Senior managers at UK free-to-air digital satellite platform Freesat have confirmed the service’s support for the HTML5 multimedia Internet standard. The move follows Freesat’s successful launch of YouTube built on HTML 5, offering a TV-optimised, visually stunning and fully interactive viewing experience.
James Strickland, Chief Technology Officer, noted that previous standards such as MHEG, which were broadcast-centric, offered some semblance of interactivity, but were not good enough for the next-generation of technology. He suggested that HTML5 could be used “for the next dozen years; it’s not a transient technology.” Its availability would enable services to get to market “relatively quickly”.
He confirmed that Freesat’s apps strategy was only to integrate those that enhanced the viewing experience such as YouTube. “We’re looking to get the best line-up of content that we can,” he said. “You won’t see a lot of apps,” added Managing Director Emma Scott, who noted that Samsung had narrowed down the range of apps on its Smart Hub.Giles Cottle, Head of Strategy at Freesat, explained the reasons for building its user interface in HTML5, a step few TV providers have taken. “While there was still some integration work to be done to add YouTube to <free time>, it was achieved far more quickly within an HTML5 framework than would otherwise have been possible,” he said.
“HTML5 also gives us the advantage of flexibility and agility, which is crucial for players like us. And we think it looks great, and allows us to do lots of things with user interfaces that would not have been possible with proprietary technologies,” he suggested.