HbbTV Devices, Growth, Footprint and Standards

HbbTV Devices, Growth, Footprint and Standards

Over 40 brands have delivered HbbTV TV sets and STBs in Europe over the last 18 months and 90% of the major TV manufacturers, as well as many smaller brands ship with HbbTV support. End of 2014, HbbTV-compliant TV’s will make up half of total Western Europe connectable TV sets (60 Million)

This is the third part of our mini-series on HbbTV, in case you missed the two other articles, they are: “Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV” and “Revenue streams and benefits with HbbTV”.

50% of Set-top box manufacturers are shipping models with HbbTV support. Chipset manufacturers like Ali, Broadcom, Fujitsu, Mstar, Siano, Sigma Designs, Sony, STMicroelectronic, are also supporting HbbTV.

According to GfK Retail & Technology, as of august 2014, HbbTV was standard in 97% of Smart TVs in Germany up from just 2% in 2010. The TV connection rated is 61%.

A study by SevenOneMedia (ProSieben, Sat 1, SiXX and Kanal Eins) showed that the usage of unique HbbTV devices on their 4 TV channels grew by 287% between January 2013 and January 2014.


The growth continued, and in October 2014 the TV channel Prosieben saw 11.6 million unique visitors/monthly and 1.2 million using it on ProSieben on a daily basis. Not far behind was the TV channel Sat 1 with 10.5 million unique visitors/monthly and 1.2 million on a daily basis.

The number of devices connected to the Internet (Connected TV’s, STB’s, Media Players, Blu-ray DVD’s, Game-consoles, etc.) has already reached 1 billion worldwide and is expected to reach over 2 billion by 2017.

TV and Internet is converging in a television-centric platform. Attempts of establishing such models have been tried before, but now there is both technology and business models to support it, but most of all there is now a substantial user demand as more households buys devices that can be connected to the Internet.

The HbbTV Standards

HbbTV®1.1 was published as an ETSI standard in June 2010 as ETSI TS 102 796 v1.1.1. The latest version HbbTV®1.5 has been published as v1.2.1 of the ETSI standard.

Key additions to the HbbTV 1.5 standard included:

  • Access to pay-tv services with multiple DRM support using Common Encryption
  • MPEG-DASH adaptive streaming standard to dynamically optimize the picture quality/bandwidth trade-off, extending to linear content delivery (thematic and event channels, etc.)
  • Access to the DVB EIT schedule table from the HbbTV application to build an enhanced 7-day Electronic Program Guide (EPG)
HbbTV 2.0

HbbTV V2.0 is scheduled for 2015 and expected to feature enhancements including HEVC to reduce transmission costs, and close synchronization between broadcast and broadband content on multiple screens. The goal of HEVC with (DASH-HEVC/265) is to provide the same subjective picture quality at half the bitrate, or higher quality than current H.264/AVC codec, at the same bitrate. The impact of HEVC on HbbTV broadband will be huge: potentially halving CDN costs and significantly increasing subscribers’ eligibility to HD services.

In markets like Thailand where broadband coverage is not, fully available it may be preferable to deliver more data through the HbbTV stream instead. In these cases, the required capacity will be higher and can even reach 2-3Mbit/s per multiplex.

From the broadcaster’s point-of-view, deploying HbbTV means dedicating some bandwidth to these new services, 100-300 kbps to provide a service portal. HbbTV service components use from 5 to 15% of the total service bandwidth. This is in addition to the traditional components of any service (video, audio, audio descriptor, EPG, etc.), which implies additional pressure on the video compression engines.

Given the cost of broadcasting 1 Mbps on terrestrial platforms and given the continuous encoder performance enhancements, it makes sense to upgrade the compression system to maintain picture quality level while reducing the bandwidth dedicated to the video.

Other interesting additions to HbbTV 2.0 included:

  • HTML4 replaced with HTML5
  • CSS 2.1 extended with a selection of CSS3 options: Basic UI, Color, Images, Backgrounds and Borders, Selectors, Media Queries, Multi-column Layout, Flexible Box Layout, Fonts, Transforms, Transitions, Animations.
  • DOM2 replaced by DOM 3 as required by HTML5.
  • Subtitles via broadband: Uses W3C TTML as profiled by the EBU (EBU-TT-D).
  • Privacy: W3C ‘do not track’ specification.
  • The introduction of companion screen app-launching and synchronisation.
HbbTV vs. Smart-TV

For people unfamiliar with HbbTV, it may be difficult to see the difference between HbbTV and the Smart-TV platform e.g. from Samsung, LG or Panasonic.

The advantage of the HbbTV® platform over proprietary platforms like Smart-TV from a broadcaster’s point-of-view:

  • HbbTV® is an open and business neutral standard.
  • You are in control – You don’t have to wait for an external platform provider to approve your services and add it on their platform (application store) With HbbTV, you launch it, and it is available on your own platform.
  • HbbTV is available for everyone – not only people with Samsung, LG or Panasonic TVs.
  • No need to download – your viewers don’t have to first discover, and then decide to download your service. You launch it and it is available.
  • In Germany 98% with connected TV’s use HbbTV
HbbTV footprint

HbbTV has established a solid footprint worldwide, where many countries, have either launched, adopted the HbbTV® standard and/or operates HbbTV services and trials.

HbbTV footprint worldwideAustralia: SBS, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Seven Network started broadcasting HbbTV service in 2014.

China is currently conducting HbbTV trials.

Singapore and Indonesia have announced HbbTV.

Malaysia has adopted HbbTV as part of their DVB-T2 launch

Vietnam has adopted HbbTV as part of their DVB-T2 launch

Myanmar has shown interest in HbbTV.

Thailand 4 TV stations and two set-top box manufacture are testing/considering HbbTV.

USA, Argentina and Japan. ATSC is actively liaising with HbbTV as part of ATSC3.0.

• HbbTV services are in regular operation in France, Germany, Spain, with announcements of adoption in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Slovakia and Turkey.

• In Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Ireland the NorDig standardization forum has adopted the HbbTV specification, which replaces DVB-MHP as the common API for hybrid digital receivers.

Russian Television and Broadcasting Network has announced HbbTV trials on DVB-T2.

South Africa is launching HbbTV and Namibia has announced a rollout of DVB-T2 HbbTV service.



Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) | Wikipedia

SevenOne Media | Connected TV Basic information about HbbTV, Smart TV & Co. | March 28th 2014


HbbTV Specification Version 1.5

HbbTV ETSI TS 102 796 v1.2.1

Introduction to HbbTV – Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV
Allan T. Rasmussen HbbTV presentation at Thailand’s Engineering Expo November 29, 2014

Author: Allan Rasmussen
Managing director at Yozzo. Allan is a MVNA/MVNE/MVNO specialist with hands-on experience from more than 60 projects in both competitive and greenfield markets. His expertise includes business case development, execution, launch and growth strategies. Advisor and consultant to mobile network operators, MVNA, MVNE, MVNO, National Regulatory Authorities, Government Agencies, Broadcast Companies, TMT Industry Associations, Innovation and Investment Banks.
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