Momentum behind the HbbTV hybrid standard designed to unify broadcast and broadband services behind a common user interface is gathering pace in Europe outside the UK with trials or deployments by several major public broadcasters. Even in the UK, HbbTV is gaining some ground, having been adopted there by the Digital TV Group (DTG), responsible for digital terrestrial broadcasting, in the 7th edition of its D-Book. This defines the interoperability specification for UK digital terrestrial television, and by endorsing HbbTV, the DTG has created some confusion since the country appeared to be adopting an alternative platform, YouView. This is a consortium backed by the BBC, ITV, Channel Four, Channel Five, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva, aiming to launch its proposed hybrid broadcast and broadband platform in February 2012. As provider of the UK’s terrestrial infrastructure, Arqiva now appears to have a foot in both the YouView and HbbTV camps, so the future course of UK hybrid DTT services is unclear.
Outside the UK, though, Europe is rallying behind HbbTV, with NPO (the Dutch public broadcasting organization) conducting HbbTV trials on the Canal Digital satellite DTH platform and on the Ziggo cable networks, according to Dutch magazine Totaal TV. The Canal Digital trials are kicking off with Sony Bravia connected TV sets that have built-in satellite tuners as well as HbbTV support. Other leading CE manufacturers, including Philips and Samsung, plan to pile into the burgeoning Dutch hybrid market with HbbTV enabled TVs by the end of the year. The services will include an HbbTV “red button” that will enable interactive services combining linear and Internet content to be unified within personalized EPGs.
Via Nicolas Weil