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HbbTV Gaining Traction in Australia

HbbTV Gaining Traction in Australia

Australian broadcasters Seven, Nine, Ten and ABC recently announced they will launch their FreeviewPlus HbbTV service on September 2nd. This comes on the heels of another multicultural broadcaster, SBS, launching its own HbbTV offering in June to capitalize on viewership around the World Cup.

As background, HbbTV, or Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV, is an industry standard that provides an open technology platform that seamlessly combines TV services delivered via broadcast with services delivered via broadband. This enables access to Internet-only services for consumers using connected TVs and set-top boxes.

Smart TVs have allowed Australians to access the Internet via TV sets for a number of years, but HbbTV takes it to the next level. The reason HbbTV is such a revolutionary standard is that it allows consumers to experience seamless Internet and broadcast viewing. For the first time ever, HbbTV will provide broadcasters with the tools to offer the viewer a truly personalized viewing experience with an interactive menu and ability to navigate through the menu to discover content. What this means is that HbbTV offers a standardized, easy-to-use mechanism for serving up content on a TV interface.

HbbTV enhances the linear offering by layering what is essentially a "webpage" on top of the linear experience, seamlessly blending live and VOD capabilities. With such content consumption options never before offered to viewers, HbbTV will allow free-to-air broadcasters to enhance the leanback experience for their viewer base. HbbTV also makes it easier for broadcasters to deploy OTT companion content and integrated HTML5 apps on connected devices without prompting consumers to exit the linear experience.

The HbbTV standard is also the first major use of MPEG-DASH as the streaming protocol in a consumer focused situation, enabling streaming to any device. This is significant because it paves the way for MPEG-DASH to become the mainstream encoding format, simplifying the diverse content formats that the broadcaster needs to support.

Brightcove is proud to support HbbTV, as we announced in June that we've rolled out support for the standard through support in Video Cloud for MPEG-DASH, as well as DRM packaging through common encryption (CENC) and license serving for Microsoft PlayReady and Marlin DRM. Many of Australia's leading free-to-air broadcasters are current Brightcove customers, including Yahoo!7, Network Ten and Nine Network Australia and we look forward to partnering with these organizations as they roll out their HbbTV initiatives.