TV gateways and the quest for the perfect UI

TV gateways are officially the Next Big Thing in set-top box design, with two major deployments in 2011 and another half a dozen planned or pending.

12/14/2011


IMS research: excellence in market intelligneceTV gateways are officially the Next Big Thing in set-top box design, with two major deployments in 2011 and another half a dozen planned or pending. Major set-top box manufacturers have been promoting gateway and thin client prototypes for a couple of years now, and a handful of North American and European operators are taking the plunge.

Gateways, which terminate conditional access and distribute programming around the home to thin IP client boxes, are a logical step forward for operators looking to offer new services or manage existing services more easily. In most households, this includes whole home content distribution, delivery of programming to portable CE devices, and content storage. Swapping out a multi-DVR setup for a TV gateway and thin client arrangement is expected to decrease operator CAPEX per home significantly over the next several years. Perhaps more importantly, advanced TV gateway designs can enable a new range of operator-provided home services and substantially boost ARPU. Managing a bouquet of new services over multiple devices requires a new level of user interface sophistication, and operators are keen to produce a UI that turns a multi-device interaction into a uniform, branded experience.

Developing a perfect gateway UI requires synchronizing several major moving parts. Content protection and formatting limits must be seamlessly managed, and pushing content to connected CE devices such as tablets requires additional legwork. Modifying current UIs that are based on a 2-way stack with two tuners to handle four or even six tuners is problematic, and the balance of UI functionality between gateways and thin clients will change as gateways become more powerful. The thin IP clients produced for current and pending gateway deployments are a bit more capable than future designs will be, in part to make up for what current gateway models can’t do. Specifically, management of the core semiconductors that keep today’s HD DVRs going aren’t capable of live transcoding of several streams, and it’ll be another two years before Intel and Broadcom’s new chipsets can be integrated into new designs.

UI developers have a bit of time before the next generation of gateways demands a more capable UI. Several HTML-based UIs have taken shape, with three dominant standards: RVU, CEA-2014, and HTML5. Over the past several months several major middleware developers, including Nagra/OpenTV, NDS, and SeaChange, have introducted remote user interfaces in HTML5. Interest in HTML5 gives the World Wide Web Consortium a significant amount of influnce over television remote UIs going forward.

It is unlikely that operators that introduce TV gateways in the next year to 18 months will be able to pass new equipment costs on to consumers without adding significant value to the whole-home television experience. A comprehensive but straightforward UI will add a great deal to gateway offerings, allowing operators to reduce CAPEX and devise new revenue streams.



Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
March 2018
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Industrial Analytics
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
IIoT: Operations & IT
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me