Cybercultus, a Luxembourg based company is developing the project in co-operation with Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF). The first use of the software will be on the popular Belgian children's programme called 'Genies en Herbe'. It offers a great deal of flexibility in programming and gives operators the freedom to determine their own content. Cybercultus, a software and solution provider, is working to make the software operate on a global iTV (interactive television) infrastructure and integrate many features: from satellite broadcast to digital TV monitors. In the future, a potential exists for return channel via satellite.
The content will be broadcasted via 'set-top boxes', these are devices which when placed on top of a TV add functionality to the receiver, or in the case of this project allow interactivity. Thousands of participants will be able to be connected through this system, so the actual interaction will be managed by a web-server. The user navigation will employ pads (a combination game control and alphanumeric keyboard) to allow users sitting at home to participate in the game. A rendered display of participants will appear on digital televisions screens.
An important feature of RTI-TVS is that it provides an environment that can be easily adapted to other uses. When completed, the project will allow users immersion and a comprehensive interaction with a show. Viewers, through a virtual representation, will have the ability to become actual participants in a quiz show; it will even be possible to compete directly with the playing teams in the studio through the system. The viewer will be able to express behaviours (happiness, anxiety, curiosity, etc.), answer questions, exercise skills, take part into votes. Spin-off applications are not limited to Game Shows however; viewing cultural program's can also be enhanced. Users, via their remote controls, will be able to access more information on the subject being presented.
Cybercultus is one of the few Luxembourg based companies with an ESA Telecom contract, which it received during the second round of the Start-up Initiative. The company expects the project to take twelve months to complete, with the first phase already finished in May of 2003. This included a detailed specification of the RTI-TVS platform and a market analysis of iTV with an emphasis on Quiz Show applications. The final phase, expected next year, will involve field-testing.