With the move, the consortium – which includes ARD, bmt, Dolby, DVB, EBU, Fraunhofer FOKUS, LG, MIT-xperts, OnScreen Publishing, ProSiebenSat.1 Media, rbb, RTL Deutschland, Sofia Digital, Sony, TARA Systems, TP Vision, Vestel, WDR and ZDF – wants to develop a common understanding of the DVB-I functionality and challenges.
DVB-I has been created to enable easy access to the video streaming of linear channels over the internet to provide the same user-friendly experience enjoyed through linear TV.
In this Q&A, Remo Vogel (rbb), Project Manager of the German DVB-I Pilot, talks to Broadband TV News about the project rollout, leveraging a European scale and the challenges ahead of a market launch.
What are your key learnings in the DVB-I Pilot Germany so far?
First of all, we can state that implementing DVB-I services is easy, especially if you already have existing service information (SI) data playout systems. In the German DVB-I Pilot, we can therefore already show a considerable bouquet with which it is worthwhile to use DVB-I.
The standard primarily defines metadata and also relies on established technologies like DVB Broadcast, DVB-DASH and HbbTV. We already have a number of client implementations, both on hybrid TV sets and pure IP clients. These are still prototypes, but suggest that implementation is possible faster than previous TV standards.
How do you organise the know-how transfer on a European level?
At the moment we have two big DVB-I pilots in Europe. Both pilots work partly with the same manufacturers, both for clients and for SI playout. Therefore, we automatically had synergies from the beginning. In the next step, we started to match the requirements of the Italian and German pilots. The aim is to create a common profile for the use of DVB-I as far as possible.
Furthermore, we propose to maintain such a common profile for the entire European market. The advantages would be immense – significantly lower entry barriers for manufacturers and national markets, less effort for interoperability tests and support. Furthermore, it would be desirable if we did not fall into the trap of fragmented markets as we do with HbbTV versions.
DVB has launched the DVB-I Forum for knowledge exchange. This gives us a fast communication channel to all parties involved. This is explicitly aimed at all participants and interested parties who do not necessarily have to be DVB members.
Which challenges need to be overcome on the way to a market launch?
There are still a number of issues to be resolved before DVB-I is ready for the market. For example, the relationship between broadcaster and network operator in the service list. For illustration – let’s assume we have a national service list in which ARD distributes its own service instances. What happens if the user also subscribes to an OTT service that also includes the ARD services? Will reception of the ARD broadcast then just be deactivated or will we find appropriate rules which serve all interests?
We also have to think again about the revenue models for private broadcasters and the implementation of subscription services. DVB-I already has a mechanism for replaying DRM channels, but this prevents broadcaster HbbTV applications, we need a better approach here.
We are running pilots to identify such problems. With further pilots in Europe, we can also identify other market-specific challenges. DVB’s slogan at IBC has already fulfilled – DVB-I better than broadcast, better than broadband. DVB-I would already be complete enough today to operate in a closed ecosystem. In the medium term, the level of maturity will be sufficient for markets.
Remo Vogel is responsible for the strategic development of distribution technology at Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) / ARD. His focus is on hybrid systems for programme publication. He is co-chairing the EBU HbbTV & DVB-I group.
Note: The 10th HbbTV Symposium and Awards on November 9-10, 2022 in Prague features a conference panel on DVB-I and a presentation by Rainer Biehn (bmt) which includes an update on the German DVB-I Pilot.