FLO Forum Completes Receiver Application Programming Interface Spec

The FLO Forum, a global consortium of over 90 wireless industry leaders dedicated to the open standardization of FLO (Forward Link-Only) technology for mobile multimedia broadcast, has completed the FLO Receiver Application Programming Interface (API) Specification.

It’s the latest step in the ongoing OpenFLO initiative, which is designed to facilitate multi-vendor interoperability within any FLO mobile TV network. The group also announced the completion of its Mobile TV Content and Services Specification.

The FLO Receiver API Specification defines the interfaces between the media access control (MAC) layer and the control and stream layers in the FLO receiver protocol stack. It represents the second contribution to the OpenFLO initiative—and the first at the device platform level—following the completion of the Open Conditional Access Framework in November 2007.

Any FLO receiver stack that adheres to the spec will be interoperable with any FLO ASIC-specific software, giving handset manufacturers access to a wider choice of suppliers when developing new FLO-enabled devices. The specification was developed within the FLO Forum’s technical committee by a number of silicon vendors, including England-based Imagination Technologies Ltd. and U.S.-based Newport Media Inc. and Qualcomm Inc.

“An environment that allows multiple technology vendors to compete in a growing market is essential to stimulate demand for new technologies from OEMs,” said Tony King-Smith, vice president of marketing with Imagination Technologies Ltd. “Open APIs will encourage mobile phone manufacturers and others to adopt new mobile TV standards earlier, resulting in better availability of a wide and affordable choice of handsets to end-users, and ultimately increasing consumer uptake of mobile TV services. As such, we strongly support the FLO Forum’s OpenFLO initiative and are glad to be playing a part in the continued development and open standardization of FLO technology.”

The Mobile TV Content and Services Specification addresses the demands of content providers of the FLO mobile broadcast system, defining guidelines for screen resolutions, frame rate, color quality, source and output formats, channel switching time, captioning, offline viewing, number of channels supported, and viewer feedback and rating capabilities.