ETSI ratifies interactive TV middleware

ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, has published the latest version of the public standard interactive TV middleware as a formal European standard.

Version 2.1.1 of ETSI standard 202 184 contains updates to the original ETSI MHEG specification from 2004, including support for the IP-based MHEG Interaction Channel, which enables hybrid broadcast broadband receiver operation via an IP connection – already being used by Freesat in the UK for catch-up TV services – and full support for HD graphics with increased colour depth and screen resolutions.

The MHEG Interaction Channel uses a Hybrid File System that enables broadcasters to create common applications that can work on both IP-connected and unconnected receivers. It allows the application to determine whether an IP connection is possible and whether it is available. The system enables decoding of MPEG-4 or MPEG-2 streams using the same hardware used for broadcast content and can be used to deliver catch-up services to a connected receiver or set top box.