HbbTV to Merge with Smart TV Alliance – Mozilla Ends Firefox OS

The HbbTV Association is merging with the Smart TV Alliance so that applications in the future will be able to use a single architecture. The two groups have started technical collaboration and will merge the two administrative organisations.

These platforms sit on top of the smart TV operating systems and news has surfaced of the end of Firefox OS for TV, at least under the aegis of the Mozilla organsiation, which abandoned the version for phones last year.

Analyst Comment

We reported on the formation of the Smart TV Alliance, which was founded by LG Electronics, TP Vision, Toshiba and Panasonic in 2012 to create a platform for smart television applications and there are now reckoned to be 58 million sets in the installed base that meet the specifications, while there are around 30 million that support HbbTV. The companies were keen to offer a common platform for content and app developers to reduce the time spent by the TV brands in getting support for their Smart TVs and spent by app developers in porting them for different brands. It seemed to make sense to us.

On the other hand, the HbbTV group has come from the broadcaster side, and was set up to give broadcasters a standardised mechanism to link their OTT services to the broadcast stream. This summer, the BBC said that it would switch from the successful UK MHEG platform to HbbTV and a plan was announced to merge the two.

It seems to us a much better solution for all to have a single standardised platform, rather than the three that we had before.

Firefox OS logoTurning to the Firefox news, it is feasible that Panasonic could carry on with development as the code has been made open source, but that would mean a big commitment and, given the withdrawal of Panasonic from the US, it seems to us unlikely that there would be the scale in the Panasonic TV business. The alternative is, probably, to adopt Android. Personally, I love the video skill that Panasonic has, but could rarely describe the experience of using a Panasonic TV as great (I haven’t tried one for a while, however). How about talking to Roku about a customised version of that OS? (BR)