Strategy & Technology Launches MHEG-Based Solution for VOD and Catch-Up TV

Strategy & Technology, a UK-based company that specializes in solutions for standards-based interactive TV, announced Sunday that it will launch the S&T Player and Mediator, an MHEG-based solution for VOD and catch-up TV services, at the NAB show in Las Vegas this week (note: digital TV platforms based on the MHEG ITV middleware standard include the UK's Freeview and Freesat services, Freeview New Zealand and Freeview Australia).

The company bills the S&T Player component of the new solution as a highly flexible, data-driven VOD application for MHEG-enabled integrated digital TV's or set-top boxes. According to the company, it uses the latest version of the MHEG Interaction Channel specification for hybrid broadcast broadband receivers and also runs on CI+ TV sets. In addition, the company says, it offers a configurable and customizable application for browsing and navigating content, as well as playback control for streamed media delivered over broadband; and its client interface can be easily reskinned and configured for customer branding.

According to S&T, the S&T Player allows viewers to navigate a broadcaster's VOD catalog (including both catch-up TV and premium content) and use their remote to select individual titles for viewing. Video is delivered via DVB-C or IP, the company says, and once playback has started, the S&T Player offers full playback control through such trick modes as pause, stop, skip forwards/backwards, etc. It also offers dynamic playlist support, S&T claims, enabling operators to generate additional revenues via ad insertion, while comprehensive playback reporting provides the operator with measurement data.

The new solution's Mediator component, meanwhile, is billed as providing the S&T Player client with flexible integration into backoffice systems for content provisioning and subscriber management. Mediator provides a scalable framework for accessing, processing and transforming metadata, S&T says, and supplies data to the S&T Player in a format that is highly optimized and that requires very little additional processing within the TV. This approach, the company claims, minimizes the bandwidth required for communications and helps ensure the best possible performance for the viewer. "Broadcasters realize that viewer demand for catch-up TV is very strong, and where this can be delivered to the TV then this is preferred over PC viewing," S&T's director of international sales, Colin Prior, said in a prepared statement. "The combination of the S&T Player and Mediator enables broadcasters to offer their viewers a seamless experience combining linear TV with catch-up/on-demand services that is totally scalable."