Freeview Australia powered by S&T MHEG engine
By Julian Clover
Published: July 7, 2010 11.34 Europe/London

Freeview Australia has launched its long-awaited electronic programme guide using MHEG technology provided by the UK’s Strategy & Technology (S&T).

The EPG will provide eight-day listings for all 16 Freeview channels on the terrestrial platform 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 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,” said Robin Parkes, CEO of Freeview Australia.

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 this month onwards. 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, said the product’s introduction followed an extensive period of analysis. “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.”

The system is one of the most complex MHEG applications to be delivered outside the UK and includes the management of 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.