Osmosys will provide Belgian cable operator Telenet with middleware for the MHP Multimedia Home Platform, allowing the possibility of supporting multiple retail set-top boxes in the future.

Telenet is the largest provider of broadband cable services in Belgium, offering television, telephony and internet services, primarily to residential customers in Flanders, together with business services across Belgium and Luxembourg.

Osmosys will provide Telenet with middleware to support MHP 1.1.2, together with its Navigator and Tattoo graphic user interface tools, integrated personal digital video recorder software and a software development kit.

The Geneva-based company says that this will enable Telenet to integrate the MHP middleware stack into their preferred set-top boxes, while leaving a path open for set-top boxes running other MHP compliant software stacks. It says this will pave the way for a move from a “vertical” model in which set-top boxes are provided by the operator, to a full retail “horizontal” market in the future. Osmosys is calling the approach “on ramp to retail”.

As the MHP middleware solution is based on Java, Osmosys says additional functions such as pay-per-view, video-on-demand and electronic programme guides can be created either as third-party services or as embedded applications integrated in receivers.

“It is clear that PayTV operators are not able to change their modus operandi overnight,” said Anthony Smith-Chaigneau of Osmosys. “A transition time is needed for a full horizontal retail model and this new licensing scheme places the control firmly in the hands of the operators but does not detract from the final goal of the retail market.”

Osmosys says its business relationships are based on an “open-licensing” policy, “without the encumbrance of legacy systems or proprietary vertical market technologies associated with previous generations of middleware systems.”