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A Comparison of the Multimedia Home Platform and OpenTV for Typical Interactive Television Applicati


Digital Teletext chat, news and sports headlines ... ITV market mainly vertical i.e. It is ... Will the MHP packages become more tailored to suite iTV OR ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A Comparison of the Multimedia Home Platform and OpenTV for Typical Interactive Television Applicati

A Comparison of the Multimedia Home Platformand
OpenTV forTypical Interactive TelevisionApplicat
ion Requirements
  • Sarah Hatton
  • Supervisor Shri Rai

  • Background to iTV
  • What is iTV the state of the industry
  • OpenTV MHP
  • Honours Project
  • What
  • Importance
  • Findings
  • Implications
  • Future Research

Background What is iTV
  • An extension of Digital Television
  • Users can do more than passively watch a
    television channel, they can actively influence
    the behaviour of broadcast television services
    and applications.
  • Interaction is done with the remote control

Background Types of Interaction
  • Two main types of interaction
  • Local interaction user can interact with the Set
    Top Box
  • Global interaction user can interact with the
    server. This is possible through the use of a
    return channel

Background Types of Application
  • Three categories of Applications
  • Navigator channel, program and service settings.
    Email, web browsers
  • Digital Teletext chat, news and sports
  • Interactive Programs games shows, trivia
    quizzes, shopping, sports

Background State of the Industry
  • ITV market mainly vertical i.e. It is dominated
    by proprietary developments such as OpenTV. Each
    company has their own STB, middleware and
  • Applications cannot be run on Set Top Boxes made
    for different manufactures
  • Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) aims to change
    this, and has been adopted by many European and
    Scandinavian countries eg Finland

Background OpenTV
  • Established 1994
  • Middleware brought out 1996
  • Most widely used platform, deployed on more set
    top boxes than any other single receiver
  • Used by Foxtel in Australia
  • Have developed an MHP implementation BUT still
    develop in OpenTV O-code

Background OpenTV
  • Applications are written in ANSI-C and compiled
    into O-code
  • The API was designed specifically for television,
    unlike MHP
  • Reasons given by OpenTV for developing in O-code
    include retaining interactivity in legacy boxes,
    using OpenTV features not available in MHP

Background MHP
  • MHP stems from a program of the European Union to
    raise awareness of the benefits of a common
    platform for users to access multimedia content
  • 1997 the Digital Video Broadcaster (DVB) started
    the MHP Project
  • MHP work on a generic, common API to enable
    inter-operable applications to be downloaded from
    broadcast network and executed on receivers from
    any manufacturer.

Background MHP
  • MHP is not a programming language but a standard
    for ensuring compatibility between programs
    running on set top boxes that are of different
  • Promotes the use of the Java Programming
    Language, specifically
  • DVB-J

Background DVB-J
  • Comprised of classes from 5 sources
  • Core Java - eg java.lang, java.util, java.io.
    Computer orientated UI widgets not included
  • JavaTV - accessing service information, content
    delivery, service presentation, Xlet interface
  • HAVi GUI components, TV related widgets, events
    and listeners
  • DAVIC MPEG transports, tuning and conditional
  • DVB - broadcast transport files, service
    information, DVB related extensions

The Study
  • A Comparison of the Multimedia Home Platform and
    OpenTV for Typical Interactive Television
    Application Requirements

Research Investigation Areas
  • Investigate the differences in OpenTV MHP in
    terms of-
  • Ease of learning and use of API
  • Functionality provided
  • Size of applications

  • Developers
  • Broadcasters
  • Consumers
  • Legislative bodies

Related Research
  • Studies are generally action research
  • Many studies look at logistics of creating MHP
  • Earlier studies, examine the development of MHP
  • OpenTV has not really been looked at aside from
    internally through technical white papers
  • Some studies look at Migrating OpenTV
    applications to MHP
  • No studies directly compare the differences
    between applications created in DVB-J and the

Related Research
  • Several studies have investigated ease of
    learning and usage
  • Generally done though creation of application
  • Several studies have investigated functionality
    of languages
  • Size is a common complexity measure

  • Uses a components of a typical iTV application
    (Trivia Game)
  • Design issues such as planes (similar to a layer,
    planes lie on top of each other), playing of
    audio and video
  • Criteria developed for ease of learning and

Methodology Trivia Game components
  • Skeleton application with no onscreen presence
  • Text display
  • Video Display
  • Audio Playback
  • Background image
  • Foreground image
  • Timer
  • Register User interaction
  • Connect to server

Methodology Criteria for Ease of Learning and Use
  • API Documentation
  • Programming Guides
  • API Availability
  • Development Environments
  • Coding Model
  • Clarity

Methodology Criteria for Functionality
  • Display
  • Planes available Transparency
  • Images
  • Format supported in different planes, sources
  • Video
  • Formats, Scaling, Sources, playback methods
  • Audio
  • Formats, sources

Methodology Criteria for Functionality
  • Text Display
  • Sources
  • User Input
  • Recognised input methods
  • Timer
  • availability
  • Connect to server
  • Protocols supported

  • Ease of Learning and Use
  • assessed while learning to use OpenTV and MHP
  • Functionality
  • assessed during the learning and creation of
  • Size of Components
  • examined after applications created

Results Ease of Learning and Use
  • Documentation
  • MHP fragmented (Standard, independent javadocs)
  • Not MHP specific
  • OpenTV, complete and concise
  • Programming Guides
  • Limited for both
  • API Availability
  • DVB does not supply
  • OpenTV freely available

Results Ease of Learning and Use
  • Development Environment
  • MHP standard java
  • OpenTV gcco compiler is supplied
  • Coding Model
  • MHP Object orientated
  • OpenTV uses gadgets to mimic object orientation
  • Clarity
  • Both clear and easy to use

Implications Ease of Learning and Use
  • For a developer with no prior experience, MHP is
    more difficult to learn due to distinct lack of
  • OpenTV provides much better documentation and

Results Functionality
  • Display
  • Planes available - same basic 3 and additional
  • Transparency - OpenTV does not support
    transparency between image and video plane
  • Images
  • Format supported background plane OpenTV only
    supports PIX images in background.
  • Format supported graphical plane same for
    OpenTV and MHP
  • MHP has access to more sources than OpenTV ie
    remote server and stored on carousel

Results Functionality
  • Video
  • Formats same (MPEG)
  • Scaling same (can specify ratio)
  • Sources OpenTV only has access to video stream,
    MHP uses remote servers
  • Playback methods MHP has drip feed
  • Audio
  • Formats MHP supports MPEG, not AC2/AC3
  • Sources - OpenTV only has access to audio stream,
    MHP uses remote servers

Results Functionality
  • Text Display
  • Sources -same
  • User Input
  • Recognised input methods OpenTV doesnt
    recognise full keyboard only remote control
  • Timer
  • Availability -same
  • Connect to server
  • Protocols supported- both support TCP/IP, UDP/IP,
    additionally MHP has DSM-CC-UU-RPC (only needed
    for object carousel)

Implications Functionality
  • Opaqueness between planes not supported in OpenTV
    designers need to keep this in mind
  • Audio Formats NTSC uses AC3 (Dolby digital)
  • OpenTV is clearly tailored to TV, MHP is not
    (access sources, user input)
  • Remote sources of video and audio, assumes a
    constant broadband connection which is not
    necessarily the case (many STB have 28K modems)

Results Size
  • Lines of Code required by each of the nine
  • No significant difference in code requirements
  • OpenTV was more efficient at accessing video and

(No Transcript)
Implications Size
  • No clear advantage with either system in terms of
    Lines of Code
  • OpenTV is clearly developed for TV, efficient at
    doing purely TV associated functions (audio and
  • OpenTV is possibly easier to maintain

Questions Raised
  • Will DVB see the need to improve MHP
  • Will the MHP packages become more tailored to
    suite iTV OR
  • Will iTV and Internet become merged in the future
  • Will MHP support more than one audio format
  • Will set top box standards be raised so all
    support same planes

  • Research was done purely from the perspective of
    an application designer embarking on their first
    iTV application
  • There is always more than one way to implement
    something, as such different researchers would
    obtain differing results

Future Research
  • Ideally look at broadcasting, loading and
    execution time
  • Other types of applications eg navigators as
    possibly one system is more suitable than other
    in a different usage scenario
  • Larger scale, surveying of industry, many
    developers seeing the problems they have
    encountered, size of their applications

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