Thoughts on HbbTV – Not Mine For a Change

I must attribute this to a certain Rob Galagher on LinkedIn: There is no need for CE-HTML or HbbTV in the technology stack: zero, nada, none. They are not needed or used on the desktop devices, they are not needed or used on tablet devices, they are not nedded or used on mobile phone devices. So why on TV? Here is the answer to that rhetorical question…

Both CE-HTML and HbbTV are –artificial– means for three companies LG, Sharp and Philips) attempting to stay in business by creating and then imposing a manufacturing cartel that mistakenly believes it will be able to continue to sell over-priced crippled products in an era that is disrupting the TV as a type of digital device the same way progress, engineeering, fierce competition and global markets have disrupted and changed all other types of digital devices.

In conclusion then –if– the TV manufacturers can impose artificial technology embedded in some type of proprietary patented electronic circuitry that requires the use of the artificial technology stack they will not only be able to continue to sell over-priced crippled product they will be able to charge for access to their devices the same way the cable and telephony networks have. That is what they are attempting to do with CE-HTML and HbbTV fellas.

5 thoughts on “Thoughts on HbbTV – Not Mine For a Change

  1. Hi Anthony,

    I was under the impression that HbbTV has nothing to do with CE manufacturers and is an intiative brought forward by French and German Broadcasters as a backlash to Samsung/Yahoo entering French Market with Smart TV back in 2007-8.

    Other than the CE manufacturers being pushed to make their TV HbbTV compliant in a number of countries (HbbTV now has 50 partners in Europe and Asia) – it’s a control play similar to Youview rather than an open API/SDK play like CE-HTML – or for that matter, Samsung’s platform, Panasonic’s platform, Toshiba’s platform, Sony Bravia, Sony PS3, Microsfoft XBOX, and all the other TV App Store plays where VOD, Casual Gaming and other content is moving to. Then there’s alway tech plays like Google TV (with Android), Apple TV?, Boxee, Roku etc. to consider.

    The living room and TV entertainment is another industry and value chain that’s going to be disrupted one way or another. Like print and music – the Internet is going to shake things up – like it or not.

    1. Dear Richard the HbbTV initiative was started and is still run by CE Vendors…Broadcasters were asked to join later. France was initially working under the AFDESI with OpenTV (who were the Chair) with H4TV (another Company version of HTML for TV) and Germany i.e. ZDF were looking to do something with their Teletext and having dropped MHP they were enticed to do HbbTV. There may be 50 Partners but the signs are once again an initiative started by Vendors is not an intiative driven by Broadcasters. They could have easily selected MHEG5-IC but the politics involved and other matters sees this as another mousetrap. HbbTV will be forced to go HTML in my opinion otherwise the incompatibility amongst browsers and implementations will be the killer…there is not a lot of Sales Out in the HbbTV retail world according to those that are involved. Too many players as it is only really Superteletext and catch-up TV.

  2. Hello,

    I am sorry to say, but you are wrong. In France, the initial project was initiated by two regions entities, two broadcasters and a bunch technical corp see

    Once it started, manufacturers joined as HbbTV is not complex for those that already have an hybrid TV stack running. Proprietary HybridTV lack of content for French Audience forced the manufacturers to jump in the HbbTV train as there was a road sign indicating that content will be generated by FranceTV (and then TF1). And you have to get some content to make consumer pay the premium price of HybridTV 😉

    Looking at how simple is HbbTV (reusing lots of techniques and standards), I do thing this standard can really become a keystone standard for HybridTV.

    The problem with it, is that Manufacturer will not want to provide upgraded firmware for existing TV set or TV settop boxes: they do preffer to sell new ones.

    Anyway, we can anticipate a state decret at some point saying that any TV containing a tuner or a ethernet connection must be HbbTV compatible.

    1. As Chairman of the DVB-GEM commercial group and involved deeply in interactive TV since 2000 I can beg to differ with your statement that I am wrong. The HbbTV group eventually arrived at obtaining Broadcaster support but ONLY after the manufacturers pushed it. In particular Philips led by Jon Piesing who was the DVB MHP technical chairman. There was NSPA (network service provider applications) before HBBTV. This failed to gain support in the consortium ! It is clear that a mandate works to push standards but that may contravene EU directives…a technology does not make interactive successful …Content and applications do! 20 million french household or more will not have an enabled device (already purchased) and unless there is some must-have apps and content they will, like me, NOT buy a new TV or STB. We have been there before with ATVEF and other initiatives like BluCom from ASTRA who did MHP and anything thats in the market. The jury is still out!

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