European Broadcasting Union Technical Committee Agrees on Steps for Hybrid Broadcast Broadband

The Technical Committee of the European Broadcasting Union (note: the latter, generally referred to as the EBU, is a confederation of 75 mostly public-service broadcasters from 56 countries) announced this week that it has agreed to a set of measures for Hybrid Broadcast Broadband (HBB) services and devices. In a statement published on the EBU Web site, the Committee says that, while it recognizes the "exciting opportunities" HBB technologies present for viewers and broadcasters, and while it realizes that "significant work...has already been done in this domain" (for example, through the HbbTV and Project Canvas initiatives), it believes that there are likely to be various different HBB platforms "in the foreseeable future." Therefore, it continues, it believes that "the public interest will be served by harmonization where practical, in order to provide viewers with the highest quality experience, simple to use, at the lowest cost"--adding that "having multiple HBB platforms in the same market, each with their own requirements, will increase costs for broadcasters."

The Committee says that the work needed in order to "harmonize the heterogeneity of solutions...should not be restricted to platforms alone." Consequently, it says, it has asked EBU Technical to "continue its work to harmonize HBB by working with EBU members and the various initiatives, taking into account current interactive TV systems where they are used."

It goes on to say that the EBU should attempt to take an "open, flexible and extensible approach" to harmonization that matches the requirements of specific environments. In addition, the statement continues, the Technical Committee will begin work on "other essential elements," including the streaming of long-form content over the open Internet. This, the statement concludes, will "add to current work on platforms, signaling, and other HBB-related questions."