Opera Devices SDK 2.8 embraces HTML 5 video

The browser developer has released the latest version of its Opera Devices software development kit, designed for TV and set-top box manufacturers, with HTML 5 video support as a major feature

Opera has released the latest iteration of its software development kit for television, set-top box and other consumer electronics manufacturers, it was announced today.

Released on Thursday, Opera Devices SDK 2.8 has support for HTML 5 video and the latest version of Opera's proprietary JavaScript engine, Carakan, which sits inside current versions of Opera's main desktop browser.

The SDK can be used to develop applications "on any Linux device, more or less", Frode Hernes, vice president of product management for TV and connected devices at Opera, told ZDNet UK on Thursday. Although the prime targets for application developments are TV-related, Hernes said that there are other potential applications, such as digital picture frames.

The SDK is not free and the price will be negotiable depending on the customer, said Hernes.

Also on Thursday, Opera announced the free content development kit (CDK) for Opera devices at the IBC show in Amsterdam, as part of its TV push. The CDK will primarily allow people to develop content that can sit on top of the environments made by buyers of the SDK, Pal Unanue-Zahl, Opera's communications manager, confirmed to ZDNet UK.

Devices that use the SDK to render HTML 5 video, display media and provide additional functions to televisions and associated products will be shipping by around Christmas, according to Hernes. He explained that the three-month lag between SDK release and shipped devices is because the SDK is a developer tool and development takes time, "so they will need to download it, install it, port their previous code if they have any and then put the product in the market".

The SDK does not cater for mobiles though, Hernes added, because Opera's "out of the box solution", the Opera Mini 5 mobile browser — which compresses web pages for phones on relatively slow connections — is already relatively easy to deploy on mobiles and the company did not think that adding the technology into the TV-focused SDK would not be useful.

"Televisions normally sit on better bandwidth, so we will not use the thin-client browser in this market, but we are using the other technologies that make the opera browser efficient in its own right for this," Hernes said.