HbbTV can successfully be used to deliver internet video channels to the big screen, extending the range of choice on digital-terrestrial TV, according to Sven Eckoldt, product manager at German broadcast infrastructure provider Media Broadcast, which last year launched the first online video channels on its Mediathek portal.
“Because we are the DTT provider in Germany we can add IP content to the channel list on the screen,” Eckoldt told ANGA COM attendees this morning. “It is IP content that you can access like a normal TV channel.”
Examples of IP-delivered TV services in Germany include Putpat.tv, which now has its own music channel delivered via Mediathek to digital-terrestrial TVs, and Spiegel.TV. Eckoldt said that Putpat.tv’s playlist is dynamically adjusted according to viewer feedback.
The DVB signal is used to insert EPG information about the Mediathek online channels and the content is delivered via IP. “It works on any TV set that is HbbTV compliant,” said Eckoldt. The service is currently offered in 12 regions in Germany and here are currently 15 channels on the platform. “We are always eager to add new channels and featrures,” he said.
Multithek is also used to deliver on-demand services via an HbbTV-based portal. Eckoldt said that the addition of online content brought new business models to the main screen. “We have an alliance with Smartclip for example, and we bring pre- and mid-rolls to this environment for on-demand content,” he said. “We are starting to get more dynamic business models onto the TV.”
Eckoldt said that Mediathek is now also offering features including second screen apps.
Eckoldt said Mediathek operated over its own CDN to deliver the best possible quality, but the last mile delivery is in the hands of individual ISPs, meaning that the service remains best effort. “Obviously we don’t have a ‘five nines’ SLA. We have this for [the DTT platform] but we won’t have that kind of reliability for [Mediathek],” he said.
Eckoldt said that Media Broadcast had shown it is possible to change perceptions about HbbTV, which was originally designed to show IP teletext-type content on a TV in an open-standard way. “At the moment it is mostly perceived as a red button service,” he said.