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EETimes: Java drills deeper into European DTV

Sep 06, 1999, 22:47 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Junko Yoshida)

"Java made its digital-TV debut in Europe this past week, as key consumer vendors came to the Internationale Funkausstellung show (IFA) to demonstrate Java digital broadcast applications over Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) set-tops. The demos, which sought to build momentum around Europe's Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) standard for Java-based interactive TV, paired consumer giants Sony, Philips, Matsushita and Nokia with such leading broadcasters as British Broadcasting Corp., France's Canal+, Italy's RAI and Germany's Institute for Radio and Television (IRT).

MHP is a set of common application programming interfaces designed to create an operating system-independent, level playing field for broadcasters and consumer-electronics manufacturers. The goal is to provide all DVB-based terminals--set-tops, TV and multimedia PCs--full access to programs and services built on the DVB Java (DVB-J) platform.

Because the DVB specs are further along than similar efforts elsewhere, the European movement could influence other DTV standards--including the U.S. Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC)'s DTV standard, U.S. CableLabs's OpenCable initiative, and its Japanese counterpart — by making the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) a requisite element of DTV set-tops and receivers. But a Java backlash, led by Microsoft, Intel and Thomson Multimedia, is questioning whether the JVM requirement controverts DVB's vision of open standards. 'We are not anti-Java per se, but we do find Sun's Java licensing policy unacceptable,' said a DVB member, who requested anonymity."

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