In Broadcast - February 2013 - 28


I N T E R N A T I O N A L

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 16 - FEBRUARY 2013

N E W S

InVIEW

Whitepaper – Agile IP Video Delivery:
Redefining STB Software Architecture
Pay-TV operators must leverage the new STB client architecture based on HTML 5 and other
technologies to meet the expectations of video content consumers, say Espial…

By Espial

oday’s consumers have come
to expect a sophisticated
video user experience based on
their daily interaction with tablets,
smart phones and their favourite
websites. They also expect a
blended video user experience
with social media integration,
quick access to their favourite
content and rich personalisation.
Unfortunately, pay-TV operators
face major challenges to deliver a
robust TV experience that matches
consumer expectations, especially
on set-top boxes (STBs). Some of
the challenges they face include:
• The inability to rapidly innovate
and introduce new applications;
• High STB porting and introduction
costs;
• Inconsistent experience across
devices;
• Vendor new feature lock-in.
Leading operators are now
looking at a multipronged strategy
to address these issues and power
the development of a compelling
user experience including:
• Cloud UI delivery;
• New advertising models;
• Rapid application innovation;
• Interactive content;
• Integrated web and social
applications;
• The newest HTML5 standards.
This is a review of the technology
and business changes required to
address these difficult challenges.
It describes how to leverage recent
hardware and software innovations
to implement an STB software
architecture, providing pay-TV
operators with agility, allowing them
to deliver an unprecedented user
experience with faster time to market
and lower costs.

T

28

STB Challenges And
Innovations
Let’s start by looking at the
challenges associated with
current STBs.
First, they are faced with nonstandard and highly constrained
graphics for user interfaces. Older
generations of STB hardware are
missing the CPU speed, RAM and

hardware acceleration features
necessary to render rich graphics. As
well, client software vendors are only
able to expose limited capabilities
via APIs and interface development
tools are not supported by industry
standard authoring tools.
Next, applications innovation is
gated by software vendors. The STB
software is often delivered using
closed implementations offering
limited or no flexibility for third party
applications integration.
Finally, porting is time consuming
and expensive. The divergence
between chipset vendors has meant
that most software was hardware
specific. Moreover, the lack of
standard approaches to common
functions such as streaming
means that these functions
require significant effort to migrate
between STBs.
Several innovations have now set
the stage for a new approach to
set-top box middleware including a
transition to IP video service delivery,
industry initiatives, standards, and
hardware and software technology
advancements. Let’s consider each
of these in turn.
There is a broad shift toward
the use of IP video delivery. Cable
TV has traditionally offered QAMbased content distribution with a
proprietary back-channel. Cable
companies are now moving to
either a pure IP-based video services
delivery or continuing to use QAMbased content distribution with
IP-based interactivity. For in-home
delivery, they are looking at one of
two approaches.
The first is a pure IP approach
based on direct IP to the STB from
an IP based head-end.
The second is accomplished using
an in-home gateway based on IP
communications to other devices.
This is a hybrid approach using
existing cable head-end to a cable
hybrid gateway with IP distribution
in the home to an IP STB. This

approach enables transition for
those service providers with an
existing cable based solution.
The semiconductor industry is
also driving significant changes. The
explosion of consumer devices is
accelerating innovation and lowering
costs. As a result, more powerful
STBs are appearing featuring
processor speeds in the 800MHz
to 1Ghz range; dual-core processor
architectures; graphics hardware
acceleration for 2D, Blit, OpenGL;
and more of RAM to provide
improved browser UI rendering.
There are several software
innovations that operators can
leverage for STBs. First, HTML5 is
now being widely adopted as the
standard for video user interfaces on
all devices. As part of this, WebKit
is the most widely adopted HTML5
rendering engine across consumer
devices and is the de-facto standard
for STBs and gateways.
Driven by the mobile and consumer
industries, embedded browsers are
being optimised for deployment in
STB environments with support
for advanced graphics capabilities
like OpenGL and CSS3; smaller
resource footprints through highly
optimised memory and resource
management; faster porting to
different environments; and media
extensions for video delivery. Open
source initiatives like gstreamer are
providing additional valuable STB
software components.
Finally, there are multiple standards
initiatives driving the evolution of
STBs. For example, the Digital
Living Network Alliance (DLNA)
has focused on standardising the
delivery of media between devices in
the home. The Digital Transmission
Licensing Administrator (DTLA)
licenses Digital Transmission Content
Protection (DTCP) technologies,
which are approved by studios to
provide content protection for media
transmitted between devices.
As well, operators in the United

States are aligning on initiatives
to standardise the STB software
stack. These initiatives provide an
abstracted porting layer to simplify
and unify the integration of the
applications and control layers. It
is based on the prediction that all
applications will migrate to HTML5
and the control will move into the
cloud. The initiative intends to
foster broad multi-service operator
(MSO) adoption of a standardised
software stack that will enable faster
deployment with lower costs.
In summary, the transition to
IP video service delivery, vendor
innovations and standards initiatives
open the door to new IP STB
software architectures.

A New STB Software
Architecture
Next, let’s examine the principles
for a new client architectures for a
STB. The developments described
above allow for a new STB
software approach that is vendor
independent, open, flexible and
provides a dramatically improved
user experience. The new STB client
architecture is based on several key
principles. Let’s consider each of
these in turn.
As a start, the architecture needs
to leverage web technologies to
enable standardisation of interface
development across multiple devices
and enable innovation driven from a
vast pool of web developers. It also
needs to improve time to market
using industry-standard tools. It
must be hardware independent,
which permits the service provider
to add new devices at lower cost,
with better performance, and
functionality without any back-office
changes. It provides a seamless user
experience between web browsing
and the core TV applications like
the EPG. It supports a full web
browsing experience, differentiating
CONTINUED ON PAGE 30


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - February 2013

In Broadcast - February 2013
Contents
InNews: Sony's F65 Shoots First UK 4K Feature
InNews: Channel 5 Russia Modernises with Orad Solutions
InSound:: Cobalt Digital's Loudness Solutions
InView: Agile IP Video Delivery: STB Software Architectur
InView: Boxx TV Squares Up to HD Video
InFocus: Real-Time Motion Graphics Workflows
InFocus: Meduza Set to Ship Titan 3D Camera System
InForm: Sintecmedia Acquires US-Based Storer TV
InPlay: Christie Shows Entero HB Displays Cubes
InTech: The Power Overheard of More Pixels
In Broadcast - February 2013 - Intro
In Broadcast - February 2013 - In Broadcast - February 2013
In Broadcast - February 2013 - Cover2
In Broadcast - February 2013 - Contents
In Broadcast - February 2013 - InNews: Sony's F65 Shoots First UK 4K Feature
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 5
In Broadcast - February 2013 - InNews: Channel 5 Russia Modernises with Orad Solutions
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 7
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 8
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 9
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 10
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 11
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 12
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 13
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 14
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 15
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 16
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 17
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 18
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 19
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 20
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 21
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 22
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 23
In Broadcast - February 2013 - InSound:: Cobalt Digital's Loudness Solutions
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 25
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 26
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 27
In Broadcast - February 2013 - InView: Agile IP Video Delivery: STB Software Architectur
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 29
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 30
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 31
In Broadcast - February 2013 - InView: Boxx TV Squares Up to HD Video
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 33
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 34
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 35
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 36
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 37
In Broadcast - February 2013 - InFocus: Real-Time Motion Graphics Workflows
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 39
In Broadcast - February 2013 - InFocus: Meduza Set to Ship Titan 3D Camera System
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 41
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 42
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 43
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 44
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 45
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 46
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 47
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 48
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 49
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 50
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 51
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 52
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 53
In Broadcast - February 2013 - InForm: Sintecmedia Acquires US-Based Storer TV
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 55
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 56
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 57
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 58
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 59
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 60
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 61
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 62
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 63
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 64
In Broadcast - February 2013 - InPlay: Christie Shows Entero HB Displays Cubes
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 66
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 67
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 68
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 69
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 70
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 71
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 72
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 73
In Broadcast - February 2013 - InTech: The Power Overheard of More Pixels
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 75
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 76
In Broadcast - February 2013 - 77
In Broadcast - February 2013 - S1
In Broadcast - February 2013 - S2
In Broadcast - February 2013 - S3
In Broadcast - February 2013 - S4
In Broadcast - February 2013 - S5
In Broadcast - February 2013 - S6
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_cabsat2018
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201801
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201711
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201709
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_inshowguide2017
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201708
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201707
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201705
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NABSHOW2017
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201704
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_cabsat2017
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201703
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201702
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201701
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_INREVIEW2016
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201612
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201611
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NABSHOWNYexpo
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_20110708_DEMO
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201610
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_inshowguide2016
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201609
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201608
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201607
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201606
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/lesommet/inbroadcast_APAC03
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201605
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NABSHOW2016
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201604
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201603
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_cabsat2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201602
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201601
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/lesommet/inbroadcast_APAC02
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201512
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201511
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_CCW15expo
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201510
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/lesommet/inbroadcast_APAC01
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201509
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_IBC2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201508
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201507
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201506
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_BROADCASTASIA2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201505
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201504
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NABSHOW2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201503
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_cabsat2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201502
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201412
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201410
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcastIBCPRINTEDGUIDE_201409
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