Brazilian Digital TV at JavaONE 2009
Visiting the Fishermans Wharf at San Francisco Bay I met the
Brazilians that will speak at JavaONE about the recent advances of the
Digital TV in Brazil: Clayton Chagas and Magno Cavalcante.
Here are some highlights from our conversation:
What is the status of the Digital TV in Brazil?
Since its inception in 2003, a lot is being done towards the
replacement of the analogical system by a digital one. The academic
community embraced the idea and the SBTVD is doing a great work in this
sense. There is also a need for digital inclusion and a natural
expectation from the industry in terms of the business possibilities of
the new system.
What is SBTVD?
SBTVD is an acronym in Portuguese for Brazilian System
of Digital Terrestrial TV, a committee formed by industry, government
and academic entities. The role of this committee is to establish and
to approve the standards of the Digital TV in Brazil.
Why digital inclusion through the Digital TV? Why not
using the Internet?
The Internet helped a lot to spread the knowledge all over the
world and there is no doubt it was one of the most important inventions
from the last century, but in many countries - like Brazil - the access
to the Internet are still expensive and restricted to a small portion
of the society. This problem is a side effect of the weak
infra-structure and poverty, people just don't have a computer or don't
have access to a good connection or both. From the other side, TV is
omnipresent in the Brazilian houses and to establish an interactive
channel on these TVs is the way we believe we can include the poor
people in the digital era. It seems more effective than the option of
installing cables all over a continental territory and to distribute
and to maintain millions of cheap/free computers. And we also see the
Internet and the Digital TV converging to a unique system as soon
middleware technologies becomes popular and compatible with the
The middleware is the key?
Yes, because the transport layer and the codecs (MPEG-*) are
standardized and working in several countries, but the way the raw
bytes will be converted in Interactive Content is an open question. In
a roughly comparison I would say it is pretty like the HTTP protocol
and the frontend technologies on the web.
And which is the Brazilian Middleware for Digital TV?
The first Digital TV Middleware in Brazil is called GINGA, a
system composed by two modules: GINGA-NCL and GINGA-J. The former is a
declarative programming environment that enable scripts to run in the
TV (LUA for example) while the latter is a programming environment
based on Java.
This Java part is what SUN donated to the open source community?
No, SUN donated an API to replace the GEM (Globally Executable
MHP - ITU) library. The donation removed some expensive royalties from
our digital TV system, making the whole system more affordable for
emergent countries and opened the opportunity for a fully open-source
TV technology in a near future.
Who is doing this job and when we can expect the Digital TV to
be available in the Brazilian houses?
- The research and establishment of the standards for the SBTVD
is being done in diverse universities of Brazil, with special remarks
to PUC-RJ and the Federal University of the Paraiba. We expected the
technical part to be operational at the end of 2009 and the first
devices to start operating up to the end of 2010. In fact we have a
political decision to end the analogical transmission in Brazil upt to
2017, so the near future is quite promising. I am pretty sure we will
watch the Soccer World Cup of 2014 in Digital TVs, with impressive
quality and high interactivity - and I also hope to see the
Brazil winning the final on that moment (lol).
I agee (lol2). So, where people can find more
information about that?
We have a presentation during Java One:
In the presentation we will do some demo presentations and we
also give all details about the latest advances of the Brazilian
Can you give me some references in advance?
We will have a session during JavaOne when you introduce all the details, and I hope anyone interested about Digital TV to be there:
Title: Java? in the Brazilian Digital TV: Interactivity and Digital Inclusion on TV
Session Date: 05-JUN-2009
Session Times: 13:30 : 14:30
Session Type: Technical Session
Speaker(s): Clayton Chagas, Engineer, Brazilian Army Research CenterMagno Cavalcante, Systems Analyst, Petrobras / RioJUG.org