Today MacMagazine became aware of a very interesting project that involves digital TV and interactivity with iPhones / iPods touch. As very few people already have access to technology in Brazil, including the one who writes to you, who has not yet played with the novelty, we try to clarify in this article as much as it works.
Who contacted us was the Bruno Seabra Nogueira Mendona Lima, researcher at Laboratorio Telemdia at PUC in Rio de Janeiro. Telemdia, in conjunction with LAVID from UFPB, for those who do not know, is responsible for creating and maintaining the Ginga software layer that supports interactivity on digital TV.
Ginga runs on the receiver (set-up-box) of digital TV is responsible for promoting several innovative features, among them the interactivity of the viewer with a TV program. The Ginga consists of two parts: the Ginga-NCL (standard standardized by ABNT), which uses the NCL language as a programming base, and the Ginga-J, which uses the Java language as a programming base. “Ginga's function is to abstract the hardware peculiarities of the different models of receivers, making authors of multimedia applications able to write these applications independently of the hardware”, explains Bruno.
Among its main advantages over other solutions in the world, there is the fact that Ginga is the only middleware with implementation in open code, support for live editing of interactive programs and support for multiple devices (this is where the main theme of this post comes in). It is worth mentioning that Ginga is a 100% national contribution to the Brazilian digital TV system.
Telemdia announced that it is working on the development of the middleware Ginga (passive) for Apple's mobile platform, opening doors for interaction with various digital TV applications on iPhones / iPods touch. The most interesting thing is that the Brazilian Digital TV System is the only one in the world that allows such technology, so we are getting ahead.
With the support of multiple devices, Ginga opens doors for interactivity with the interactive application originating from several sources. For example, it is possible that devices such as a smartphone / cell phone can receive the media from the receiver, run them on their own screen and send back to the set-top box interaction commands in the special case of the iPhone, the touch on the screen.
With this technology, Bruno raises the possibility of having the following scenario: a football game is playing on television and a polemical move takes place (an unmarked penalty, for example). Through live editing, the broadcaster can send you an interactive application (strip), but you are not watching the game alone, or you are only interested in watching the strip. Then, through the iPhone, you can activate interactivity and the application launched only on the device. In this way, the person does not hinder others who are watching the game, but still has access to the cops (as many times as they want).
Participants of the iPhone Developer Program since mid-March, Telemdia people are already in the final testing phase of the Ginga application for iPhones / iPods touch, which, when ready, will be made available for free on the App Store. It will communicate with the receiver via Wi-Fi, but they are already working on a way of abstracting the type of connection, allowing use also by devices that only have Bluetooth.