The TV sector is facing many drastic changes and witnessing a rapid transformation. New technologies such as interactive TV, High Definition TV, Very high capacity Personal Video Recorder (HD-DVB, Blu-Ray mobile storage), Home Theatre Systems, Video On Demand, Personal TV, etc. are entering the market. Today the television is moving from “provider centric” to “viewer centric”, from TV watching to TV blogging and community TV.
The COTV (Community TV Content Making) project aims at implementing a 'Community TV' where the TV viewers collaborate with TV producers for generating mixed “user” and “professional” content via TV blogs.
The communication infrastructure used is satellite for broadcast and a broadband solution for the return channel that includes Sat Triple Play and UMTS. Mobile phones are used for pictures and video input and GNSS is used for geo-localised content mapping.
Each of the main actors of the COTV business chain have a range of key issues that must be addressed as follows:
COTV Production Player issues:
The COTV Production Player (TV Content Professionals) will be faced with the need to create COTV applications that will enable TV viewers to collaborate in the “making of” tasks via TV blog templates.
COTV Aggregator Player issues:
The COTV Aggregator Player (TV Channel) will be faced with the need to package the content stemming from the TV Producers and from TV Viewer Community via a “community server” accessible to all for content uploads, view, vote, publishing, etc.
COTV End-user Viewer issues:
The COTV End-user Player (TV Viewer Community) will be faced with the need to view, assess, and rate the TV creation from other viewers and to be able to create in the easiest, seamless and fun way his TV blogs. It should be totally intuitive and fast.
End-users behaviours and consumption modes have evolved quickly in recent years under the influence of new IT technologies such as Internet, Mobile telephony, Interactive TV, Video On Demand, Game consoles and DVD/Blu-ray.
The COTV technology will make it possible for the viewers to become actors, to exchange, and to take part directly in TV programmes, and to become a co-author by providing complementary User Generated Content for the audio-visual programmes produced by the professionals. COTV also provides the viewers with a transparent and complementary use of various terminals (Television, Blu-ray PVR, Mobile phone, Set-top box, Media PC, etc.).
The COTV Business model involves complementary TV players, namely the 'TV producers', the 'TV aggregators', and the 'TV end-users'.
The model innovates in the sense that it allows the TV professionals and the TV viewer community to collaborate in the creation of new TV programs. The TV Professionals (TV Content Producers and TV Applications Developers) produce TV programs structured in a way to allow TV viewers to incorporate complementary original content of their own. This content is then transmitted to the TV aggregator for content packaging and playout.
The COTV Business Chain and the content flow between the players is illustrated in the following picture:
A wide range of user terminals will be supported in order to be able to reach out to the widest possible audiences. In particular MHP set-top boxes, Blu-ray PVR with Ethernet connection, Home Theater PC, and Java enabled mobile phones will be supported.
In order to cope with the COTV objectives and challenges a modular system architecture has been conceived. The architecture is closely associated with the business actors in order to secure a coherent and optimal commercial exploitation.
The following system architecture is planned:
The COTV project will be implemented over a 24 months period in 5 major milestones as follows:
- Milestone 1 (T0+5) with all the COTV user and system requirements being defined,
- Milestone 2 (T0+7) where the detailed COTV system architecture is conceived,
- Milestone 3 (T0+16) where the alpha version of the COTV environment is implemented and tested,
- Milestone 4 (T0+18) where the beta version of the COTV environment is field deployed for a 6 month pilot phase,
- Milestone 5 (T0+24) where all the findings of the pilot phase are collected and analysed and recommendations for the commercial exploitation suggested.
The different COTV activities have been organised along related and interacting tasks, in order to optimise the available resources and to secure high quality results, as follows:
The pilot phase was successfully closed in April 2010 and the Final Review milestone held on the 18th of May 2010.
The introduction of the mid-term pilot review milestone (February 2010) allowed to correct bugs and to improve the users' interfaces.
The COTV service is now well perceived by the pilot users and their contributions have finally met the initial expectations. The strategic objectives of the project have also been finalised via commercial agreements among the partners for the COTV commercial roll out.
A 15 months CCN activities is ongoing. This extension will enable the COTV environment to comply with the recently emerged HbbTV / CE-HTML / HTML5 market driven standards. Click "here" to visit the CCN extension web page.