As anyone who has read our latest report “Broadband-Enabled TV: Rise of the OTT Provider” knows, the importance of the Blu-Ray Player to the Internet-to-TV market is paramount. But delivering an Internet experience to a Player is far from easy. Today, RCDb and Videon have taken an important step in simplifying that task. By providing a critical enabling component for Blu-Ray Players they are allowing it to metamorphose into a multi-purpose network STB.
Today, RCDb and Videon have announced the availability of their reference design for Blu-Ray Players. This chip and software stack reference builds on the full set of BD-J functionality already provided in BD Live Blu-Ray players to allow manufacturers to unlock their investment in Player and BD-J development. The reference design does this without increasing the hardware costs thus allowing manufacturers to better leverage their hardware.
Although BD-J is already included with all Blu-Ray Players as part of BD-Live compatibility, it does not provide many of the basic functions of a TV development environment such as multi-user account control, storage management and file download. As the software part of the reference design, the RCDb client, called Blu-Ray Magic, provides these functions as an abstraction layer on top of BD-J. This approach has a couple of very important ramification to consider.
Firstly, although Blu-Ray Magic can be delivered on a Blu-Ray disc the reference design allows manufacturers to build the functionality into the Player. Enabling diskless operation means the Player itself becomes a useful platform for the delivery of OTT services. A more capable player with more services should catch the eye of consumers particularly when they see it doesn’t increase the price of the Player.
Also, with the Blu-Ray Magic client onboard development and deployment of OTT applications to Blu-Players is vastly simplified. For example, NetFlix is already delivering its client on LG and Samsung Players. If Netflix were to write their client on Blu-Ray Magic, not only would their development be simpler but they would be able to deploy it unmodified on any Player built to the reference design. This would clearly help Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, achieve his goal of making the Netflix client available on any TV device his customer maybe using.
The availability of the reference design is encouraging news for the emergence of OTT providers. With a robust client built in to the Blu-Ray Player, manufacturers can more effectively leverage and differentiate their Player to deliver new services and OTT providers can more easily deliver their services partnering with them. This should help to accelerate both the rollout of Blu-Ray Players and the development of the Internet-to-TV market.