Sun Microsystems And SBTVD Forum To Develop Open-Source Java Solution For Brazil's Digital TV System

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008 

Milestone Agreement Delivers Low Cost Alternative for TV Conversion to Unconnected Populations in Emerging Economies

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL SANTA CLARA, CA — Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ:JAVA) and the Forum do Sistema Brasileiro de TV Digital Terrestre (Fórum SBTVD), the public-private organization responsible for digital television (DTV) conversion in Brazil, took a big step forward today in providing an affordable alternative for DTV conversion. The organizations today announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding to join forces in the development of an open-source content platform based on Java technology for use in the country-wide conversion of television applications and services.

As a developing country with a strong commitment to open source software, Brazil is adopting this open source strategy to reduce the economic barriers to entry for its low income population and minimize the royalty costs. There are more then 98 million analog TV sets and an additional 120 million mobile devices in Brazil. By the year 2016, the transition period will end and no more analog terrestrial TV transmissions will be allowed. An important component of this plan is to help ensure that Brazilian citizens at all socioeconomic levels get affordable access to the new ecosystem of interactive services to be provided through the Java technology-based DTV infrastructure.

The agreement will help enable global companies to use Java technology to create and implement interactive TV services and interface tools for Brazilian customers by adapting HDTVs and mobile devices to the Brazilian ISDB-T digital TV standard. Java technology is the key component of the new, open source solution and helps to enable interactive services for DTV devices. The specification builds upon the same Java platform that currently serves as the basis for other widely-deployed digital television standards, including OpenCable/tru2way, Multimedia Home Platform, GEM-IPTV and Blu-ray Disc/BDJ. To help reduce overall equipment prices while driving innovation in product development, the specification is being structured to permit implementations of this module which can be deployed royalty free and without licensing costs. The interactive solution will be compatible with the current Brazilian digital TV system middleware offering, known as Ginga®, and will provide a low-cost alternative to the technology that is currently available. GINGA is being licensed as a worldwide registered trademark by SBTVD.

“As the world’s leading open source company, Sun’s efforts to drive open source innovation and open standards are proving to be invaluable in helping emerging economies such as Brazil spur innovation and drive down costs on products that have the potential to improve the lives of their citizens,” said Crawford Beveridge, executive vice president and chairman, APAC, EMEA and the Americas, Sun Microsystems. “We hope that our work with SBTVD on developing the first open-sourced national standard of Interactive DTV will serve as a model platform for other emerging countries.”

“According to the standard solutions and practices adopted by SBTVD Forum, the Java software specification developed in partnership with Sun will provide a valuable technological alternative in a critical area,” according to Roberto Franco, SBTVD Forum president, “Specifications developed around SBTVD follow the philosophy of providing cutting edge technology that offer more capabilities and are available through fair, reasonable, affordable, non-discriminatory policies (FRAND),” Franco said. “The GINGA standard allows more flexibility in interactive application development by offering a declarative platform, based on NCL, and a procedural platform, based in Java, which both can be deployed royalty free. With this, we can provide the market with an affordable and popular convertor platform featuring powerful interactive resources.”

“At Sun, we believe giving communities access to code for all of our software products will fuel innovation and accelerate the pace of adoption. The momentum of open source and its power to bring people onto the network is unquestionable,” said Rich Green, executive vice president, Software, Sun Microsystems. “The Brazilian developer community has a vibrant presence in our Java software, MySQL and OpenSolaris communities and Sun will continue to invest in these and other open source communities. We’re exceptionally pleased to join forces with SBTVD and the strong, active Brazilian community of Java technologists in developing this important national standard via the ginga.org.br portal.”

SBTVD Forum is a non-profit organization, created with the objective of helping and stimulating development and implementation of best practices for digital images, sound reception as well as broadcast transmission success in Brazil. Its affiliated board has members of TV broadcasters, transmission and reception equipment manufacturers, and software industry vendors which represent more then 80% of the industry. Members also include federal government and education and research entities that develop activities supporting the Brazilian TVD system. The Forum is responsible for defining standards and regulations for the successful implementation of digital TV infrastructure in Brazil, and communicating program information about system in Brazil and abroad.