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ANT and G-cluster Partner to Develop Gaming-On-DemandPlan to bring gaming-on-demand to broadband TV market (October 19, 2004)
ANT Limited, the leading provider of user interface software for TV and consumer electronics, and G-cluster, the interactive gaming-on-demand provider, today announced a strategic alliance to further develop broadband TV client technologies.
The alliance will see G-cluster port and optimise its client gaming software into ANT's integrated user-interface architecture for TVs and set-top boxes. Running within ANT's user interface architecture will enable G-cluster to rapidly provide cost-effective gaming-on-demand solutions to those service provider customers who already use ANT's Fresco browser and PurePlay digital media management technologies.
The combined solution will allow service providers to offer their broadband TV subscribers the ability to play the latest PC and console games, as and when they choose, without the need to invest in a games console.
Thomas Schmidt, VP Strategy & Development at G-cluster said: "ANT's Fresco browser is the smallest, fastest and most reliable browser on the market today, their dominance in the IPTV market made them an obvious partner choice."
"G-cluster's gaming technology provides a scalable, cost-effective way to deliver leading edge games to broadband TV and wireless mobile customers", said Stephen Reeder, Executive Director of Sales & Marketing at ANT Limited. "Integrating our technologies will provide customers with even faster routes to market and I am confident that we can rapidly extend our list of joint deployments to include ANT's high profile broadband TV customers."
Initially focusing upon IPTV, the alliance will also encompass digital cable TV, personal media players, media gateways and other media devices. News of the combined technologies has already sparked considerable interest from leading silicon providers and both ANT and G-cluster plan to announce many reference design wins over the coming months.
ANT's Fresco browser enables manufacturers of consumer electronics devices to efficiently develop standards-based, customised user interfaces, and to incorporate digital-content presentation and control into their products.
What is gaming-on-demand?
A dedicated grid of game servers enables the latest video games to be played on-demand on any broadband-connected device, including existing cable and IPTV set-top boxes, low spec PCs, 3G mobile phones.
In the case of cable and IPTV deployments, G-cluster gaming-on-demand allows network operators to leverage investment already made in video-on-demand (VOD) infrastructure. There is no need for upgrades to customer premise equipment.
All existing and future game titles can be brought to the G-cluster platform with minimal porting work. The server-centric nature of the system is particularly well-suited to multiplayer and other community-building games.
G-cluster Technology - Basic Operating Principle
The G-cluster Game System is a client-server service architecture that makes PC/console games available to end users, who can access the service by means of digital TV set-top boxes, PDAs, and UMTS media phones. These client devices are simple and affordable - and they lack the capability of playing high-end games natively, i.e. using their own built-in hardware resources.
The G-cluster Game System is based on broadband connectivity between the client devices and G-cluster game servers. When games are played using the G-cluster Game System, the actual game programs are run on game servers rather than the client devices themselves. The game servers transmit the audio-visual output stream of the game to the client devices. The client devices only need to have enough processing capability to receive the stream, display the video and play back the audio of the game.
In order to minimise the use of the network capacity the audio-visual stream is compressed. The G-cluster Game System is capable of performing the compression in real-time and according to the well-known MPEG video compression standard. The Game System also supports a number of proprietary extensions of MPEG, allowing the output stream to be tailored to the client devices and network capabilities at hand.
Broadband TV Deployments
G-cluster brings high-end gaming to any VOD-ready network, be it IPTV or cable TV. In the same way that VOD provisioning involves the installation of video servers at the head-end of the network, clusters of game servers are integrated with VOD middleware at the network centre.
The G-cluster platform's XML-RPC interface allows simple integration with a network's existing middleware including billing, customer management, and user interfaces.
G-cluster deployment requires neither customer premise visits nor hardware upgrades - all existing IP and cable set-top boxes are capable of displaying a G-cluster game stream.
About ANT Limited
ANT Limited (www.antlimited.com) is a leading provider of embedded application software and support for the broadband TV, hospitality and consumer electronics markets. ANT's unique combination of proven browser, digital-media management and user interface software enables device manufacturers and TV operators to present digital-media content and services to end users via branded interfaces.
The company's products can be integrated quickly and cost-effectively into any platform and operating system, across a wide range of devices such as set top boxes, TVs, DVD players and multimedia handhelds.
ANT software has been extensively deployed by customers throughout the world such as Samsung, Thomson, Pace, Amino and Sagem.
About G-cluster Ltd.
G-cluster Ltd. was founded in 2000 to meet the demand for high-quality gaming on broadband network connected thin clients such as set-top boxes and next generation wireless devices. By moving most of the processing to sophisticated server clusters, G-cluster has been able to achieve network and device independence and exceptional cost-effectiveness without sacrificing the quality of graphics or gameplay. The G-cluster Game System is currently successfully being deployed in several commercial pilots and is ready for large-scale deployment.
G-cluster is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SOFTBANK Broadmedia Corporation ("SBBM", www.broadmedia.co.jp). The G-cluster business is operated worldwide through ClubiT Corporation (Osaka New Market: 4347, www.clubit.co.jp), another subsidiary of SBBM).
Related Keywords:ANT, ANT Limited, G-cluster, gaming-on-demand, gaming, set-top boxes, Fresco, PurePlay, broadband TV, Thomas Schmidt, IPTV, Stephen Reeder, consumer electronics, VOD, G-cluster Game System,