The final session of the first day covered service and platform initiatives and the first speaker was Laurent Etienne, the CTT of HTTV, a French middleware company. He has been involved in the standards process for the development of the different versions of HbbTV.
(For those readers who don’t know HbbTV – it’s a specification for adding OTT and interactivity to broadcast content and was designed to allow broadcasters, especially public service broadcasters, to add interactive features to their broadcasts. It has been widely adopted as a standard, not only in Europe, but in other regions, although it is often re-named outside its home region – Man. Ed.)
The first version of HbbTV 1.0 (June 2010) was very HTML-centric and web-driven and based on DVB and W3C specifications. V1.5 added MPEG-Dash to allow the control of streaming content from the internet as well as video from broadcast. HbbTV2.0 is mainly to add companion screen interaction, HEVC support and connections to CI Plus. It also supports HTML 5 and CSS3.
HTML 5 brings a lot of new functions and CSS 3.0 helps a lot with site design. The video object is managed in HTML 5 and that allows IP-delivered video to be supported quite easily.
The CI Plus slot and matching CAM are important for content protection. V2 also adds HEVC support and changes for privacy regulations – these are important in Europe.
New features supported include adding the DVB profile of MPEG Dash and to allow parallel video – such as other camera views on the companion screen. These can be synchronised to the broadcast content and Etienne said that it can be used, for example, to play along with a TV programme. (This would be a very cool feature on programmes like -“Who wants to be a millionaire?” – Man. Ed).
Adverts can be also be presented and the synchronisation allows internet audio to be heard with the programme to make support for multiple languages easier – and independent of the broadcast stream.
Development of the testing suite and policy has started and the plan is to roll out test of Version 2.0 for Q4 this year, ready for apps to be available in Q1 2016.