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Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from What is digital TV middleware? Steve Morris

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from What is digital TV middleware? Steve Morris"— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from What is digital TV middleware? Steve Morris

2 Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from What is middleware? Middleware is a software layer that sites on top of (or instead of) the OS in an STB It allows a content developers to work without having to consider low-level issues for an STB –Drivers, Operating System, etc. This makes it easier to write complex applications

3 Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from Middleware What is middleware? Middleware runs between the device drovers/OS and the application Literally in the middle of the software stack STB hardware CA System Device drivers RTOS Application

4 Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from Why use middleware? Makes it easier to write complex applications Allows portability across hardware and operating systems –Applications will run on any platform the middleware has been ported to –The application developer doesnt need to consider the OS/hardware in every STB the application will run on Makes it easier for third parties to write applications –Only need to learn about a few middleware platforms –More abstraction makes learning easier

5 Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from Types of middleware Proprietary middleware –Designed by a single company –Licensed to STB manufacturers –Most common in pay TV Open middleware –Standardised by an industry body –Can be implemented by anyone –Licensing fee is usually small –More commonly used in free TV e.g. MHEG in UK terrestrial market

6 Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from Proprietary middleware examples OpenTV Core (OpenTV) –the Microsoft of iTV middleware –70% market share MediaHighway (Canal+) Microsoft TV (Microsoft) Liberate PowerTV NDS Core (NDS)

7 Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from Open middleware examples MHEG DAVIC –MHEG + Java MHP –Open middleware standard from DVB –Broad industry support –Used as basis for other standards OCAP –Open standard for US cable market –Based on MHP ACAP –ATSCs middleware based on MHP ARIB B23 JavaTV

8 Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from So what does it do? All middleware offers the same basic features Hides the hardware/OS layer from an application and provides a set of commonly used functions –Abstracts over complex hardware and software functions –Provides a more natural environment for developers –Allows the use of pre-built components E.g web browsers, graphics support –Offers better software tools E.g. more choice of programming language

9 Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from Services the middleware offers An application model MPEG decoder/demux access Graphics display –Access to multiple video planes –Access to graphics/video integration features Service information access User input (via RCU or keyboard) –Supports a standard input model and key codes Access to the return channel (TCP/IP) –Modem or broadband Memory management

10 Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from Services the middleware offers Software development environment –Usually C/C++ or Java –Sometimes other languages Possibly proprietary scripting languages –HTML may be supported More complex features –Internationalisation –Web browsing & internet access May be offered as a core part of the middleware or as an additional option –To reduce cost and space

11 Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from Problems with closed middleware Too many different middleware vendors –Different markets use different middleware –Content must be developed repeatedly for different customers –Content cant be re-sold –This limits the total size of the market Licensing costs are quite high –~US$10 per box for OpenTV, for example –This increases STB costs

12 Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from The next challenges How do we grow the market? –This is why open standards are so popular STBs can be treated more like VCRs Transition from vertical to horizontal markets –Allows current big players a smaller piece of a much larger market Getting true interactivity –We dont have this yet –Requires advanced features Not popular in a bad economic environment –Too expensive and no proven business model But we are making progress, e.g. BSkyB in the UK

13 Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from Will open middleware really take off? No-one knows yet Many companies support it –Including some proprietary middleware vendors –See it as a chance to grow the overall market Allows the entire industry to change its business model –From vertical to horizontal markets –Sell STBs through retail outlets Less exposure for network operators –Allow customers more choice Move from one operator to another without replacing your STB Add more features to an STB, e.g. PVR, games console, broadband gateway

14 Copyright © Steven Morris 2005 All Rights Reserved Downloaded from Questions? For more information: –http://www.mhp.org –http://www.interactivetvweb.orghttp://www.interactivetvweb.org –Interactive TV standards, S. Morris & A. Smith-Chaigneau (Pub. Focal Press, ISBN ) Copyright © Steven Morris All rights reserved.


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