The European DVB project is issuing a renewed call to the owners of intellectual property that may be essential to its MHP specification for the open standard Multimedia Home Platform middleware for interactive television services.
The DVB says it is currently reviewing its MHP specification and the licensing terms offered by rights holders. Owners of relevant patents are being invited to declare them directly to the DVB project office.
An initial call for declarations of intellectual property rights or IPR essential to MHP was made in 2003. These declarations formed the foundation of a licensing programme or patent pool for MHP.
The DVB says that the commercial terms proposed by this pool, operated by Via Licensing, have concerned many of its members. Some felt that the royalties being sought were too high and would stifle interactive television initiatives. This has in part prompted this renewed call for declarations
The DVB previously said that it had worked hard to promote a favourable licensing and compliance environment for MHP and that it would be extremely disappointing if the market concludes that the terms required by the MHP pool block further commercialisation.
Once onerous IPR issues have been identified, the DVB may consider developing a further MHP specification without related functionalities or with alternatives.
MHP forms the basis of the OCAP standard in the United States, which could form the basis of a new generation of interactive middleware for their cable television systems. After many years of stalling, OCAP is back on the agenda, with support from companies such as OpenTV, NDS and Motorola.
In Europe, adoption of MHP has been slow, largely confined to Italy, partly as a result of the very different broadcasting environment and the significance of public service broadcasters and free-to-air television.