Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) is slowly but surely becoming a reality in Central and Eastern Europe.
Just before Easter we learnt that the Polish public broadcaster TVP will launch an interactive TV service employing the standard in time for Euro 2012, which starts on June 8. It will initially be available to viewers who watch the HD version of its first channel TVP1 either via DVB-T or DVB-S.
TVP has been working on the project with 4vod, which started on the first HbbTV tests in Poland last month, when it began distributing the channel TVN HD via DVB-T from the landmark Palace of Culture in Warsaw.
4vod describes itself as a technology aggregator for TV broadcasters and content providers, as well as a service operator for the B2B sector, and is set to play a key role in the introduction of HbbTV services in Poland.
Meanwhile in the neighbouring Czech Republic, TVP’s counterpart CT is playing a key role in the introduction of HbbTV services. Following months of preparations, these will start – albeit on a modest basis – later this month or in May with Teletext HD and a simple application for the Ice Hockey World Championships.
However, employing the 23.5 degrees East position, CT will in due course make its channels CT1 to CT4 available, probably unencrypted and in both SD and HD, to viewers of such DTH platforms as Skylink, CS Link and T-Mobile. Eventually they should also become available on other DTH, and indeed cable and IPTV, services.
Although Western Europe remains the focus of HbbTV activity, with France, Germany and Spain at the centre of activities and the Nordic region having just committed to the standard, developments in Poland and the Czech Republic show that the CEE region is unlikely to be left behind and will almost certainly catch up.