RealTime IT News

OpenTV Promises Internet Over Next

Jack Armstrong, OpenTV's vice president of wireless strategy, has revealed that the company hopes to "progressively" rollout Internet-capable versions of its set-top box middleware starting this year.

It is hoped that all set top boxes running OpenTV middleware will have Internet capability "fully integrated and fully Internet capable within two years," Armstrong told Pay-TV Today at the Broadcast@Internet conference in London.

OpenTV, arguably one of the front runners in set-top box middleware provision, was until last year fast becoming one of the few middleware companies not preparing to offer Internet capability. However, the company has sought to redress the balance with the acquisition of Internet browser specialist Spyglass, for whom Armstrong originally worked.

Asked whether the existing hardware operating the current versions of OpenTV, which the company claims runs to around 11 million individual installations, would be capable of handling the new versions of its middleware, Armstrong said that it would depend on the age of the boxes themselves.

As an example, he said that those offered by BSkyB, which have been regularly replaced would probably only need an overnight software download to change to operating systems, but those older boxes operated, for example, by TPS in France, would probably need to be replaced.

Armstrong said that the concept of old and new in terms of STB's is somewhat different from the computer world, in that the average box has a seven year lifespan, whereas the average computer is out of date within 18 months. Some of TPS's STBs are getting long in the tooth at around four years old, and would definitely need to be replaced before they can run the new middleware versions.