The MHEG+ toolkit, used to develop applications for Freeview and Freesat, has been made available as an Open Source release under an Apache 2.0 licence.
Developed in 2005 by BBC Research & Development, the initial aim was to simplify the code as compared to MHEG-5. Applications coded in MHEG+, such as games on CBeebies or interactive news and weather, sit happily on the MHEG-5 API.
David Cutts, director of leading MHEG developer Strategy & Technology said the company would be contributing a number of overseas extensions to the Open Source pool. “We think having tools for MHEG out there is a good thing,” he told Broadband TV News.
The emergence of an online environment for MHEG applications as set-tops become increasingly connected will create a market for specialised applications that could take MHEG outside of its traditional broadcast domain. “The MHEG connected TV will provide more opportunities, so having a toolset that people can use in a slightly different way to standard MHEG will be useful as it’s more like a standard programming language,” said Cutts.
The toolkit’s emulator, named MHEG Player, emulates both Freeview and Freesat set-top boxes. It features an MHEG graphics engine, a virtual tuner and remote control.