HbbTV Symposium: What did we learn?

In sponsoring the event, DTVKit was able to get a good sense of what the industry is looking at in terms of HbbTV and where the consortium is heading.

One thing that was very clear from the HbbTV Symposium in Rome is that HbbTV is already spreading outside of Europe. HbbTV is here to connect the TV and Internet worlds, and its commitment, as we heard from the Vatican to “develop interoperability and harmonising of standards” has exceeded expectations.

The Statistics

Paul Gray from IHS Markit presented statistics on the growth and use of HbbTV worldwide. A number of markets outside of Europe have successfully introduced hybrid broadcasts, and others are preparing to follow.

Speaking to Paul after the event, he said; “Consumers are increasingly shifting their viewing from linear TV – time shifting either by catch-up services or PVR continues to grow in addition to VoD services. Mobile devices are becoming the gateway to new TV habits: services are tried on mobile – viewing then transfers to the bigger television set. The larger trend is a divergence – the big TV set in the living room is for shared usage, while tablets and smartphones increasingly dominate personal usage, often away from home and therefore not competing with the TV itself.”

Paul points out that “being content-driven, Hbb allows consumers to follow the content (e.g. from live to catch up on old episodes) whereas the TV hardware approach is segregated by physical delivery silos – broadcast, AV input and Smart TV apps.”

Operator Application Profile

We heard from our member Freesat about the, ‘Op App’ as a way of giving consumers access to their live channels and on-demand.  Andy Carr highlighted the importance of the user experience; having one UI to avoid confusion is a key game changer.

Speaking to JC Verdie from Voxtok during the event, he said, “This is usually a very intensive meeting where a lot of ideas come together, it’s a unique opportunity to gather people from all the areas of the industry. Voxtok has a strong commitment in bringing HbbTV to as many platforms as we can and to shift it to a new level with the upcoming game-changer; Operator Application Profile.”

In September last year DTVKit selected Voxtok* HbbTV SDK. Voxtok HbbTV SDK is the first up-to-date royalty-free HbbTV open-source implementation for Chrome. It can be deployed without any restrictions, supporting HbbTV 1.5 and 2.0 specifications. We have now made this SDK part of our environment, enabling member’s access to the Voxtok Music Ecosystem and portfolio for a one-off fee, with no extra contract or license to sign.

*Voxtok has recently been acquired by Netgem who relies on HbbTV standards as part of its core offering