Deutsche Telekom is in field trials of what it’s calling set-top virtualization – relying on the cloud to update the user interfaces and capabilities of set-tops and other customer premise equipment (CPE).

Deutsche Telekom is using cloud technology from ActiveVideo.

T-Labs – Deutsche Telekom’s technology evaluation operation, said it began investigating approaches to the virtualization of set-top box features in late 2011 and has been testing them in field trials ever since.

“The primary goal of virtualizing the set-top box is to move the execution of applications to the cloud. From there, they run in a standardized web browser and are transmitted to various devices as a video data stream (H.264/H.265). The process can be used with HDMI dongles, smart TVs, tablets, PCs and smartphones,” the operator announced.

Deutsche Telekom said it will be using web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3 and WebRTC to update applications and serve them from the cloud. Applications include a video-on-demand store, localized EPGs (electronic program guides), and a portal for TV apps.

“With this approach, even older, low-performance devices can present ultramodern, resource-hungry user interfaces in a fluid manner,” the company also said. “The virtual, cloud-based set-top box decouples the user device from the development process, and thus from the life cycle of applications and services.”

Deutsche Telekom said it has conducted trials with friendlies in Germany, and in Greece through OTE. The next test will take place during the last quarter of 2013, as another element in the company’s TeraStream field trial in Croatia.

With TeraStream, Deutsche Telekom is testing a variety of new networking technologies, including 1 Gbps transmission systems and IPv6.