Competition and the increase in ITV users force companies to improve and diversify the options offered. New technologies and alliances between companies are generators of innovative applications and services, while users expect to access the different schemes in a practical way.
The advent of digital television in the 90s revolutionized the industry multiplying the possibilities of available content, a decade later, the creation of these contents proliferates thanks to the success of standards such as MPEG that allow cost reduction, sophistication of equipment and mass content creation that efficiently takes advantage of bandwidth. Additionally, in the benefits of digital compression appear options such as VOD, HDTV and telephony in HFC networks opening the way to a new generation of related services, such as video streaming , and from this, the focus on more sophisticated concepts such as network performance management and security, subscriber and service management complement these developments.
Below we will see a small part of these advances in software and systems for ITV, trying to show that behind each new service there is a chain of innovations. In the second part of this article, which will be published in the October issue, we will discuss new hardware.
Liberate Mediacast Server
It is an advanced server for the transmission of data over cable networks (one or two ways), digital terrestrial or satellite, which allows operators to define, redesign and create formats for the delivery of data transport services to Liberate TV Navigator customers in its standard or compact version. Operators can manage their services by improving bandwidth usage, schedule data insertion, or control an external application. It allows simultaneous delivery of services such as games and EPG. For the compact platform, Mediacast can send data and content to DCT-2000 type STBs. For the standard platform, the server delivers by emulating an ATVEF-B distribution.
Liberate Compact Platform
This version supports data transport and television over networks that allow one-way communications to DCT-2000 type STBs. Upgrading to this software does not require redesigns of network infrastructure or STBs, it allows services such as EPG and games. With this platform Liberate offers its Java-based microVM creation tool, which supports the development of interactive applications using MPEG iFrames or microVM applets. It will soon enable migration to advanced digital STBs that approve the application of the OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) and Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) standards.
Qpass Comerse Service
For Qpass a dynamic market translates into better opportunities and the possibility of taking advantage of them. Qpass offers a complete, secure and economical platform that exploits the commercial potential of ITV. Qpass Comerse Service has nine components that represent a different solution each.
- Account and Registration Management: Allows consumers to access, manage and review their information at any time, including personal preferences, passwords, payment methods and reports. Registration is fast and secure thanks to the management of online databases.
- Customer Service: Provides several customer service solutions that adapt according to the needs, includes a direct service 24/7 subcontracted, self-assistance through the Web or secondary support through CSRs (Customer Service Representatives).
- Data tracking and reporting: Makes registration, usage and business activity data available for analysis, allowing to improve commercial offers, analyze consumer behavior and maximize revenue generation.
- Distribution: Allows you to affiliate all your marketing strategists through automated processes that minimize the operational requirements of managing business relationships.
- And -wallet: Securely stores, manages and transfers user and payment information between consumers and the merchant, eliminating the need to re-enter this data during the transaction.
- Merchandise acquisition and integration: Provides the possibility of integrating products at a single point from multiple platforms, facilitating the secure delivery of information directly to order processing systems.
- Micro transactions and aggregation: It is a unique model that performs transactions at a single point with low prices making the model economically viable.
- Promotion and marketing of products: It allows you to define and sell products in real time, creating special promotions, etc. according to your business models (PPV, subscription, etc.)
- Transaction Processing: Fully manages the process from authentication, payment verification methods, and authorization to collection, reconciliation, and billing.
AVX: Secure Video Streaming
For the secure transmission of video on the Internet, protecting the copyright in the contents, Aerocast Video Exchanges was created, a service based on DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology developed jointly with Motorola, which offers the first secure video transmission service with broadcast quality over the Internet.
DRM is a protection category that goes beyond conditional access. The concept of Protection of Rights is defined as the ability to monitor and prevent the reproduction or redistribution of content between the source and its final destination. A DRM system must contain: Authentication, Privacy, Integrity, Redundant Protection, and Conditional Access. Working with Aerocast's server system and intelligent routing system, operators will be able to offer this service without requiring updates to their networks or STBs. Soon, this service will be improved with the inclusion of the AES (Advanced Encryption System) algorithm and the IPMP (Intellectual Property Management & Protection System) protection system.
Alopa Networks offers its specialized MetaServ QuickStart technology for small and medium-sized operators. Designed to increase daily technical installations by 20%, it is a software that provides automatic provisioning and service creation, generating greater profits, as it reduces operational costs while making a fast and effective delivery of services. This software also allows you to group and deliver personalized services. It is based on the MetaServ Provisioning platform used to automate the functions of the delivery process (this allows the creation, selection and activation of services and has diagnostic tools).
ACSR 5.0: Customer Management
CSG Systems delivers version 5.0 of ACSR (Advanced Customer Service Representative), a solution that becomes the user interface of the customer relationship management platform that strengthens and converges billing and customer service solutions; designed to simplify these processes. ACSR maximizes window viewing possibilities by reducing training time, enables efficient access to customer information by reducing response time, and improves the integration of new technologies and external applications. It offers more effective diagnostics, rapid code development, and enhanced product launches. As an innovation, CSG offers this integrated solution with platforms from Athene Software Inc. such as APT Churn and APT Profitability to provide an Intelligent Relationship Management solution (iCRM) that forecasts user behavior and proactively recommends actions to prevent failures. This application provides real-time analysis of the consumer life cycle, studies of vulnerability and interests of individuals at a more personal level and measurement of profit potential.
Liberate TV Producer
It is a creation tool freely available on the network for affiliates of the PopTV program, which drastically reduces the time of creating applications for the standard Liberate TV platform. It supports plug-ins such as VOD APIs, MIME, Flash 4 and Real Networks 8. Supports ATVEF-A analog pulses when used with a Turner TV card.
IDP is a company dedicated to the creation of interactive services that operate on different platforms or operating systems. For this, IDP offers the second version of its RegieLine technology that covers the complete cycle of service creation, it is an editing tool that can be used for updating services. The technology consists of three elements that are presented through a graphical user interface:
- RegieLine Editor used to create, modify and update services, through its three components: Media Center (receives and organizes content that will be part of the service, can be Word files, Photoshop, and XML Databases), Program Center (predefine templates) and Location Center (defines where the generator will be and which platform will use the service).
- RegieLine Generator receives the XML data from the Editor and translates it into the IDP TagTV authoring language.
- RegieLine Player creates the players for the MHP, Liberate and Microsoft platforms, which will be sent in DVB format along with the service to the users' STBs.
Navigation software for VOD
With the growth of programming and channel availability, consumers require solutions that allow for simple navigation; in response to this Pionner developed Passport 3.0 an application guide platform for digital STBs that offers different ways of navigating and advanced, easy-to-use control over services. Unlike other native platforms, Passport minimizes bandwidth usage, allowing simultaneous interaction of guide and video screens through a dynamic user interface. As an innovation, it offers a navigation banner that extends the programming options while playing in full screen the selected channel. It offers advanced features such as downloadable applications on demand, access controls to programming, virtual channels based on HTML, etc. This platform is compatible with STB DCT-2000, Explorer and Voyager.
InView is an information application designed to expand the power of television as a communications unit. It provides a channel with 24 hours of free access to last minute information of local forecasts, market data, entertainment facts, horoscopes, news and sports scoreboards. InView channels allow you to view the requested information while the user watches their favorite programming. This application was designed to support multiple content providers and offers as an advantage over satellite services, the possibility of customizing the service with local content according to the preferences of subscribers.
NDS and WorldGate launched EZPixTV ITV, an integrated TV app that allows users to view, share and order digital reprints of their photos to the Kodak PhotoNet online hub. Additionally, visitors can edit and enhance images, order prints in different sizes, allow third parties access to bookstores and request prints on surfaces such as T-shirts and postcards. This product is offered through WorldGate's interactive service.
My Photo Gallery is another library service created by Qbeo Inc. that allows operators to offer image storage, editing, enhancement and printing services. Available for high-speed access, it is compatible with different operating systems and STBs. Through a navigable interface the user can manage and share their contents, and enjoy special features such as the presentation of content in virtual albums, image enhancement through ImageOp technology, editing through special effects and audio, indexing for quick selections, etc.