Miniweb has teamed up with Metrological and Intel to demonstrate a reference design for a set-top box that offers converged broadcast and broadband delivered services. The result is an end-to-end platform that could deliver in a matter of months most, if not all, of the functionality promised by initiatives such as the Canvas project led by the BBC, with the benefit of supporting a broader ecosystem that could enable, rather than limit innovation.

Miniweb is providing the service management platform to enable interactive, internet delivered services to be integrated seamlessly into the television experience.

Metrological Media Innovations, based in The Netherlands, specialises in middleware and reference designs based on an Intel Media Processor.

The collaboration integrates the Metrological Metroconnect operating system with the Miniweb service platform and will be available on a range of consumer electronics devices based on the Intel processor, including satellite, cable and terrestrial set-top boxes and integrated digital television sets.

Miniweb showed informitv a reference set-top box implementation designed by Metrological, incorporating a twin-tuner digital video recorder in a compact case, providing a high-definition output and a slick user interface that is streets ahead of traditional interactive television services.

“Our partnership with Metrological is an important element in the next generation television experience,” explained Ian Valentine, the founder and chief architect of Miniweb Interactive, describing it as the “closest convergence ever of broadband and broadcast content”.

“Both Miniweb and Metrological have the ambition of changing the face of television,” said Albert Dahan, the founder and chief executive of Metrological. “By providing all the services necessary for broadcasters and content owners to interact with and reach the consumer, this combined solution really does offer the best of Internet video and traditional TV in one exciting high-quality service.”

The reference design is based on an Intel CE 3100, the first in a new Intel family of purpose-built system on chip processors.

“We believe that extending Intel architecture into consumer devices is one of the best routes to providing consumers with the high quality entertainment experiences that they crave,” suggested Eric Kim, who heads the Digital Home Group at Intel. “We look forward to working with Metrological and Miniweb to provide consumers and operators with what they need and the business models to support a next generation TV experience.”

With an Intel processor running on the Metrological middleware and reference design, supported by the Miniweb service platform, the integrated proposition is ready for deployment in a matter of months. Initially the the white-lable platform will be aimed at broadband service providers seeking to offer a hybrid broadband and broadcast proposition at a fraction of the cost of a classic IPTV deployment, as well as traditional platform operators aiming to integrate internet delivered services with their existing broadcasts.

While others in the industry may be waiting for Canvas or open standards initiatives to offer an integrated broadband and broadcast platform, this is another example of an implemented end-to-end system that is available today and capable of supporting multiple standards and media formats as they emerge and develop.