HbbTV 2.0 spec brings HTML5 and Ultra HD to your TV

11 Feb 2015

ITEM: The HbbTV Association has finally released the second version of its HbbTV (hybrid broadcast broadband TV) spec for connected TVs and STBs, which provides support for HTML5, and Ultra HD.

According to the industry association, HbbTV 2.0 – which has been in the works for around a year – has something for everyone.

For TV viewers, it means HTML5-enabled viewing experiences, standardized delivery of Ultra HD content with HEVC, seamless multiscreen viewing across TVs, smartphones, PCs and tablets, companion apps for things like detailed program info, voting, and play-to-screen, and better privacy, among other things.

Meanwhile, broadcasters, pay-TV operators and OTT video providers also stand to benefit from HbbTV 2.0, as the spec will enable things like:

  • Synchronization of broadcast and broadband streams to augment the broadcast stream with additional audio channels and other features
  • Media and app synchronization between TV, tablets and smartphones
  • Secure playback for adaptive streaming technologies
  • Support for new advertising models

From the press release [PDF]:

To achieve these benefits, the new specification adds a range of new technologies and features including support for HTML5, DVB CI Plus 1.4, HEVC video and TTML subtitles. It also enhances support for existing technologies including MPEG DASH, DSM-CC object carousel, synchronisation of apps to TV and user input. It is designed to ensure that HbbTV 1.0 and HbbTV 1.5 applications will continue to work on HbbTV 2.0 devices.

One caveat: all of the above isn't likely to make it into commercial products and services for at least another year. First, the HbbTV Association has to establish an HbbTV 2.0 Test Suite, which is expected to become available in 2016, with HbbTV 2.0 compliant products and services to follow later that same year. The association says it has already launched a tender process to supply the test suite.

The new spec is available for download here [PDF].

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