Flash and Digital TV and iPAD/iPhone


IBC 2009 Paper from NHK on why Java is better than HTML for Digital Terrestrial TV – Quite honestly if we simplify the choice  for Digital TV software we might see better penetration for value added services and reduce fragmentation.    Technology is becoming our master not our slave or we are slaves to the technology that is trying to enter the Digital Multimedia world despite whether it is relevant, capable and fit for purpose.   Take the spat regarding Apple and Flash…Apple don’t have to support a software it if they dont want to especially if they have an alternative.  There is competition throughout this Multimedia industry and it is so fragmented I do not believe that we will have a homogenous solution until we live a life of hell for at least 10 years or more and the software is brought to task then we come to our senses.   Software evolves and old technology built for other systems years ago does not always work no matter how many programmers you throw at it.   I have an iPhone and cannot watch Flash Video Content…so I dont…no loss really as its all about free content that people have suggested to me and not that important!  It is generally content supposedly funny with some idiot performing stupidly in front of a camera…something that I can live without quite frankly.

In TV land Adobe’s attempt to enlarge its market over and above the WWW is commendable as it tries to be a TV centric software … What else does the boss want but more sales and more revenue and a larger market – the stock market demands it too – We are all under this pressure to enlarge our markets everywhere.   However in this case the problem that Adobe is faced with is that it has to make a dumbed down version or “light” version of its software as do many who want to enter the TV world.   Fat PC built software products need to be slimmed down and therein lies a massive problem.  STBs and TVs have naturally been much less powerful than any PC and as a consequence have needed different “embedded software” with a variety of profiles for the slower and multitudinous chipsets for STBs etc.  This naturally led to the likes of  the JVM (a Virtual PC within the system) for such underpowered devices.  A clever way to boost  a systems performance in a software manner.  The Japanese Broadcaster NHK presented a paper at IBC 2009 (the initial link on this post) on this very subject and stated that after 5 years of HTML experience in Terrestrial Broadcasting it was clear that a virtual machine driven STB is the best solution for an interactive value added service.  We have known this for years but those who have alternative software will push and push and push again to gain more market share playing of their prowess in the WWW as Broadband speeds increase and Chipsets get more powerful.    They have all fallen short time and time and time again and still remain in beta or test phase as far as actual markets are concerned whilst Java Embedded software resides in millions upon millions of receivers.  All HTML or FLASH STB projects to date have failed (yes failed) and it is not faster chipsets or lots of memory that will fix that – Certain software is just not fit for “alternative” purpose and that is a fact!

Will their be Flash ouside of the WWW (or within for TV viewing) … probably as with HTML it appears unstoppable but it has massive consequences in terms of performance, stability, flexibility and scalability and there will always be TV Receiver  limitations which will mean that it will always be an uphill battle to enter and stay in the market.  So why do we insist on going backwards  (politics quite simply) Apple does not want to support Flash that is quite significant but yes more business-political than technical.  The political Java v HTML war now appears to be matched by Adobe v Apple –  “encore  voila”  history repating itself and adding more complication and more frgamentation to the market…What a tangled web we weave in Digital Multimedia.

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