Time Warner Taps BIAP for "NBC Olympics NOW" Interactive TV App
Time Warner Cable has teamed with Plano, Texas-based BIAP Systems (note: the latter, whose name is an acronym for "Broadband Interactive Applications," was founded in 1998 by a group of former NASA scientists who had met while working on the Space Station) and with broadcast network, NBC, to develop a free interactive TV service to accompany NBC's coverage of the upcoming Winter Olympics. Dubbed "NBC Olympics NOW," the service will be available to Time Warner digital subscribers in Columbia, South Carolina; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Corpus Christi, El Paso, San Antonio and Waco, Texas. It will allow viewers to track the performance of the US Olympics team via constantly refreshed medal counts, event telecast schedules, news and athlete bios. (Note: satellite TV providers, DirecTV and EchoStar, are working with NBC to offer similar interactive TV apps to the one that will be offered by Time Warner Cable; the satellite companies' apps are also expected to feature multiscreen functionality, allowing viewers to toggle between several NBC channels.) Viewers will access the service by pressing "select" on their remotes while tuned to any of the NBC Universal channels that are covering the Olympics (i.e. NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, NBC HD and Universal HD): the service will then appear in three-quarter-screen format, allowing viewers to continue to watch regular linear TV while they use it.
The NBC Olympics NOW service will consist of four elements:
- "Medal Tracker," an application that will provide viewers with a constantly updated list of every medal that has been awarded; the list will be ranked by the total number of medals. The app will also allow viewers to personalize it by selecting up to three countries of their choosing.
- "Team USA Report," an application that will provide viewers with news about the US Olympic team, organized into three categories: "What Happened Yesterday"; "Today's Outlook"; and "What to Look for Tomorrow."
- "Athlete Bios," which will provide in-depth biographies of the most popular Olympic athletes.
- "Program Guide," which will list on a single screen all the upcoming Olympic events, when they will be airing and on which NBC channel.
BIAP, which has a long-standing relationship with Time Warner Cable, has developed a number of other interactive TV projects for the MSO. These include:
- A fantasy football app, dubbed the Time Warner Cable Fantasy Football Tracker, which launched last fall on the MSO's Greenbay, Wisconsin system. The app allows fantasy football players who are watching a football game on TV to track their team's roster with the touch of a button on their remote control, instead of having to run to their computers to get updates on their team. It lets them use an on-screen set-up process to input their fantasy football teams. It then provides continually updated statistics on the players they have chosen from around the league, as well as game scores; passing, rushing, receiving and kicking leaderboards; injury updates; player headlines; and other information of interest to fantasy football players. End-users have the option of viewing this information as a scrolling ticker, or in full-screen or three-quarter-screen modes which provide more detailed information.
- A service dubbed "PITV" (short for "Personalized Information Television") that has been deployed in a number of Time Warner Cable markets and that provides subscribers with personalizable local news, sports, traffic and weather information, local movie listings, financial news, lottery results, and information on local school districts.
- "eBay on TV," an interactive TV version of the eponymous online auction service, which has been deployed to DVR-equipped Time Warner Cable subscribers in Austin, Texas.
Click http://www.itvt.com to subscribe to our free email newsletter, which contains all the news stories you see on this Web site, and additional breaking news and scoops, in-depth features, interviews, screenshots, videos, and other exclusive content you will not find anywhere else.