DVB extends interactive-TV support to OTT services

March 4, 2011

The Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) standards group has added support for over-the-top (OTT) and hybrid broadcast/broadband services to its specification for interactive TV. The new standard, Version 1.3 of Globally Executable MHP (Multimedia Home Platform), or GEM, was approved at the DVB’s 67th steering board meeting in Geneva March 2.

The GEM platform, which operates using the Java language for Web and browser-based applications, now includes support for OTT devices and distribution over the Internet or any broadband network that does not provide guaranteed bandwidth or delay. The OTT target category complements the existing GEM targets for broadcast, packaged media and IPTV, which operate over closed networks with predictable delay and bandwidth. The OTT additions also include new APIs to cater for OTT services with content streaming and download, allowing GEM to operate over adaptive-streaming networks. Adaptive streaming works by breaking a video stream into small chunks delivered via the HTTP protocol to adjust the transmission to fit changing bandwidth and capacity in the receiving device.

For hybrid broadcast/broadband deployments, GEM 1.3 offers API enhancements to synchronize media content over different networks. This feature can be used, for example, to add additional subtitle languages or audio tracks to broadcast content. GEM v1.3 also supports current business models for delivery of DVB and other multimedia services over broadband IP networks.

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