[opendtv] Re: Democrats Air Concerns About Analog Switchover

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 08:59:11 -0500

At 2:30 PM -0800 11/20/06, John Willkie wrote:
Gee, everybody else is telling me that MHEG was dead on arrival, and is
dying more and more every day.  I think you might benefit from actually
seeing the dearth of MHEG applications in Europe today.

I'm not an MHEG fan, but the reality is that it is widely deployed in Europe, and a requirement for Freeview receivers. And it seems to be working well enough to support a very lucrative "online' gambling business in the U.K. as well as support for shopping channels and other direct response business models.

I seriously doubt that OCAP/ACAP/GEM was being developed while you were
working on ATSC projects.  Even if they were, the fact that they now have a
common subclass where each operates definitely did not exist then: it was
only announced for the first time two years ago at the Tech Retreat.

This stuff has been in development for more than a decade. I agree that it continues to morph, trying to find a reason to exist. The reality is that the Internet has defined the landscape for interactivity. OCAP/ACAP/Gem and the rest of the attempts to control T-Commerce in walled gardens are doomed to failure. But they do cause many companies to spin their wheels trying to play the game, something that is also true for attempts to evolve the ATSC standard.

And, "being developed" is a lot different than "working" well. Together.

There is at least one multi-vendor A/90 ACAP/OCAP/GEM field trial going on
today, but I've probably already said too much.  When I talk to other
vendors, they ask "will this be something that really happens, or will it be
like MHEG?"

Time Warner tried to convince us in the early '90s that "Full Service Networks" would be the basis for television commerce in the future. I was there for the launch, complete with the over-engineered SGI "set top boxes." Time Warner wrote off more than a billion in investments in this service. But they did learn that there was a market for VOD...


There is not a ghost of a chance of OCAP et all succeeding. The cable industry can;t have it both ways. They are now addicted to the revenue from cable modems. Consumers with web access are NOT going to support efforts to build "walled shopping malls" on their TV displays using standards like OCAP.

If you have not figured this out already, John, there is a large industry working on all kinds of standards that never gain any traction. But it looks good to the FCC and the COngress critters. "See, we are working on solution!"

Yeah Right.

They are working on maintaining market share and preventing anyone from breaking out with something that consumers really want. If you doubt this just look at the DRM wars that are causing product to become obsolete before they can be used...

1394 with DTCP

I sincerely hope that John is able to develop products that broadcasters need and will use. But I would not bet on John being able to buy a mansion in La Hoya any time soon...


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