Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

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Supporting commercial service provider requirements in HTML

June 23, 2011

As part of its exploration of requirements and potential solutions to ensure that the Web will function well with TV, the Web and TV Interest Group has launched a Media Pipeline Task Force, set to discuss requirements placed on the HTML5 video, audio and media interfaces by media formats that will be used for Web and TV.

While HTML5 already goes some way to bringing audio and video to the Web, there remain a few areas to address for commercial video service provider to propose high-quality services using the Open Web Platform. A few example use cases that could come to mind:

  • Enabling access to parameters controlling the adaptive bitrate algorithm (when such an algorithm is used) and more generically exposing statistics and metrics on media streaming performance.
  • Content splicing to link together media content in a continuous stream
  • Browser handling of dynamic tracks, for instance when the media stream is of indefinite duration, as happens on a TV channel.
  • Enhancements to media elements to augment the video experience with metadata sent in sync with the media stream

The Media Pipeline Task Force is to discuss and propose extensions to the <video> and <audio> elements to support these additional requirements and enable a quality of experience for videos on the Web similar to the one that exists in the traditional TV world.

This Task Force is the second task force of the Web and TV Interest Group. The on-going Home Network Task Force is actively working on a use cases and requirements document to enable home networking scenarios, such as using the Web browser on a mobile device to interact with the TV set.

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W3C Issues Report on Web and Television Convergence

April 6, 2011

The Web and television convergence story was the focus of W3C’s Second Web and TV Workshop, which took place in Berlin in February. W3C publishes a report that summarizes the discussion among the 77 organizations that participated, including broadcasters, telecom companies, cable operators, OTT (over the top) companies, content providers, device vendors, software vendors, Web application providers, researchers, governments, and standardization organizations active in the TV space. Convergence priorities identified in the report include:

  • Adaptive streaming over HTTP
  • Home networking and second-screen scenarios
  • The role of metadata and relation to Semantic Web technologies
  • Ensuring that convergent solutions are accessible.
  • Profiling and testing
  • Possible extensions to HTML5 for Television

Read the full press release.

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MPEG-LA under anti-trust scrutiny

March 4, 2011

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Justice Department is starting to examine whether MPEG-LA is breaking anti-trust with its call for patents that may be infringed by Google’s VP8 codec.

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Web and TV – W3C workshop in Berlin

November 25, 2010

As part of a series of workshop to bring the Web community, the television industry and other producers of consumer electronics together, the OMWeb Team is proud to announce the Second W3C Web and TV Workshop, hosted by Fraunhofer-FOKUS in Berlin, Germany, on 8-9 February 2011.

Participants in this workshop will share insights on:

  • State of the Art, e.g. the role of Web-based approaches for nomadic user interfaces
  • HTML5 and TV, e.g. the advantages of supporting HTML5 such as its rich feature set, global language support, or support of broadcast video using the <video> element.
  • Standardization Needs, e.g. the requirements for extensions to existing standards to improve support of broadcasting on various non-PC devices
  • Accessibility, e.g. the value provided by Web technologies for TV accessibility
  • Hot Topics such as the integration of P2P and the Web for TV content distribution, support for “second screen” scenarios, or the role of DRM and micro-payment for Web and TV.

The Call for Papers details the topics of interest and provides useful information on participation and Position Papers submission. Deadline for Position Papers is 7 January 2011, but an expression of interest is encouraged as soon as possible to help organizers plan the workshop.

This second workshop is a follow-up of the first one held in Japan in September 2010. It will serve to continue the discussions (see summary of the workshop, minutes, the workshop agenda (including talk slides) and the position papers submitted). A W3C Interest Group on “Web and TV” is currently being created (see draft charter), and the results of the second workshop will be fed into the work of this interest group.

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Can Web people and TV people really get along?

October 13, 2010

I sure hope so – but there’s work to be done first.

Last night I attended a networking event in London that looked at the issue of the Web on TV. There was a good deal of discussion about accessing TV content on PCs, mobiles and tablet computers, as well as traditional TVs of course. David Mercer from Strategy Analytics talked about some research they’d done asking people what is the one device they wouldn’t want to be without. Taken overall, just over half of the UK population said it was their TV. Limit the age range to the under 30s and the number of people who say the TV is their most important consumer electronics device falls to 25%. Following the event on Twitter, Vodafone’s Dan Appelquist commented “for my kids, BBC iPlayer + Apple TV = TV. They are (mostly) not interested in live TV.”

However, we mustn’t lose sight of the enormous legacy of scheduled TV. It remains the method by which most TV viewed. Switching on the telly shouldn’t automatically mean a consumer has to search through thousands of choices to find a programme to watch.

From my point of view, perhaps unsurprisingly, the key speaker was Anthony Rose. Having lead the development of the BBC iPlayer he’s now CTO of Project Canvas, now branded youview. Set for launch in Britain next year, this will be a single set top box (probably under-set box to be honest!) that will handle live TV plus catch up services, PayTV and includes a PVR. With this, and his experience of the BBC iPlayer in mind, Anthony used the term Augmented TV. Now that sounds promising.

The programme you’re watching may be part of a linear schedule or something you’ve specifically chosen, but if you can interact with it, either through the TV itself or another device in your hand/on your lap, then we’re making progress towards an integrated user experience. Programmes like BBC Question Time regularly trend on Twitter already.

However… depressingly, Web technologies were not generally discussed. There was a question from Steve Clee of Datpresenter about semantics and search which, worryingly, got an answer along the lines of “oh the standards aren’t in place for that yet, there’s a long way to go to get all that integrated.” I hope I wasn’t the only one wanting to challenge that assertion (I mean, destroy that assertion) but the time for questions was limited and I didn’t have my say. Looking quickly at the tech specs around youview, there’s no reference to linking the metadata. Likewise, another UK IPTV service, SeeSaw, doesn’t appear to expose any metadata. And yet everyone in the room acknowledges the need for better search, better aggregation and greater personalisation, perhaps through social networking. Facebook and the IMDB’s use of RDFa in their Open Graph Protocol seems a shoe-in for this, but will the broadcasters embrace it?

And here we hit the big issue: DRM. I paraphrase Turner Broadcasting’s Casey Harwood only slightly by saying “it’s our content, we own the rights and we’ll do what we want with it.” Of course that’s true, and proper copyright control is important for the marketplace. That attitude appears at first sight to sit poorly with the Web which is built on the principle of openness and shared resources. However, the reality is that the Web has been a rather successful platform for eCommerce! It offers huge potential for augmented programming, search, recommendations and more – just the things the broadcasters want. But you’d never know it from this event.

Technically, TV and the Web are converging. Culturally and ideologically, it seems that we have a much bigger gap to navigate.

These are the kind of issues I look forward to developing at our forthcoming TPAC meeting in Lyon where I’ll be moderating a session with panellists including Daniel Park from Samsung and my colleague Kazuyuki Ashimura who lead the recent Web on TV workshop in Tokyo and who is now working on a new Interest Group Charter.

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Web on TV – W3C Workshops

July 15, 2010

W3C has begun to organize a series of workshops to bring the Web community, the television industry and other producers of consumer electronics together.  Participants in these workshops will have the opportunity to share their own perspectives, requirements, and ideas to ensure that emerging global standards meet their needs.

Evolution of Web technologies

The explosion of the mobile device market demonstrates how consumers have come to expect and rely on access to the network from anywhere, at any time, including from mobile computers, phones, automobiles, and more.  Though consumers do not yet have the same expectations about their televisions, this will surely change in the near future given the importance of television in people’s lives, ongoing display and feature improvements, and the opportunity for new services created by increased connectivity, such as:

  • the ability to immediately purchase through the Internet items advertised during a commercial
  • using applications running in a browser on the television to dim lighting in the home, program a DVR, or control other consumer electronics
  • automatically pausing a program when receiving a videoconference request (through VoIP) on the screen
  • watching Internet TV on a television set

There are significant business opportunities in rising to the challenge of satisfying this desire for connectivity and ensuring that people have access to the Web from their televisions.

The demand for access to applications, video, and other network services continues to grow.  The Web platform itself continues its expansion to support mobile devices, television, home appliances, in-car systems, and more consumer electronics.  To meet the growing demand, the Web platform of the future will require smarter integration of non-PC devices with Web technology so that both hardware and software vendors can provide richer Web applications on various devices at lower costs.

First W3C workshop in Tokyo, Japan ; 2-3 Sept. 2010

Participants in this first Workshop will share insights on topics such as the advantages of supporting HTML5 (such as its rich feature set, global language support, and support for accessibility), compatibility with existing television technology, performance issues, the transition from existing approaches to Web-based ones, digital rights management, nomadic user interfaces (where users change devices without losing the flow of their activity), and more.

Web on TV
2-3 September 2010
Mita, Tokyo, Japan
http://www.w3.org/2010/09/web-on-tv/

Plans for a Second W3C workshop in Europe ; beg. 2011

The OMWeb team plans for a second Workshop, in Europe, likely during the first quarter of 2011.  If you are interested in early involvement in the Workshop in Europe  (such as joining the program committee), please contact us!

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