Datacasting is the transmission of private data over broadcast television transports like terrestrial, cable, and Satellite TV. Datacasting securely delivers computer files, alerts, commands, and streaming audio or video to any number of receivers. Special receivers are used to extract the data and share it with servers, PCs, tablets, TVs and mobile devices. Standard consumer TV receivers ignore datacasting transmissions.
Do you need to deliver data to hard to reach places? Do you need to deliver data to hundreds, thousands, or millions of locations all at once? Is it important that your data is delivered quickly and securely? Are traditional networks such as cellular, cable, or fiber too expensive or unavailable for many of your destinations? If you answered yes to these questions, datacasting may be a solution for you.
Datacasting technology is used to transmit computer files over broadcast television transports such as terrestrial, cable, and satellite TV. By nature, datacasting is a one way multicast transmission, making it very efficient at delivering large files to a large number of destinations. However, datacasting can also be used to deliver smaller files such as commands and alerts as well as streaming audio/video. Targeted delivery to a select group of receivers is also possible.
Common uses for datacasting may include:
- Software updates to TVs, set top boxes, media players, and other devices.
- Studio-to-theater digital movie media
- Digital signage content including video files, graphics, and playlists
- Alerts for earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and forest fires
- First responder public safety data such as building plans, photos, images, security camera and drone video
- Religious material to missionaries and remote missions
- Points of interest for navigation devices
- Encyclopedia content to remote schools
- Global multimedia newspapers
West Pond’s FlexStream Datacasting System can support any of these and more. While many applications work with off the shelf equipment, most require some level of application specific integration. We provide turn-key solutions leveraging our existing commercial products to expedite development of custom datacasting networks.
Datacasting Receiver Technology
Datacasting Receivers serve a broad range of purposes and as such are typically designed for a specific use case. For example an earthquake early warning device that opens a firehouse door or a fire alarm that alerts the public. While both of these applications are alerts, the receiving devices perform very different actions. West Pond recognizes this and provides datacasting receiver technology in a variety of ways including:
- Flexible off-the-shelf devices that can be configured for many uses
- Custom turn-key receivers
- Computer applications
- Software Development Kit (SDK) for customers developing their own receiver devices.
Our Engineering Services group has designed, manufactured, and enabled a wide variety of receiving devices for satellite, terrestrial broadcast, hybrid mobile & terrestrial networks, and in-house cable networks. Some examples include:
Terrestrial Datacasting Receiver Routers
These devices provide a bridge from datacasting transmissions to LAN networks. Computers and mobile devices with access to the LAN can utilize files and streaming media transmitted via the datacasting network.
Terrestrial Datacasting Receiver Router with Cell Network Return Channel
These devices are Terrestrial datacasting receiver routers with a cell modem gateway. The cell modem provides a return channel for reporting status, proof of play, and other low bandwidth uses.
These devices integrated an SDK which enabled them to receive software updates and other data via datacasting over terrestrial datacasting.
These devices integrated the FlexDK SDK which enabled them to receive software updates, channel maps, and media files.
Digital signage players
These devices were enabled with the FlexDK to receive HTML and related media files which are integrated with live broadcast video to create a managed digital signage display.
TV control set top boxes
These devices listen to an RF channel for receiver specific commands that will trigger control of the display to which they are connected. For example, power on, power off, channel, volume, etc.
These devices activate mechanisms when a specific alert is received. The mechanism may close a gate on a bridge, a gas valve, or even a firehouse door. They are flexible in design to allow for the widest range of uses.
Consumer satellite set top boxes
These devices are used to receive and distribute HTML and related media received via satellite datacasting transmission to WiFi connected devices such as PCs and mobile phones.
Using USB tuners, these devices are enabled with a software application that receive terrestrial datacasting files and streams and present them to the user.
Android TV devices
These devices are enabled to receive datacasting files using an app that was installed via USB. The AP utilized the TV hardware to gain access to the datacasting transmissions which were converted to files for access by users of the device.
Earthquake early warning devices
These devices receive alerts, validate their contents, and distribute warning to other devices on the LAN that subscribe to a message service enabled provided by the receiving device.
Public alerting device
This device receives alerts and displays the message on a TV or via other means to alert anyone viewing or near the device.