Multi-Platform Application Toolkit
The Smart TV market is growing rapidly. According to the HD Forum, 14.4 million HbbTV devices are already deployed in Germany, reaching more than 30 million users, with a growth of about 3 million devices per year predicted by Deutsche TV Platform for the next decade. HbbTV, therefore, provides a relevant channel for media companies to deliver interactive content to TVs.
Currently, HbbTV applications mostly require custom implementations. The cost for doing so can usually be justified for large HbbTV applications (such as a broadcaster's main Red Button Portal) and advertising campaigns, but not for smaller, theme or programme specific sites or sub-sites.
MPAT takes up the concept of web-page creation tools like WordPress, which allow users to easily build a small to medium web site from pre-defined templates and plug-ins, and adapts it to HbbTV. Content producers can use the WordPress based UI to select a template, adapt the look to their needs, add their content either directly or from an existing CMS and select plug-ins to provide additional functionality. Depending on the broadcaster's workflow, the resulting HbbTV application can be directly served by MPAT or exported an existing production system.
As the pre-defined elements are tested against the most relevant TV devices on the market, using MPAT also reduces the risk of creating applications that have unexpected behavior on end-user devices, reducing the effort spent on pre-deployment testing.
A predecessor of MPAT, named HAT (developed in the FI-CONTENT 2 project) has already been used to provide a child-friendly sub-site for a German public broadcaster (“Sandmännchen App") and an dedicated to information about an individual TV series (“Verknallt und abgedreht").
MPAT key points
- Fast and easy creation of HbbTV applications
- Best suited for small applications (1-10 screens)
- Can be extended to produce web pages or other SmartTV apps from the same template
- Uses the popular WordPress tool for providing the UI
- Separation of content, look and functionality
- Works with WordPress as a CMS
- Will also support other CMSs in the broadcaster's environment
- Abstracts from specific end-device (HbbTV 1.0, 1.5, 2.0,…)
- Second device supported as control and presentation device
- Provides a set of customizable templates
- Image Gallery
- Video Gallery
- More to come…
- Plug-ins tested against available Smart TV devices
- Available hosted as SaaS (Software as a Service) or for local installation
In addition to the plug-ins already available and being prepared for release, the following features are currently under consideration, depending on user requirements and commercial feasibility:
- 360° Video presentation
- Integrated testing suite
The toolkit is developed in the MPAT project, which is funded by the EU and led by Fraunhofer FOKUS.
Duration: December 2015 – December 2017
Seven other partners are part of the project: IRT (DE), rbb (DE), Lancaster University (UK), Mediaset (IT), Leadin (FI), Fincons (IT), Telecom ParisTech (FR)
This project has received funding by the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme under grant agreement number 687921.
Fraunhofer FOKUS Role
The Fraunhofer FOKUS Competence Center Future Applications and Media (FAME) is the coordinator of the project on MPAT.
Based on it experience in HbbTV application design and the HAT project, FAME will implement templates and plug-ins for various SmartTV applications. FAME will also use its own SmartTV lab to test the compatibility of the plug-ins and combinations of them with representative TVs and STBs from different manufacturers.
In addition, the competence center will aid broadcasters in the production and broadcast of MPAT based applications and in the integration of MPAT with existing workflows.