DigiSoft in IPTV Deals with Sun Microsystems, Video Ezy

Cork, Ireland-based interactive TV and IPTV technology provider,
DigiSoft (note: the company, which has racked up some significant
successes in the Italian market, also operates offices in the US, the UK,
Singapore and New Zealand; for an in-depth interview with its CEO,
John Allen, see [itvt] Issue 6.40), announced earlier this month that it
has signed a global "Binary Value Added Partner" agreement with Sun
Microsystems for the distribution of a Java Platform Micro Edition
(Java ME)-based software stack for IPTV set-top boxes.
The company
claims that the combination of Sun's Java technology-based media
client and its own middleware solution for IPTV set-tops will enable
service providers to quickly launch feature-rich, revenue-generating
HD interactive services, such as VOD, music-on-demand, karaoke,
tcommerce, network PVR/time-shifted TV, and games, on a wide range
of IP set-tops with H.264 HD and SD video. It also says the joint
DigiSoft-Sun software stack--which it touts as "the most open,
cost-effective, flexible IPTV middleware solution available in the
market today"--supports the latest encryption and watermarking
technologies from a number of companies.

DigiSoft also says that it has already sold over 1.5 million middleware
license worldwide, and promises that Java technology-based set-tops
running its middleware solution will be rolled out across 30,000 retail
outlets this year. "Service Providers are now seeking more open and
scalable middleware platforms that enable them to launch high-quality
HD applications and services to meet customer demand across large
client bases," DigiSoft CEO, John Allen, said in a prepared statement.
"This will become a bigger issue as the mass adoption of HDTV sets
worldwide means that operators and customers alike will demand
services that make maximum use of this new format. The combination
of Sun's Java client technology and DigiSoft's middleware means that
they can now scale their TV service roll-out and achieve a much faster
return on investment while having more control of their middleware
and applications than ever before."

According to DigiSoft, the use of Java technology for its software stack
enables the creation of multiplatform, converged Java applications for a
range of Java-based devices, including Blu-ray Disc players,
OCAP- and other GEM-based set-tops, mobile handsets and PC's--with
minimal re-authoring required. "For over 10 years, Sun has been
working with standards bodies, operators, and vendors to define a
family of specifications for digital television applications and services
such as OCAP/tru2way and BD-J, and we are now seeing great
momentum in the deployment of products based on these open
standards," Jeet Kaul, VP of Sun's Client Software Group, said in a
prepared statement. "We are very pleased to be working with a
company with DigiSoft's global experience and track record in
delivering IPTV technology, and look forward to extending the
presence of Java technology in the DTV marketplace with DigiSoft's
middleware solution."

In other DigiSoft news: The company said last week that it has signed a
deal with Australian movie rental franchise, Video Ezy, that sees the
latter--which operates over 1,000 stores and claims to serve over 8
million customers--using its IPTV delivery platform and set-top
middleware to power a new electronic video rental service that will be
rolled out in Video Ezy and Blockbuster stores in Australia and New
Zealand. The main components of the Video Ezy Electronic Rental
service include an in-store kiosk that contains a movie library; a
branded USB or iPod-type storage system; and a Java set-top box at the
consumer's home: the consumer plugs the USB or iPod device into the
kiosk to select movies to rent to play back later on the Java set-top,
which incorporates DigiSoft's middleware.