally the fourth stream is ‘Rare’ which will according to MTV broadcast content that is ‘New, innovative, funny stupid and just plain weird’

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uk sky – Living TV Active

Flextech’s LivingTV has launched a new interactive portal to accompany its broadcasts on Sky Digital. The interactive portal provides a comprehensive range of services including horoscopes, competitions and even psychic readings.

The core horoscope service is attractive, easy to use and also free – although extended forecasts are available via calling a premium rate telephony number at 60 pence per minute. The service also offers a ‘Love Match’ service where viewers can test their compatibility with their partner by comparing star signs. This requires the box to dial up to retrieve the content with a call charge of 25p.

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uk bbci sky – Test the Nation – National Relationship Test

The BBC’s UK broadcast of another programme in the Test the Nation series. – ‘The National Relationship Test’ ran on 22nd March 2003.

The show looked at Relationships, and tested our ability to manage them. The 50-question test covered all aspects of relationships. An audience made up of six groups – single men, single women, couples, silver-wedding couples, police, nurses and 8 celebrities competed in the studio. The presenters were assisted by a panel of relationship experts, including Dr Duncan Cramer (who devised the test), Relate Counsellor, Julia Cole and the BBC’s ‘Fame Academy’ Tutor Jeremy Milnes.

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Greece Nova – Predict the Oscars on Nova

Greek digital satellite platform ‘Nova’ (Multichoice Hellas) has launched a brand new competition application accessible from their ‘Novascope’ interactive menu on channel 100.

The ‘Predict the Oscars’ application, sponsored by Max Factor, invites the viewer to predict who will win the categories of best movie, best leading male and best leading female by making their choice using the remote control.

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uk sky – Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Recently launched on BSkyB following a deal between ITV and the Pay TV operator, this OpenTV application allowes viewers to answer the questions posed by the presenter Chris Tarrant at the same time as the studio contestants. To answer each question, the viewer enters the number corresponding to their chosen answer on their Sky remote control.

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Australia Austar – ABC’s Long Way to the Top

Recently honoured at the AIMIA awards (http://www.aimia.com.au), ‘Long Way to the Top’ is Australia’s first interactive television documentary.

This special programme was broadcast via ABC’s digital satellite feed on Austar in December 2002 and in a similar format to some of the BBC’s recent enhanced documentaries featured mutiple video feeds which provided alternative content relevant to the programme. These were accessible by pressing ‘OK’ on the remote and selecting the relevant colour keys.

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uk sky – MTV UK Enhancement

MTV UK’s new enhancement consists of three core areas; ‘Feed’, ‘Blag’ and ‘Bitch’. ‘Feed’ will allow viewers to access up to the minute celebrity news and gossip which will be adapted depending on the programme content. For example: If a video or programme on Kylie is being shown, the application will be updated to include Kylie’s latest news or gossip.

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uk bbci sky – Life of Mammals Interactive

This epic new series by David Attenborough aims to reveal why mammals, including ourselves, are the most successful animals on the planet.
Once in the interactive service, in a similar format to Pyramid Interactive, viewers are taken by David Attenborough behind the scenes for a 10 minute looped interactive session where they can direct the action and test their ‘mammalian skills’!

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uk sky – Celebrity Big Brother 2002 & Four Active

Channel 4’s Sky Digital offering for Celebrity Big Brother once again makes use of tried and tested application templates with little more than a basic re-skinning of the multiple-video feed application seen on Big Brother 2 & 3. A Celebrity Big Brother Pac-Man style game has made a come-back on Sky’s Gamestar portal with few noticeable differences from the previous version. Channel 4 has aimed to enable participation from all viewers, regardless of how they access the channel. In addition to voting in Sky homes, viewers with Telewest’s digital service are also able to participate using their remote controls. This is in addition to the existing voting possibilities available to users of the web, SMS and premium rate telephony.

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