Dutch parliament passes ‘signal neutrality’

HbbTV on Dutch TVDutch parliament has passed changes to the Medialaw that ensures uninterrupted delivery of TV signals including HbbTV on various distribution platforms.

The new law will put an end to cable operators filtering some of the broadcaster’s signals, such as the HbbTV services, but also subtitling, spoken commentary for hard-of-hearing and other additional services that are part of the broadcast signal.

Until now, the country two largest cable operators UPC and Ziggo refused to carry the HbbTV services from the public channels, SBS Broadcasting and foreign broadcasters such as ARD, ZDF and TVE.

Most new TV sets sold in the Netherlands are automatically equipped with HbbTV functionality, which gives access to additional information with programmes as well as access to on-demand and catch-up TV programming.

The standard makes a direct connection between the viewer and the broadcaster possible and circumvents similar services from the platform.

Some Dutch platforms, inclduing DTH service Canal Digitaal and terrestrial Digitenne already broadcast the HbbTV signals.

Meanwhile, SBS Broadcasting revealed some statistics of HbbTV usage with regards to the equipment used for connecting to the service: Philips is market leader with 33%, followed by Samsung 28%, Sony 14% and LG 8%. The other manufacturers are good for 17% of all HbbTV usage.