HbbTV updates Operator Application spec
November 24, 2023
The HbbTV Association, a global initiative dedicated to providing open standards for the delivery of advanced interactive TV services through broadcast and broadband networks for connected TV sets and set-top boxes, has announced the release of an updated version of the HbbTV Operator Application specification.
When there is agreement between a platform operator and smart TV manufacturer, the HbbTV OpApp acts like a virtual set-top box inside the smart TV set, enabling operators to provide a branded, uniform user interface across different manufacturers. When switching the TV set on, it appears in the operator’s ‘look and feel’, ensuring a compelling user experience with the full range of services.
The new version improves support for operator applications to render IP-delivered linear channels, including enabling regular HbbTV interactive (‘red button’) applications to appear alongside IP-delivered linear channels and operator-managed user interface elements. It allows for a consistent and seamless viewer experience across broadcast and IP-delivered linear channels.
The updated specification also allows an operator application to manage the streaming and presentation of a collection of IP-delivered linear channels discovered from a DVB-I service list or equivalent, enabling consistent flexible streaming approaches and fast channel change times.
A key driver behind many of these new features are the requirements of UK broadcasters and manufacturers of TV receivers who together will be launching the new Freely hybrid TV platform in the UK in 2024, underlining the relevance of the updated specification for market players. Freely is likely to be the first application using the new version.
The updated specification also includes improvements identified during the development and rollout of operator applications in Germany where they have been commercially deployed since March 2019.