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Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV, The

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Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV, The


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  • Copyright 2000
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/4"
  • Pages: 320
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-017360-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-017360-7


Everything you need to know about the coming digital interactive TV revolution!

There's a revolution coming to your TV: a digital, interactive, Internet-enabled revolution that will make possible services you've never imagined! The next TV revolution comes with new technologies, new standards, new architectures, and new business paradigms. Finally, there's 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 O'Driscoll 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): 21st century TV portals
  • Development, server architecture, middleware, network management, smartcards, MPEG-4, and much more

Whether you're an investor, manager, marketing or PR professional, software developer, or consumer, you need to know where TV is headed, and only one book can show you: The Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV!

Sample Content

Downloadable Sample Chapter

Click here for a sample chapter for this book: 0130173606.pdf

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). CableLabs. W3 Consortium (W3C). Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Building blocks of a Digital TV system. Compression and Encoding. Modulation. Conditional Access System. Network Transmission Technologies. Network Management. Summary.

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. Tuner(s). Modulator and Demodulator. Demultiplexer and Decryptor. Decoders. Graphics Processor. Central Processing Unit. Memory Configuration. Storage Devices. Physical Interfaces. Installing a digital set-top. Troubleshooting an installation. Summary.

3. Set-top Real-time Operating Systems.

Architecture of a Set-top OS. Choice of Set-top OSs. PowerTV OS. VxWorks. pSOSystem. Microware's DAVID OS-9. Microsoft's Windows CE. Java OS for Consumers. Linux. Summary.

4. Set-top Middleware and APIs.

Middleware concepts. Virtual machines. HTML Virtual Machine. JavaScript Virtual Machine. Personal Java Virtual Machine. MHEG-5. Middleware Standards. Multimedia Home Platform (MHP). DTV Application Software Environment (DASE). Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (ATVEF). Set-top Middleware Choices. OpenTV. PowerTV. WebTV for Microsoft's TVPAK Platform. MediaHighway. Liberate eNavigator. PlanetWeb. Summary.

5. Set-top Specifications and Platforms.

Categories of digital set-tops. Eurobox. OpenCable. Sky Series 2200. CT5000+. Nokia MediaMaster T. Motorola Streamaster. The Explorer Set-top Family from Scientific-Atlanta. Implementations. Summary.

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. Summary.

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. Webcasting. 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. Teletext. Parental Control. Summary.

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. Summary.

10. Set-top Server Architecture.

Overview of server architecture. Application Server(s). Database Server(s). Web Server(s). Transaction Server(s). Commerce Server(s). Personalization and Membership Servers. Broadcast Server. OpenTV. Application Streamer. Broadcast Streamer. Microsoft TV Server. Windows 2000 Server Family. Site Server (Commerce Edition). SQL Server 7.0. TVPAK Server. Microsoft Commercial Internet Server. MSN Portal Services. Network Management. Summary.

11. Set-top Smart Card Technologies.

Architecture of set-top Smart Cards. CPU. RAM. ROM. EEPROM. I/O Serial Interface. Smart card Security. Smart card Software. Java Card from Sun Microsystems. MultOS from MasterCard. Microsoft's Smart Card for Windows. Visa Open Platform. Summary.

12. Set-top Enhanced TV.

Fundamentals. Benefits of enhanced TV. General Principles of Designing for a TV environment. Screen Resolution. Navigation. Font Dimensions, Colors, and Lines. Computer and Multimedia Standards. Audiences. Download Times. Content Standardization for Set-tops. Authoring Enhanced TV Content for ATVEF-compliant Set-tops. Authoring Enhanced TV Content for DASE-compliant Set-tops. Authoring Enhanced TV Content for MHP-compliant Set-tops. Delivering Enhanced TV Content. Levels of Interactivity. Basic Interactivity. Advanced Interactivity. Summary.

13. Advanced Set-top Features.

MPEG-4 Support. Home Networks. Wireline Home Networks. Wireless Home Networks. Set-top Home Networking Middleware. Voice Recognition. Personalization Technologies. Summary. For Further Information. Further Reading.




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.


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