Although Europe, headed by Germany, France and Poland, leads in the deployment of HbbTV, it is also now used in several other countries around the world including Australia and New Zealand.
Furthermore, it is being trailed in – amongst others – Russia, Italy, Portugal, Norway, Sweden and South Africa and under consideration in the US.
In a wide-ranging presentation on HbbTV deployment, Pawel Tutka, HbbTV expert, hybra.tv, focused on the situation in a number of European markets. In Germany, where most broadcasters use HbbTV, its market reach now stands at over 70%. As of last year, there were a total of 16.5 million HbbTV devices.
Meanwhile, in France HbbTV’s market reach is 40% and there is a significant 1.0 legacy, with few 1.5 services available. There is also no certification regime in a market with some 5 million HbbTV devices (2.2 million new ones in 2015) and around one million active HbbTV users.
HbbTV’s market reach in Spain is an impressive 80% and it boasts 3 million HbbTV devices, 1.4 million of which are connected.
On the other hand, in the Netherlands the market reach is half that figure and – significantly – must-carry has been rejected by the regulator. In Switzerland, where HbbTV market reach is 80%, there are currently 2 million HbbTV devices. In neighbouring Austria, with the same reach, there is half that number.
In Central and Eastern Europe, where HbbTV market reach stands at 40%, there are 500,000 HbbTV receivers, or 30% of new TVs, and 200,000 active devices, in Hungary. The consumer trademark is MinDig TV with HbbTV reference.
The Czech Republic, where services have been deployed by Ceske Televize (CT), Prima and Ocko, there were already 740,000 connected HbbTV devices as of Q3 2015, with the number projected to rise to 2 million by 2020.
In Poland, where HbbTV’s market reach stands at over 40%, there are 1.8 million active devices but no certification regime as yet.
Tutka also spoke about the HbbTV services offered by the Polish commercial channels Eska TV, Polo TV and Fokus TV.
Furthermore, he identified some of the trends in HbbTV as being virtual TV channels, T-Government, education and early warning systems.
Looking at HbbTV 2.0, which is set to be introduced later this year, he identified its main elements as being synchronization of audio, video and data; second screen integration for smartphones and tablets; HTML5 browser profile; and new video features such as push VOD, subtitles and adaptive streaming.