HbbTV hybrid consortium takes on Canvas

A consortium of leading European television companies have confirmed the launch of 'Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV' or 'HbbTV', a new pan-European initiative aimed at harmonising the broadcast and broadband delivery of TV content to the end consumer through TVs and set-top boxes with an optional web connection.

The consortium includes broadcasters Canal+, France Televisions, and TF1, German research institute Institut für Rundfunktechnik, satellite operator SES ASTRA, as well as the software and media solutions providers ANT and OpenTV. The HbbTV specification was developed effectively manage the rapidly increasing amount of available content targeted at today's end consumer. It is based on elements of existing standards and web technologies including OIPF (Open IPTV Forum), CEA, DVB and W3C.

HbbTV products and services will provide the consumer with a seamless entertainment experience with the combined richness of broadcast and broadband. HbbTV says "this entertainment experience will be delivered with the simplicity of one remote control, on one screen and with the ease of use of television that we are used to."

Through the adoption of HbbTV, consumers will be able to access new services from entertainment providers such as broadcasters, online providers and CE manufacturers – including catch-up TV, VOD, interactive advertising, personalisation, voting, games and social networking as well as programme-related services such as digital text and EPGs. HbbTV products and services will be developed for all broadcasting technologies including satellite, cable and terrestrial networks.

The attempt to bring to market a cross platform standard as a consumer brand will see HbbTV potentially in direct competition with Canvas, the BBC lead consortium also aiming to launch a broadcast / broadband standard.

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