Over the past
, a number of companies have deployed interactive television receivers and services in cooperation with a cable or satellite network.
Motorola's Broadband Communications Sector (BCS) [GI] has
GI, which had been the cable equipment industry's driving force for decades, moving from analog cable to a truly evolutionary telecommunications business. BCS has committed tremendous resources to research and development which
massive industry investments in hybrid fiber coax (HFC) networks to cable as a mainstream platform. Its
business revolves around the delivery of digital audio and video, interactive applications, Internet access, and high-speed data.
GI delivered the first all digital cable solution in 1996. Through the acquisition of GI, Motorola BCS has become a key player in manufacturing and marketing products and technologies to deliver end-to-end solutions for broadband systems that provide analog and digital video, high-speed data, and IP telephony services over cable, wireless, and satellite networks. This includes digital set-top boxes, digital convergence platforms, and equipment such as cable modems and Cable Modem Termination Systems (CMTS), sometimes referred to as cable routers.
Motorola's Satellite and Broadcast Network Systems (SBNS) are key players in the market of secure video processing and communications, primarily for satellite and broadcast media. They develop and market Motorola's MPEG-2 system, which today is used to deliver digital television service to millions of subscribers around the world.
1.4.2 Scientific Atlanta
Scientific Atlanta [SA] combines two-way digital network, Explorer digital set-tops, and the PowerTV operating system with broadband access to provide a complete end-to-end solution for delivering
interactive services to consumers.
SA specializes in the delivery of interactive digital cable TV, delivering DVD-quality video and CD-quality sound. SA's VOD, subscription VOD, and Personal Video Recorder (PVR) technologies enable subscribers to view, rewind, fast forward, pause, and replay a program. Additional features include allowing
to get information about a show being watched, chat with others who are watching that same show, send email, log onto a Web site associated with that show, and buy
products online (i.e., TV-commerce).
1.4.3 Canal+ Technologies
Canal+ Technologies [CANAL+] is a key international provider of digital and interactive TV software solutions with more than 12.5 million set-top boxes
by its middleware. More than 20 digital operators and broadcasters worldwide have deployed its iTV middleware, M
, and conditional access system, M
. Today, more than 30
or deployed applications are being used by WINfirst in the U.S., CanalSatellite in France, ITV Digital in the UK, Astro Measat and ZeeTV in Asia, and Orbit in the Middle East to deliver true interactive applications that are changing the perception of what consumers can expect of TV. Sun Microsystems, Sony, Thomson Multimedia, and Sogecable are equity and strategic
in Canal+ Technologies, whose U.S. subsidiary is headquartered in Cupertino, California.
was designed to be able to quickly and almost seamlessly
specific requirements and standards, such as DVB, OpenCable, or ATSC, and to read applications written in languages such as MHEG-5, Java, or HTML. With M
, network operators have the freedom to accommodate hardware and software from a variety of vendors without proprietary technological constraints.
Liberate Technologies [LIBERATE] is a key provider of
platforms for delivering enhanced content and services to television viewers around the world. Major cable and satellite television operators, telecommunications companies, and Internet service providers use the Liberate software platform to create new revenue streams by offering a revolutionary two-way experience on the TV set. These interactive digital services include enhanced TV broadcasts, EPG, VOD, personalized content (including local news, weather, and other information), TV chat, instant messaging, digital video recording, and much more.
Liberate's client and server software forms the essential infrastructure to support this new generation of TV services. Based on open broadcast and Internet standards, the Liberate TV Platform
for network operators to roll out interactive digital services over cable, satellite, and telco-based networks and to a wide range of digital set-top boxes. This adherence to standards is
with Liberate's advanced server technology to enable the delivery of interactive TV content to a variety of other consumer devices.
OpenTV [OPENTV] is one of the most deployed iTV solutions in Europe, with more than 40 million viewers in 50
. It is a middleware company that morphed into a complete provider of interactive TV solutions for cable, satellite, or terrestrial broadcasters and content providers.
OpenTV's Enterprise Solution offers multiple ways to maximize the revenue potential of an iTV deployment, enabling secure TV-commerce transactions and managing interactive advertising
to subscriber targeting and audience measurement. The system is designed with modular, scalable, and extensible
. Business and operational support systems can be integrated to provide support for Subscriber Management Systems (SMS), Traffic, Scheduling, Head-end, Database, Communication, and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.
PowerTV [POWERTV] is a key provider of iTV middleware software solutions for the cable industry. The PowerTV Platform includes an operating system and standards-based middleware components. PowerTV assembles these components into an end-to-end solution that includes applications consumers and back-end iTV management tools which scale gracefully.
The platform is optimized to require a small memory footprint on a set-top box. It can be easily ported across a wide range of set-top box hardware. PowerTV's experience in the cable market has made them the leader in end-to-end solutions that are deployed in millions of broadband digital set-top boxes across hundreds of cable systems.
[MSTV] is a complete family of software products for the television industry that make television interactive. Microsoft TV software powers a range of current digital TV devices, from baseline to advanced set-top boxes and digital video
, to integrated TVs and combination devices.
TV service provides simple and affordable Web access from the TV. It allows sharing pictures with remote
, exchange of email, and chat with an instant messaging feature.
ICTV's digital iTV delivery platform [ICTV] provides cable operators with a headend-based solution that enables delivery of broadband Internet, email with attachments, and interactive TV applications. The ICTV solution provides a consistent experience across any digital set-top box, including all current and future generation boxes.
Their thin-client approach is somewhat different than most iTV solution vendors as it relies on remote display technology. The client is a simple graphic terminal that displays graphics generated at the headend. The key strokes and remote control selections are passed as-is through the cable back to the head-end, and
by the head-end equipment. The response is transmitted back to the client using a variation of the Remote Display Protocol (RDP).
The ICTV architecture features PC-based
running Microsoft Windows
and the Microsoft Internet Explorer
browser. Their service includes:
: ICTV enables a full featured email service designed for good TV-based experience.
: A tightly controlled browsing environment of light content developed
for TV. The open Internet is not accessible through this service.
: Extends the walled garden to support a richer broadband-TV experience, including advanced media streaming technologies.
: Extends the walled jungle concept beyond the proprietary network to include approved Web pages.
Open Internet Access
: This service is supported by a multi-Gigabit backbone enabling fast access to the entire Internet.
The ICTV business model is based on service access subscription fees, augmented with the following revenue streams:
: A TV browser portal enables a multi-tiered fee structure based on high-visibility, repetitive or highly-
placement of advertising and content.
Targeted Rich Media Advertising
: Full-motion interactively enabled video and audio advertising presented as context-sensitive banner ads.
: The service enables subscribers to perform financial transactions using their TV.
: These are services that provide premium content such as
, and VOD.
Intercast [INTERCAST] is a service initiated by Intel to deliver iTV content to subscribers. Two major services
active today: the Hong Kong Intercast at www.netvigator.com/english/index.html and the Italian Intercast at www.intercast.it.
1.4.10 Triveni Digital
Triveni Digital (formerly LG Electronics Research Center of America) [TRIVINEY] develops and deploys open systems products for data broadcasting and data-enhanced digital television. Triveni has significant technology development in the areas of ATSC DASE, JavaTV , and ATVEF interactive TV environments. In addition to professional services and custom solutions, they offer off-the-shelf products and services in many areas:
A data broadcast system (and applications) called SkyScraper
Products for management of program descriptions and interactive services called GuideBuilder
A family of stream analyzer and monitoring products called Streamscope
A real-time translator for ATSC PSIP data called StreamBridge
A professional service for DTV transport stream analysis called StreamDoctor
Prior to its acquisition by OpenTV, Wink [TELETEXT] was a free, easy-to-use service that allowed interaction with the television shows and advertisements. The appearance of the Wink icon on the screen indicated that the program had been enhanced with Wink. Pressing a button on the remote control enabled replying to free special offers, buying products, getting sports scores and updated weather, and participating in games. All this was enabled while viewers
watching a program. Wink is available today in select markets through distribution agreements with several large cable operators including Charter Communications, TimeWarner Cable, Cox Communications, AT&T, Comcast Cable, Insight Communications, RCN Cable, and Adelphia Cable.
Wink provides both client and server products that support Interactive Communicating Application Protocol (ICAP) and HTML for enhanced broadcasting. ICAP is a compact protocol developed by the company for today's set-top boxes and TVs that lack the hardware resources necessary to run a full HTML browser. ICAP's compact format also makes it ideal for transmission in the limited data bandwidth of analog broadcasts.
Over time Wink expects
and set-top boxes to become more sophisticated, and high bandwidth digital transmission will replace analog broadcasts. To prepare for this transition Wink is enhancing its authoring tools, broadcast servers, and data processing systems to support HTML as the broadcast application.
1.4.12 NDS Interactive
NDS Interactive [NDS] is a leading provider of systems and services for the secure distribution of iTV content. One of their key capabilities is providing interactive voting technology and interactive quizzes. Interactive enhancements are added to sports programming, featuring multiple camera angles and audio channels, highlights, team and player statistics, quizzes and competitions, and a real-time chat service. Full-service home shopping applications enable viewers to purchase products or special offers or browse product catalogs. The home shopping and voting services integrate well with an interactive advertising solution, which allows for a more measurable, efficient, and effective means to reach a targeted audience.