Home » Uncategorized » HbbTV – In DTT it’s not SOA it’s SOB…Isn’t that just IPTV?

HbbTV – In DTT it’s not SOA it’s SOB…Isn’t that just IPTV?


Anthony's professional career spans 32 years with 15 years in the British Royal Air Force as a Telecommunications and Cryptographic Systems Engineer (commenced at 17 years old) and 17 years in Digital Communications Systems, STB Technologies most notably in the field of Digital Television Middleware and Open Standards for interactive Television. Now at 50 years old he a Senior Business Development Executive and presently Managing Director of a renowned MHP middleware Company. Co-author of Interactive TV Standards – A Guide to MHP, OCAP & JavaTV, published by focal press - Elsevier. ISBN: 0-240-80666-2

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When  Digital TV appeared it assumed it would not need to entice people from Analogue but that it would be a natural migration as from Vinyl to Tape to CD.  Unfortunately there was nothing that the consumer saw as sufficiently compelling for them to dash off to the highstreet in order to purchase a new Digital STB.  The mass migration that the TV Industry imagined did not happen and Analogue; which remains a large percentage of the TV transmissions filling the airwaves of Europe, still carries a great deal of regular old fashioned linear programming.    The offer of better picture and sound quality was simply not enough.   Even new channels didn’t offer enough of an enticement; principally because the content didn’t get any more sophisticated!  In fact it saw the commencement of so called “dumbed down” television.   So the geniuses amongst us gave us “Value Added Services” on top of the regular programming , hey presto this would help us along.  Teletext was branded NEW DIGITAL TELETEXT or SUPERTELETEXT with images and sound – woohoo!   BUT this too did nothing to spark the desired migration.    Interactive Services have had a bad rap in the trade press and considered a failure over the years.   The thing is that nobody looked at the real underlying problem and we still fail to look sufficiently long enough or deeply enough into the problems of Digital Terrestrial Television.  Those in the know, who did find out the answer were really surprised!  It was so obvious it made absolute sense:

DigiTAG (Digital Terrestrial Television Action Group) commissioned a Report from a well know analyst firm in order to understand what it was that would assist in migration from Analogue to Digital.  The answer was very surprising but simple:  It was not better picture quality or surround sound or value added interactive services or new channels.  As long as Consumers received their Emmerdale Farm, or Days of our Lives etc. they would not spend to go Digital…So the report stated finally that the only thing that would aid and drive the masses to move to Digital was simply SOA (Switch Off Analogue) or AFM = A Forced Migration.   Ummmmm.  This was not something any government would accept for fear of alienating the population and then losing power to those that would use it a a political positioning tool.   So we have meandered ever since using the DTT and Spectrum as a political “fussball”.   DTT now believes technology will give them the answer.

So how will we entice people in the new world of retail “Hybrid Broadcast BroadbandTelevision” to connect the TV to the internet in this new broadcasting paradigm recently re-gurgitated by the EBU for their PSB’s.  Germany believes that it is Value Added Services on the Broadband Pipe????   Didn’t we say that the Consumer does not feel that this is compelling enough.   France thinks it will be Catch-Up TV which is the same Broadcast contect but in a different place and at a different time…Looking at it this way it is as clear as day.  Look at the past, listen to the experts.  The only way you will entice people to connect their TVs to the Internet is to do the following:  SOB (Switch off Broadcasting) –  A huge rush to get the RJ45 plugged into the ADSL modem – but then that is called IPTV isn’t it?

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