Freeview Australia MHEG EPG goes live with S&T and Magna Systems

Thursday, July 1st, 2010 
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S&T and its Australian reseller, Magna Systems and Engineering, are pleased to announce that the Freeview Australia EPG platform has launched nationwide.

Robin Parkes, CEO of Freeview Australia said: “The Freeview EPG will, for the first time, provide a consolidated platform for the consumer when navigating Freeview channels, and will also provide consistency of experience across multiple digital TVs in the home, so that the consumer only has to learn the navigation once. We have worked closely with S&T and Magna Systems to deliver what we believe is a world-class EPG.”

The EPG will provide eight day listings for all 16 Freeview channels and will be available on all services, providing Australian TV viewers a significant enhancement over the existing EPG services that only provide listings for the network they are watching.

The Freeview EPG is a customised version of S&T’s MHEG Guide product and will be available on all ‘Freeview EPG’ branded receivers that go on sale in Australia from July 2010. S&T has delivered the MHEG application for the EPG together with schedule data processing and playout at each of the Freeview broadcasters. Magna Systems has provided installation and integration of the EPG and S&T’s TSBroadcaster carousel playout systems at each of the broadcasters’ sites.

Colin Prior, Director of International Sales at S&T, says: “We are delighted to have completed this complex project for Freeview Australia, which comes after an extensive period of analysis and implementation. Freeview Australia has deployed a solution that will enable the free to view broadcasters to offer new and innovative services via both broadcast and also in future via the broadband internet connection using the MHEG Interaction Channel capability already built-in to the Freeview receivers.”

With the new Freeview EPG, HWW, Australia’s leading provider of TV Metadata, will collate program data from all networks for simultaneous transmission in a consistent format.

Freeview’s EPG system is one of the most complex MHEG application systems delivered outside of the UK, managing schedule data presentation as well as integrated PVR booking, series links and accurate recording, for multiple broadcasters across multiple states and time-zones. The underlying MHEG platform enables other applications to be delivered to receivers in the future while the new technology also means that the Freeview EPG will have video streaming and text capability, including a live “boxed” TV display.

S&T has also been working with Freeview during the past year providing consultancy input to the receiver specifications and Freeview Australia MHEG profile. This includes hybrid broadcast / IP support using the MHEG Interaction Channel as well as High Definition display capabilities, in common with the latest UK and New Zealand Freeview HD specifications. This will allow the Freeview Australia system to support ‘catch-up’ and ‘on-demand’ TV services delivered over the Internet to the Freeview EPG set top boxes, integrated TVs and PVRs.

David Bowers, CEO of Magna Systems said, “As with Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Freeview Australia project, the S&T solution we implemented for the EPG is very easy to operate. One significant difference between this and the original EPGs is that viewers are able to record material by genre or programme with the Freeview approved PVR. We are delighted to again be an integral part of this significant step in the Australian broadcasting landscape and look forward to Freeview Australia’s future innovation.”

Freeview is not-for-profit and owned by ABC, SBS, Network Seven, Nine Network, Network Ten, Prime, Southern Cross and WIN. Freeview-branded product conforming to published standards is already on sale through retail chains.