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September 28, 1997updated 01 Sep 2016 6:31pm

DIGITAL BROADCASTERS AGREE TO SUPPORT SET TOP BOX STANDARDS

By CBR Staff Writer

European digital broadcasters have agreed in principle to support open standards for set-top decoders, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The report says that French pay television company Canal Plus of France, the UK’s British Sky Broadcasting, Germany’s the Kirch Group and others agreed at a meeting of the Digital Video Broadcasting consortium last Wednesday in Geneva to support open standards which could avoid having different set-top box platforms in Europe. If confirmed, the move could reduce the control media companies have over their subscribers. At present, the proprietary set-top decoders used by individual companies gives them greater control over which programming those subscribers can watch. Canal Plus technical director Henri Joubaud, is said to have suggested that the committee adopt a common applications programming interface to enable the set-tops to receive information from various sources. One option is to base the boxes on a Java operating system. Kirch did not specifically announce that it will support open standards but has agreed that they are the right direction to take, the report said. British Sky Broadcasting has refused to comment, while the Canal Plus and the Kirch Group were not available for comment as we went to press Friday.

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