Opera, Ocean Blue Team on HbbTV Solution for Connected TV's and Set-Top Boxes

Oslo, Norway-based browser specialist, Opera Software, and Bristol, UK-based digital TV software provider, Ocean Blue Software, on Monday announced what they are billing as a modular, scalable and integrated HbbTV solution for connected TV's and set-top boxes. (Note: HbbTV--short for "Hybrid Broadcast Broadband Television"--is a pan-European initiative that was launched last August and that describes its goal as "harmonizing the broadcast and broadband delivery of news, information and entertainment to the end consumer through TV's and set-top boxes with an optional Web connection." It is designed to enable such hybrid interactive services as VOD, catch-up TV, interactive advertising, digital text, games and social networking.)

According to the companies, their joint solution combines the Opera Devices SDK for Linux, Opera's HbbTV framework, and Ocean Blue's DVB middleware, which incorporates HbbTV extensions. They bill the solution as enabling OEM's to offer TV viewers a "premium and feature-rich experience" with full support for next-generation broadcast portals and services, such as ARD/ZDF Mediathek, Tagesschau and ARTE. "At the moment, there are different broadcast/broadband initiatives on the European market, including HbbTV in Germany and France, and Canvas in the United Kingdom, so there will be different market scenarios," Opera's chief development officer, Christen Krogh, said in a prepared statement. "However, Opera Software and Ocean Blue plan to offer a common technology platform to all of these developments, based on open Web standards. Our strategic technology and business partnership with Ocean Blue Software will help our customers bring the best of over-the-top (OTT) content and services directly to the living room on hybrid devices." Added Ocean Blue CEO, Ken Helps: "We are delighted to extend our partnership with Opera. TV and STB manufacturers want a feature-rich, low-risk solution; the collaboration between Ocean Blue and Opera provides a robust HbbTV solution that reduces time to market and therefore overall cost."

Opera and Ocean Blue plan to demo their joint HbbTV solution at the IPTV World Forum in London this week: the demo, which will be hosted in Opera's meeting room (Meeting Room 7), will showcase the solution running on the STi7105 platform from STMicroelectronics, a long-time partner of both companies. Opera says that it plans to extend the solution with pre-packaged broadband services, in collaboration with its OTT partner, GooMe.