Following the completion of the country’s digital switchover, Australian free-to-air television is planning its next technological evolution combining broadcasting and the Internet.
Freeview Australia – the industry grouping comprising free-to-air licensees Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Special Broadcasting Service, Seven Network, Nine Network, Network Ten, Prime Media Group and Southern Cross Broadcasting – is working with the local FTA networks and TV manufacturers on a co-ordinated launch of Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) next year. HbbTV is a major new pan-European initiative aimed at harmonising the broadcast and broadband delivery of entertainment to the end consumer through connected TVs and set-top boxes.
The Australian approach differs from its UK counterparts Freeview and YouView, with the latter developing its own proprietary open IPTV platform distinct from the more widely accepted HbbTV standard, while Freeview, despite sharing common shareholders in the BBC and ITV, sees its existence in a connected TV future as separate from YouView.
“Following soon after the completion of digital switchover across the country, HbbTV will be the next exciting innovation for the free-to-air platform and will deliver an expanded and unparalleled television experience to all Australians, for free,” stated Freeview Australia general manager Liz Ross.