Last August, we wrote about the Next Generation STB from the perspective of a hardware platform. We discussed its role as a video processing platform to convert to whatever format the consumer needed it in – as in what the display device required, which could be HD SDR, all the way to 4K HDR. A Next Generation STB however also needs to be other things, and one of the key roles is as an application environment, just not only in the ‘App Store’ sense.
The Next Generation STB must provide a slick user interface that is graphically rich to the viewer, as well as providing a high performance local execution environment for applications that provide access to a variety of video sources like Netflix, Amazon etc. The foundation of the Next Generation STB has become Linux over the last decade, forcing out 3rd party OS solutions and even middleware platforms to provide a pervasive robust and powerful software solution. Augmenting the native code power, the new middleware solution that has cut through is HTML5 web browser functionality, providing not only a UI platform but also a way of extending the capability of the STB through application browser integration.
This is the common thread that is seen in today’s next generation STB platforms, whether it uses a proprietary mix as in the case of Sky in the UK with the SkyQ platform, or RDK based platforms such as those from Liberty Global, NOS and, of course, Comcast themselves, or Android based, whether the AOSP (Android Open Source Platform) or the Google Android TV variant. Whichever solution that is picked by the operator, it must provide a foundation platform to provide not only locally executed applications, but also an edge execution platform for Cloud based software services. This really opens up the possibilities as the number of platform service solutions proliferate such as OTT video delivery, enhancements to metadata handling, search systems, content aggregation solutions, voice search and, one of the key growth areas, the Internet Of Things. This last area has the most promise and justification for selecting an advanced Next Generation STB, as the STB becomes an access device into the home technology platforms as they develop.
Whatever comes next in the evolution of home platforms though, the next generation STB has to be able to keep pace, so ensuring that you have the right capabilities is critical. This is where we come in. If you are at that juncture investigating how to move forward with your client base through the development of a Next Generation STB, do get in touch with us as we have significant experience in this area, defining the best technical strategy, architecting, designing, integrating and delivering the most suited technology for you, as we have done multiple times for the key operators and technology vendors, whether you are small or large – we can guide you in what you need and help deliver it. For more information see our case studies in the STB arena at /case-studies/case-study-ultrahd-stb/ and /case-studies/case-study-stb-development-acceptance-problems/.
Fairmile West is a Consulting company focused on working in the Consumer Device and Video arena. We work with clients on technology strategy and product delivery through key practices in Consumer Devices and Video Services. If you are interested in learning more about what we do, please do get in touch via our website – Contact us. You can also keep track with what interests us in the industry by following our Link blog at TV Tech News, and you can specifically follow news on Ultra HD via the following link – Ultra HD News.