Cover image for The essential guide to digital set-top boxes and interactive TV
The essential guide to digital set-top boxes and interactive TV
O'Driscoll, Gerard.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Upper Saddle River, NJ : Prentice Hall PTR, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 295 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TK6679.3 O37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Everything you need to know about the coming digital interactive TV revolution Theres a revolution coming to your TV: a digital, interactive, Internet-enabled revolution that will make possible services youve never imagined The next TV revolution comes with new technologies, new standards, new architectures, and new business paradigms. Finally, theres a single source for up-to-the-minute insight into every aspect of next-generation digital TV: The Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV From MPEG-4 to middleware, webcasting to Java OS, Gerard ODriscoll covers the state-of-the-art, comparing the strategies and technologies-and cutting through the hype. Coverage includes all this, and more: * Digital TV building blocks: compression, encoding, modulation, conditional access, transmission, and management * Advanced digital set-tops: features, components, installation, and troubleshooting * Set-top operating systems: JavaOS, Windows CE, David OS-9, PowerTV, VxWorks, pSOS+, Linux, and more * Internet-based TV: set-top Web browsing, webcasting, email, online chat, broadband applications, video on demand, parental controls, and more * Electronic program guides (EPGs)

Author Notes

Gerard O'Driscoll is Director of New Interactive Services for a major Ireland-based software company.



Preface The boundaries between the IT world, Internet systems and broadcast television technologies have blurred. The result of this blurring effect has been the development of a new computing paradigm that is focussed on the home entertainment market. The evolution of this new paradigm in tandem with a demand for new interactive TV applications has created the need for a special interface or gateway device that can be used to pass digital content between high-speed broadband networks and millions of homes across the world. A low cost consumer electronics device called a digital set-top box is poised and ready to take center stage in this new digital world we are about to enter. Most industry analysts agree that in the near future, people will choose a digital set-top box to access a myriad of new services that are available from this new paradigm. Consumers can use their digital set-top boxes to sit down and enjoy watching cinema style pictures with CD quality sound. Advanced versions of these devices have intuitive and easy to use interfaces that allow people to access instant video on demand, e-commerce services and a range of entertainment services that are being dreamed up by the entrepreneurs of the future. The first couple of chapters in this book will present you with a description of how the set-top business has evolved over the past couple of years. Digital set-top boxes nowadays contain a number of components that are very similar to a desktop PC. So in chapter two we guide you through the terms and concepts that relate to each of these components. The proliferation of digital technologies has sparked off the development of a number of software and hardware technologies. This book explores the various industry initiatives and standard bodies that are working on defining open set-top box technologies around the world. Many companies, including Microsoft, PowerTV, PlanetWeb, OpenTV, Liberate Technologies, Canal+ and Sun Microsystems are vying to gain an early lead in defining the features of digital set-top boxes, as well as the lucrative interactive TV services that go along with them. This book presents you with a detailed description of the set-top products that are available from these companies. Additionally we help you understand the confusing array of computer technologies that has become synonymous with the world of digital set-top boxesÑmiddleware, ECMAScript, JavaTV, HTML, TVPAK, JavaScript, DirectX, Windows 2000, XML and much more. The proliferation of these new technologies into the homes of the future will serve as a springboard to new and exciting opportunities for software developers who want to move away from the world of PC software development to the lucrative world of developing enhanced TV applications. The middle of this book covers the methodologies used by existing developers and presents a brief overview of the development kits that are available for the various set-top software platforms. In addition to the software development community, interactive TV is opening up new markets for the enormous pool of talented people involved in creating content. In chapter twelve of this book you will gain an insight into mechanisms that are used to author and deliver content that has been optimized for the TV world. People often donÕt realize that behind the simple end user interface they see on their television set, there is a complex network architecture that is required to support the various applications. This book goes behind the scenes and looks at the servers and technologies that are needed to support a range of broadband Internet, Intranet, and TV-centric applications. Towards the end of the book we look at the security mechanisms and smart card technologies used by network service providers to control access to digital TV pay services. Our final chapter looks ahead to the digital set-top box becoming a telecommunications hub for the homes of the future. The book concludes with a snapshot of the types of technologies that are currently under development for the next generation of advanced digital set-top boxesÑhome networking, advanced 3D, voice activation, and personalization technologies. Excerpted from The Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV by Gerard O'Driscoll All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

1 Overview of Digital TV.Terminology
What is Digital Television? International Standard Bodies and Agreements
European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)
Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB)
Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC)
Digital Audio Visual Council (DAVIC)
European Cable Communications Association (ECCA)
W3 Consortium (W3C)
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Building blocks of a Digital TV system
Compression and Encoding
Conditional Access System
Network Transmission Technologies
Network Management
2 Set-top Hardware Architecture.Evolution of Advanced Digital Set-tops
Set-top Box Computing Paradigm
Basic Concepts
How a set-top Works
Under the Hood
System Board
Modulator and Demodulator
Demultiplexer and Decryptor
Graphics Processor
Central Processing Unit
Memory Configuration
Storage Devices
Physical Interfaces
Installing a digital set-top
Troubleshooting an installation
3 Set-top Real-time Operating Systems
Architecture of a Set-top OS
Choice of Set-top OSs
PowerTV OS
Microware's DAVID OS-9
Microsoft's Windows CE
Java OS for Consumers
4 Set-top Middleware and APIs
Middleware concepts
Virtual machines
HTML Virtual Machine
JavaScript Virtual Machine
Personal Java Virtual Machine
Middleware Standards
Multimedia Home Platform (MHP)
DTV Application Software Environment (DASE)
Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (ATVEF)
Set-top Middleware Choices
WebTV for Microsoft's TVPAK Platform
Liberate eNavigator
5 Set-top Specifications and Platforms
Categories of digital set-tops
Sky Series 2200
Nokia MediaMaster T
Motorola Streamaster
The Explorer Set-top Family from Scientific-Atlanta
6 Set-top Application Development
Developing for a set-top environment versus a PC environment
Set-top Application Development Cycle
Application Development Environments
OpenTV Application Development
Windows CE Application Development
Personal Java Application Development
Developing DVB Java Applications
Developing MediaHighway applications
Developing PowerTV applications
Developing MHEG-5 applications
Developing Liberate applications
7 Set-top Internet Applications
About the Internet
Understanding TCP/IP
About Internet Addresses
Subnetting an IP Broadband Network
Future of IP Addressing
Domain Name System
Assigning IP Addresses to Set-tops
Security policies and Firewalls
Introduction to Web browsing
Set-top Browsers
Functional Overview
Set-top Web Browser Application
Web Server
Set-top Proxy Server Software
High-speed Internet connection
How Set-top Web Browsing Works
Choosing a Set-top Browser Platform
Introduction to Set-top E-mail
How Set-top E-mail Works
Set-top E-mail Clients
Set-top E-mail Security
The Set-top E-mail Marketplace
Online Chat
How Webcasting Works? Summary
8 Set-top Intranet Applications
About Intranets
Choice of broadband Intranet applications
Client/Server Computing
Set-top Home Banking
Set-top E-commerce
Set-top Education
Set-top Gaming
Set-top Weather
TV Broadcast Services
Electronic Program Guides
Interactive Channel Browser
Pay Per View (PPV)
Video on Demand
Near Video on Demand
Parental Control
9 Electronic Program Guides.Basic EPGs
Advanced EPGs
Why EPGs look the way they do
Future EPG Developments
The Mediators (1997)
TV-internet EPG Project
Case Study
10 Set-top Server Architecture
Overview of server archite