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ThE MaStEr

Spring debut for MHEG-IC catch-up
By Julian Clover
Published: October 13, 2010 11.30 Europe/London

Broadcasters and content owners will be able to run catch-up TV services on Freeview using the MHEG Interaction Channel (MHEG-IC) from next spring.

Already manufacturers of Freeview HD devices, including Humax and ADB, are running their own implementations that have allowed viewers to access content from the BBC iPlayer using a browser.

David Cutts, chairman of the DTG Interaction Channel Working Group, said that from next April the DTG would only approve set-top boxes and iDTVs compliant with the MHEG-IC specifications as set out in edition 6.2.1 of the D-Book. Speaking at a Mashup event on the future of multiscreen, Cutts said the Freeview implementation would be similar to that already seen on Freesat. “The details were originally released in May, but the information was swamped in all the talk about Canvas,” he explained.

Cutts expects that a significant proportion of Freeview HD products sold from 2011 onwards will reach this specification, which includes facilities to deliver encrypted streams to TVs and to allow flexible ‘playlist’ presentation of content and advertising.

New Zealand is anticipated to introduce the MHEG-IC as early as January 2011.

Humax has already included the MHEG-IC in its Freeview HD receivers, but it was unable to include the MHEG streaming capability because the specification was not finalised in time for the products release, and a software update will be required. The manufacturer is also concentrating on its own Humax portal, supported by the ANT browser, and including both the BBC iPlayer and Sky Player services.


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