IMPALA, the International MHEG Promotion Alliance, has announced that seven new supporter members have joined the organisation - Finlux, Freeview (New Zealand free-to-air consortium), Hitachi, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and TopUp TV - as it continues to bang the drum for MHEG-5.
"We are delighted that IMPALA has already gained such recognition within the marketplace. With companies of this calibre offering their support to MHEG-5 further uptake is guaranteed," said David Cutts, MD Strategy & Technology.
Steve Browning, general manager of Freeview in New Zealand, added: "Freeview New Zealand has taken its lead from the successful Freeview UK platform in its business structure, brand positioning, and a number of technology decisions. It made sense for us to go with a cost-effective and proven open standard middleware platform for interactive broadcast applications."
Originally developed and standardised by ISO in the mid-1990s as part of the DAVIC standardisation effort to support interactivity and navigation for video-on-demand services, MHEG-5 has achieved significant success on the UK's Freeview DVB-T platform with over 14 million receivers deployed using UK Profile 1. The latest version is also an ETSI standard.
Mark Londero, general manager, technical planning Sony TV Operations Europe, added: "MHEG-5 is one of the core technologies embedded in all our TV sets sold in the European region, even though so far it has only been adopted in the UK. Our motivation for supporting IMPALA is to see the expansion of broadcast support for MHEG-5 in Europe and beyond. There is the alternative MHP but that is much more processor and memory intensive and has yet to demonstrate any clear user benefit over MHEG."
Peter Johnson, technical sales manager Europe with Hitachi, agreed: "MHEG-5 has proved very successful in the UK as a method of delivering interactive services to the customer in a cost-effective way. It is tried and tested and we would like to see this technology adopted more widely." This point is echoed by Nigel Pankard, DVB project manager, Panasonic Europe. "Panasonic, as a top brand manufacturer, wants to highlight its support for an interactive platform that it has supported in the UK for many years via its membership of IMPALA," he says.
The final word goes to Hakan Kutlu, deputy general manager, Finlux. "Finlux products already include MHEG-5 and it provides real benefits to consumers via the interactive services it allows. It will help with sales."
The founder members of IMPALA are Strategy & Technology (S&T), Cabot Communications and EchoStar Europe.