A newly established project group aims to make it easier for broadcasters to provide more personalised user experiences.

While the growth of internet-connected TV and radio receivers has opened up many new possibilities for innovative online and hybrid services, authentication remains a blocking point. A solution to this problem would unlock the potential for a minor revolution in the usually anonymous world of broadcasting.

Established by the EBU’s strategic programme on TV Platforms & Services, the Cross-Platform Authentication (CPA) project group will develop an alternative to proprietary single sign-on systems that already exist.

Simplify user experience

The CPA group is chaired by the BBC’s Sean O’Halpin, who is the lead engineer in the BBC R&D Internet Research and Future Services section. The new group’s objectives are to simplify the user experience for accessing multiple services across different platforms and devices, while protecting users’ information and ensuring data isolation between broadcasters. The protocol will need to take into account the range of device capabilities in terms of displays and input methods.

Independent alternative

The lack of standards in this area has led to early adopters taking the easy option of hooking into pre-existing authentication systems from popular web-based services like Facebook or Yahoo!. However for broadcasters, and public service media organizations in particular, it would be preferable to have the option of using an independent solution that is not under the control of a commercial company.

OAuth 2.0 variant

The group will develop a variant of the widely implemented open standard OAuth 2.0 protocol specifically targeted at IP-connected media devices. The proposal may ultimately be submitted for adoption in OAuth 2.0.

Participation in the CPA project group is open to various types of contributor, including broadcasters and manufacturers. The first meeting will be held in early September.

Those who wish to join the group need to first create a tech.ebu.ch user account and then join via the EBU’s group homepage.

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portatif of Steve Reynolds


Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is President of Imagine Communications, a global leader in multiscreen video and ad management solutions that broadcasters, networks, video service providers and enterprises around the world rely on to support their mission-critical operations.

Steve brings 25 years of technology leadership in the video industry to Imagine Communications. He has served as the CTO at Imagine Communications and Harris Broadcast, Senior Vice President of Premises Technology at Comcast, Senior Vice President of Technology at OpenTV, and CTO at Intellocity USA.

Steve earned a MS in Computer Engineering from Widener University and BS in Computer Science from West Chester University. As the Chairman of the AIMS Alliance and a member of SMPTE and SCTE, he has participated in numerous standards-making bodies in the cable and digital video industries. Steve also holds over 40 patents relating to digital video, content security, interactive television and digital devices.