The new specification has been published by ETSI as TS 103 555 and it defines how HbbTV terminals (e.g. set-top boxes and televisions) can be used with IPTV services. Two distinct types of terminals are covered by the specification. One is a pure IPTV terminal with only an IP connection and no classical antenna (RF) input, where all TV content is received via IP.
The other type is a hybrid IPTV terminal that has both an IP connection and a classical RF-based broadcast connection. Such terminals can switch between presenting content received via IP and content received via RF-based broadcast without rebooting or even interrupting a running HbbTV application.
For both terminal types, the specification describes how audio-visual content delivered by an IPTV service can be presented. The specification defines three ways to do this. The first is to list content in the terminal’s channel or service list; such content is either presented upon a user selection or by a broadcast-related HbbTV application. The second method is that an HbbTV application presents content using streaming technologies like MPEG-DASH. The third possibility allows a “broadcast-independent” HbbTV application to manage the channel/service selection.
“The HbbTV Association is pleased to be able to extend the range of devices and services that HbbTV technology can support.” said Klaus Illgner, President of the HbbTV Association.
“We were also pleased to see the cross-industry participation that led to this specification.”
“The extension of the HbbTV specification to include broadband networks for programme reception allows us to deploy services to HbbTV-compatible TV sets, thereby giving us the option to extend the coverage of our IPTV services further,” said Frank Lonczewski, Head of Innovation & Customer Insights TV, Telekom Deutschland GmbH.