Director at Partners in Television
16 April 2002 13:04pm
I would be very interested to hear of your views on the current interest in the USA, following NAB, on the use of XML browsers as a common standard for interactive television.
This is a potential area of interest in the UK where the predominance of Sky's UK D Sat platform and their choice of WML based WAPTV browser will have a significant influence on the functionality of many iTV services including interactive TV advertising.
XML browsers allow a broadcaster to deploy content created in HTML for other channels such as the Web, and WML based content, without the need to re-author. XML can be at the heart of a multiple platform content strategy. Advertisers could similiarly use their existing designs (and designers) to create content for interactive Ad pages.
This has the potential, therefore, to dramatically reduce the costs and complexities of creating content purely for iTV platforms. It means that creatives can work directly on creating enhanced programming or advertising and make use of widely available skills as well as existing content.
What has been your experience of XML in the iTV space. Lets hear what you have been doing.
Head of Content & Service Devt at Kingston Interactive TV
21 April 2002 07:18am
We've been ploughing a furrow here in Hull using an IP/HTML based iTV service for a couple of years and now have approx. 10k subscribers. We use the ANT Fresco browser which, although limited in functionality and plug-in support, has enabled us to maintain healthy relationships with external content providers using HTML to develop apps which sit on our portal (also HTML)
The beauty of this standards-based approach for us is threefold :
- it helps keep our costs down by allowing us to concentrate on being a network provider and portal. The content guys have a reasonably free rein within a set of design guidelines.
- our partners can re-use existing HTML skills and content without having to learn a proprietary app.
- Content partner can re-purpose content across other HTML-based platforms, thus spreading their costs.
Although its not perfect (yet) : this approach is the nearest thing in practice to an open standard for iTV.
Andrew Fawcett, Head of Content & Services Devt.
Kingston Interactive Television (KIT)
Founder & principal consultant at Tunnel Visionary Ltd
19 September 2005 14:19pm
Sky's waptv/WTVML technology has been published as an ETSI specification, and the format is available for use by 3rd parties. Sky's recently announced e-Business Portal uses a simplified WTVML content format and automated content test regime.
There is also a new cross-platform iTV content standard from the DVB in the works and due for completion before the end of 2005. This PCF (portable content format) spec is an XML interactive service description language, designed to be auto-transcodable to formats suitable for ingestion on various devices and networks.
The PCF is not just another browser solution. Instead, it provides a standard way to describe service functionality with fine granularity and great precision. Automated transcoders can then convert the PCF service description into formats suitable for ingest on various platforms. In this way, services can be deployed across multiple incompatible platforms while delivering an 'equivalent' user experience.
PCF will ultimately be published as a fully-fledged ETSI standard. The first release will be complete in 2005, but not sure how long the ratification process takes before it is published as an ETSI standard.
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