Everything you need to know about the coming digital interactive TV revolution! Theres a revolution coming to your TV: a digital, interactive, Internet-enabled revolution that will make possible services youve never imagined! The next TV revolution comes with new technologies, new standards, new architectures, and new business paradigms. Finally, theres a single source for up-to-the-minute insight into every aspect of next-generation digital TV: The Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV! From MPEG-4 to middleware, webcasting to Java OS, Gerard ODriscoll covers the state-of-the-art, comparing the strategies and technologies-and cutting through the hype. Coverage includes all this, and more: * Digital TV building blocks: compression, encoding, modulation, conditional access, transmission, and management * Advanced digital set-tops: features, components, installation, and troubleshooting * Set-top operating systems: JavaOS, Windows CE, David OS-9, PowerTV, VxWorks, pSOS+, Linux, and more * Internet-based TV: set-top Web browsing, webcasting, email, online chat, broadband applications, video on demand, parental controls, and more * Electronic program guides (EPGs)
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Don't let the title mislead you: The Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV isn't a primer for using WebTV's enhanced services. This book is for software, programming, and TV professionals looking to capitalize on this paradigm shift in the delivery of information and entertainment. With that in mind, Gerard O'Driscoll has done a masterly job of condensing a complex subject.
The book starts off by briefly explaining the roles of the various international standards groups and taking you through the building blocks of digital TV. O'Driscoll is clearly familiar with digital TV's underlying technology, offering detailed information about competing operating systems, development platforms, and broadband networks.
Less clear are the benefits and drawbacks to all of the factors involved. O'Driscoll occasionally touches upon these--such as when he notes Microsoft's difficulties in cracking the digital set-top business--but too often he fails to provide analysis of why a certain method works better than another, or why one technology has been more successful in gathering momentum. For example, he notes that electronic cash as a potential digital TV application must be safe from counterfeiting and other forms of fraud, but he doesn't mention what initiatives are underway to prevent them. It would also be helpful to have an idea of how viable such applications are in the near future.
Nonetheless, this is a useful, if seriously technical, guide to what the future of TV may hold. For software developers and television executives alike, The Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV is just that--essential. --John Frederick Moore
Topics covered: Building blocks of a digital TV system, architecture of a set-top OS, middleware standards, set-top application development, choice of broadband intranet applications, and general principles of designing for a TV environment.From the Inside Flap:
The boundaries between the IT world, Internet systems and broadcast television technologies have blurred. The result of this blurring effect has been the development of a new computing paradigm that is focussed on the home entertainment market. The evolution of this new paradigm in tandem with a demand for new interactive TV applications has created the need for a special interface or gateway device that can be used to pass digital content between high-speed broadband networks and millions of homes across the world. A low cost consumer electronics device called a digital set-top box is poised and ready to take center stage in this new digital world we are about to enter.
Most industry analysts agree that in the near future, people will choose a digital set-top box to access a myriad of new services that are available from this new paradigm. Consumers can use their digital set-top boxes to sit down and enjoy watching cinema style pictures with CD quality sound. Advanced versions of these devices have intuitive and easy to use interfaces that allow people to access instant video on demand, e-commerce services and a range of entertainment services that are being dreamed up by the entrepreneurs of the future.
The first couple of chapters in this book will present you with a description of how the set-top business has evolved over the past couple of years.
Digital set-top boxes nowadays contain a number of components that are very similar to a desktop PC. So in chapter two we guide you through the terms and concepts that relate to each of these components.
The proliferation of digital technologies has sparked off the development of a number of software and hardware technologies. This book explores the various industry initiatives and standard bodies that are working on defining open set-top box technologies around the world.
Many companies, including Microsoft, PowerTV, PlanetWeb, OpenTV, Liberate Technologies, Canal+ and Sun Microsystems are vying to gain an early lead in defining the features of digital set-top boxes, as well as the lucrative interactive TV services that go along with them.
This book presents you with a detailed description of the set-top products that are available from these companies.
The proliferation of these new technologies into the homes of the future will serve as a springboard to new and exciting opportunities for software developers who want to move away from the world of PC software development to the lucrative world of developing enhanced TV applications. The middle of this book covers the methodologies used by existing developers and presents a brief overview of the development kits that are available for the various set-top software platforms.
In addition to the software development community, interactive TV is opening up new markets for the enormous pool of talented people involved in creating content. In chapter twelve of this book you will gain an insight into mechanisms that are used to author and deliver content that has been optimized for the TV world.
People often donÕt realize that behind the simple end user interface they see on their television set, there is a complex network architecture that is required to support the various applications.
This book goes behind the scenes and looks at the servers and technologies that are needed to support a range of broadband Internet, Intranet, and TV-centric applications.
Towards the end of the book we look at the security mechanisms and smart card technologies used by network service providers to control access to digital TV pay services.
Our final chapter looks ahead to the digital set-top box becoming a telecommunications hub for the homes of the future. The book concludes with a snapshot of the types of technologies that are currently under development for the next generation of advanced digital set-top boxesÑhome networking, advanced 3D, voice activation, and personalization technologies.
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