Your browser is not supported. Please update it.

22 March 2012

Tversity throws content at the set top, with just software

Another small Israeli start up at the IP&TV World Forum was actually a company that has been around for a while, since 2005, called Tversity, but it has just moved out of the home media server market with software that means you can flick content from a PC or Tablet to a TV screen, via a set top.

CEO Ronen Mizrahi, told us, ‘TV operators all have set top boxes in place and they have the processing power to transfer content in real time, from a consumers PC or tablet, to the TV screen. The set top is the most obvious place to target content,’ he said.

Mizrahi calls his software AirFlinger and explains it best as Apple’s AirPlay but for every device and confirms that if an operator wants it to respond to a gesture whereby content is just flicked off one screen to another, then this can be arranged.

‘It is based on a browser using HTTP or a UPnP software stack, and can be implemented on any device ‘ and there are already implementations for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android which can already interoperate with many smart TVs, Set-top boxes and leading ARM SoCs.

AirFlinger mirrors the screen on your TV of any iOS or Android device. It is a bit like WiDi, except that WiDi requires a new chip and is limited to Intel based laptops. It can also be analogized to WiFi Display, but once again that still needs new chipset, says Mizrahi, and the TVs need an up to date WiFi chip. It makes more sense, insists Mizrahi to work through the set top and to work entirely in software.

‘Apple and Google TV rely on the latest and greatest chipsets whereas we have perfected this in software only and it can work with virtually any existing set top which is already installed. We have perfected the media so that it plays on any set top and with any video whether it has an MPEG transport stream or is in MPEG2 or MPEG4.’ In order to do that the adaptation of the video needs to be done on the handset or tablet.

‘The code is written to take advantage of existing hardware acceleration on these devices. Apple gives you an API for hardware acceleration and we use this to handle format conversions, but add our own container, while Android lets you have access to low level controls anyway, so this is easier to do in Android,’ says Mizrahi.

It is similar in some ways to the Qualcomm Skifta product that converts content to run on your handset, from any source, except it goes in the other direction and once again that needs a specialist chip, Mizrahi says.

The system was originally implemented on a Texas Instruments chip, and when it is demonstrated he shows it swapping data and text and there is a tiny bit of delay, but when the video cuts in, it really is instantaneous, a fact he attributes to the fact that when showing data it is being transferred and converted and shown on the set top, but the video is being driven directly from the portable device.

Tversity is being installed within tablets Apps with a single button to throw the content at a nearby set top. Operators said to be working with Tversity are Israel’s Yes, Bouygues Telecom in France and Videotron in Canada.