ETech – Taking Back Television

What is television? A collection of transports, a format involving synced picture and sound, an activity. Opening up distribution channels to any interested party is the goal. Original access issues: airwaves as public trust, multiplicity of voices–solutions public broadcasting, cable must carry laws, public access. low power licensees. Problems for emerging technologies: access to a dev environment, standards, cut cable operators in on revenues.

What’s the solution to this? An open media platform. 1) need a set-top box (it’s a low end PC, tuner card, NTSC output, software–linux, mozilla for middleware, Mplayer and Mplayer plug-in, digital content recorder). 2) need an electronic program guide (content and transport agnostic, user controlled, open to any interested party).

Problems with traditional iTV (because of latency, slow modem, weak browsers, interrupting “viewer experience”).

Next up was a demo of their open media platform. Showed a Wahlberg movie (BoomTown) with a banner add pane imbedded into the TV window that displayed contextual information to what we were watching as scenes drove by (like buy the DVD from Amazon, soap ad someone was using in the shower, soundtrack issue, IMDB information, they called it “enhancement information.”) This information could come down from an NBC or bittorrent feed. In another demo showed a sample documentary how to make an atomic bomb. In the middle of it, they let the user interact with multimedia content immediately on your TV versus pointing them to the website with it. The video triggers HTML/javascript. All this functionality they said could happen with exciting set box technology.

More information at