In the area of service provider, the interactive TV mainly requires:
- Hardware – A SETTOP box.
- Software – Set of instructions (For interaction)
The hardware manufacturers (e.g., Sony, Philips, Nokia, etc.) design, produce, and assemble the settop boxes (STB).
- Operating systems developers (i.e., Java Virtual Machine by SunMicrosystem, Windows CE by Microsoft, and Linus) provide many services, such as resource allocation, scheduling, input/ output control, and data management.
- Middleware providers and developers provide programming that serves to glue together or mediate between two separate and usually already-existing programs. Middleware in iDTV is also referred to the Application Programming Interface (API); it functions as a transition/ conversion layer of network architecture that ensures compatibility between the basal infrastructure (the operating system) and diverse upper-level applications. There are four competing technologies:
These are all proprietary solutions acting as technological barriers trying to lock-in the customers. This situation creates vertical market where there is no interoperability, and only programs and applications written specifically for a system can run on it.
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