It builds on HbbTV 2 and allows operators to provide an operator-branded experience as an application on TVs. The application acts as a ‘Virtual Set Top Box’, providing effectively all the functionality of a Set Top Box (STB) without the need to install one. An Operator Application (OpApp) can run immediately after the TV is turned on. To the user, the OpApp functions just like any other source on their TV, just like a cable input or an HDMI source. It can be used on any network supported by a connected TV including satellite, cable, terrestrial and IPTV.
Klaus Illgner, Chair of the HbbTV Association commented: “The HbbTV Association is pleased to publish the specification for OpApps, knowing that we will improve customer satisfaction and user experience. The benefits will be realised across the board with manufacturers, broadcasters, operators and content producers, making the overall viewing experience more sophisticated and tailored to the consumer”.
The specs mean consumers can enjoy TV services on the big screen without having to install a set-top box and juggle with cables and different remote controls. Operators can provide a branded experience straight onto connected TVs, therefore they can benefit much more quickly from innovations in TVs and can save some of the costs involved in owning and managing a set-top box population. Broadcasters benefit from a well-defined coexistence with broadcaster applications. TV manufacturers can offer more value to operators and consumers, while exploiting new co-marketing opportunities.
“After a number of years of working on OpApps with and for several IPTV Operators across Europe, I am very excited that the specification is now ready” said Rob Koenen, Principal Consultant at TNO, a leading Dutch R&D organisation that works with many IPTV operators. “It is easy to see the enormous opportunity of operator apps for IPTV operators, but this potential will only be fully realised if an ecosystem can be built on a solid international standard.”
The specification is available from the HbbTV Association website.