Brazil 4D: An Experience of Interactive Content Production for Free-to-Air Digital Television

Brazil 4D: An Experience of Interactive Content Production for Free-to-Air Digital Television

Cosette Castro (University of Brasilia, Brazil) and Cristiana Freitas (Catholic University of Brasilia, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8740-0.ch013
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In this chapter, we will debate about the free-to-air model of interactive digital television (iTVD) developed in Brazil, about its characteristics, and the interactive digital audiovisual content produced for this type of television. In the Introduction, we reflect about different aspects of the social and economic uneven development of Latin America and Caribean, especially in Brazil. We also discuss about the concepts of innovation, strategic development, and how we believe that it is necessary to include communication, education and culture inside the debates about innovation and technology. After this, we show the Brazilian model of free-to-air digital television, a unique model in the world, because of its middleware Ginga, a Brazilian technology developed in open source, that permits free interactivity, mobility, interoperability, multiprogramming, accessibility and portability for everyone. In the third part, we focus on the BRAZIL 4D Project, developed by Communications Company Brazil (EBC), a public company, using free-to-air interactive digital public television and telecommunications to offer information, fiction, and public services to low-income population through remote control. This Project contributes to the social and digital inclusion of Brazilian people without access to information and communication technologies (ICTs), about 14.5 million of families or 60 million of low-income people.
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In previous studies, Castro (2008, 2012, 2014) sought to contextualize the passing of the analog to the digital world within the use of different technological platforms and media convergence. The researcher uses as an example the digital and interactive free-to-air television of the Brazilian case, developed in open source and focusing in the social and digital inclusion. The Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting, Terrestrial, Brazilian version (ISDB – Tb) was adopted by other Latin American countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Peru, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Brazil. Besides, I tried to analyze the need – from the the field of Communication – researchers have of a more comprehensive vision of their object of study, from perspectives like transdisciplinarity1 (Edgar Morin and Jesús Martín-Barbero) and complex thought2 (Edgar Morin) to understand the deep changes we are going through from the point of view of social inclusion and free audiovisual interactive digital content offer to the population.

In this chapter, it's important to refer to Management and Economy theorists, in seek of a transdisciplinary dialogue, allowing us to understand notions of innovation, development, industrial hubs and/or clusters, and its relationship with the stimulus given to research and digital content production in Latin America. The digital and audiovisual content industry is a strategic part of the process of innovation Latin America goes through in the digital world.

Innovation is a word derived from the Latin term innovatio, and refers to a created idea, method or object with little resemblance to the previous ones. Today, the word innovation is used more often in the context of ideas and inventions as well as the related economic exploration, and innovation can also be an invention coming to the market. Examples of ideas, methods or objects that have little resemblance to previous patterns appear in the new digital media: digital and interactive free-to-air television, mobile phones, digital books and magazines, on-line videogames, digital radio (that enables access to not only digital sound, but pictures too), and digital cinema, as well computers with access to internet and the possibility of media convergence.

To Freeman (1986), innovation is the process that includes technical activities, conception, development, and management, and results in the commerce of new (or improved) processes. In terms of new products, interactivity in free-to-air digital television allows the audience to answer – questions, information, researches, public services, etc. – to the field of production (companies or public channels) with their remote controls. It’s important to point out that the Ginga middleware3 is a Brazilian invention based on open source, developed in the laboratories of PUC-RJ4 and UFPB5. It’s the first technological standard developed in this country to be recognized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and it was considered the best of the world because of its interactive possibilities within free-to-air television and IPTV.

The mobile phones are another enhanced product turned into a completely different thing from its original version. Initially thought to be used just for mobile telephony, mobile phones today can be considered an extension of our own bodies (Castro, 2005), since it allows many different functions like alarm clock, agenda, internet, photography, filming, voice recording, use of data and text, among other activities, like the original function of making and receiving calls. Brazilian Digital Television System (SBTVD) can also be watched for free through mobile phones of 3G mobile phones, using the free One Seg technology, enabling the cell phone owner to watch free-to-air digital television, without impact in the mobile bills.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Communication: The possibility of interaction between communication companies and audiences by internet using different digital platforms.

Open Source: In Open source, the authors make the source code available to others who would like to view, copy, alter, share or learn from the code. LibreOffice and the GNU Image Manipulation Program are examples of open source software.

Digital Communication: Free-to-air digital Television – BRAZIL 4D Project - Interactive audiovisual content - Middleware Ginga – Innovation – Open Source – Low-income Brazilian population – Bolsa Familia Program.

Middleware Ginga: It’s a Brazilian innovation developed in open specification, royalty-free and it’s easy to learn. Layer of software that allow interactivity, portability and interoperability between the different patterns of Digital TV and mobiles with one seg technology. Ginga was developed by Telemídia Lab from Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) and by LAViD from Federal University of Paraíba (UFPB).

Bolsa Família Program: Direct transfer program of Brazilian government's income, which since its creation in 2003 (Law No. 10.836 / 2004) benefited millions of families in poverty and extreme poverty throughout the country, paying US $ 50.00 per capita monthly. In 2014, 13.9 million families were helped by the Bolsa Familia Program (Ministry of Social Development, 2015 AU51: The in-text citation "Ministry of Social Development, 2015" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Interactive Audiovisual Content: Digital content produced for free-to-air digital television, mobiles with one seg , or computers with internet access.

BRAZIL 4D Project: Government information and public services through interactive audiovisual content using free-to-air Digital Interactive Television to reduce social and digital exclusion for the low-income population.

Interactivity: The interactive digital television allows bidirectional communication, allowing the user to interact with the displayed information, and changing the experience and role of the audience watching free-to-air digital television. The return channel is obtained by connecting the free-to-air digital TV converter to fixed networks, mobile phone, or any other type of telecommunications service network.

Innovation: The concept of innovation is something that creates and maintains the sustainability of the competitive advantages (Kanter, 1985 AU52: The in-text citation "Kanter, 1985" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. and Drazin Schoonhoven, 1996 AU53: The in-text citation "Drazin Schoonhoven, 1996" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ), and the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization (AMABILE and GRYSKIEWICZ, 1989 AU54: The in-text citation "AMABILE and GRYSKIEWICZ, 1989" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ), or even open innovation (Chesbrough, 2006 AU55: The in-text citation "Chesbrough, 2006" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ), which considers the interaction between companies, academy and consumers as a dynamic co-creation.

Free-to-Air-Television: Broadcast television reception in open signal with no cost for the audience.

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