TV-web Support Code
A link to the actual files for the example channel is available at the active-TV technology blog [upper right corner]. If you want to try them out on a PC then you have to first install software to allow the PC to emulate a TV. There is a link to this software at the top-right corner of the active-TV technology blog site. Note, navigation is via the left-right arrows and F12 is used for 'back'.

There are four files needed to support a TV-web channel. The names can all be changed but their function is necessary:

  1. active_TV_16x9_ch1.htm, this is the HTML layout for the TV-web channel. It is possible to completely build a TV-web channel using only HTML, but the example also makes use of Flash.
  2. active_TV_16x9.swf, this is the Flash file used to support the channel. The tasks performed in the Flash file and HTML files have been carefully divided. This will enable those who do not have Flash building tools to modify the channel by only working with the simpler HTML.
  3. active_TV_16x9_ch1.jpg, this is a small Icon used to identify the TV-web channel. With PC-web, a text string is used to identify a web page – such as “Yahoo page”.
  4. active_TV_16x9_ch1.mcl [Media Center Link], this is the MCE conformant file used to “install” the channel into the TV’s channel listings. Let’s take a look at it first.

The .mcl file should be installed in the directory ‘C:\Program Files\Common Files\TV-Websites’. This will make it visible to all user accounts on the PC. When a networked TV ‘logs in’ to the PC, it has its own login-in account. Hence the .mcl file must be in a shared part of the PC file system. The .mcl file provides a string ‘name’ which can be used by the TV to present more information about the channel. [See the “huge collection of free videos, many DVD quality” for the AOL Video entry below.] It also points to the HTML file providing the channel layout. The HTML file points to the Flash .swf file. There is also the ‘thumbnailImage’ which is a JPEG displayed on the TV screen and used to select the channel.


url=".\active_TV_16x9_ch1.htm"
name="active-TV technology channel 1"
thumbnailImage=".\active_TV_16x9_ch1.jpg"


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Below are three example channel thumbnail images. A PC must have an .mcl file for each TV-web channel added. PC-web pages are listed as ‘favorites’ and accessed via a pop-down menu. Currently, most TVs are using a TV-web page from Media Mall which displays the TV’s ‘favorite’ TV-web channels. With this system, the PC detects the .mcl file and installs the new channel under the ‘more programs’ heading. It is possible to use the example TV-web channel many times with different .mcl files and different channel icons. Each channel would access different video material; this is further explained below.



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Below are three example channel thumbnail images. A PC must have an .mcl file for each TV-web channel added. PC-web pages are listed as ‘favorites’ and accessed via a pop-down menu. Currently, most TVs are using a TV-web page from Media Mall which displays the TV’s ‘favorite’ TV-web channels. With this system, the PC detects the .mcl file and installs the new channel under the ‘more programs’ heading. It is possible to use the example TV-web channel many times with different .mcl files and different channel icons. Each channel would access different video material; this is further explained below.


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The TV image at the top is formatted for a traditional 4x3 TV. It is also possible to format for a 16x9 or wide screen TV. The .swf for a wide screen example channel is included.
A TV-web page is formatted for TV viewing and access by a TV’s IR remote, not a keyboard or mouse. It is important that TV-web pages (or channels) not be confused with PC-web pages. This is accomplished by adding the code below to the TV-web .html file. This prevents search engines such as Google returning the TV-web page when the PC user is expecting to access only PC-web. Normally, PC-web pages are not linked to TV-web pages.

function IsMCEEnabled() {
return true;
}


Similarly, a TV user expects to access only TV-web. The TV has no keyboard or mouse so would not support access to a PC-web page. If a TV tries to navigate to a PC-web page, the window shown below appears on the TV screen. Using the ‘enter’ key on the IR remote will clear the box. This is a result of the PC-web page not being formatted for the TV and technically speaking, not containing the ISMCEEnabled marker. The wording “create a shortcut” refers to placing an icon on the PC desktop -- this is not a shortcut for TV use!

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Installing channel.zip files
The http://active-tv.blogspot.com has links to .zip files which can be used to install new TV-web channels. A un-zip tool such as WinZip is required to extract the contents of the .zip file. Each .zip file contains typically 5 files. They are usually extracted and installed at the c:\ location. Install problems can be avoided by first creating the C:\Program Files\Common Files\TV-Websites directory before extraction. For example, un-zipping YouTube_16x9.zip, the following files will be extracted

C:\Program Files\Common Files\TV-Websites\YouTube_16x9\YouTube_16x9.htm
C:\Program Files\Common Files\TV-Websites\YouTube_16x9\YouTube_logo.png
C:\Program Files\Common Files\TV-Websites\YouTube.jpg
C:\Program Files\Common Files\TV-Websites\YouTube_16x9\active_TV_16x9.swf
C:\Program Files\Common Files\TV-Websites\YouTube_16x9.mcl


As described above, the .htm file contains JavaScrip code which calls on a video-share site's API or RSS feed. With some sites, you may have to agree with "terms of use" for accessing video and video information. For example, some sites may only allow their video to be accessed from specific geographical locations, or impose some other restrictions. When using the code above, video is requested by your PC. Only you are in a position to know if your PC is allowed to make the request and ultimately enable viewing of the video.