Part 4. Broadcast Fragmentation – EU Directives Mean Little or Nothing

It is not only the CE manufacturers but also the wider STB industry that plays a large role in the problems we face today in delivering Advanced Services and Interoperability. The issues are twofold.  First of all, and naturally, they will put whatever the Operator wants in the box…Hence a real fight over Middleware! Secondly in DTT there are problems brought about by the cheap Chinese manufactured Digital TV Zapper STB (Analogue to Digital Converters).  This 2nd issue led to a business model “spanner in the works” for deployment of Advanced Services.   For example Finland a victim of early adoption in the Interactive DVB-MHP technology saw high receiver prices and found itself caught in a conundrum as non-interactive “Zapper STBs” flooded the market.   Uptake of Interactive waned as it was not compulsory to have the technology in the box so the retail industry went for cheap and cheerful convertors and Countries fell apart at the Broadcasting seams!

Spain is also struggling to move to Advanced Services/Interactive TV due to a lack of coherent planning; all SD and HD Zapper digital receivers deployed (many, many millions) would need to be swapped-out in order to receive any Advanced Interactive Services.  The Government is being confused by the CE industry lobbying despite there being EU Recommendations.

Another example is France, who has not launched Advanced Services/ Interactivity; Should they do so then all receivers in their market for the TNT Network (again many, many Millions), of both SD and HD transmission, would need to be replaced no matter what direction the governing body (CSA) chooses – France in fact wishes to adopt a CE-HTML like variant making it another “SECAM-L type choice in a PAL Europe”. They now want to add PayTV and that means certain STBs do not have the software capability!

You can have as many EU directives as you want it seems but who gives a damn as they are not advocating a mandatory middleware.   Interoperability cannot be achieved in this case.

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