Sunday, March 28, 2010

GEM IPTV Interactive Interface

Around 2001 I looked at the web based Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) standards for adding web like features to broadcast TV and was not very impressed. There is now Globally Executable MHP (GEM), a followup specification for adding web-like interaction to digital broadcast TV, IPTV and Blu-Ray players. I am also not impressed with GEM.

Like MHP, this is a formal set of standards (ETSI TS 102 819, ETSI TS 102 728, ITU Recommendation ITU-T J.202). GEM assumes the consumer device has Java and then assumes the makers of a class of devices (such as set top boxes or DVD players) define a set of features for such devices.

Like MHP the features of each GEM implementation has to be very carefully defined, as the devices will be produces in the millions and the communications media for broadcast TV and DVD players is very constrained and non-interactive. The consumer device can't simply request a different version of some content from the broadcaster or from the DVD disk, as the communication is one way. The consumer does not expect to have to keep upgrading their low cost box with more memory and software.

In the case of IPTV the situation could be different, as IP indicates "Internet Protocol" which is usually interactive. However, devices and series from the broadcast industry for IPTV tend to build the same limitations as broadcast TV in.

While I see standards such as GEM as being needed for enhancing broadcast TV and DVDs, I don;t see these as very important platforms or ones with large growth potential. The future web-like format for use on Internet-like networks is simply the actual web on the actual Internet. Rather than the Internet and the web constraining themselves to fit with the limitations set by old fashioned broadcast digital TV, I see digital TV being a legacy service on the Internet.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Parliament Media Archive Specification

The Federal Department of Parliamentary Services has issued a Request for Tender for "Provision of Equipment and Services for Media Asset Management and Archiving Solution" (ATM ID DPS09001, 5-May-2009). They are seeking hardware, software and services for digital capture, segmentation, delivery, archiving and management of audiovisual content from the Parliament. They also have an existing 55,000 hours of broadcast quality video of Parliamentary proceedings to digitise. What makes this interesting is that the tender documents (available to registered companies) include a detailed specification of the system including free TV metadata:

6.1 Overview ... 33
6.2 Content Capture ... 35
6.3 Content Enrichment ... 39
6.4 Non Linear Editing ... 41
6.5 Content Storage ... 42
6.6 Content Distribution—Platforms ... 43
6.7 Content Distribution—Client Access ... 44
6.8 System Management—Administration .... 48
6.9 System Management—Health/Status Monitoring .... 49
6.10 System Management—Information Reporting ... 50
6.11 System Management—Account Access and Content Security ... 51
6.12 Data Migration of File Based Content ... 52
6.13 System Integration ... 52
6.14 System Architecture and Technology ... 54
6.15 Project Implementation Plan .... 55
6.16 Acceptance Testing ... 56
6.17 Documentation .... 58
6.18 Training .... 60
6.19 Support and Maintenance ... 60
6.20 Additional Services—Back-Capture of Archive Content ... 61
9.1 Solution Overview ... 79
9.2 Content Capture ... 79
9.3 Content Enrichment ... 85
9.4 Non-Linear Editing .... 89
9.5 Content Storage ... 90
9.6 Content Distribution—Platforms ... 93
9.7 Content Distribution—Client Access ... 94
9.8 System Management—Administration ... 100
9.9 System Management—Health/Status Monitoring ... 103
9.10 System Management—Information Reporting .... 104
9.11 System Management—Account Access and Content Security .... 106
9.12 Data Migration of File Based Content ... 107
9.13 System Integration .... 108
9.14 System Architecture and Technology ... 110
9.15 Project Implementation .... 113
9.16 Acceptance Testing .... 113
9.17 Documentation ... 116
9.18 Training ... 118
9.19 Support and Maintenance ... 119
9.20 Additional Services—Back-Capture of Archive Content ... 121

Appendix A—Metadata Exchange
Appendix B—EMMS Metadata
Appendix C—Data Storage Backup and Recovery Principles
Appendix D—APH Style Manual
Appendix E—User Permissions
Appendix F—APH ICT Architecture and Standards
Appendix G—Chamber Microphone Interface
Appendix H—ScheduAll Data Schema
Appendix I—ParlInfo Schema
Appendix J—Broadcast Standards Manual ...

From Table of Contents, "Provision of Equipment and Services for Media Asset Management and Archiving Solution", Department of Parliamentary Services (ATM ID DPS09001, 5-May-2009).

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Documentary of Newcastle 2007 Floods

MV Pasha Bulker aground June 2007 on Nobbys Beach, NSWThe multimedia documentary "A June to Remember" was produced by

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Pocket and Palm Projectors

Aiptek Pocket Cinema V10 projectorMint Wireless Limited loaned me one of their Aiptek Pocket Cinema V10 projectors to try. This is a unit about the size and shape of a mobile phone and projects an image of up to 1.27m. It will play videos and audio as well as show still images at 640 x 480 Pixel VGA resolution. It has a built in battery and charges from a USB cable as well as mains adaptor. You can also play composite video and stereo audio.

However, the unit has several limitations. The unit does not appear to be able to display the live image from a computer screen: there is no VGA connector and the USB link only works to transfer files for later display. The screen is not very bright and so needs to be used in a dim room. The sound quality from the tiny internal speakers is poor. The price is under $AU700.

Dell M109S On-the-Go ProjectorDELL offer the much larger (but still small), Dell M109S On-the-Go Projector for $US499. This has 858 x 600 SVGA resolution and VGA input. It appears to lack the speakers, battery and internal storage features making it dependent on external devices, whereas the Aiptek Pocket Cinema can be used on its own.

Like the Apitek, the Dell uses a LED light source in place of a conventional light bulb, making it more efficient and longer lasting. The Dell uses more power and therefore hopefully is brighter. The Dell unit looks better for use with a PC for presentations, whereas the Apitek may be useful where you just want to play a video or an audio slide show.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Rodos Sound and Light Show

In the Municipal Gardens of Rodos, just outside the wall of the old city or Rhodes is a sound and light show about the history of the island. Unfortunately it wasn't operating when I was visiting, with the city council worried about the cost. These shows seem to be common in tourist areas and are an inexpensive form of entertainment and education for the tourists. The audio commentary is provided in several languages, with different times for different languages. The lighting effects are computer controlled and synchronized with the commentary and music.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bridge of HMAS Brisbane at the Australian War Memorial.

The bridge from the warship HMAS Brisbane has been installed as a multimedia display at the Australian War Memorial. Unlike other exhibits at the memorial, which are hopused in the building which you can walk around, this now forms part of the building and you walk inside it.

The bridge is about the size of a two story house and has been attached by a walkway to the back of the new "Conflicts 1945 to today" gallery. You walk up a metal stairway, much like on a ship and onto the bridge. At this point you have actually stepped out of the building, but this is not apparent, as the windows of the bridge have been blacked out. The six windows immediately in front have been covered with large LCD screens and play two videos, reenacting operations of the ship off the coast of Vietnam and in the Persian Gulf.

The video displays are a little ghostly: they show the sea and sky, as it would appear out of the windows of the ship, with the crew reflected in them. This is a clever ides, but the images of the crew are indistinct. The LCD monitors used are a bit too big and do not fit in the space of the bridge windows, partly spoiling the effect (smaller LCD displays could be used). Also the bridge is so dark is it difficult to see anything (and dangerous for elderly visitors).

The AWM might want to change the presentation so it starts with the view of the sea and then introduces the images of the crew, gradually fading out the sea. At the end of the presentation, they could be faded out and the sea reappear.

More floor level lighting could be used (from LED strips), to help visitors, particularaly the ederly.