Leveraging Open Source Browsers To Optimize Apps And UI (2016)

By Albert Dahan, Co-Founder and CTO, Metrological and Wouter van Boesschoten, VP of Technology and Innovation, Metrological

Embedded browsers present a host of performance challenges for operators. Today, the user experience of enhanced browser-based services is largely dependent on the performance of the browser itself. Embedded browsers face set-top box (STB) CPU power and memory limitations that affect performance and fidelity. As consumer demand for personalized OTT offerings increase (Netflix, Hulu, etc) operators need a browser experience that can support a greater number of apps and the mechanisms in place to search and discover the right apps for each person.

HTML5 creates a standard, but it doesn’t solve the issue of having to create a uniform experience on every different device. Operators need an in-house browser supported by a framework that can run cloud-based services consistently across all devices. Using an open-source approach enables operators to leverage the rapid increase in innovations coming from contributors to open-source browsing. The solution is to adopt a browser approach that leverages open-source “WebKit for Wayland” (WPE) components. This new software approach delivers high performance rendering of HTML5 apps and next-generation user interfaces, increasing browser performance with a smaller software footprint, and requires significantly less memory usage. WPE components enable robust rendering of cloud-based applications and next-generation user interfaces and provide better window management to control multiple applications. Operators can enable cloud-based apps to run on STBs with the speed and consistency of native or local apps while avoiding the costs normally associated with proprietary based approaches.

This paper will outline how to implement an open sourced based approach that enables high performance rendering of HTML5 apps and user interfaces. It will discuss the capabilities of the browser in detail along with its pros and cons when compared to other approaches and its ability to integrate into the STB ecosystem.

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