Interactive television software from the company of that name.
OpenTV is one of the pioneers of interactive television, beginning life in 1994 as a joint development and marketing alliance between Thomson Multimedia and Sun Microsystems. Liberty Media Corporation acquired a controlling stake in OpenTV in 2002 and later that year OpenTV acquired Wink Communications.
OpenTV software or middleware has been widely deployed on millions of set-top boxes around the world, adopted by more than fifty satellite, cable and terrestrial service operators, perhaps most notably on the BSkyB digital satellite platform in the UK.
Despite the name, OpenTV is a proprietary solution available under commercial licences to set-top box manufacturers and application developers.
OpenTV provides production and publishing tools that can be used alone or in combination, providing comprehensive support for content providers and application developers.
OpenTV Author provides a Windows hosted visual authoring tool with a menu-driven, drag-and-drop graphical user interface. Projects are authored by adding scenes or pages and editing the properties and actions of pre-built gadgets or components to provide visual layout, timing and interactivity without requiring specific programming skills. A development kit is available to create custom gadgets to extend the authoring environment.
OpenTV Publisher allows template-based information services to be driven from XML content using standard internet protocols to provide real-time dynamic updates, allowing web-based content to be transformed into interactive television applications, optionally employing the return path to provide transactional services.
Many developers choose to use the OpenTV Software Development Kit or SDK that provides access to OpenTV Application Programming Interfaces or APIs within a C programming integrated development environment, allowing the creation of efficient applications that maximise the potential of the set-top box.
OpenTV applications written in ANSI-C code are compiled into byte code known as O-code that executes within a virtual machine in the set-top box provided by the OpenTV middleware.
OpenTV has also taken an active role in the development of MHP and has produced an implementation that can co-exist with OpenTV core libraries, offering a potential migration path to MHP that maintains backward compatibility with existing applications.