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

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

BBC News channel restored, via RTMP support

The Issue: Web and internet technology are always advancing. PC users are familiar with getting software updates enabling support for the latest and greatest features. TV-website support for BBC News video was recently interrupted due to a BBC technology upgrade; but now service has been restored following some rapid PC-side software improvements.

Behind the scene: A TV intended to support internet video browsing must deal with the continual change in internet video broadcasting technology. This is much more difficult to achieve using low-cost embedded microprocessor technology than a PC. This leads to the temptation to tie a networked TV to a managed portal service. But who wants a TV than can’t ‘tune’ to any internet broadcaster’s ‘channel’.

Solution: Active-TV technology pushes the burden of supporting software complexity from the TV to the networked PC assisting the TV. This simplifies the task of keeping a networked TV updated with the latest features being used by an internet broadcaster. Importantly, this ensures a long and useful life for the networked TV.

There are several free-to-download TV-websites available at this blog. One of the most popular has been the BBC News channel. Recently and unexpectedly the BBC channel stopped working. This was a result of technical changes at the BBC. I am pleased to report that a new TV-website has been developed and living room TV access to the BBC video has been restored.

The BBC maintains RSS video feeds for access by internet users. The RSS information is in XML format and contains links to individual videos. After examining the XML document, the TV-website software selects an individual video and a request for transportation over the internet is sent to the BBC. Until recently, the BBC was ‘sending’ the video via a protocol known as HTTP, but now they are using Adobe’s RTMP protocol.

A number of other internet video broadcasters are also using RTMP, notably Hulu. Active-TV technology collaborator MediaMall has been working on a new Hulu TV-website – it was mentioned on their blog. To enable access to Hulu video (and other RTMP streaming) they constructed a software module supporting RTMP. Recently they have been offering this optional module to TV and Set-Top Box developers.

Networked TV and STB developers have been relying on UPnP communication stackware from a verity of suppliers. MediaMall has not been one of these suppliers. This was the case with D-Link, but in support of Hulu video, D-link will be incorporating MediaMall’s RTMP extensions into their PC-side software. (The RTMP video is translated into the familiar HTTP before being sent over the network to the DSM-520). This will be included in a larger software update soon to be issued for the D-Link DSM-520.

I have tested my new TV-website using an early version of the new software bundle. The TV-website makes HTTP formatted requests for RSS data, and RTMP formatted requests for individual videos. D-link undertakes their own testing and will release a version of the updated PC-side software from their PC-website. Those who feel they can’t wait can download the current beta version.

Feedback, corrections and comments welcome. Contact me for more information or support with active-TV technology development.
Daniel Mann