HbbTV Spec Approved by ETSI as HbbTV Consortium Draws Up Charter and Opens to New Members

--DTG Opens Consultation on Interoperability and Innovation on the UK's Digital Terrestrial Platform

The HbbTV Consortium--the group behind "Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV" (HbbTV), a pan-European initiative that was launched last August and that describes its goal as "harmonizing the broadcast and broadband delivery of entertainment services to the end-consumer through connected TV's and set-top boxes" (note: according to the Consortium, the HbbTV initiative is based on elements of existing specs, including OIPF, CEA, DVB and W3C specs; the consortium's founding members are ANT software, the EBU, France Televisions, Germany's Institut fuer Rundfunktechnik, OpenTV, Philips, Samsung, SES Astra, Sony and TF1)--said last week that version 1.1.1 of its specification has been approved by European standards agency, ETSI and listed as ETSI TS 102 796. (Note: a detailed overview of the HbbTV spec is now available on ETSI's Web site.)

The approval coincides with the formal establishment of the HbbTV Consortium: the organization says that it has written up a charter, which has been signed by all its founding members and which "signals the opening of the Consortium for membership for organizations wanting to become involved in the group's activities." According to the HbbTV Consortium, the new membership charter covers such areas as operational framework, activity scope, IPR policy, membership fees, voting procedures and associate terms. The organization says that the opening up of its membership will enable new participants to actively contribute to the requirements, maintenance and development of the specification, and to have early access to updates as the spec evolves. Members will also be able to contribute to the development of the HbbTV test suite, according to the Consortium, as well as to its certification regime and to the promotion of HbbTV as a format. "The approval of version 1.1.1 of the specification by ETSI, combined with the finalization and signing of the membership charter, are important milestones for the initiative," HbbTV chair, Klaus Illgner, said in a prepared statement. "The recent completion of the second HbbTV interoperability event also demonstrates widespread support and commitment from across the value chain for the HbbTV initiative."

The HbbTV initiative now lists around 60 supporters on its Web site, including broadcasters, software vendors and CE manufacturers. The first HbbTV devices began shipping in Germany last December (see the article published on itvt.com, December 8th). The Consortium says that French TV regulator, the CSA, has also expressed support for HbbTV and that the introduction of interactive TV services and applications based on the spec is expected to take place in France next year. More information on joining the HbbTV Consortium is available by emailing membership@hbbtv.org.

In related news: The UK's Digital Television Group (DTG) has launched a consultation on interoperability and innovation on the UK's Freeview digital terrestrial platform. Entitled "Delivering an Interoperable, Efficient, Stable and Innovating Horizontal Digital TV Market," the consultation is open to any organization or individual with an interest in digital TV in the UK, the organization says. "For over a decade, the DTG has played a pivotal role in the success of the Freeview platform," DTG director general, Richard Lindsay-Davies, said in a prepared statement. "Last year we published the 6th edition of the D-Book, the technical specification for UK DTT, paving the way for the launch of high-definition services on the platform. Later this year we will publish the 7th edition of the specification, making hybrid connected TV devices a reality for viewers. Against this backdrop of continuous technical development, we believe that it falls to the DTG, as the only independent and fully representative organization in our sector, to ensure that the horizontal market continues to exist in an environment where innovation can thrive and where the consumer is safeguarded. This consultation will play a key role in ensuring the Group is able to produce a roadmap for the ongoing interoperability, stability and technical development of the platform." The consultation opened last Friday and is scheduled to close on September 20th. More information is available here.