Ocean Blue's Voyager MHEG-5 Engine Supports Interactive TV on Freeview HD

Bristol, UK-based digital TV software provider, Ocean Blue, said Tuesday that its Voyager MHEG-5 engine is now compliant with the UK's specification for DVB-T2 Freeview HD receivers. The announcement comes in time for an anticipated surge in demand for HD services on Freeview, the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial television platform, in the run-up to the World Cup, the company points out. It says that the development utilizes the enhanced graphics capabilities of HD-ready televisions during interactive red-button sessions, providing consumers with an enhanced viewing experience.

According to Ocean Blue, its MHEG-5 HD engine has been fully compliance tested to DTG D Book version 6.2, which introduces the use of JPEG bitmaps, AAC audio (streams and clips), and improved resolution and color depth that will all enhance the audiovisual experience. Additional changes to graphics have been made, the company says, to ensure that any upscaling of SD MHEG-5 applications to HD generates a high-quality image on HD graphics planes. The new software also allows for interactive services on Freeview HD, Ocean Blue says: according to the company, it has implemented the latest ETSI standard, ES 202 184, including the interaction channel, to support such services as interactive voting, tcommerce and VOD. The company says that the development will enable many of the red-button interactive TV features that were previously unavailable to Freeview viewers as their receivers had no connection back to the broadcaster.

As with all other enhancements and updates to the Voyager platform, Ocean Blue says, the new HD development involves adding software interfaces to the existing API. By maintaining the existing API and only adding relevant functionality, the company claims to ensure that its existing customers require minimal effort to update and integrate, while new customers benefit from integrating a mature and stable software solution.

Ocean Blue bills Voyager as a DVB-based MHEG-5 interactive middleware component that is ready for integration into digital TV sets and set-top boxes. The MHEG-5 engine allows the receiver to execute interactive TV applications from DVB-S, -T or -C broadcasters, the company says. A DSM-CC (data transmission mechanism) client is supplied as part of Voyager MHEG-5, and support for SD/HD platforms with and without MPEG-4/H.264 capabilities is included in the latest release, according to the company. Ocean Blue also says that it provides clients with test lab facilities using the latest DTG and DVB test suites, test processes and broadcast streams.

A demo video of Voyager MHEG-5 HD is available here.