FetchTV adopts WebKit, goes open source

ABC iView and YouTube Leanback likely options in near future

The refreshed FetchTV interface includes carousel-style navigation and a semi-transparent background.

The refreshed FetchTV interface includes carousel-style navigation and a semi-transparent background.

Australian internet protocol television (IPTV) offering FetchTV is set to adopt YouTube and ABC iView streaming in coming months as part of the startup’s switch to open source protocols.

Chief executive, Scott Lorson, said the company had replaced its proprietary browser framework with the WebKit technology that is also used in iOS, Chrome and several mobile browsers in early April, with many of the approximately 2300 users of the set-top box receiving the changes as part of a redesigned user interface last week.

The company is still working through the changes, updating the Facebook and Twitter application plug-ins to suit the new framework and adding further applications. Lorson said WebKit would allow for greater options on applications, both inside the FetchTV program and from ISP partners.

“[WebKit] brings along with it HTML5 and obviously we’ll be adding Flash Lite so on our interactive applications we’re now going through the process of either adding new ones — such as YouTube Leanback — or going back and updating the old ones,” he said.

ABC’s iView catch-up service may also be added as another function on FetchTV as a result of Flash Lite’s inclusion, with three of the four providers currently signed as partners to FetchTV already unmetering the service.

Apart from the Veramatrix digital rights management technology used in the device and internally developed internally developed aspects such as firmware, user interface and content management system, the move to WebKit signified an essential switch to open source for the IPTV offering.

“It’s a significant accomplishment to get there,” Lorson said

FetchTV chief operating officer, Fred Hopley, also confirmed the box was likely to pick up DLNA home streaming technology in the near future, allowing the box to stream media files from computers and mobile devices on the same Wi-Fi network.

The IPTV provider is set to launch a mobile companion app in the second half of the year, first announced as part of its new relationship with Optus.

Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: @j_hutch

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