The top European broacasters are backing Sun Microsystems Java software platform for the next generation of digital television and set-top boxes. This should mean consumers will be able to receive multiple services via a single unit.
The move by the 200 member strong Digital Video Broadcasting project will undoubtedly come as a knock to Microsoft which is looking to secure a dominant position for Windows as an operating system for digital television, according to analysts.
By going with Java the DVB is giving companies a choice of operating systems that can sit below the Java open platform instead of going one hundred per cent with Windows CE, an operating system for electronic devices other than PCs.
?By choosing Java the DVB isn?t setting a mandate for a certain operating system,? Rob Bamforth, Java marketing development manager told VNU Newswire. ?From a consumer point of view it hopefully means that in the long term they won?t have to have a stack of set top boxes in a room to receive multiple services, they?ll all be compatible with one box.?
The DVB, which includes all leading public and commercial broadcasting groups in Europe, has no legal status and cannot enforce decisions on either broadcasters or hardware manufacturers.
However it has had major input into setting up television operating standards in Europe, the US and Australia, and will definitely influence regulators wanting to ensure common systems for digital television.
The DVB is already in talks with Sun over the development of a DVB-Java software to be used as a plaform base on which to run programmes and interactive services, according to sources close to the computer company.
The DVB wants ultimately to create an open standard that will run different operating systems - including Open TV, Mheg, Microsoft Windows CE and Canal Plus?s Mediahighway - as "plug ins" on top of the Java software. This would provide an opportunity to integrate rival systems and would cut out confusion amongst consumers.
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