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Sony, Samsung trade body to push HbbTV to Brits

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UK trade association Intellect, which represents electronics companies and broadcast technology firms, has detailed how it believes the HbbTV standard should be implemented alongside Freeview - effectively sticking two fingers up at YouView, which launched last week.

HbbTV - which stands for Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV - defines a standard platform for combining transmitted TV with programming streamed over the internet. It allows broadcasters and online content providers to feed their material to smart TVs and set-top boxes certain in the knowledge that those devices will be able to present it.

Which is, of course, what YouView will shortly be offering, using its own technology and a set-top box built by Humax. YouView will initially only be available in Britain.

HbbTV, on the other hand, is gaining support across the rest of Europe. Intellect's members - among them TV makers Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony - set-top box maker Pace and satellite transmission service Astra - want the same, common platform to be used for Britain's 'over the top' programming.

That's understandable: why build one box solely for the UK and another for the rest of Europe when, if HbbTV would be accepted here, a single box will do for all?

HbbTV is based on common open standards such as JavaScript, HTML and DVB. Implementers are free to build their own UI on top of it. YouView mandates its own, controlled UI, which makes for a consistent, easy-to-use experience, but doesn't help device makers differentiate their offerings.

Intellect said it will offer a test stream on Freeview for folk with an HbbTV-compatible TV. The organisation claimed their are - or soon will be -"millions" of devices in UK homes with the ability to support HbbTV.

The Digital TV Group, the organisation which oversees the DVB digital telly standard, has already added HbbTV to its "D-Book 7 Part B" connected TV specification. HbbTV is also mandated for all new Freesat boxes. ®

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