Electronics manufacturers, TV broadcasters and the Government have lined up to support the HbbTV standard as a way to introduce hybrid TV following the model in France and Germany.
Manufacturers believe the market will grow strongly over the next few years. Panasonic forecasts that in 2012 there will be 2 million Internet-ready TV sets in Spain, almost four times more than the estimated 600,000 devices sold in the first quarter of the current year. It is also estimated that currently between 60 and 70 per cent of TV sets on sale are ready for Internet connection, although only an average of 20 per cent of hybrid TV users really have access to those advanced services.
First hybrid TV services are already under way in Spain. Mediaset España, owner of Tele 5 and Cuatro, recently signed an agreement with telco Telefonica to develop a HbbTV service with a trial to be launched shortly over Telefonica’s IPTV, VoD and Internet Platforms. Also, DTT channel Veo TV has just launched a HbbTV test channel, called Mundo Interactivo.
“We have to bet on the pan-european model that is still working in Germany and France and that it will work in our country as soon as we have applications”, said Andres Roman, manager of TV strategy at Sony. For Maria Maicas, Deputy Director of Interactivity at state-owned TV group RTVE, HbbTV “has to be a reality also supported by the other European public TV channels”. In her opinion, “we cannot let each platform impose its model with content operators adapting to them. The (common) standard is a benefit to all of us”.
The General Director of Telecommunications, Roberto Sanchez, acknowledged that HbbTV is “the favourite option”. The director of Future Casting & Experience Research at Intel, Brian Johnson, said in Madrid during a conference that in 2015 there will be between 12 and 15 billion Internet-connected TV screens in the world.