Simple iTV formats use tried and tested infrastructures, in particular classic TV networks, mobile phone networks and the internet. However, a convergence of the media on the television screen in the form of an iTV application is thus impossible.
The interactive application runs on an infrastructure which is commonly referred to as an iTV platform. The platform must cover all components of the iTV system architecture, which are required for the interactive service (end-to-end solution). The most important components are:
- TV network
- PayTV provider or broadcaster
- Encryption system
- Interaction network
- End device
In the so-called vertical models, multiple or even all of these components are realised by a single group of companies. This facilitates two important things:
- The proprietary definition of concrete technologies
- The establishment of an internal corporate business model
The realisation is thus extensively simplified.
Political and cartel reasons stand against a so-called "horizontal" market. The various components should ideally be offered by a range of companies. Open market competition should take place at the level of all components.
In Germany, Leo Kirch generated a vertical iTV platform at the end of the millennium. Since the company's insolvency, there have been repeated attempts to establish an iTV platform. Success has thus far been unremarkable. The most important difficulties on the German market are:
- A political preference for a horizontal market
- A strong segmentation of the TV networks
- A comprehensive range of freely available television and thus a limited potential for PayTV
- A lack of knowledge about the technology and contents of the medium
- Strong cost pressures on end devices
Introduction to interactive television