Although the emerging HTML5 specification is often seen as the solution to interoperable web applications, in practice there are many differences in compatibility between devices that claim support for web standards. This is a familiar problem on the web but the fragmentation of different flavours appears to be even more of an issue with consumer electronics products.
The BBC TV Application Layer or TAL attempts to deal with the differences between devices, such as remote control key mapping, media player interfaces, networking and storage. In theory this means that the BBC can develop and deploy applications on a well-defined interface without being aware of the specifics and idiosyncrasies of each device.
Via Nicolas Weil