Convergence develops operating systems and low level software for digital communication devices.
The convergence of digital media will have an enormous influence on our way of live and our working habits. We are convinced that everybody should have free access to technology and a free choice amongst available services.
Only this free access guarantees that the users of new communication devices remain self-determined. Therefore convergence integrated media develops software and applications for digital television based on open source software [ http://www.convergence.de/en/convergence/opensource.xml ] and open standards [ http://www.convergence.de/en/convergence/openstandards.xml ].
Convergence is not only a technical term for converging technologies. Convergence means also that separate parts of the value chain like content development, content production and content distribution are coming together.
The experts and the founders [ http://www.convergence.de/en/convergence/invest.xml ] of the company convergence have experience in multimedia production, software development and film production.
Convergence offers state-of-the-art solutions for the production and distribution of digital content. Our Cryptolabs [ http://www.cryptolabs.org/ ] offer the security solutions necessary for broadcasters and users. Our products [ http://www.convergence.de/en/products/ ] represent a complete solution for the production and distribution of digital content.
convergence fights for open standards in several institutions. We are a DVB [ http://www.dvb.org/ ] member, a member of the Deutsche TV-Plattform [ http://www.tv-plattform.de/ ] and of the 'Stiftungsinitiative der Deutschen Wirtschaft'.
The idea of founding a company like convergence was born in early 1997. At that time the understanding of Digital-TV was mostly Pay-TV, the variety of interactive opportunities known only by a few insiders. It was not possible to develop and broadcast new content formats independently from the big players in the market.
The founders of convergence were willing to change this with the creation of a really open platform that enables everybody to produce, test and broadcast interactive content for digital television. Very soon it was clear that this production platform also contained a server and a client for digital television.
1998 convergence raised for this project public subsidies from the EFRE-program of the EU. It took one year more to find an investor (the German VC Technologieholding).
After eighteen months of development it seems that the idea to make a truly open platform for digital television was exactly right.
convergence integrated media GmbH:
Technologieholding VC GmbH
In March 1999 convergence integrated media GmbH found the Technologieholding VC GmbH advised funds as a Venture Capital Partner. At this time, Technologieholding was the leading Venture Capital company in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Successful companies like Intershop Communications AG and Brokat Informationssystem AG were supported by Technologieholding on their way to the IPO at the Neue Markt in Frankfurt.
In two financing rounds the Technologieholding advised Funds invested seven million DM. At present the funds hold 36% of the companies shares.
3i Group plc.
In February 2000 the leading European Venture Capital company, 3i Group Plc. [ http://www.3i.com/ ] acquired Technologieholding VC GmbH. So we got a partner with more than 50 years experience and expertise in venture capital. To date, more than 13,000 companies have benefited from 3i's financing; indeed 3i has assisted and supported their swift expansion with a total investment volume in excess of 32 billion DM.
A common interpretation of the term convergence is that different technologies are unified to one technology that covers a whole field of applications. In the case of digital television people say that the technologies of television and computers are converging, that means soon they are the same.
As a result of this development a user will not need separate devices for different services (like television, telephony, email) anymore. One device could offer access to all services that have been separated so far.
This one device plays therefore a key role in the convergence world. Important aspects with respect to the free choice of content and content providers and the user security and privacy have to be considered. Furthermore the users expect a robust and future-proof technology
For these reasons convergence develops Open Source software based on open standards for digital television.
Openness means that everyone has a free access to technology and a free choice amongst available services.
The players that tried to set up a oligopole in digital television using proprietary software failed. Only a few years after the introducing of digital television most market participants agree, that only common and open standards like the Multimedia Home Platform guarantee a variety of services and economic success.
Convergence develops software for digital television. The main focus lies on Open Source software for the Linux operating system. The development is fully based on open standards (e.g. DVB, MHP). The convergence software is compatible to the global standards and gives all participants the safety to be prepared for future developments.
For the user convergence means independence.
In a convergence world users of digital communication devices are independent of the technology their devices use. One example of convergence is that it is possible to browse the WWW with a laptop as well as with a cellular phone.
Convergence means that devices are independent of services. Soon there will be mobile devices that are phones, PDAs, MP3 Players, TV sets...
Services are independent of networks - the user does not mind if he gets his email over the phone line or a wireless LAN. Soon there will be devices that connect with the most economic network that is available.
A necessary precondition for a convergence device is compatibility. We are able to communicate globally. There is no reason why the technical standards in one country should be different from the standards in another country.
Open standards can be implemented by anybody. Open standards guarantee competition and prevent alliances that try to dominate the market.
The cost of bandwith is getting cheaper every day. More and more people use the internet for the exchange of audio and video files. Digital television is more and more seen as only one aspect of digital broadband communication. Open standards are the prerequisites for the interoperability of different devices over different networks.
The technical platform for making possible an open platform for digital television is just what convergence has developed.
We develop open source TV software entirely based on open standards. This means more performance and better reliability for your play-out servers and your digital TV sets. Our implementation of the MHP could run your new generation TV device. If you are looking for a tailor-made solution, ask the convergence experts.
Convergence develops a content scrambling/ conditional access system for digital television. The system is based on a open source implementation of a new encryption algorithm on a JAVA chip card.
The convergence cryptolabs [ http://www.convergence.de/cryptolabs/en/ ] analyse existing solutions and develop open source crypto software like secure file encryption. Open Source developers find additional information at our website cryptolabs.org [ http://www.cryptolabs.org/ ].
So far there is no DVD player software for the Linux operating system on the market. Convergence has developed the basic software modules for the DVD player and implemented the DVD navigator according to the DVD standard. Convergence will release the first DVD player for Linux as soon as the licensing steps with the DVD consortium are finished.
Linux DVD developers find further information on the LinuxTV [ http://www.linuxtv.org/developer/dvd.xml ] and linuxvideo.org [ http://linuxvideo.org/ ] Websites.
Linux on Set-Top Boxes and mobile devices is stable, small and may be used for many purposes.
A convergence LinuxTV system fits on a flashcard as well as a harddisk. LinuxTV systems run on several architectures like Intel, PPC, Mips, Alpha and ARM and of course include all internet protocols.
Convergence has developed an affordable, flexible and versatile streaming server software solution based on LinuxTV and standard PC components.
Digital television can be distributed in several formats and over different networks. Convergence has developed a server software to multicast audio and video streams over cable, satellite, LAN or the internet. The LinuxTV Server supports a wide range of file formats and protocols.
The LinuxTV Server is capable to MPEG2 encode an analogue signal in real-time, multiplex it to a DVB transport stream and deliver a DVB compliant digital TV signal through the asynchronous serial interface (ASI).
Through the usage of standard PC components, the LinuxTV Server is a flexible and cost-efficient solution for:
Because of the nature of Linux and the availability of the source code, the LinuxTV Server can be fitted perfectly to the customers needs. The result is independence and flexibility.
Prototype of the LinuxTV server using a touchscreen interface for controlling the functionality.
As an independent software vendor convergence develops an integrated solution for receiving and displaying digital television. With this enabling software Set-Top Boxes can be connected with Satellite, Cable or Ethernet networks and are compliant with the DVB (Digital Video Broadcast) MHP standard. They are also enabled to playback DVDs (Digital Versatile Disc). In a corporate network the boxes may be used as a client for digital video from our streaming server.
Convergence uses the Linux operating system as a basis for this software. Running our Open Source software, a Set-Top box is the ideal development platform for digital television applications.
The open standard for interactive content on digital television is called MHP (Multimedia Home Platform). The MHP standard was released by the members of the DVB council [ http://www.dvb.org/ ] and has become an ETSI [ http://www.etsi.org/ ] standard.
In MHP, interactive applications for digital television are Java applications. Convergence does an OpenSource implementation of the MHP platform. It will feature an own OpenSource Java VirtualMachine based on Kaffe with hardware accelerated Java AWT graphics [ http://www.directfb.org/ ], very graphic userinterface suited for a multimedia home environment, the complete realisation of the highest profile of the standard (Internet Access Profile) and many Linux related features like IPv6, RTP, webbrowsing, e-mail, mp3s, gaming etc...
A first MHP application will be the EPG (electronic program guide). The Set-Top Box collects information about all the channels that can be received. The channels are combined with metainformation about the content that is broadcasted. The EPG is a user interface that allows the user to find the television program he wants to see by reading program descriptions and browsing the channels.
For further informationen about MHP see also our LinuxTV [ http://www.linuxtv.org/developer/dvb.xml ] website.
Digital television is more than a digital video stream. Convergence develops software that generates metadata for film. The software automatically detects the shot and scene structure of a film. An existing storyboard can be mapped against this structure. The resulting metadata are stored in a database. This allows for example to search the film for keywords or the names of the actors.