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Nordic region, Ireland adopt new 'connected telly' standard

Follow in Europe's footsteps - leaving Blighty's YouViewers behind

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Nordig, the parent broadcasting organisation for the Nordic countries, plus Ireland, has issued a new specification for broadcasting. It has dropped MHP as its interactive primary broadcasting protocol and adopting Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV). The standard is already taking off in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Spain, and to this we can now add most of the Nordic countries. This leaves the UK, which has instead chosen its own YouView standard, more and more isolated.

The decision raised yet more questionmarks over how consumer electronics manufacturers will respond to having to continue to support MPH in Italy, and YouView in the UK, when most of Europe is being drawn to HbbTV, where one CE design will soon fit all.

NorDig was constituted in 1997 and says the transmission and reception of digital TV in member countries should be open, standardised and support horizontal competition. The new common platform for Digital TV will be used in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Éire.

From now NorDig hybrid IRDs (Integrated, Receiver and Decoder) will be based on the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV, succeeding the Digital Video Broadcasting Multimedia Home Platform (DVB MHP).

This should, in theory, harmonise classic broadcast including terrestrial, cable and satellite, with broadband delivery. The announcement even suggested that the consumer electronics community had been fairly helpful – and we can assume forceful – in making the decision. Consumer electronics manufacturers want as broad a market for a single device architecture as possible.

NorDig will commence with HbbTV version 1.1.1 and it also mentioned the fact that ETSI had approved the standard as one of the reasons for adopting it. Nordig added that it is based on existing standards and web technologies including Open IPTV Forum, CEA, DVB and W3C. We should now expect it to take less than a year before Nordic broadcasters begin to offer catch-up and on-demand programming over broadband, alongside existing broadcasts, using the red-button approach of HbbTV.

Copyright © 2012, Faultline

Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week's events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.

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