Feeds

Write once, run anywhere: a lesson for digital TV

Simple programming

Build a business case: developing custom apps

If, as reported, entertainment giant Paramount throws its weight behind the Blu-ray high-definition DVD format it would seem like a vote in favor of using Java (Sun PDF here) in digital TV entertainment.

While for some this might not seem and obvious association and might be considered a completely new departure for Java by many more, digital TV is actually very close to the origins of Java.

With the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, I plan to look at the underpinnings of digital TV, its relationship to Java, the problems that DTV has and how - by looking to the enterprise world - Java may help over come them.

Looking back, to the origins of Java, you will find that having built a hand-held device - *7 or Star Seven - the Java development team (or rather at that time, the Oak development team) looked around for other applications for their new baby.

One of the main suggestions was to use it in TV set-top boxes (STBs). However, back in the early 90s the TV industry (both satellite and cable) was too young and embryonic to see a need for Java on the STB, so this idea died an early death. Java of course didn't, and went onto to become the success that it is now.

The idea didn't completely go away, though, while TV standards themselves have come a long way since those early days. Within the world of digital TV the Digital Video Broadcasting project (DVB) is one of the key players. This is a consortium of more than 270 organizations in 35 plus countries that have defined a host of standards. These standards include:

MHEG-5: is part of a set of international standards relating to multimedia presentations. In the UK and New Zealand it is the digital TV standard and is used with Freeview. MHEG-5 is a declarative language focussing on the presentation of text, image and video content.

MHEG-6: This was an aborted attempt to extend MHEG-5 to include Java. In this model Java applications could manipulate MHEG-5.

MHP: The Multimedia Home Platform (or MHP) is an open standard originally created by the DVB project for digital broadcasting. MHP is oriented around Java and applications are either written in Java (and called Xlets) or HTML. However, although it is being adopted in many Europe countries, MHP has not been adopted in the UK.

From the Java Community Process (JCP), meanwhile, we have Java TV API 1.1 or JSR 927. Java TV API 1.1 is a Java specification specifically oriented around digital TV. The core element of the Java TV API is an Xlet - that you may note was mentioned in the section on MHP. Indeed, all of the Java TV APIs are included in MHP. So what's the difference? Well MHP is based on the DVB project's other standards and as such is rather more tied to the underlying technologies. In contrast Java TV does not make such assumptions and describes the necessary lower-level services in terms of generic interfaces - as you might expect. Thus, Java TV can run on a wider variety of platforms.

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.