Strategy & Technology to Offer HbbTV Interactive TV Solution via Deal with Access

Strategy & Technology--a UK-based provider of interactive TV playout systems and middleware, which recently received the Queen's Award for Enterprise in recognition of the significant growth in international sales of its products that it has achieved over the past four years (see the article published on, April 21st)--said Tuesday that it has signed a licensing agreement with Access Systems Europe, a subsidiary of Access, a company that bills itself as a provider of advanced software technologies to the "mobile, beyond-PC and digital TV markets." According to S&T, the agreement--under which it has secured the rights to redistribute Access's NetFront Browser and associated HbbTV extensions--will enable it to offer a complete HbbTV solution suitable for integration with any digital receiver (note: according to Access, the NetFront browser is a full Internet browser for mobile and "beyond-PC" devices that has been specifically designed to deliver high performance in resource-constrained environments, and that has been deployed by major operators and handset and CE manufacturers around the world).

HbbTV--short for "Hybrid Broadcast Broadband Television"--is a pan-European initiative that was launched in August, 2009, 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." The consortium behind the initiative recently received standardization for version 1.1.1 of its specification as ETSI TS 102 796 (see the article published on, July 5th). The consortium says that French TV regulator, the Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA), has also expressed support for HbbTV, with the introduction in France of interactive TV applications and services based on the spec expected to take place next year.

S&T--which points out that a number of major European broadcasters, including Canal+, TF1, ARD, RTL and ProSiebenSat.1, have committed to launching HbbTV-powered hybrid apps and services--says that it will offer an integrated HbbTV solution, complete with a Digital Storage Media Command and Control (DSM-CC) client and HbbTV signalling, directly to manufacturers of DTV receivers. By combining Access's technologies with its own software interfaces, S&T claims, it will offer existing licensees of its RedKey 2 MHEG engine a simple and efficient route to HbbTV, while also offering new licensees the opportunity to address both HbbTV and MHEG markets in a single design. The company says that it will offer an optional CI+ browser as an add-on in all versions, if required. "HbbTV is fast gaining ground in markets such as Germany and France, and interest from other countries will no doubt grow further now that ETSI has given its approval," Paul Daly, S&T's general manager of client systems, said in a prepared statement. "This makes now the right time to offer the technology to international markets. Our HbbTV solution will be a combination of market-leading technologies from both Access and S&T, offering manufacturers an interactive TV plug-in that will support not only HbbTV but also HD MHEG, Interaction Channel and CI+ browser functionality, and will build on our mature and well documented RedKey 2 interface."