Active-TV Technology for iPhone and iPod touch

Active-TV Technology for iPhone and iPod touch
Navigate YouTube

Navigate YouTube available at iTunes App Sore

An easy to use iPhone and iPod touch App that enables both new and advanced YouTube users to get the best from YouTube.

Browse video Standard Feeds, Categories, Channels and Playlists. Then organize new videos into your own favorites and playlists. Make playlists private or public. Subscribe to other user's playlists and video collections for future viewing. Subscribe to videos matching search-words.

Look at publicly viewable favorite videos, playlists and subscriptions based on your YouTube friends, family and contacts. Send and receive video links with YouTube contacts via YouTube video messages.

Search for new videos tagged for your language or geographical region, using local keyboard. Explore for new videos via easy switching of user ID to the owner of interesting videos - then explore their world.

All actions are kept in sync with PC, Mac or Apple-TV access to YouTube. Available at Apple App Store.

active-TV technology for PC

active-TV technology for PC
Windows PC based home network

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

active-TV technology brings YouTube to the TV

Active-TV Ecosystem Developers,

Recent active-TV developments make it very easy to build a TV-web channel. Active-TV platforms support MCE and ViiV TV-web Channel formats (Microsoft called these spotlights and now calls them on-line media). However, active-TV can support TV-web channels conforming to even less restrictive formats. This will make it possible for an Extended-PC or Extended-Notebook, networked with a hybrid-STB, to format a YouTube TV-web channel.

A user of the YouTube PC-web site selects their favourite video, later to be viewed on an active-TV enabled TV. Using a PC dialog box like the one below:

the active-TV will be told the YouTube user-name to be used when retrieving favourite YouTube video at the TV. The YouTube favourites are listed as a YouTube TV-web channel at the TV UI menu. Entering another persons YouTube user-name would allow viewing of their video.

Support for a YouTube TV-web channel is a new, and hopefully valued, feature for the active-TV enabled STB or TV.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sony Chief say Consumer Electronics dying!

Active-TV Ecosystem Developers,

A Sony adviser says: “people want to use the TV as a portal to the net”. I doubt he means the TV should display PC-web; more likely he means the TV should simply be connected via IP to the internet. He describes this as the “next stage” for convergence and the consumer electronics industry.

One solution is for a TV, or STB-like appliance, to support a standalone micro-browser using CE4HTML formatted TV-web – Sony and partners are developing this, along with other approaches. However, it is hard for the embedded microbowser approach to offer the same TV-web processing capability across lots of different hardware platforms. This difficulty would be less of a problem if TV-web does not incur the rapid developments seen in PC-web; such as new browser plug-ins and HTML extensions.

Reliance on active-TV style browser projection from and Extended-PC, limits the STB’s standalone ability to process more complex TV-web; but it does result in a common, consistent and powerful platform for processing TV-web formatted channels.

Feedback, corrections and comments welcome.

more at

Monday, October 16, 2006

Dell to offer AMD Live!

Active-TV Ecosystem Developers,

More confirmation in the linked material, below, that ViiV’s utility in support of digital convergence is not understood. The problem is hampered by Intel, and its collaborators, not introducing ecosystem clients able to gain consumer approval.

Intel ViiV does not have a simple consumer-message, such as adding TV-web to the already familiar STB.

As one Industry watcher put it: ” The PC Industry MBAs have so far, after many years of trying, not managed to manufacture consumer-consent for their convergence platforms. Their approach has not conformed with the fashionable term ‘consumer-led’, maybe not even technology-led, but there is clearly a significant element of corporate-ambition-led.”

Alternatively, the active-TV approach is not lead by the PC Industry alone, but is a combining of the best of the PC industry (Extended-PC) with the best of the STB (hybrid-STB) and established video entertainment platform industry. As well is equal involvement from TV-web channel developers and overlay TV-web formatted TV advertisers.

Feedback, corrections and comments welcome.

more at
Dell Drops Intel Viiv in Favour of AMD Live!

What's a Viiv, and will you care come Christmas? Intel (INTC) sure hopes so.
more at

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Yahoo Sports

Active-TV Ecosystem Developers,

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.

more at

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Red Bee Showcases IPTV i-Ad via active-TV

Active-TV Ecosystem Developers,

Linked below is a report on the overlay TV-web demonstration by Red Bee at IBC. The reporter summaries the terminology well with the expression: “the prototype was running on a Futarque set-top with AMD's ActiveTV software; the set-top was connected in turn to an Internet-connected AMDLive! PC”.

The active-TV approach uses the PC’s browser to process the TV-web material ultimately presented at the hybrid-STB’s TV. The method avoids many of the “technical constraints” limiting a STB acting alone.

TV advertising is a $60B business in the US. The business is changing due to new consumer technology (DVR and TCP-IP) and new consumer behaviour. The use of TV-web channels and overlay TV-web are technical- and cost-effective new solutions.

Much, or maybe most, of the PC industry has struggled to position the PC-in-the-living-room as the platform-solution to the changes occurring with TV entertainment. The focus has also been on using computer networking to deliver an IP-TV alternative source of Hollywood-type content. No matter that this material is already widely available from several existing distribution channels.

Consequently, there has been more discussion about DTCP-IP content protection than new forms of TV advertising. I suggest there has been too much focus on offering alternative platforms supporting familiar forms of content consumption – merely using a new IP distribution method. Of more importance is developing lower-cost platform-solutions which address the changing nature of consumer behaviour. I suggest, this line of thinking, makes overlay TV-web more interesting than TCP-IP content protection.

Linked is an interesting US study entitled “The New ‘Digital Divide’, How the New Generation of Digital Consumers are Transforming Mass Communication.” Although much of the study is about PC-web behaviour, there are clearly implications for TV audiences and TV advertising – particularly given the emergence of active-TV technology.

[quote from New Digital Divide linked below]
“There is no doubt that we are moving rapidly from a world of passive receptivity to active engagement. No longer can we simply broadcast our messages to a mass audience and hope that our standard metrics of reach and frequency will guarantee success. Accountable engagement innovation is the battlefield of the 21st century”
  • The age group 16-34 is 25% more likely than ages 35-49 to use instant messenger, with over 75% of ages 16-34 currently using at least one service.
  • About 40% age P16-34 belong to a social network site; this is twice the percentage of 35-49 year olds.
  • 71% of the 16-34 year olds have participated in a blogging activity.
  • One third of 16-34's have participated in peer-to-peer file sharing compared to just 12% of those 35-49. [end]
Active-TV enables the STB to display TV-web with the same universal access and opportunity available to the PC with PC-web. Unless locked via a closed-garden approach, the hybrid-STB with active-TV makes it very easy for PC-web innovations (such as messaging, video sharing and social networking) to appear in TV-web form.

Comments, corrections and feedback welcome.

more at

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Apple takes the Extended path

Active-TV Ecosystem Developers,

The details of the Apple iTV are not clear; but my conclusion is the announced iTV device is not competitive against an active-TV enabled hybrid-STB.

For some time, there has been debate about Apple introducing a 10'-only, or TV-only, video entertainment device; which would operate in an Extended-PC or Extended-iMac ecosystem. Some other market watchers suggested the next platform would be a hybrid 2/10-foot Mini Mac. Well, the Apple iTV announcement attached below is a disappointment to PC-in-living-room advocates and validation for advocates of the Extended and networked ecosystem approach.

  1. What competitive pressure is causing Apple to pre-announce the iTV product?
    • It seems unlikely Apple feels pressure from Intel ViiV-NMPR or Microsoft-MCE ecosystems, even with Vista's launch and shift to MCML. Further, the continued absence of ViiV clients, may indicate Intel has a clearer future combining a PC with FrontRow clients.

    • More interesting is the arrival of the Sony PS3. Maybe Apple FrontRow will not be supported on the PS3, which likely supports a micro-browser approach (CE-HTML, or HTML4CE).

    • Could also be, Apple feels pressure from active-TV developments. It is said that a pre-announcement is often used to stall the efforts of competitors.

  2. Does the box have an ATSC or DVB-t antenna connection?
    • The press information makes no mention of video-in connectors or antenna connectors (see pictures below). Without broadcast reception, the iTV is classified as a DMA (Digital Media Adapter), which has a poor history and is now very much out of favor.
    • It could be argued that iTV is better optimised for US market constraints, where broadcast TV reception is typically included in a cable STB. Adding DVB-t support for the European market does seem an easier decision.

  3. Is there video-in connectors, allowing the box to piggy-back on the video-out connectors of an existing STB?
    • Without antenna-in or video-in, there can be no support for overlay-FrontRow (equivalent of active-TV’s overlay-Web-TV). This restricts iTV’s usefulness when supporting new non-linear TV advertising.

  4. Can FrontRow run standalone on the iTV or does it require projection?
    • I suspect the FontRow can run standalone. However, the reporter below indicates “the point of iTV” is to watch movies which have first been downloaded to a PC or iMAC. It could be that the reporter has misunderstood Apple's intentions, or maybe the iTV really has little utility in standalone operation.
    • There is no mention of disc support, or integrated NAS; So even if FrontRow is not projected, the iTV may only be usable when the networked Extended-PC is running. The addition of a disc would add to cost, but improve standalone capabilities and wireless video streaming of HD material - I think a disc seems likely.

  5. Will Apple promote use of FrontRow among TV-web developers?
    • One reason for pre-announcing iTV would be building early momentum for FrontRow websites (or web-TV channels). But this was never mentioned during the iTV introduction. However, I would be surprised if Apple limited FrontRow usage to a few Hollywood-content download sites.

  6. Since the next-generation FrontRow will now be available for a Windows PC, does anything prevent it being projected to an active-TV STB client?
    • As with item 5), we don’t know if FrontRow will be promoted as an alternative to MCE spotlights (TV-web). If FrontRow formatted websites appear (leaving DRM aside), then projection would be made easier if FrontRow is processed via the normal PC browser. Not using the existing browser would create more work for Apple and also any alternative projection support.

  7. What H.264 supporting SOC is used inside the iTV.?
    • Possible SOC suppliers are Sigma Design or STM. However a new Intel Xscale device is likely. Intel has less experience with integrating broadcast TV reception technology. Which may indicate why iTV is a DMA and not a STB.
    • Again, there are advantages to including an internal disc. This would give the iTV more standalone capability than a DMA typically has. This would also help compensate for using an Intel SOC which does not support broadcast TV reception.

  8. Will Apple license the middleware supporting FrontRow for use by other STB developers?
    • I suggest, for FrontRow to succeed it has to be supported by the majority of the SOC devices used in the STB and CE appliance industry.

  9. Will the $299 be subsidized by any video service providers?
    • The iTV announcement was supported by would-be IPTV movie distributors. They have a difficult business model. The boast has been, IPTV will under-cut other distribution methods, such as video-rental services; this makes it increasingly difficult to subsidize iTV. There has been no indication that the established STB service providers will integrate FrontRow technology.

  10. Can a $299 price compete against a similarly priced Hybrid-STB supporting DVB-t and active-TV projected TV-web? Both approaches assume the user has a networked PC or iMac.
    • The initial iTV price may reflect more concept-pricing than content-pricing, but it does not look inexpensive. However, Apple has not had a flop for many years, and their marketing is renowned.
    • I say the iTV, as we understand it from these pre-announcements, is not competitive against an active-TV enabled hybrid-STB.

Feedback, corrections and comments welcome.

more at and

video at

Monday, September 11, 2006

If ViiV doesn't Extend, why not XTend ?

Active-TV Extended-PC Ecosystem Developers,

The strong trend for the STB moving in a hybrid-STB direction is further validated by NDS’ XTend PC software. The Xtend approach is clearly Extended-PC is style; And as the article states: it secures “the STB as the main consumption point”.

The NDS Xtend uses some of the active-TV elements. However, it is not clear how the UI is supported. I suspect it is more likely micro-browser than active-TV projected browser. All the articles states is: it is “based on anticipated [STB SOC] developments”.

For Xtend to gain acceptance it would have to go beyond familiar UPnP DMA operation – unless the target market is closed-garden service providers. An open micro-browser approach would depend on wide acceptance and use of a micro-browser standard and – which has not yet emerged.

Feedback, corrections and comments welcome.

more at

Monday, August 21, 2006

PC-resident TV-web developer interview

Active-TV ecosystem developers,

Active-TV uses PC-resident TV-web developed by Additionally, Scendix supply broad-band accessed TV-web, such as: mcePhone (Skype-for-TV), the popular mceWeather and mceAuction. This last one, enables access to eBay auction via the TV. McePhone supports use of PC-based Skype from the living room TV.

Scendix’s Christioph Buenger was interviewed at the Las Vegas eBay Developer Conference. The interviewer uses Microsoft-speak and talks about “MCE solutions”; These “solutions” are TV-web and active-TV makes them available on more than just the Media Center Edition PC – specifically, the active-TV enabled hybrid-STB.

Please see a video of the interview at Christoph demonstrates mceAuction but also talks about his other broadband TV-web applications.

Feedback, corrections and comments welcome.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Should TV-web be formated with HTML, MCML, WinFX or CE-HTML ?

Active-TV Ecosystem Developers,

The Wall Street Journal [WSJ] reports that the "TV Portal Service Corp" has been formed by a Japanese consortium to develop a common standard for TV-web. A specification is expected in spring 2007. It is likely that the standard depends on a reduced-sized browser-engine, or micro-browser. The browser would support a reduced HTML format; know as CE-HTML (Consumer Equipment), or sometimes c.HTML (Compact HTML), or more recently Web-4-CE.

    [WSJ] Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba and Hitachi are understood to be developing a joint Japanese standard for internet-connected televisions to address competition from the computer industry for broadband video services.

    [WSJ] The Japanese consumer electronics companies aim to develop broadband-enabled televisions that can download and display videos from the internet without the need for a separate set-top box (STB) or computer.

The WSJ suggest that MHP (Java based) was intended for just such a standard. This is somewhat incorrect; Yes, MHP specified a run-time standard for applications; But, these applications were initially intended for broadcast distribution and not IP distribution.

    [WSJ] The MHP or Multimedia Home Platform specification, the basis for the OCAP specification formally adopted by the American cable industry, was intended to provide just such a standard, but its adoption has been frustrated by wrangling over technology and licensing.

I do agree with the WSJ that HMP and its follow-on OCAP have not demonstrated adequate technical or marketing success. Consequently, MHP looks an every weaker competitor to IP application distribution, supported by a STB micro-browser conforming to a CE-HTML standard.

Further comments from the Sydney Herald:

    [SH] The new televisions will use Linux operating systems instead of Microsoft Windows, it added. That feature is aimed at cutting the time needed to boot up and reducing the risk of virus infection. Together, the five companies expect to sell 10 million to 20 million units by Japan's 2011 changeover to terrestrial digital broadcasting, according to the report.

What is the suggested: “competition from the computer industry” ?

Web pages are formatted according to HTML and various extensions. It has always been possible to format a web page for display on a TV, but mostly this was rare and HTML was used for PC-web.

With the introduction of the Media Center Edition PC (MCE), it was made easier to put the PC’s familiar Internet Explorer browser to work in support of TV formatted websites - which Microsoft prefers to call “spotlights”. The MCE software includes some extra browser “helper routines”. These helper routines are not included with the Windows XP browser, hence making access to TV spotlights only possible from an MCE PC.

PC-web and TV-web developers are free to use any tools they like, or any style they prefer, in the development of a PC-web page or TV-web ‘channel’. However, the introduction of the MCE PC has encouraged many from both inside and outside the PC industry, to start developing TV-web using an HTML standard.

The PC browser and its extensions and helpers are too complex to be easily supported on a simple and inexpensive STB. Consequently, a PC is required at the TV location, or the PC must project its browser image over the network to the STB connected to the PC. This second approach conforms to the Extended-PC principle. The Japanese consortium described above, is likely an effort to remove PC browser dependence; by reducing the HTML standard to a simpler CE-HTML standard which can be supported by a standalone STB.

The Extended-PC approach is utilized by MCE, Intel ViiV (NMPR portion) and active-TV. These all support TV-web using HTML. However, there are differences in how the browser image is projected to the TV’s STB. This leads to what is called an Extended-PC ecosystem; Where a client STB (or other type of client, such as an Xbox) is limited to operating within only one ecosystem.

Active-TV collaborators provide alternative helper routines, resulting in TV-web sites accessibility from any Windows XP PC. An active-TV enabled STB displays TV-web channels after they have been first formatted by a browser-engine of a networked PC.

With the introduction of Windows Vista, Microsoft plans to add two more standards for formatting TV-web. They are WinFX browser applications and MCML (Media Center Markup Language). Microsoft has indicated the 2 new TV-web standards will only be supported by the new Vista PC. The current MCE will support TV-web HTML. Without active-TV support, Windows XP does not directly support TV-web HTML, MCML or WinFX browser apps.

From the Microsoft SDK (remember there are other companies which offer an HTML SDK):

WinFX Browser Applications (XBAP) can make direct calls on the FX graphics drawing routines. This enables a very high standard of TV-web graphics, but requires considerable more underlying hardware support than is generally available with a STB.

In the future TV-web application developers will have a lot of standards to choice from. Use of HTML likely offers a more advanced TV UI than CE-HTML, but less ‘rich’ than MCML or WinFX. Possibly more significant will be the number of viewers reachable as a result of selecting a standard. It will be some time before Vista or CE-HTML platforms are adopted at TV locations in sufficient numbers to offer more viewers than HTML. There is also no conclusive analysis indicating TV viewers will demand a ‘rich’ TV-web over something more ‘passive’ but appreciated.

Feedback, corrections and comments welcome.

More at:,guid,817c2b05-2a9e-47ac-80c9-1c4db5b26c18.aspx,month,

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Building TV viewership

Active-TV Ecosystem Developers,

Using the cell phone to interact with a broadcast TV show is becoming increasingly familiar to TV audiences. There has been a lot of discussion about its use in building viewership and loyalty. The linked Wall Street Journal article covers several of these points.

The PC-web is also used in support of broadcast programming. But, unlike the STB, the PC is not normally used to access a broadcast show. PC-web material is accessed out with the broadcast time-slot and from a PC rather than living room TV. The article states “the cell phone is the best way to make television interactive because you can participate without getting out of the couch”.

With the adoption of the hybrid-STB and hybrid-TV, the IP path is likely to replace the cell phone as the technology supporting viewer “involvement”. The hybrid-STB enables TV-web pages in support of a broadcast show to be accessed from the living room. Also of interest is overlay TV-web (semi-transparent TV-formatted web pages overplayed on broadcast scenes); they will provide content creators, broadcasters and promoters with a much more productive method to build viewership and audience loyalty.

One challenge may be to keep the TV “experience” a mostly passive one while adding IP supported features. However, viewer behaviour is not easily predicted. Reality TV producers tell me there is a passive audience that wants to watch the response of a smaller number of interactive audience – it becomes part of the show, but remains passive for most.

Feedback, corrections and comments welcome.

more at

Friday, May 12, 2006

Google thinks hybrid-STB and post linear-TV

Active-TV ecosystem developers,

Much of the converge market dreamers have focused on premium video content distribution via IPTV. What might be called a type or pear-pressure may have driven participation in a frenzy of legal, content protection and revenue sharing issues. This may have contributed to the downfall of the UK BT entertainment chief after his statement: “It’s not about the content”; He was replaced with a former Universal Studios executive with plans for a BT [UK telco] television service.

Over at the BBC they are no less ambitious, but certainly more restrained about the imminent dominance of IPTV – BBC director: “I’m not a swivel-eyed looney that sees the end of conventional television overnight”.

IMS Research estimates that by the end of 2005, there were over 9 million integrated DVRs shipped worldwide. Growth in the DVR market is expected to come primarily from operator deployments [MSOs]. By the end of 2010, a forecast 136 million TV households worldwide will employ an integrated DVR box.

The ability of DVR to erode TV advertising revenue is not part of the familiar convergence frenzy. Advertising erosion is in a denial stage, as there is no agreement on an alternative; and denial is seen as better than panic. Interesting, the erosion of linear-TV advertising is likely to be most significant in the US market where the uptake of IPTV is likely slowest.

As more considered views of convergence appear, Google wants to hire a “Product Manager for Interactive TV”. They will “identify key market trends that are shaping user behavior when watching Television”. Google go on to say: “intersection of internet and Television technologies, video-on-demand, DVR and emergence of next generation set-top-boxes with IP connectivity”.

Of interest is Google’s mention of the STB with IP connectivity – also know as the hybrid-STB. It is clear that hybrid-STB adoption is a significant trend. With Google’s increased attention to the hybrid-STB, maybe Intel will direct more effort to a ViiV hybrid-STB rather than ViiV DMA. AMD and active-TV partners appear ahead of both in terms of an Extended-PC and hybrid-STB ecosystem development.

The 10-foot role of the Extended-PC is to run media application software – then project the UI over the home network to the TV. With the inclusion of advanced video CODEC support in the STB SOC, the hybrid-STB can directly support IP-TV viewing. A PC in the living room is not the only way to view IP-TV. The Extended-PC may have more of a role in supporting new forms of TV advertising. Active-TV developments have been pushing relevant developments. They already have projects, plans and collaborators for the support of new forms of advertising supported by an active-TV ecosystem

Google hopes to identify “search and advertising technology”, for which they can no doubt be a key supplier. Search engine usage is a widely accepted 2-foot PC task. This has enabled Google to develop a 2-foot advertising business. It is not clear that TV watchers want a 10-foot search engine; after all, the TV is an entertainment device, not an information device. Search engine usage may not give Google the ‘TV exposure’ and hence an advertising role. Maybe the advertising support role falls more naturally to the IPTV aggregator; Or to those able to synchronise media applications to IPTV or broadcast TV service.

Comments, corrections and feedback welcome

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Advertising revenue moving to non-linear TV

Active-TV ecosystem developers,

Grocery brand advertising budgets are not the size of an auto maker, but the announcement below indicates that smaller-scale advertisers are also moving away from traditional linear-TV advertising methods.

Increasingly, brand promoters are stating non-linear advertising better supports a lifestyle-messaging approach. A mini-DAL (Dedicated Advertiser Location) allows the viewer to depart from normal broadcast viewing and enter a dedicated advertising content area. Platforms such as BSkyB’s Sky-Active interactive TV support this.

“Viewers 'jump' to the DAL or Mini-DAL from a broadcast commercial through an interactive button or from a banner in an interactive service.”

These kinds of UI operation are easily supported by an active-TV hybrid-STB. The DAL takes the form of an IP-TV channel; the “jump” is taken from an overlay media application presenting a banner (or the like) over the broadcast image.

If you want to see DAL advertising in action, take a look at The video is a capture of a TV screen; first shown is the linear BMW advertisement, then the video shows the jump-banner and the DAL channel -- Bit of a ‘change’ for many US TV viewers.

The active-TV hybrid-STB and extended-Notebook are well placed to support these new forms of advertising.

Feedback, corrections and comments welcome.

more at

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

TV-World-Wide interviews at AMD's NAB booth

Active-TV ecosystem developers,

AMD announced collaboration with Red Bee (formerly BBC Broadcast); they are a content creator and distributor. They are adding support for Media Center Edition (MCE) formatted access to content over broadband to the home.

At NAB Red Bee are demonstrating access to IPTV service via an active-TV enabled hybrid-STB and Extended-Notebook ecosystem. MediaMall provides the thin-client support software allowing the MCE application (spotlight) to the ‘disrtibuted' from the Extended-PC to the STB thin-client.

TVWorldwide came to the AMD booth and interviewed Red Bee’s Chris Howe (CTO) and MediaMall’s Jeff Lawrence (President). See the interviews at the links below:

MediaMall interview:

Red Bee interview:
More at

Feedback, corrections and comments welcome.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

TV advertising set for massive slump

Active-TV ecosystem developers,

The shift in TV advertising due to the increasing availability of the Digital Video Record (DVR), is a growing topic of concern for advertisers. The Extended-PC and Extended-Notebook’s role in support of new forms of advertising is important. This is the reasoning behind the development of overlay media applications, synchronised to IP or broadcast content. The PC’s overlay media application carries the advertising material. It is also the “push red” entry into interactive TV and promotional IP-TV channels.

Many of the technologies used in 2’ advertising, supported by the PC browser, are likely to make their way to the 10 location via Extended-Notebook browser projection. The Extended-PC with active-TV technology is positioned to support the transition to new forms of advertising. Ecosystems supporting this are likely to have greater access to content paid for via advertising revenue. They may also cost less due to advertising and brand promotion subsidies.

more at

Monday, March 20, 2006

HP hybrid-TV (TV + DMA

Active-TV ecosystem developers,

HP has added DMA (Digital Media Adapter) technology to a TCP/IP networked TV.
Here is the opening sentence from the HP SLC3760N brochure: “The HP Advanced Digital Media LCD HDTV takes television and makes it personal by bringing your photos, music, and videos from your PC to your TV”. There is now a clear trend to integrate convergence features into a high-end TV.

The approach taken by this yet un-priced hybrid-TV, follows some of the active-TV principles – adding convergence features to a consumer-understood appliance which inherently supports digital TV broadcast reception. There is no indication of advanced active-TV features, such as the merging of broadcast TV images with media application images.

It appears the DMA support does not extend to thin-client UI projection. Images of the TV UI appear DMA-like and not the more advanced MCE spotlights (see attached image). The features list below is extracted from the data sheet

  • Stream audio and video files via your wired or wireless network from your PC to your TV
  • Connect directly from your TV or via your PC to Web-based media services
  • Windows Media Connect compatible, Intel VIIV™, PlaysForSure™ and DLNA certified™
  • Supported digital media include: JPEG, BMP, GIF, and PNG photos, Windows Media Audio (WMA), WMA-Pro, WAV, and MP3 music files, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 MP@ML, MPEG-2 MP@HL, MPEG-4 (including DivX), AVI, Windows Media Video (WMV), and WMV-HD files
  • Compatible with Windows Media Player 10 and its digital rights management (DRM)
  • Built-in 10/100 based-T wired and IEEE 802.11a/b/g wireless networking [end]

Direct web-based access (no PC required), suggest there is support for a micro-browser. Likely, the full array of formats supported is accomplished with some PC transcode processing. I guess the integrated SOC Si is from Sigma.

I also found … [Extract] Furthermore, the SLC3760N is also capable of streaming audio and video directly from the Internet courtesy of compatibility with RealNetworks' Rhapsody online music subscription service and CinemaNow. …..the SLC3760N can also access Web-based media services such as online photo service Snapfish or … [end]

There appears to be no requirement for Media Center Edition (MCE), only the Windows Media Connect (WMC) available with XP Home. So, there is no use of Microsoft Extender Technology.

Compatibility with ViiV is claimed, but this may be nothing more than WMC support; as there is no appearance of the promised ‘higher-level’ ViiV features, such as projected UI support.

Comments, corrections and feedback welcome.

Monday, February 6, 2006

Viiv Isn't Working... yet

Active-TV ecosysetm developers,

A key omission at the CES ViiV launch was Intel Extended-PC clients. The rumour mill is busy with the news that they will appears in June (that’s 2006 this time). It is not clear how many of the NMPR features will be initially available – such as projection of the UI from the Extended-PC. The article below adds to the June rumour.

The article linked below suggests the ViiV clients will take the now often criticised DMA form. It is suggested the delay is caused by getting the software working on a $50 DMA. They have been working on this for many years now. Non-ViiV branded DMAs have appeared in the market in the $120 - $300 range. The software required for a broadcast receiving STB is even more complex – but consumers understand and value the STB more than the DMA.

Confusingly, the article also discusses the use of Windows on a PC – rather than Linux. This is a separate topic, relating to the use of a PC as a dedicated 10-foot appliance. So far, the Intel marketing team have not delivered a clear ViiV ecosystem image. Placing the TV tuners in the PC rather than the DMA location, helps drive ViiV confusion.

"Gates’ Viiv Isn’t Working" at

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Pushing the Apple

Active-TV Ecosystem Developers,

Linked below is a long article on the new Apple TV box. Some of the key comments are: “A better bet, Swann said, is for cable and satellite television providers to upgrade their existing set-top boxes so that they can download material off the Internet, something that they have begun to do, albeit on a limited basis so far.”

Adding internet access to existing platforms is exactly the path being taken by active-TV technology. Like Apple TV, with active-TV technology the user can “wirelessly beam music, photos and videos … to your living room television”.

Another important comment is: “It doesn't work with clips that stream on YouTube”. As introduced, Apple TV is a relatively closed system. In the US, the cable company controls the channel choice. Apple TV expands living room choice to include internet content streamed or download from Apple. However, platforms supporting active-TV technology enable anyone to build a TV-web channel and offer it to the living room TV.

more at

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Apple and Tivo both delayed ?

Active-TV Ecosytem Developers,

Many expected Apple to showoff its living room box this week. Many also expected Tivo to have released its next generation box. And more expected to see ViiV ecosystem client boxes – what happened?

Other than what might happen with Bluray, it is clear that the living room is evolving to use a Hybrid-STB – enabling its interconnect with an Extended-PC. In the US retail market, this means a STB with ATSC, CableCard and IP-TV. I know ATSC and CableCard have many critics, but this is the best that can be done unless a deal is made with an established service provider.

Without access to embedded CA (conditional access protection), an Apple living room box might have a similar specification to the future Tivo Series 3 described below. Did Intel fail to get a ViiV Hybrid-STB running in time for CES? Active-TV colaborators demonstrated a very similar STB with an Extended-Notebook at CES last week. They started the Hybrid-STB approach early. It has taken time to get it all working, so they are very familiar with how hard it is to complete the necessary technical development.

The major differences now lie in how the TV User Interface will be supported. Apple say Front Row, Tivo say microbrowser (with Java projection). Active-TV technology is currently supporting Media Center Edition UI (or other projected PC-runtime UI).
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