DVB-Windows, a "middlewareless" solution for Interactive Television

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DVB-Windows, a "middlewareless" solution for Interactive Television
 
Introduction
 
Besides of in Great Britain, the rollout of Digital Interactive Television has slowed down or stopped in Europe. One of the main reasons for the slowdown is the fact that standardization of set-top boxes and corresponding middleware has not been achieved.

Surprisingly enough in analog Television there have been a number of developments. Not all of them have been very technical, but Television program formats, in general, are much more interactive as they used to be a few years ago. Viewers are frequently stimulated to send SMS, to phone, to go to Internet pages and last but not least to go to Teletext.

Teletext is increasingly used as an interactive instrument and although outdated in graphical capabilities it is increasingly adding the interactive elements needed to enhance Analog Television.

From a technical point of Teletext has also changed. Where until recently most services were based on a waiting row or queuing logic, meanwhile time or event based Teletext systems have become available. It means that 20 seconds or longer waiting times are no longer a standard; the timing meanwhile depends on the application used and can be, within limits, freely determined.

Analog Television offers via Teletext technology meanwhile a full range of interactive services and applications. The range offered does not differ much from the services offered by the various Digital Interactive Environments or middleware platforms.

Sometimes a very small step can accomplish or change a lot. This is the idea behind DVB-Windows.

DVB-Windows does not require any change in memory or hardware of the DVB Digital set-top boxes; it neither does require nor uses any middleware solution.

What DVB-Windows does is changing the way of thinking about Teletext technology and its use.

Historically, Teletext is seen as a set of pages related to a broadcasting channel, a point of view that at least from a technical perspective is meanwhile fully outdated.

DVB-Windows therefore proposes to treat Teletext in a Digital environment separated from its source and to make it selectable for the viewer.

This way the viewer will be able to select out of various services. It means that next to classical Teletext, a broadcaster (or cable operator) can offer interactive services, interactive Television applications or a Teletext based EPG next to its classical service.

It means that the broadcaster or cable operator will start broadcasting multiple Teletext streams. The viewer selects afterwards one out of many of them via his set-top box menu.

Technically this means that there is almost no change needed in the set-top box software, it merely means that the Teletext streams embedded in the multiplexed MPEG-2 video streams (which the set-top box already decodes) are made accessible for the viewer. On the basis of the viewers choice the selected stream is than inserted on the VBI interval of the video output of the set-top box.

It is a very low cost, simple solution to immediately add interactive facilities to DVB. At the same time it can greatly contribute to the learning curve of viewers and speed-up further MHP developments.

Meanwhile a number of Teletext equipment manufacturers, set-top box manufacturers and DVB-T operators have expressed their interest in the DVB-Windows initiative. If you also have interest in joining the initiative please contact us.

 

DVB-Windows Contact Information:

Concept Development & Media Strategy
Johannes Cornelis van Nieuwkerk
GSM: +31 6 85942552 or +36 20 9877082

Copyright   2003-2017 J.C. van Nieuwkerk. All rights reserved.