Recently, Yahoo and Intel issued press releases regarding the Yahoo Sports TV-web channel. There is an extract below. Intel states it is “currently only available for PCs equipped with Intel Viiv technology”. Intel ViiV uses the Media Center Edition (MCE) version of Windows. However, using active-TV software, I had no problem accessing Yahoo Sport from an AMD-based Windows XP PC, or an active-TV Hybrid-STB.
Yahoo Sports’ first TV-web page includes the image “Enjoy with Intel ViiV”, see the screen shot below (lower right).
Yahoo Sports brings US Football statistics to the TV screen. Intel still requires a PC-in-living-room approach; As the ViiV thin-clients have still not appeared. I did not try accessing Yahoo Sports from an Extended Xbox360 – this should work.
Yahoo Sports does not use the overlay TV-web approach supported by active-TV. However a TV image can be scaled to fit within a region of the TV-web channel (known as a Spotlight in Microsoft-speak). Clearly, active-TV also supports this approach. The Intel ViiV method requires a PCI TV-tuner card be used by the PC. The TV channel is typically received in analogy NTSC format and encoded to WMV video. The TV screen shot below shows the TV area as a black rectangle as I was unable to capture the TV image.
Testing indicates the user must first tune to the correct TV channel before staring the Yahoo Sports TV-web channel. If some kind of Microsoft or ViiV Extender was used, the digitised TV video would be sent to the thin-client for presentation on the networked TV.
The active-TV approach in support of Yahoo Sports is different. There would be no use of a PCI TV tuner card. TV video would not be digitised by the PC and sent over the home network. A networked hybrid-STB would receive the broadcast TV in high-def ATSC format (DVB would be used in Europe). The Extended-Notebook (or PC) would process the TV-web material and send it over the network for merging by STB; to produce the TV image.
The active-TV approach requires a lot less network traffic. It also better supports High-Def TV viewing – there is no need to encode analog video, which always results in a reduction in image quality.
Using TV-web brings the TV channel and the statistical information to a single screen. An alternative is to use PC-web with a notebook located in the same room as the TV. But this does not bring the different “materials” to the same screen. Of course, the Notebook computer could also be used to project TV-web to the hybrid-STB while simultaneously supporting the PC-web site.
Feedback, corrections and comments welcome.