DVB World 2010 – Lisbon: The former head of the DVB Project Office has questioned the ability of the organization to build product profiles around its technologies. Peter MacAvock, now a part of the EBU Technical Department, says while DVB has provided a useful set of tools that forms the basis of many standards, it has been national organisations like the DTG and Italy’s DGTVi that have done the work. “The DVB understood the requirement with MHP but much of the effort was on the standardisation rather than the implementation,” he said.
MacAvock was illustrating some of the issues around Hybrid Broadcast Broadband (HBB) and divided the market into green field and brown field sites. He said green fields such as France, Germany and Spain were looking at two central issues; “Analogue Switch Off is coming, what are we going to do about analogue teletext?” and “Wouldn’t it be great if we could bring our successful catch-up-TV to the TV set”.
The UK and Italy have already made their technology choices but are now looking to extend into hybrid technology, the UK through Canvas, though already rolling out a new version of MHEG-5 that features a new Interaction Channel, and Italy by adding broadband capability to its MHP profile.
Italy remains a key market for MHP, which continues to be a divisive issue, after its well-documented IPR problems. In a later presentation, Anthony Smith-Chaigneau, MD, Alitcast objected to MacAvock’s characterisation of the Italian market as brown field.
The EBU is trying to exploit the commonality that exists between the various HBB systems, including Canvas, and the Franco-German commercial implementation HbbTV. “Our role is two-fold. The first of the roles of the EBU is in specification development and its interoperabilty in the marketplace by providing services to the members. The second thing we do is to try and provide a leadership role to the membership who are trying to play catch-up in this space”.
The debate was moved on by Paul Bristow, VP of strategy, ADB, who pointed delegates to the emergence of HTML-5 and its new video tag. He said the latest version of the web mark-up language was already available to users of the Safari and Firefox browsers and in current set-top box shipments that feature a browser.
“On most of the major video sites you can opt into a partner video program, but we’ve never discussed this at the DVB steering board,” said Bristow. However, he cautioned that the whole idea of being able to standardise on a particular area of HMTL was optimistic.