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Digital TV companies team up on European standards

  • Gillian Law (IDG News Service)
  • 12 September, 2003 11:54

Ten interactive digital television companies are teaming up to demonstrate interoperable applications for European consumers.

In a joint statement the companies announced yesterday that they are working to show that they can provide services across a range of broadcast systems and STBs (set-top boxes), ahead of the development of formal industry standards. The companies involved are British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB); Microsoft; Liberate Technologies; NDS; NTL Group; OpenTV; Pace Micro Technology; Telewest Communications; TPS, a division of French television company TF1, and UGC Europe's UPC Broadband and Chello Media divisions.

At the IBC (International Broadcasting Convention) 2003 show in Amsterdam this week the companies will demonstrate a range of solutions to show that existing platforms can co-exist with one another and also with MHP, or Multimedia Home Platform, the standard currently under development, the companies said.

Interoperability is essential to the widespread take up of digital TV, allowing new platforms and services to be rolled out without disruption to the customer, the statement said.

At IBC, BSkyB will show how a common content format, using WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) standards, can be used to deliver content to different STBs and platforms, while Microsoft will show how choice of the platform and STB will not alter the look and feel of an application, the statement said.

NDS, UPC and Chello Media will demonstrate applications that can run on multiple middleware and OpenTV intends to demonstrate a common user experience across different platforms. NTL, Telewest and TPS will provide support services, it said.