What is IPTV Middleware and
Why is it used
With the advent of diversity in IPTV services, a realization came about that developing services by making set-top boxes even more complex was not going to be efficient or feasible, since implementing the software part of the service on a set-top box required updating, maintenance and unsafe mechanisms to update the firmware on set-top boxes. To simplify the process of introduction to new services, controlling them, and implementing services that would be impossible in the classic television system, a new part called ‘Middleware’ appeared in IPTV.
Middleware is the general term for anything that is meant to aid communication between more than one separate programs or manufacturers. It is the most integral element of the IPTV headend, and links the IPTV services with the set top boxes, and also providing the interface. Similar to people who speak different languages needing some kind of translation to communicate with each other, applications that are running different types of software, or functioning on different platforms, inevitably need help in communicating with each other. This is where middleware comes into use.
What are the IPTV Middleware technology?
IPTV Middleware is the software that connects two or more software applications so they can be compatible with each other and then exchange data. It is one of the primary components of an IPTV, since it is Middleware that determines the interface, transmission logic, the control algorithm and all other set of services that the subscribers will be able to avail, It is not possible to build an IPTV solution in the absence of Middleware. There are countless developers on the market, hence each kind of Middleware has its unique features: the devices it is compatible with, the CAS-systems it works with, the video servers supported, the user interface, the billing systems, API, and the cost of technical support, etc.
Examples of IPTV Middleware technologies or features are something like:
- Full management of IPTV Infrastructure
- Business Intelligence: Real-Time Authentication, Billing and Detailed Reporting
- Available for a wide range of set-top-boxes
- Payment Functionality. Streamlined Payments – No complicated billing processes required
- Advanced features: Pause, Rewind, Stop, Fast Forward, Scene Selection, Schedule PPV Content, Pause Live TV, Catch-Up, Timeshift, EPG
How IPTV Middleware works
There are 3 generations of IPTV Middleware clients available as of yet. IPTV Middleware has made it relatively easier for developers to properly implement communication as well as input/output, so they can concentrate on the specific purpose of their application.
- The 1st gen Middleware is IP STB with Web based administration interface.
- 2nd gen is the low-level software which provides Graphical User Interface (abbr. GUI) on the set-top box.
- The 3rd gen of Middleware provides services to applications that are different from those available from the operating system.
Many of the modern middlewares offer the option to cover a large number of devices. So, for instance, for Amino boxes (with Opera browser) and Mag250, HTML with interface will be returned. Typically, a middleware is not supposed to have any interaction with the video stream, and only provides URLs to set-top boxes into order to watch channels or movies. A middleware also has the function to monitor channels, in order to announce that the channel can’t be watched or to not show a specific channel due to an error.
IPTV MIddleware is straightforward, highly-intuitive and allows you to execute and oversee advancements, services and new features on a request basis.