freesatFreesat’s next-generation G2 spec will include DiSEqC, single cable routing and core support for iPlayer-style hybrid TV services.
In the works for more than a year, G2 is set to bring Freesat some features we’ve been looking forward to for some time.
It’s essentially a gathering of new standards which will be supported by the wave of digital TV chipsets expected from manufacturers like ST and Broadcom in the next 12 months.
James Strickland, Freesat’s director of product and technology development, explained that G2 is similar to HbbTV, the European standard which combines both broadcast and broadband-delivered TV technology.
‘If you see what’s going on with HbbTV in Germany, that’s a roll-up of all the standards work that’s been going on with different bodies.

‘G2 is basically a hybrid between HbbTV and the MHEG world we have in the the UK. ‘You get the best out of all the international standards that all the manufacturers are working on, rather than rolling out our own.
‘We want to encourage in the next generation all the best elements that are already being worked on, to get the best hybrid of broadcast and broadband TV.’
There’s no launch date yet for the G2 spec or G2 products, although some – like Samsung’s forthcoming Freesat HD box – will have the potential to be upgraded to G2 via software downloads.
Some manufacturers, like Panasonic, are waiting for the G2 spec to be ready before they launch new Freesat products.
Exact details of what’s in G2 only come with some direct questioning at this stage, but we did discover that it will include:

•MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) support, which potentially enables a whole host of advanced media streaming and multiroom features that manufacturers might use.
•Single cable routing as part of the MoCA standard (Multimedia over Coax Alliance). SCR lets a PVR take multiple tuner feeds through a single cable, but so far there have been several competing methods.
•DiSEqC switching, as part of SCR, with DiSEqC 1.2 for motorised sat still a possibility for the final version of the spec.
•HTML, Javascript and CSS: internet technologies that should make it a lot easier to add broadband-delivered interactive services.
•DRM for online content, and potentially for non-subscription broadcast channels who want some sort of encryption.
•Payment mechanisms for broadband services like LoveFilm.
‘It will be easier to write apps and easier to launch online services,’ adds Strickland. ‘The barriers to entry, the time and the cost of launching new services, will be less than they are currently on other platforms and on this platform. It’s not just about the receiver, it’s about a whole end to end thing.
‘The core of the technology is internet-based technology. Use of new presentation environments like HTML, Javascript, and CSS that come from the internet, that now we can apply to STB technology.
‘And not for pay-TV but for free-to-air TV, we are making it easier for people to put their content on the platform by promoting certain DRM elements. It can easily be for free-to-air content, free to the user within the platform, but not necessarily pay-TV.
‘We are still very cautious about pay-TV and the effect it would have on the platform if we were to allow any pay-TV services on board. It’s a watching brief, and they would be complementary service.
‘The potential is there for services like LoveFilm to come to the platform and it’s not there today. If you had something like LoveFilm, to be able to transfer your account to the main screen from the PC, that would make sense.’

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By Expat