The Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV

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9780130173607: The Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV

There's a revolution coming to your TV: a digital, interactive, Internet-enabled revolution that will make possible services you've never imagined! The next TV revolution comes with new technologies, new standards, new architectures, and new business paradigms. Finally, there's a single source for up-to-the-minute insight into every aspect of next-generation digital TV: The Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV. From MPEG-4 to middleware, webcasting to Java OS, Gerard O'Driscoll covers the state-of-the-art, comparing the strategies and technologies -- and cutting through the hype. Start by reviewing the building blocks of digital TV, including compression, encoding, modulation, conditional access, transmission, and network management. Preview next-generation digital set-tops, understanding their key features and components. Compare the leading set-top operating systems, including JavaOS, Windows CE, David OS-9, PowerTV, VxWorks, pSOS+, and other key entries. Understand the technologies and opportunities associated with Internet-based TV, including set-top Web browsing, webcasting, email, online chat, broadband applications, video on demand, parental controls, and more. Compare today's hottest electronic program guides (EPGs), and discover how they promise to serve as 21st century portals to the TV experience. If it's part of the digital interactive TV revolution, you'll learn about it in The Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV! For everyone who needs to know where TV is headed, including investors, managers, marketing or PR professionals, software developers, public policy professionals, and consumers.

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Product Description:

Everything you need to know about the coming digital interactive TV revolution! Theres a revolution coming to your TV: a digital, interactive, Internet-enabled revolution that will make possible services youve never imagined! The next TV revolution comes with new technologies, new standards, new architectures, and new business paradigms. Finally, theres a single source for up-to-the-minute insight into every aspect of next-generation digital TV: The Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV! From MPEG-4 to middleware, webcasting to Java OS, Gerard ODriscoll covers the state-of-the-art, comparing the strategies and technologies-and cutting through the hype. Coverage includes all this, and more: * Digital TV building blocks: compression, encoding, modulation, conditional access, transmission, and management * Advanced digital set-tops: features, components, installation, and troubleshooting * Set-top operating systems: JavaOS, Windows CE, David OS-9, PowerTV, VxWorks, pSOS+, Linux, and more * Internet-based TV: set-top Web browsing, webcasting, email, online chat, broadband applications, video on demand, parental controls, and more * Electronic program guides (EPGs)

Review:

Don't let the title mislead you: The Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV isn't a primer for using WebTV's enhanced services. This book is for software, programming, and TV professionals looking to capitalize on this paradigm shift in the delivery of information and entertainment. With that in mind, Gerard O'Driscoll has done a masterly job of condensing a complex subject.

The book starts off by briefly explaining the roles of the various international standards groups and taking you through the building blocks of digital TV. O'Driscoll is clearly familiar with digital TV's underlying technology, offering detailed information about competing operating systems, development platforms, and broadband networks.

Less clear are the benefits and drawbacks to all of the factors involved. O'Driscoll occasionally touches upon these--such as when he notes Microsoft's difficulties in cracking the digital set-top business--but too often he fails to provide analysis of why a certain method works better than another, or why one technology has been more successful in gathering momentum. For example, he notes that electronic cash as a potential digital TV application must be safe from counterfeiting and other forms of fraud, but he doesn't mention what initiatives are underway to prevent them. It would also be helpful to have an idea of how viable such applications are in the near future.

Nonetheless, this is a useful, if seriously technical, guide to what the future of TV may hold. For software developers and television executives alike, The Essential Guide to Digital Set-Top Boxes and Interactive TV is just that--essential. --John Frederick Moore

Topics covered: Building blocks of a digital TV system, architecture of a set-top OS, middleware standards, set-top application development, choice of broadband intranet applications, and general principles of designing for a TV environment.

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