Multimedia Standards for iTV Technology

Multimedia Standards for iTV Technology

Momouh Khadraoui (University of Fribourg, Switzerland), Béat Hirsbrunner (University of Fribourg, Switzerland), D. Khadraoui (CRP Henri Tudor (CITI), Luxembourg) and F. Meinköhn (Cybercultus S.A., Luxembourg)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-014-1.ch136
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Abstract

Forms of broadcast media, such as TV and radio, are considered passive because the consumer simply receives the message and does not choose whether or not view or to listen (other than by changing the channel). Interactive television (iTV) is changing this. It gives users control over the programs they receive, as well as a range of online services such as electronic programming guides, e-mail, e-commerce, games, interactive advertising, video on demand (VOD), and Web browsing. This is taking place by creating enhanced programming and offering compelling interactive services. The iTV market is growing at a remarkable rate. Its services have been launched across many countries, including in much of Europe and the U.S. According to the state of interactive TV 2005 report from Kagan Research at present (http://www.kagan.com/), 34.1 million households subscribe to iTV services, and the number of subscribers is expected to reach 69 million by 2009. Revenues from electronic transactions for games, television, or t-commerce (television commerce), and interactive advertising are estimated to reach $2.4 million by 2009. During the same period, we estimate that the interactive services segment will generate $780 million in operator revenue or cable, digital broadcast satellites (DBS), and telecoms. The switch from analog TV to digital television is referred to as the digital TV (DTV) transition. We expect that in the coming decade most broadcast signals will become digital. In 1996, the U.S. Congress authorized the distribution of an additional broadcast channel to each TV broadcaster so that they could introduce DTV service while simultaneously continuing their analog TV broadcasts (http://www.dtv.gov/consumercorner.html). In Europe several countries have already started making digital transmissions, and gouvernment has developed a roadmap that indicates when all transmissions will be digital. For the industry point of view, over the past few years it has been developing and selling devices for digital transmission and reception. The growing integration trend between personal computers and digital TV will affect the birth of new emerging markets for interactive TV broadcasting and Web TV. They can offer several different simultaneous TV programs, with visual and sound quality that is equal to or better than what is generally available nowadays. In addition, broadcasters can simultaneously transmit a variety of other information through a data bit stream to both enhance TV programming and to provide entirely new services (http://www.dtv.gov/consumercorner.html). Both set-top boxes (STB) and DTV are able to handle digital content. The advantages of DTV consist of audio and video quality improvement, providing more channels, more languages per channel, and additional data, for instance applications delivering.
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Introduction

Forms of broadcast media, such as TV and radio, are considered passive because the consumer simply receives the message and does not choose whether or not view or to listen (other than by changing the channel). Interactive television (iTV) is changing this. It gives users control over the programs they receive, as well as a range of online services such as electronic programming guides, e-mail, e-commerce, games, interactive advertising, video on demand (VOD), and Web browsing. This is taking place by creating enhanced programming and offering compelling interactive services. The iTV market is growing at a remarkable rate. Its services have been launched across many countries, including in much of Europe and the U.S. According to the state of interactive TV 2005 report from Kagan Research at present (http://www.dtv.gov/consumercorner.html). Both set-top boxes (STB) and DTV are able to handle digital content. The advantages of DTV consist of audio and video quality improvement, providing more channels, more languages per channel, and additional data, for instance applications delivering.

The purpose of this article is to present the content development techniques for iTV. It evaluates some existing technologies related to the multimedia interactive content component of DVB-MHP (Multimedia Home Platform) and MPEG-4. These two technologies make interactivity possible, but both have different origins and mature actions. This article traces the development of a real-time immersive and interactive TV show based on DVB-MHP technology. This article is structured as follows. We first present the interactive TV technologies and the standards associated with them. We then present a demonstration that illustrates this technology based on an immersive TV show case study.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Television Commerce (T-Commerce): E-commerce undertaken using digital television (NDS, 2006).

Interactive Television (ITV): Describes any number of efforts to allow viewers to interact with television content as they view. It is sometimes called interactive TV, iTV, idTV, or ITV (Lugmayr, Niiranen, & Kalli, 2004).

Avatar: The incarnation on ground of a god of the hindouism. By extension, Avatar is also the transformation of a person or, in data processing, the image representing a person.

Television Learning (T-Learning): The provision of educational services over Interactive Digital TV.

Digital Television: (DTV): Uses digital modulation and compression to broadcast video, audio, and data signals to television sets. DTV can be used to carry more channels in the same amount of bandwidth than analog TV (6 MHz or 7 MHz in Europe) and to receive high-definition programming.

MPEG-4: Introduced in late 1998, is the designation for a group of audio and video coding standards and related technology agreed upon by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). The primary uses for the MPEG-4 standard are Web (streaming media) and CD distribution, conversational (videophone), and broadcast television. MPEG-4 absorbs many of the features of MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 and other related standards, adding new features such as (extended) VRML support for 3D rendering, object-oriented composite files (including audio, video, and VRML objects), support for externally-specified digital rights management and various types of interactivity. AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) was standardized as an adjunct to MPEG-2 (as Part 7) before MPEG-4 was issued (Lugmayr, Niiranen, & Kalli, 2004).

Set-Top Box (STB): Describes a device that connects to a television and some external source of signal, and turns the signal into content then displayed on the screen (Lugmayr, Niiranen, & Kalli, 2004).

DVB-MHP (Multimedia Home Platform): An open middleware system standard designed by the DVB project for interactive digital television. The MHP enables the reception and execution of interactive, Java-based applications on a TV set.

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