Displaying languages of the Indian subcontinent upon the DVB-MHP platform.

From: William Overington (WOverington@ngo.globalnet.co.uk)
Date: Thu Apr 03 2003 - 02:58:38 EST

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    John Clews wrote as follows.


    In fairness, you ought to take account of the fact that languages of
    the Indian subcontinent have been displayed on TV systems in India
    for nearly ten years, based around ISCII.

    Is there a reason for doing anything different for DVB-MHP?
    Or are mappings and similar accounted for in your paper?

    end quote

    Many thanks for your note.

    The whole text of my document is in the posting. I know very little about
    Indian languages. It is just that I know that DVB-MHP uses Java and Unicode
    and that the built-in font for the minimum DVB-MHP television set is very
    European languages oriented. Please see Annex E of the DVB-MHP
    specification, available from the http://www.mhp.org webspace. I have
    suggested in another document in the DigitalTV forum in the
    http://www.cenelec.org webspace some additional characters which I feel
    would be good additions for the built-in font for the European Union
    interactive television. This is entirely in compliance with the DVB-MHP
    specification, as the specification provides many options for local
    implementation and specifies a minimum implementation. Within the European
    Union there will potentially be a "local implementation" though covering the
    whole of the European Union, so suggesting some extra characters to be in
    the built-in font of all such televisions is just part of the process of
    deciding which options to include in the local implementation for the
    European Union.

    I am simply trying to point out that using languages of the Indian
    subcontinent upon the DVB-MHP system with its PFR0 font system may cause
    problems, in the hope that experts will look at the problem soon as there at
    present seems to be little (or maybe no) intersection in the set of people
    who know about DVB-MHP and the set of people who know about languages of the
    Indian subcontinent expressed in Unicode. I am concerned that if nothing is
    done there will be problems in a few years time with lots of
    interoperability problems, whereas looking at the problem now could save a
    lot of problems later. The possibilities for using the DVB-MHP system for
    education around the world are enormous. The Indian subcontinent is one
    major potential area of such use. I am concerned to try to ensure that
    there is a good infrastructure in place so that the languages of the Indian
    subcontinent may be used in a Unicode manner upon the DVB-MHP platform in a
    straightforward manner.

    On the specific matters which you mention, I had no knowledge of the fact
    that languages of the Indian subcontinent have been displayed on TV systems
    in India for nearly ten years, based around ISCII. That is interesting to
    know. Is that on a teletext system or what? However, as far as I know
    ISCII is an 8-bit encoding system (and I do mean "as far as I know" because
    I am not certain of that) whereas DVB-MHP uses Unicode. So not including
    mention of ISCII in my document is no problem as far as I know. Mappings
    from ISCII to Unicode are not mentioned in my document. I started from
    considering that someone had encoded some text written in a language of the
    Indian subcontinent into Unicode and that it was in a text file ready for
    broadcasting and considered the process of getting the text displayed upon
    the screen of a DVB-MHP television. I then pointed out what, to me, seems a
    problem which presently exists, in that a PFR0 font, as far as I can tell,
    is not a smart font format.

    I am hoping that, by having published the paper in the DigitalTV forum in
    the http://www.cenelec.org webspace that the matter may be resolved within
    the context of the setting of content authoring guidelines for interactive
    television which are to be produced for the European Union.

    Certainly, I cannot resolve the matter myself as I do not have the
    linguistic knowledge necessary to do so.

    I suggest using glyphs mapped to the Private Use Area from U+EC00 for this
    specific application of Unicode upon the DVB-MHP platform, though not
    broadcasting using those code points in relation to languages of the Indian
    subcontinent, just using them locally for font access after they are
    generated using a eutocode typography file. I have since been wondering
    what is the position of displaying Arabic text using a PFR0 font upon the
    DVB-MHP platform. Does a similar problem exist? Would the set of Arabic
    presentation forms encoded into Unicode be sufficient for the task, so that
    a Private Use Area encoding would not be necessary? The right to left
    display of Arabic text is another factor which needs consideration in
    relation to the DVB-MHP system.

    Thank you for your interest.

    William Overington

    3 April 2003

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