HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV) is a European digital TV standard, but has become a global initiative over the last 5 years. It brings together elements of many other standards and existing web technologies (such as OIPF, CEA, WC3 and DVB,) to harmonise the delivery of broadcast and broadband content to consumers.
Through a hybrid IPTV set-top box, HbbTV software has enabled consumers to access new broadcaster services including catch-up TV, video on demand (VoD), interactive advertising, voting, games, and social networking, as well as programme-related services such as digital text and EPGs.
Germany launched HbbTV at the end of 2009 and initially led the way with many of the satellite operators generating "live" applications. HbbTV then became available in the majority of DVB broadcasting networks in Germany, with HbbTV services also in regular operation in France and Spain. Since then, much progress has taken place and 2014 is likely to be remembered as the year that HbbTV really took off in Central and Eastern Europe.
Figure 1: Example HbbTV Application User Interfaces
Polish public broadcaster TVP began its HbbTV activities just prior to Euro 2012 and has since launched apps for other sporting events, such as the London Olympic Games and the World Cup. Neighbouring countries including Czech Republic and Slovakia have made similar progress in pioneering apps for the World Cup and other sporting events.
HbbTV is also gaining interest outside of Europe, including Australia, South-East Asia, Africa and America. In Australia, Freeview has formally launched HbbTV under its licensed name 'Freeview Plus.'
Figure 2: European map showing HbbTV country adoption
Ocean Blue is an active supporter of HbbTV and has incorporated the HbbTV extensions to provide the following components for integration into third party HbbTV browsers:
Ocean Blue's Sunrise DVB core is mature, robust and has been well-deployed in hybrid solutions. All of Ocean Blue's software products are hardware and operating system agnostic, with a well-defined and mature API. The software allows for easy porting onto client hardware or third party software.