The TV Industry and the European Union – Nero Fiddles While Rome Burns.


Welcome to 2010 and the madness that is Digital TV.  It’s merely a fold over from 2009 with nothing more than chaos, chaos and more chaos.  It is only January and literally everybody is purporting to have solved the Interactive, Value Added Services for Broadcast.  So the Internet is a mere “Browser” away from conquering Television.  HbbTV is purportedly shipping into German retail where you can buy a STB that allows you to look at Wikipedia on your TV Screen – WOOHOO!  Well done Germany – I can just see the locals fighting in MediaMarkt for that “angebot”.

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Canvas is going to solve the UKs “interoperability and content repurposing problems” as will DECE  see http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=5828356&page=1 – the coming together of YET ANOTHER CONSORTIUM – However within this group it excludes certain DRMs…hang on a minute isn’t that anti-competitive?  I do not see the USA Watchdogs on this one yet!  This probably slipped under the radar as it is another “Acronym” offering a “dream solution” like the OIPF and ATIS/IIF etc.

The USA Consumer Watchdog wants a probe into TV Everywhere claiming it is anti-competitive…We had BBC Trust probe and bizarrely clear the BBC to become a “Specifications Body”…Everyone wants in on the act.  HbbTV claims Pan-European status whilst not having more than 2 countries involved.  The ITU claims it has all the IPTV Standards sewn up and so does the OIPF.  The DVB battles on and is largely ignored in IPTV; in fact it is getting ignored for interactive Middleware as well, which at the end of the day is absolutely paramount to fulfill any interoperable service goals….yet it is left out of the discussions at all Consortia as it is “complicated”.  What will it take to bring order to the chaos?

The European Union claims that Competition is healthy for Consumers and Market Forces need to prevail.  So if that is the case why are we going after IPTV Standards and TV Standards especially if they cannot be enforced only encouraged?  The EC makes the excuse that nothing can be “mandated” because of the installed legacy STBs and TVs whilst none of the legacy boxes or the millions of TVs recently bought are able to support HbbTV or any other Middleware that the Industry might like to introduce?   The mere chaos of this industry is quite staggering if you look deep enough.  As far as Europe and Digital TV is concerned the EC reminds me of  NFWRB (Nero fiddles while Rome burns) or in plain English showing heedless and irresponsible behavior in the midst of a crisis.  They do however believe that they appease me with nice letters from the Head of Cabinet.

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