Sofia Digital delivers an interactive digital system to Broadcast Australia

Helsinki, Finland / Sydney, Australia, September 5, 2005

Sofia Digital has supplied Broadcast Australia with interactive TV software solutions for the DIGITAL FORTY FOUR MHP Datacasting project. The interactive services enabled by Sofia Digital solutions include a News, Weather and Sports service with up-to-the-minute content supplied by the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC). By the end of September it is expected that additional interactive information will be available from the Federal Parliament and there will be full services from the state government of New South Wales and the Australian Christian Channel.

The solutions used by Broadcast Australia are the Sofia Arena® Digital Teletext system and Sofia Backstage® Manager.

Sofia Arena® Digital Teletext provides a system for integrating, repurposing and transmitting content for digital teletext in the broadcast head-end and presenting the service for viewer navigation in the MHP receiver. By utilizing Sofia Arena® Digital Teletext, Broadcast Australia was able to quickly integrate various content sources with the Sofia Backstage® Author server which manages the structure of the digital teletext service and the templates created for it.

Sofia Backstage® Manager connects the Author with the MHP object carousel, allowing Broadcast Australia to automate the content flow from the content source to the MHP receiver.

Two Sofia interactive TV applications are broadcast to the MHP receivers. The Launcher application handles preloading and launching of the digital teletext service. Sofia’s XHTML browser application powers the digital teletext service itself.

Grahame Stevens, General Manager, Datacasting of Broadcast Australia and Head of the DIGITAL FORTY FOUR project, stated: ”the full power of Datacasting is really unleashed by delivering information to viewers in an interactive form. Broadcast Australia has taken the initiative in Australia to prove the Datacast concept. Following the adoption of the MHP standard in Australia we have been able to move on to the next level with the help of Sofia’s well tried suite of software tools. Our aim was to provide good quality, reliable and hands-free operation of a service which looked good and was easy to use. The software we are using has made it possible to achieve all these goals and we look forward to the continued development of interactive Digital Terrestrial TV in Australia.

“Sofia offered us an integrated solution from a single vendor that included both an automated content publishing platform as well as a set of MHP applications to enable presentation to the end user. Importantly for us, the system also supports integration of third party content providers into the DIGITAL FORTY FOUR trial through common use of the Sofia Backstage® publishing system and the Sofia Arena® Digital Teletext browser. Sofia’s off-line development software also allows content providers to independently develop and test their services before going to air, streamlining the development process. Sofia worked with us to understand our requirement, were responsive to our needs, and worked hard to help us achieve the result we wanted,” said David Hilliger, Product Development Manager of Broadcast Australia.

Olli Väätäinen, CEO of Sofia Digital, said: “The cooperation with Broadcast Australia shows clearly how our browser-based products allow operators and broadcasters to launch interactive TV services quickly and with minimal integration effort. We are proud to work with Broadcast Australia to push MHP adoption in Australia.”

The DIGITAL FORTY FOUR MHP services have been on air since August 17 in the Sydney area on channel 35. The services are also show-cased at the IBC 2005 convention in Amsterdam, September 9-13, at Sofia Digital’s booth 2.101.

About Broadcast Australia
Broadcast Australia is Australia’s leading independent broadcast transmission provider. Broadcast Australia’s core business is the provision of infrastructure for the transmission of television and radio broadcasts to audiences across Australia. Broadcast Australia owns and operates the most extensive broadcast transmission infrastructure network in Australia. Broadcast Australia provides transmission services from approximately 600 transmission sites across metropolitan, regional and rural Australia and reaches over 99% of the country’s population.

Broadcast Australia’s tower network is also available for co-hosting of third party equipment, and is particularly useful for telecommunications and radiocommunications applications, including emergency service organisations.

Broadcast Australia offers services to a wide range of customers in the broadcast and telecommunications sector, including:

• National Broadcasters
• Commercial Broadcasters
• Community Broadcasters
• Telecommunications Companies

DIGITAL FORTY FOUR is a trial Datacast service run by Broadcast Australia which was licensed by the Australian Broadcasting Authority in December 2003 to run for 3 years until late 2006. DIGITAL FORTY FOUR is broadcast exclusive to Australia’s biggest city, Sydney, and carries a number of channels from news to shopping. There are a total of 7 services running along with a Free to Air Video Programme guide in the 7 MHz multiplex on UHF Channel 35.

About Sofia Digital
Sofia Digital develops and sells products and services that create, manage, and deliver interactive media services available to consumers on TV, Mobile Devices and Internet. Our customers are broadcasters, content providers, operators, and manufacturers.

Sofia Digital is a unique player in the TV Industry that offers a safe migration path from analog to digital television in terms of interactivity, content, and business. Sofia Digital’s customers include Antenna Hungaria, Czech Telecom, Helsinki Television, Mediaset, MTV3, Channel four Finland (Nelonen), Nokia, Nordea Bank, ST Microelectronics, SUN Microsystems and Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE).

For more information
Sofia Digital Ltd
Hannu Anttila
Vice President, Business Development
Tel: +358 50 385 5515

Broadcast Australia
Grahame M. Stevens
General Manager, Datacasting
Broadcast Australia

Tel: +61 (0) 2 8113 4664

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