The Digital TV Group has ruled out the possibility of a coming together between the UK Connected TV specifications and those of the Franco-German HbbTV. However, the organisation made clear it was committed to international harmonisation and is fully engaged with international standards bodies and have reciprocal agreements with them.
The comments, made by DTG director-general Richard Lindsay-Davies in a Broadband TV News interview, come as DTG members receive the draft specification for what will form the Connected TV section of the D-Book 7.
Lindsay-Davies said the specifications represented a very clear framework for Connected TV in the UK. “There’s a very tight timeline and we’re working very closely, not just with Canvas, but we’ve had requirements through from Virgin, Lovefilm and Sky and we’re evaluating those at the moment. The idea is to ensure that at least the base layer of the specification, and therefore the specification of the overall platform meets those various players’ requirements.”
With the UK market focused on the BBC-led Canvas project, it should be recognised that it is just one element of the Connected TV offering, which is already evolving through the availability of iPlayer services on Freesat and Freeview HD.
The prospect of some sort of a formal alliance with HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband) is clearly receding, despite attempts by the EBU under Peter McAvock to establish a European platform, and public overtures made to HbbTV by Project Canvas director Richard Halton.
Lindsay-Davies ruled out any wholesale merger of technologies with similar groups, such as HbbTV, arguing that the UK implementation was already world leading. “We have reciprocal agreements with all the standards bodies, and if there’s something that is useful to steal, borrow or point to from another standards body, then we do that. We have arrangements where we can look to their specs and point to them, but what you’ve got to remember we already have a very advanced MHEG spec in the UK,” he said. “Much of what these people are doing is getting up to the standard where we already are, I’m sure there are some areas of IP delivery that will come in very handy, but equally what we’re not going to do is adopt the entire spec”.
Lindsay-Davies said that with the proportion of people watching broadband TV still in single figure percentages it was essential to take along the heartland Freeview viewer into connected TV as greater complexity was added.