Timeline of HbbTV

HbbTV conformance test suite v2020-1

It is the 10th anniversary of HbbTV, which started as a European digital TV standard and has transformed into a global initiative in the last five years. The end goal of HbbTV is to harmonise the broadcast and broadband delivery of entertainment services to consumers through connected TVs, set top boxes and multiscreen devices. This specification is based on elements of existing standards and a variety of web technologies. This article will look at the timeline of HbbTV and see how it has transformed the DTV industry.

The primary goal of HbbTV is to enhance the video user experience for consumers; this global initiative provides users with a whole host of interactive features via broadcast and broadband networks. HbbTV features incorporate existing specifications from other standards including OIPF, CEA, DVB, MPEG-DASH and W3C.

Timeline of HbbTV

HbbTV was first demonstrated back in May 2009 at Roland Garros tennis sports event on a DTT transmission and an IP connection by a France Télévisions. By October 2009 the Technical Steering Committee of the European Broadcasting Union had agreed on a set of measures for the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband (HBB) services and devices.


HbbTV was officially approved in June 2010 when ETSI approved version 1.1.1 of the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV specification. In September 10 companies presented the HbbTV TV devices, and 4 manufacturers presented their HbbTV STBs.


2011 was a busy year for HbbTV they became a legal company and were open for new regular members. HbbTV offers were launched or announced in France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Czechia, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands. By the end of 2011 HbbTV Association counts almost 60 members.


Key highlights of 2012 include releasing version 1.5 of the HbbTV specification in April. In August, the HbbTV Association published its first version of its test suite for HbbTV devices. Towards the end of the year in November, ETSI published a new version of the HbbTV specification that complements HbbTV with a standardised procedure for adaptive streaming: MPEG-DASH.


During 2013, the first HbbTV service RTS+ was launched within Switzerland. Lots of developments occurred during 2014, Open IPTV Forum and HbbTV Association merge their activities. Free-to-air goes Hybrid with FreeviewPlus in Australia. Plus, Italy, the UK and Saudi Arabia launch HbbTV services.


HbbTV achieved some key milestones during 2015; this includes RTL launching its portal Clupfish with almost 880 free available movies via HbbTV that can be assessed via the red button. ETSI released the new HbbTV 2.0 specification. Over 46 companies showcased HbbTV at IBC 2015 in Amsterdam.


In 2016, the HbbTV Association announced the development of operator application specification. The HbbTV Association joined forces with Smart TV Alliance in September. Also, in September ETSI adopted the specification HbbTV Application Discovery over Broadband (ADB). To support the new 2.0 specification HbbTV releases test suites for the new specification.


HbbTV had some huge developments in 2017, which includes their publication of IPTV Specification. In August, ETSI published the standard IP-delivered Broadcast Channels and Related Signalling of HbbTV Applications. A huge milestone happened in December when the BBC launched the first HbbTV service in the UK.


The continual development in 2018 resulted in HbbTV publishes a new version of the Core Specification to Support HDR, HFR and NGA. In May, HbbTV Operator Applications Specification has been published as a Standard Specification by ETSI. The release of the free-to-use DASH DRM Reference Application. DVB and HbbTV Release DASH validation tool to simplify content conformance.


Last year HbbTV hosted a masterclass at DVB World 2019 in Dublin. In March, Panasonic launched as first TV manufacturer worldwide HbbTV devices in the market supporting the standard HbbTV Operator Apps in cooperation with German TV platform HD+.HbbTV published the specification for phase 2 of application discovery over broadband.


This year even though coronavirus has stopped a lot of businesses/industries achieving what they set out; however, the pandemic has not stopped HbbTV, they have achieved a lot this year. In April, HbbTV announces the publication of a new version of the HbbTV conformance test suite. They have also launched their webinar series on industry topics and developments. In the 10 year timeline of HbbTV, they achieved so much and made such a huge impact on the industry, we are excited to see what they will achieve in the years to come!

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