FLO Forum Announces OpenFLO Developments Bringing Multi-Vendor Interoperability Another Step Closer

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

FLO Receiver API and Mobile TV Content & Services Specifications Published

FREMONT, CA AND LONDON — The FLO Forum, a global consortium of over 90 wireless industry leaders dedicated to the open standardization of FLO™ (Forward Link-Only) technology for mobile multimedia broadcast, today announced the completion of the FLO Receiver Application Programming Interface (API) Specification. The news marks the latest step in the ongoing OpenFLO initiative, which is designed to facilitate multi-vendor interoperability within any FLO mobile TV network. The group also announced the completion of its Mobile TV Content & Services Specification.

The FLO Receiver API Specification defines the interfaces between the Media Access Control (MAC) Layer and the Control and Stream Layers in the FLO Receiver protocol stack. It represents the second contribution to the OpenFLO initiative – and the first at the device platform level – following the completion of the Open Conditional Access Framework in November 2007.

As such, any FLO Receiver stack that adheres to the specification will be interoperable with any FLO ASIC specific software, giving handset manufacturers access to a wider choice of suppliers when developing new FLO-enabled devices. The specification was developed within the FLO Forum’s Technical Committee by a number of silicon vendors, including UK-based Imagination Technologies Ltd. and US-based Newport Media, Inc. and Qualcomm Inc.

“An environment that allows multiple technology vendors to compete in a growing market is essential to stimulate demand for new technologies from OEMs. Open APIs will encourage mobile phone manufacturers and others to adopt new mobile TV standards earlier, resulting in better availability of a wide and affordable choice of handsets to end-users, and ultimately increasing consumer uptake of mobile TV services,” commented Tony King-Smith, VP marketing, Imagination Technologies Ltd. “As such, we strongly support the FLO Forum’s OpenFLO initiative and are glad to be playing a part in the continued development and open standardization of FLO technology.”

Meanwhile, the Mobile TV Content & Services Specification addresses the demands of content providers of the FLO mobile broadcast system, defining guidelines for screen resolutions, frame rate, color quality, source and output formats, channel switching time, captioning, offline viewing, number of channels supported, and viewer feedback and rating capabilities.

The specification thus ensures that any FLO network will satisfy the rigorous user experience, programming, and business requirements of content providers. Members of the FLO Forum’s Content & Services Committee, including Roundbox Inc. and SHARP Corporation, were instrumental in authoring and reviewing the specification.

“Consumers have high expectations of mobile TV services and often demand the same experience and choice of content as they would find on their home television sets,” says Vinod Valloppillil, Chair of the FLO Forum Content & Services Committee and Vice President, Product Marketing, Roundbox Inc. “The Mobile TV Content & Services Specification sets out guidelines to address these demands, and will help to provide increasingly compelling offerings for end users, as new FLO-based mobile TV networks roll-out and more content providers offer mobile broadcast channels.”