The European Commission and Digital

Whilst the European Commission forces Microsoft to allow alternatives to its IE7 browser the Digital TV hurtles headlong into the 21st century beliving HTML is the only answer to value added services as the Internet captures the mindset.   Understandably the Internet and World Wide Web will play a huge part in the future of Television but will it really takeover completely?  Broadcasters and PayTV Operators are pressured by the Teleco’s who know Internet but not necessarily Television and the two worlds are now colliding.  Treating the Internet as another delivery mechanism for Multimedia has not been ignored as we have attempted to marry them for years but it just wasn’t ready with broadband speeds too low and QoS still a question to be answered satisfactorily.  The European Commission is amongst it all: mandated DVB-T years ago but not DVB-IPTV and it then they tried with DVB-H but that was watered down to an “official encouragement” as was the Open Standard Middleware DVB-MHP part of the end to end eco-system of advanced interactive TV.    Interoperability is becoming harder and harder to achieve as the EC loses ground.    As Henry Ford said, “You can have any colour you like as long as it’s black” does not apply to Digital TV.  Commissioner Reding is advised by TV dinosaurs, out lobbied by Companies who want to keep their proprietary status as she attempts to bring some order to the chaos.   Conditional Access, Digital Rights Managements, Video Codecs, TV Middleware all add to the conundrum.    The Japanese system is gaining in South America as Europe cannot offer the same conditions as Japan in terms of investment, IPR relief and other business terms.  In the USA there is nothing more frustrating than explaining to colleagues that Digital Television in our part of the world does not benefit from a “single voice of governance” especiall when in the USA  interoperability at Content and Application level has been solved using European DVB-MHP based Technology.   Tru2way, ATSC and Blu-ray under the DVB-GEM initiative have brought clarity to the mantra “write once read anywhere” in interactive TV – EBIF has entered the fray and On-Ramp has been surpassed so it is not perfect but better than our EMEA situation.  The European Commission needs to act as the fragmentation of “Specification and Standard Bodies” and intiatives commences:  ITU, EBU, ARIB, ATSC, ATI/IFF, DVB. DTG, AEDITI, AFDESI, DGTVi, Nordig, HbbTV, IMPALA, Cable Europe, OIPF, TISPAN, Digital Europe (EICTA), ETSI, BDA etc … All for the same Pan European and/or Global TV Business.

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