HbbTV releases Targeted Advertising solution for TV sets in set-top box markets

Geneva, July 20, 2021 – The HbbTV Association is pleased to announce the publication of the second phase of its solution for Targeted Advertising (TA). This enables substitution of broadcast adverts with targeted adverts in situations where the broadcast TV signal is received by a set-top box (STB) and passed to the HbbTV TV set via a connection such as HDMI.

The HbbTV Application Discovery Over Broadband (ADB) specification already defines how broadcasters can add signalling to video and audio which survives the HDMI connection and can be used by a TV set to launch an HbbTV app. This specification has now been updated to enable broadcaster apps to use the HbbTV TA API to schedule a precise switch from HDMI to an advert and back again when the TV set is connected via a STB.

The combination of ADB and TA will enable broadcasters to reach more of their audience with targeted advertising, and also to offer targeted inventories to advertisers in a homogeneous manner – two aspects which are very important to preserve revenues and realise new growth opportunities in the face of competition from other advertising categories and chiefly from the native digital inventories such as web and mobile.

HbbTV’s work on Targeted Advertising has been done in cooperation with the DVB Project. DVB developed the original requirements and their own related specifications for signalling when broadcast adverts can be replaced. Both HbbTV ADB and DVB TA employ the ATSC 3.0 video and audio watermark solutions to enable signalling to survive carriage over an HDMI connection.

“The release of the TA solution for STB markets is a perfect example of how HbbTV adjusts its specifications to the needs of industry players, enabling them to adjust to real market circumstances and grow their business through new revenue sources,” said Vincent Grivet, Chair of the HbbTV Association.

HbbTV Releases an Updated Test Suite and a Set of Test Descriptions to Further Support Conformance of TV Receivers

Geneva, May 10, 2021 – The HbbTV Association is pleased to announce the simultaneous release of the 2021-1 version of the HbbTV Conformance Test Suite and the Test Assertions Repository (TAR).

About the 2021-1 Test Suite release

The new version is called v2021-1; it is the first major release of the Test Suite in 2021. The release contains 2,963 test cases in total, an increase by 142 test cases since the v2020-3 release.

The new release includes new tests developed for the HbbTV specification for Targeted Advertising (HbbTV-TA) and the first test cases for the new version 2.0.3 of the HbbTV specification. The remaining test cases will be delivered during 2021 and should form part of the Test Suite release v2021-2.

The HbbTV Conformance Test Suite is an important tool for device manufacturers to verify compliance of their products with the most current HbbTV specifications, ensuring that applications and content from broadcasters and content owners can work flawlessly across TVs and set-top boxes from all manufacturers. The Test Suite is available to all HbbTV members and also through the registered HbbTV test centres.

A new tool published by HbbTV to support conformance: The Test Assertion Repository

HbbTV is also releasing a set of test descriptions (“Test Assertions”) which can be referred by any organisation running a conformance regime for HbbTV compliance when a definition of compliance is needed.

The test assertions are publicly available through a Test Assertion Repository (TAR) which can be found on the HbbTV website, accompanied by explaining notes.

“The release of the new HbbTV Compliance Test Suite version, covering our new Targeted Advertising specification, and the release of the Test Assertions Repository illustrates the commitment of the HbbTV Association to facilitate the design and production of reception devices which fully comply with the HbbTV specification. This is a major expectation from all market players at a moment where HbbTV specifications play an increasingly central role in the deployment of business-critical innovative services, and we want to meet this expectation,” said Vincent Grivet, Chair of the HbbTV Association.

For more information on the v2021-1 Test Suite and on the Test Assertions Repository, please visit www.hbbtv.org.

HbbTV Association publishes new release of the HbbTV specification

Geneva, October 27, 2020 – The HbbTV Association has completed work on an update to its core specification (HbbTV 2.0.3).

For the first time, and based on the experience garnered through millions of receivers and hundreds of services worldwide, HbbTV has removed some features and is announcing the intention to remove others in the future. For example, never used parts of the media synchronisation, companion screen and CI Plus features have been removed as has been support for teletext subtitles in OTT content. A full list of the features concerned can be found in the HbbTV 2.0.3 explainer on the HbbTV website.

Some existing HbbTV features will be updated in line with the changes in the market place. The web standards included in HbbTV 2 will be updated from the original selection that was defined in 2013. Support for W3C Media Source extensions will be added. The MPEG DASH support will be extended to include CMAF. It is believed that many recent HbbTV devices already support these. Also relating to MPEG DASH, applications will be able to query if an implementation supports the ‘cbcs’ encryption mode originally used by Apple, but now becoming widespread in many DRM systems.

“The HbbTV specification is now a mature specification, as it is now used to a large scale in many commercial real-life situations,” said Vincent Grivet, Chairman of the HbbTV Association. “With this maturity of deployment, the market has a better view of what is really important and what is not so important in the end. Keeping the specification ‘lean’ and focused on the important things is key to make it implementable in a reasonable manner by manufacturers and other market players. This does not mean that the specification is frozen or does not meet new use cases, as demonstrated for instance with our recently published Application Discovery over Broadband phase 2 (ADB2) and Targeted Advertising (HbbTV-TA) additions.”

Commenting on the new release, Jon Piesing, HbbTV Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Specification Group who spearheaded the specification development process, said: “Over the years, our core HbbTV 2 specification has accumulated a number of things that have never been used or which have been superseded. It’s now time to ‘spring clean’ our specification. Some things that we believe are not used will be removed in this update. Where things are used but superseded, we will send a clear message to the users of our specification that they need to plan a transition. While HbbTV does not aim at moving as fast as the web, equally it cannot keep adding technologies and features indefinitely without removing anything.”

The HbbTV Association welcomes feedback from users of its specifications at any time. Feedback is particularly invited if anyone is using – or has serious plans to use – an element to be removed in HbbTV 2.0.3. Email contact: communications@hbbtv.org

While such casual and direct input from specification users is welcomed by the HbbTV Association, market players using HbbTV are advised that the best way to influence and contribute to the HbbTV specification is by becoming a member and participating in the working group activities such as the Requirements Specification Group which discusses the requirements capture and the Specification Working Group where the specifications are generated.

The HbbTV Association aims to support version 2.0.3 in the July 2021 release of its Test Suite – the release aimed at products entering the market in 2022.