Interactive Digital Television is a revolutionary way that allows viewer to control content delivered with and through the television. The mission of idTV is to change our point of view on information, advertising and entertainment. Allowing viewer to communicate with their TVs we are giving them freedom to request and receive useful information's on TV screens. With idTV broadcasters are able to transmit more than one program through one transmit channel, viewers will get higher quality of picture and sound and they will be able to use new services that can't be run trough traditional TV. With digital receiver called the set-top boxes, viewers
are capable of receiving digital signal and having interactivity on their TV's. Today we have over 40 million homes that have digital set top boxes and prediction is that over the next two years we will have idTV available in most parts of the world.
To have complete and functional interactive system specific hardware is required. Heart of this interactive system, called the carousel server, is a place where digital signal is produced. Carousel server combines audio, video and data streams into one transitional stream which is the carrier of digital interactive informations that are coming to set-top boxes. Interactive system is a circle where broadcasters (with carousel server on their side), set-top boxes and back-end represent main information flows. Set-top box devices receive the digital signal that was made by carousel server. Inside set-top box there is middleware that runs MHP applications and electronics that decode digital signal. Finally, third part of the system is responsible for user communication with system. This part is known as back-end. Back-end gathers information sent by the user, does the data analysis and communicates with first part of the system which lies on broadcaster side.
In year 2004 "Arhel" signed contract with Cardinal (www.cardinal.fi), the leading European manufacturer of solutions for the Digital TV. Based on Cardinal technology solutions for carousel servers, video servers, MPEG encoders and other professional solutions make this complex system very easy to produce.
As a result of years of experience in this field working with Italian Mediaset on their DTT project, Icon Medialab (www.iconmedialab.tv) developed a complete solution suite for developing, managing, deploying and analyzing MHP content. First publicly presented at the IBC2004, Icon Medialab's solution called Icon InteracTV Suite is today being further customized by Arhel from Serbia for East European broadcasters. This suite has four products that are combined together in one entity:
TVEditor is an editing solution for MHP applications. With this product it is possible to create, publish and manage content, statically or dynamically with in all interactive applications.
Scheduler is an application developed to manage application guides and to plan the use of bandwidth.
Basically primetime are MHP applications. MHP applications can be television content, advertising campaigns, public service, T-commerce, T-learning, messaging (email, sms, chat, messenger), games...
Intelligence is the back-end platform that manages return channel and provides all data and statistics on its use in real time.
Picture below shows those four products combined together.
With TvEditor, editors can easily manage the content of applications and they can also view the actual appearance of contents at any time. TvEditor contains emulator that reproduces graphical appearance. Scheduler is used for scheduling the MHP applications broadcasting, statistical information's about bandwidth and to load and broadcast interactive applications. Applications are able to: manage TV channel audio-video streams or added video, synchronize applications with TV stream, support dynamic content updating and use various type of return channel. Intelligence part allows MHP applications to communicate, send and request information directly to the broadcaster.
With this system many applications are developed and they are on the air ("Big Brother", "Who wants to be a millionaire", "Champions league"...).