What is MHEG?
MHEG-5 is an open standard, TV middleware – or application programme interface (API) – designed to allow broadcasters to provide interactive/hybrid services beyond broadcast video that appeal to a wide audience cost-effectively. It's connected TV variant, the MHEG Interaction Channel (MHEG-IC), is used by both Freeview and Freesat in the UK and has been specified by Freeview NZ and Freeview Australia too. As digital television continues to be rolled out globally, value add applications have been proven in a wide variety of markets to provide competitive advantage by significantly enhancing viewer “stickiness”. By deploying MHEG from the outset, digital TV platforms can provide an immediate service differentiator from their analogue cousins as well as a firm technological roadmap to a hybrid (broadcast/IP) future, something that is now becomming a reality.
MHEG-5 is a public standard with no known essential intellectual property rights nor associated license fees for broadcasters. It is now a mature technology and is deployed in a variety of markets.
MHEG-5 can be used to deploy a wide variety of applications; from basic “red button” services to platform wide EPGs, enhanced Teletext and mosaic/multi-screen
applications. The MHEG Interaction Channel (IP-based) extends that to allow access to catch-up TV services as well as social media and other IP-delivered services.
A strong conformance test suite has been developed by the UK Digital Television Group, ensuring interoperability for receiver manufacturers, broadcasters and content creators. The UK Profile, or its ETSI equivalent, provides a baseline specifications that can, and has been, extended for other MHEG deployments worldwide such as for FreeView New Zealand and Freeview Australia.
The latest version published by the UK's Digital Television Group (DTG), which has driven the development of MHEG and the MHEG-IC, is D-book 6.2.1. MHEG was initially published by ETSI as a standard in 2004 with an updated version, contianing the connected TV MHEG-IC, was publised by ETSI in 2010.
Please refer to the DTG website for the latest information on the UK MHEG-5 profile, corrigenda and interoperability issues.
MHEG is an acronym for the Multimedia and Hypermedia information coding Expert Group (MHEG). It was developed in the mid-1990s as part of the DAVIC (Digital Audio Video Council) standardisation effort to support interactivity and navigation of multimedia services on various small footprint devices.
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MHEG-5 has proven itself as the most successful interactivity standard for digital TV with more than 30 million deployments in the UK six years. It is easy to use and affordable thanks to the fact that it requires very little system resources. MHEG-5 is also a scalable and flexible technology that is continuously being expanded in its capabilities.
VP of Sales and Business Development of TVonics