Pixsan's Blog

Ant and Pixsan integrate Galio and Elgist suite for complete go-to-market solution

ant-3d-logo-200px

Ant software Ltd of Cambridge (UK) has worked with Pixsan to integrate a complete hybrid DVB-x, DSM-CC and IP solution for connected TV DVRs. The implementation is able to support HbbTV and Dbook7 Part B.

More details are here:

http://www.antlimited.com/ant_galio_suite.asp

Andy blog2 Pixsan project  management

 

 

  

Hi there. I thought I would start the first of my Blog sessions selfishly with the topic closest to my own job function.

I look after project managment and resourcing. Given that Pixsan is only small (about 14 engineers) this may not appear initially to be a difficult task to take on. However with embedded engineering nothing can be taken for granted. The development we undertake can involve a number of components with the eco-system of a STB or DTV and we have to manage carefully the different strands.

Let's take a typical twin tuner HD DVR for example. Today's typical advance product deliverable may include the following:

  • True dual record (record two HD channels, watch another)
  • MHEG5 interactivity.
  • Integrated HTML browser.
  • Media Player
  • DLNA
  • Applications.

To support such a project Pixsan will typically be interfacing with the following companies:

Company 1 - The brand, retailer or reseller
Company 2 - The silicon vendor
Company 3-  The OEM
Company 4 - The browser supplier
Company 5 - The standards or compliance organisation
Company 6 - The Device Rights Managment (DRM) supplier
Company 7 - The application company

In fact companies 5 and 7 could indeed be companies 5,7,8,9,10 etc

You get the picture. Such a development is most often called a System Integration or  just "Integration". Most times Pixsan contracts in the role of main Integrator, however often we will play a sub-integration role helping another Integration company to succeed.

All the technologies and the relationships and support that accompany the technologies that go into the Integration come with differing challenges which change over the course of the project. An added complication of course is that the hub or centre of the specific issues and topics may not be controlled by the Integrator. For example, a Compliance Organisation may change, say, the requirements upon the Browser supplier; or the silicon vendor may change the specifications of the SoC on the OEM. In each case the onus is on relationships between the differing companies to communicate with each other to manage the the effect of the changes.

From a project managment perspective, particularly in the role of Integrator, it is important to ensure that I keep across all of the relationships as best I can.

At Pixsan we try to avoid having lots of project meetings because tying up so many companies can cost alot of time (consider that 7 companies in a 1 hour meeting where each company has an average of say 1.5 people present could mean a loss of productivity of a day and half!) We try to manage with two key words; Agility and flexibility whilst maintaining accuracy and quality by having only the best people working on tasks.

Some of the tools we use are:

  • Microsoft project - Much maligned but a great tool for resource and time planning.
  • Bugzilla - For bug tracking.
  • JournyX - For accurate timesheets and resource analysis.
  • Basecamp - For an excellent alternative to email for communication and document management.
  • Skype - For quick and effective low cost calls but also for IMing (Text communication is often much more effective than the spoken word.

And last but not least, some creative down time with the team....it's important to us, and to you. to nurture a great work ethic.

Till next time. 

youview-logo-247094

YouView marked the next stage of its engagement with industry today as it published its final core technical specification for launch and announced further device partners.

A single technical document, detailing the core YouView interoperability specification for launch is now available on the YouView web site.(1)

The YouView Core Technical Specification references the Digital Television Group’s D-Book 7 (2) and provides a set of technologies to enable the delivery of broadcast and IP enabled content onto a television set via a broadband connected device.

Any manufacturer will be able to use the specification to bring products to market sharing the same underlying technologies as a YouView device. It will also give those manufacturers interested in developing and deploying a device under the YouView brand a broad understanding of what will be required.

“We’re delighted to confirm the final launch specification for YouView to help any manufacturer develop a connected TV device. Through promoting common technical standards for connected TV, consumers will get the widest possible range of devices supporting high quality content,” said Richard Halton, CEO, YouView.

YouView also announced today a further group of device partners – Huawei, Manhattan (3), Pace and Vestel – that are involved in developing YouView devices, following its call for expressions of interest in August 2010.

These device partners join Cisco, Humax and Technicolor, who have already committed to developing YouView set top boxes.

Halton added: “All of these companies have demonstrated expertise in bringing consumer electronics products to market, with wide reach and strong brands. I look forward to working with them all as we continue to strengthen the YouView ecosystem to bring more choice to consumers.”

Notes to editor:

  1. For further information on the YouView Core Technical Specification go to:www.youview.com/industry/resources
  2. The D-Book 7 is the detailed interoperability specification for digital terrestrial television with extended Connected TV functionality. D-Book 7 is divided into two parts: Part A, the UK broadcast specification and Part B beta v0.9 contains the architecture and protocols which may be used for interoperable IP delivered services in the UK. The YouView specification currently references D-Book Part A, which has been finalised by the DTG. YouView will reference D-Book Part B once the DTG has updated the current version to a non-beta form.
  3. The Manhattan Technology consortium includes Pixsan Digital Software Ltd and Skardin (UK) Ltd

For comment from YouView Device Partners please go to: www.youview.com/industry/devices/partners

Latens logo

Latens and Pixsan Integrate MHEG-5 open standards middleware platform

NEW DELHI — Convergence India — Latens, a market leader in software Conditional Access and Middleware for digital Pay TV has partnered with Pixsan to provide the most cost effective MHEG-5 middleware solution for Cable operators. Demonstrated at Convergence India 2009, March 18 – 20 New Delhi, Latens and Pixsan offer a complete client solution of software only Conditional Access (CAS) and MHEG-5 based middleware, providing content security with full open standards technology offering operators a combination of enhanced services with highly competitive deployment and running costs.

MHEG-5 is a true open standard interactive broadcast system deployed in over 30 Million receivers worldwide in countries such as UK, New Zealand and Hong Kong and can be used to deliver a wide variety of applications; from basic news and sports data services to platform wide advanced EPGs, enhanced Teletext interactive advertising, and mosaic/multi-screen applications. MHEG also enables operators targeted advertising capability as an additional service to traditional TV to improve ARPU. Fully customisable with Open GPL authoring tools, operators can now develop and deploy a rich set of interactive applications and provide their customers Value Added Services in a cost effective manner.

“This complete client offer means we can provide cable operators with another route to compete with DTH and increase their revenue generating services. It is crucial for operators trying to maximize ARPU that they have a cost effective and open standards CAS and Middleware solution, something that our partnership and integration with Pixsan provides.” Says Alex Borland, Head of Business Development, Latens.

“The MHEG-5 technology is backed by an increasing number of major broadcasters including the BBC, validating the need for deployment of open standard technology and is gaining traction in new countries. By integrating MHEG-5 with a key CAS player like Latens, we can enable operators to offer robust, feature rich interactivity coupled with low cost.” says Jon Williams, Managing Director, Pixsan.

Latens Pay TV solutions, including its software only Conditional Access and Middleware technology enrich the viewer experience and protect the content and increase average revenue per user (ARPU) of over 100 operators worldwide across Cable, IPTV, DTT and DTH.

smart talkSmart Talk™ from Goodmans wins in the ‘Consumer Product’ category at The Engineer Technology and Innovation Awards 2010

Award for partnership that brought the world’s first talking Freeview digital box to UK high streets.

Smart Talk from Goodmans picked up a prestigious award at The Engineer Technology and Innovation Awards 2010 within the ‘Consumer Products’ category. Smart Talk is the world’s first talking Freeview digital box, featuring integrated ‘text to speech’ (TTS) with an easy to use menu system. Marketed under the Goodmans brand, Smart Talk is the result of collaboration between the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Harvard International plc (Goodmans), Pixsan, TW Electronics and Loquendo.

Many people take reading a television guide or on-screen channel information for granted, but for millions of older people or those who struggle to read print, it can be a daily challenge that can knock a person’s confidence and leave them isolated from everyday conversations about TV.

Smart Talk has been designed with ease of use in mind and has high contrast colour schemes, variable font sizes and extensive help features. Users can access talking TV menus, talking programme guides and reminders, whilst easily changing the volume, speed and amount of information relayed. The remote control has been designed with tactile features, high contrast and larger buttons, including ‘One Button’ access to audio description and subtitles.

The judges were most impressed with the diverse blend of companies that produced the innovative Smart Talk. Jon Excell, Editor of The Engineer and one of the judges, says; “Winning entries to The Engineer Technology and Innovation Awards had to demonstrate a high degree of collaboration, innovation and likely impact on their intended market. Smart Talk ticked all three boxes and was a worthy winner. We were particularly impressed by the interesting mix of companies who came together to develop Smart Talk; from non-engineering partners to both large and small technology-led businesses. Elegantly simple and extremely innovative, Smart Talk was a clear winner in our consumer technology category.”

Steve Tyler, RNIB Head of Innovation and Development, speaks on behalf of all the companies involved with producing Smart Talk: "We are thrilled to receive this award. All parties have worked extremely hard to make Smart Talk a reality.  Pixsan’s digital TV software teamed with RNIB’s carefully designed user interface specifications and TW Electronics’ input into the easy-to-use remote control ensure that the groundbreaking text to speech technology from Loquendo work together to create this innovative product for our customers.

TV plays a huge role in our national culture and sparks millions of conversations, so making sure that blind and partially sighted people and others who struggle to read on screen information can also take part is vital. Smart Talk offers a real solution, so we are very proud to win this title.”

John Edwards, Director of Communications at Harvard International, adds: “ The concept of integrating text to speech software in this way is pioneering and has never before featured in a consumer electronics product of this type. We were thrilled to work with a respected and knowledgeable organisation like RNIB to create a product to help millions of people to enjoy the latest digital television.”

Silvio Nasi, Sales Director of Embedded Technologies at Loquendo, commented: “We at Loquendo get a great sense of satisfaction from knowing that this collaboration between RNIB, Harvard International and Pixsan has helped to make set-top-boxes accessible to many people in society who are often excluded from using technology, such as partially sighted and blind people.”

Smart Talk is available nationwide through John Lewis, Currys Megastores and PC World plus online stores, including from RNIB (www.rnib.org.uk), and is an ideal, award winning gift for Christmas.

For further information contact Stacey Lynn at Synergy Creative on 0117 377798 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes to editor:  

  • Smart Talk™ is an easy to use talking Freeview digital box from Goodmans at around £99.

  • It gives access to up to 50 Freeview TV channels and 24 digital radio stations with high quality pictures and sound.

  • Smart Talk offers features not offered by other digital boxes, including a talking EPG and programme reminders.

  • Those eligible for the digital Switchover Help Scheme will be entitled to receive a £30 discount on buying a Smart Talk™ Freeview digital box. To check eligibility please visit  www.helpscheme.co.uk.

  • Smart Talk is available from John Lewis, Currys, Amazon and RNIB. For more details please see www.smart-talk.com.

  • Further benefits and background information can also be found on www.smart-talk.com.

About RNIB

Every day another 100 people in the UK will start to lose their sight. There are around two million people in the UK with sight problems. RNIB is the leading charity working in the UK offering practical support, advice and information for anyone with sight difficulties. RNIB has made a significant commitment to support industry to bring really accessible and usable products onto the market. If you, or someone you know, has a sight problem RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk.  

RNIB is a partner in the UK Vision Strategy, a ground-breaking UK-wide initiative which seeks a major transformation in the UK's eye health, eye care and sight loss services. The strategy launched in April 2008 in response to a World Health Assembly global resolution to reduce avoidable blindness by the year 2020 and to improve support and services for blind and partially sighted people. To find out more visit: www.vision2020uk.org.uk/ukvisionstrategy.

About Goodmans

Goodmans is part of Harvard International plc, which has operated for more than 40 years in the global consumer electronic products market. Today its focus is very much on added value digital vision and audio products, such as digital TV set-top boxes (STBs), recorders (DTRs) and digital radio, targeting specific local market opportunities, for example, the UK's popular, free-to-air TV services. For further information, please visit www.harvardplc.com

About TW Electronics

TW Electronics is a UK based specialist in the design, creation and distribution of many different applications of remote controls. They are closely involved with the UK led drive to greater usability of Consumer Electronic products. TW Electronics currently holds the chair of the DTG (Digital Television Group) Remote Control Group. This Group is committed to the creation of good practice guidelines in the overall usability of remote controls. Please see www.twelectronics.co.uk for further detail of our business activities.

About Pixsan Digital Software – Digital TV Software

Pixsan is a broadcast DVB and IPTV software provider for STBs and TVs. The company specialises in Freesat, Freeview HD and Freeview STB, Digital TV Recorders and iDTV solutions for the UK market as well as solutions for overseas. Pixsan’s technology than can be found in many leading consumer electronics products with many millions of units sold. The company has particular competency in interactivity and usability and is heavily committed to the rapidly developing area of so called hybrid TV technologies where broadcast and internet TV will operate together for increased consumer choice.

Pixsan is based in Shipley, West Yorkshire. For more information, please visit www.pixsan.com

About the Engineer Awards

The Engineer Technology & Innovation Awards 2010 turn the spotlight on the fruits of this collaborative process.  Now in its fourth year, this prestigious awards scheme is run by The Engineer, the leading magazine and website for technology and innovation, in conjunction with main sponsor BAE Systems. Awards in ten categories spanning the key sectors of engineering and technology

For more than 150 years, The Engineer has covered innovation in engineering and technology through economic booms, recessions and wars. A glance back through its pages teaches us that when times get tough, recovery is built on the foundations laid by innovation and ingenuity.  That is as true in 2010 as ever and with the financial sector still in disarray, engineering and technology are back at the top of the national agenda.

About Loquendo - Speech Technology and Services

Awarded Speech Industry ‘Market Leader’ for the past four years, Loquendo provides a complete range of speech technologies for server, embedded and desktop solutions – in 30 languages with 72 voices, and constantly growing - helping businesses deliver a next-generation client experience while saving them millions each year.

Loquendo Embedded Technologies are innovative, easy-to-integrate solutions deployed in more than 14 million mobile and on-board navigation systems globally, as well as powering PDAs, assistive devices, virtual Web-assistants and other embedded solutions around the world.
Loquendo TTSLoquendo ASR, and Loquendo Speaker Verification are high-quality, high-performance technologies, also available on the Loquendo MRCP Server and VoiceXML, CCXML & SCXML platform.

Loquendo is a Telecom Italia company headquartered in Turin, Italy, with offices in the US, Spain, Germany and France, and a global network of partners. For more info, and to hear Loquendo TTS for yourself, go to www.loquendo.com.

Last year one of Pixsan's products came to the rescue! Pixsan MD Jon Williams had one of the very first Pixsan powered prototype Freeview HD iDTVs in his car, having just travelled from the DTG where it had been being tested. Jon had stopped to watch the England v. Lithuania World Cup qualifying game at local Twickenham pub The Turk's Head. A regional power cut affected a large area including the pub just 8 minutes into the game. Using a friends power inverter and a small antenna Jon kept for emegencies (of a different type than this!) the entire pub was soon watching the game from the roof of Jon's car!

tower

You'll have to decide if this is humourous or not.

The side of digital TV that certainly the folks here at Pixsan would not wish to investigate. No enquiries please...