OperaTV was at the show to demonstrate its OS for smart TVs and also had one of the most interesting technical demos at the event. Opera has been working with the BBC to implement and test the synchronisation of broadcast content with streamed or local content using the HbbTV 2.0 standard. The ability to synchronise has a number of uses including allowing streamed additional content to be played back on personal devices, alongside the broadcast. That could mean optional audio or description tracks and Opera told us that ensuring accessibility to services was a big driver for the development. As well as synchronising to live broadcasts, the technique can synchronise content to streamed media.
Precise synchronisation and knowledge of the content means that, for example, very precisely targeted or localised advertising can be dropped in to replace national or broadcast content. The use of HbbTV and live sync also means that this kind of control can operate even where content is not running at the expected times. You can also use the technology to ensure synchronisation of different devices in the home or at a location. There are obvious opportunities for ‘parallel’ operations with a personal device could be used to purchase items or services using the companion device.
You can, for example, synchronise trailer material so that buttons are customised – ‘Click the record button now to ensure you have this programme’. The work with the BBC also supported the ‘Start from the top’ feature that some operators have which allow someone seeing a live broadcast to easily select the programme instantly from a streamed source so that it can be watched from the beginning.
OperaTV told us that the support would be included in the latest version 4.10 which is now becoming available to its customers and which should roll out in 2018 TV sets. The company was also very complimentary about the work that the BBC had done to teach users how to use ‘the red button’ in the UK to perform all sorts of operations.