Global ITV 

Dec. 01, 2013


Parallel to the switchover from analog to digital Television, various interactive digital television systems have developed in various places of the world - some only recently, some already more than a decade ago. The driving idea was to offer consumers additional novative features and multimedia services. As a result of the broadcast-broadband convergence, most TV sets sold today are so-called Smart TVs or Connected TVs that support the current trend of integration of the Internet into modern television sets and set-top boxes.

However, every iDTV and Smart TV system has grown on its own technologies, needs and country laws. Applications written for one system are generally not compatible with another system.

The World Broadcasting Union has expressed formally (Declaration on Hybrid and Internet Television, November 2011), the advantages of a common platform, although the Union recognizes that the current situation makes very difficult the creation of such a platform by the normal market rules.

The scope of GLOBAL ITV project is now to develop an interoperability scheme that allows several iDTV and Smart TV systems to work together, exchanging and using the information (be it general or personal). The ultimate aim is to lay the foundation for a global interoperable platform.

Major Brazilian and European companies, organisations and research establishments have decided to join forces. The consortium is convinced to have at its disposal all means to define and showcase a reliable migration path and a coexistence scenario towards a next-generation hybrid TV platform based on established standards. The extensive experience of all partners, and the advice of the international GLOBAL ITV Council, will ensure the definition of viable solutions with direct traction on the market and a clear perspective for the future.

The project matches the objectives of the Work Programme for the 2nd Coordinated Call Brazil-Europe, Point 4: Hybrid broadcast-broadband applications and services.

Global ITV concept

To fulfil its objectives, the GLOBAL ITV builds upon a two-fold concept. One part of the project focusses on the technical R&D side while the second part of the project deals with strategic market, innovation and dissemination issues:

Joint technical approach – a short-term proof-of-concept and a long-term strategy

The goal of defining a platform that blazes the trail for globally interoperable interactive TV applications will be pursued by an agile approach. Functional requirements, as demanded of the intended platform will be gained from scenarios cooperatively defined by Brazilian and European ITV experts with technological, innovative and creative background. The scenarios will picture the vision of use-cases of future GLOBAL ITV applications, from a business as well as from a societal point of view.

Strictly aligned to fulfil the elicited functional requirements, the GLOBAL ITV platform specifications will be developed. A fundamental step in this process will be a deep analysis of existing Interactive, Connected, Web and Hybrid TV systems. This procedure will identify commonalities and disparities between existing technologies as well as evaluate the technologies’ individual strengths and weaknesses. This indispensable step will help to identify components which can be efficiently reused and referenced. Whenever required, GLOBAL ITV will extent or adapt profiles and (sub-) specifications to fulfil GLOBAL ITV’s requirements. Building upon this foundation, the GLOBAL ITV platform specification will be defined. Here the project can profit from the extensive experience of the involved partners in Brazil and Europe.

On the basis of the platform specification, compliant prototypes on the backend (play-out) and the frontend (set-top box) will be developed. Having these technical prerequisites available, applications will be developed that can show-case attractive and meaningful scenarios in a TV program context as well as for applications of public interest (e.g. education). Proof-of-concept prototypes and demo applications will be used to evaluate whether the platform definition is consistent. Valuable feedback will be gained from the developers of the prototypes (backend, frontend and applications) as well as from user tests which will provide very direct results on practical aspects.

In a cyclic approach, results from this evaluation processes will be fed back to the specification activity in order to iteratively improve and perfect the GLOBAL ITV platform. Furthermore, experiences gathered during the application development will be pooled in best practise guidelines for the development of GLOBAL ITV-compliant applications.

The overall outcomes of the project activities will conclude into a long term strategy for achieving the goal to create a globally interoperable ITV platform.

Project details

ERCIM's role:

Project partner

Duration: 24 months from December 2013 to November 2015


European Partners:

IRT – Institut für Rundfunktechnik GmbH (DE), Aqua Consult Ingenieros SL (ES), VESTEL (TR), Fraunhofer-FOKUS (DE), TDF (FR), Retevisión SA (ES), Symelar Innovación (ES), European Broadcasting Union (CH), ERCIM/W3C

Brazilian partners:

Universidade de São Paulo, Universidade Católica de Brasília, Universidade Federal do Pará, Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio de Mesquita Filho”, Associação do Laboratório de Sistemas Integráveis Tecnológico, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Universidade Federal do ABC, BAND TV, HXD Interactive Television