Improved conformance tool helps ensure interoperability for DASH delivery

A freely available tool that validates the conformance of DASH content to relevant media specifications has been improved thanks to a collaboration between five industry bodies. The DASH-IF Conformance Tool is available as either an online service or open-source software.

While the MPEG DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP) specifications describe client behaviour, conformance of DASH content is important for interoperability.

The Conformance Tool was launched by DASH-IF over a decade ago and has been continuously updated and extended to test against relevant specifications from other bodies. A joint project undertaken over the past two years has improved the tool, making it more reliable and accessible. Along with DASH content conformance, the new tool has options to check for CMAF and WAVE requirements, and for HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) requirements as well.

The JCCP (Joint Content Conformance Partners) was funded by the HbbTV Association along with DASH-IF, the DVB Project, the Consumer Technology Association® WAVE (Web Application Video Ecosystem) Project, and ATSC. The project partners encourage the use of the tool by the industry and look forward to receiving feedback that can lead to further enhancements and improvements.

The DASH-IF Conformance Tool will be presented and discussed during the online OSMART Workshop #2 on December 6-7, 2023.

How DASH Works

Imagine you’re watching a movie on a streaming service like Netflix or YouTube. The movie starts playing right away, even though the entire movie hasn’t finished downloading. This is possible thanks to a technology called Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH). DASH makes it possible to watch videos smoothly and without interruption, even if your internet connection is slow or unreliable.

When you watch streaming video using DASH, your device will automatically choose the best quality video stream based on your device’s capabilities and the speed of your internet connection. This way, you can enjoy the best possible video quality without buffering or interruptions.

HbbTV updates Operator Application specification

Geneva, November 24, 2023 – The HbbTV Association is pleased to announce the release of an updated version of the HbbTV Operator Application specification.

When there is agreement between a platform operator and smart TV manufacturer, the HbbTV OpApp acts like a virtual set-top box inside the smart TV set, enabling operators to provide a branded, uniform user interface across different manufacturers. When switching the TV set on, it appears in the operator’s ‘look and feel’, ensuring a compelling user experience with the full range of services.

The new version improves support for operator applications to render IP-delivered linear channels, including enabling regular HbbTV interactive (“red button”) applications to appear alongside IP-delivered linear channels and operator-managed user interface elements. It allows for a consistent and seamless viewer experience across broadcast and IP-delivered linear channels.

The updated specification also allows an operator application to manage the streaming and presentation of a collection of IP-delivered linear channels discovered from a DVB-I service list or equivalent, enabling consistent flexible streaming approaches and fast channel change times.

A key driver behind many of these new features are the requirements of UK broadcasters and manufacturers of TV receivers who together will be launching the new Freely hybrid TV platform in the UK in 2024, underlining the relevance of the updated specification for market players. Freely is likely to be the first application using the new version.

The updated specification also includes improvements identified during the development and rollout of operator applications in Germany where they have been commercially deployed since March 2019.

More details on the HbbTV OpApp are offered in two webinars hosted by the HbbTV Association:

HbbTV OpApp – Best practice report by HD+ with HD Plus and SES (July 2020): Watch the recording on YouTube. Further details are available here.

OpApp as a virtual set-top box – Less work and more power than you think with Panasonic, Zattoo and TNO (March 2021): Watch the recording on YouTube. Further details are available here.

HbbTV-Kineton Plugfest 2023 in Naples

The HbbTV-Kineton Plugfest in October 2023 provided developers with a wide range of opportunities for interoperability testing of HbbTV technologies for two and a half days at Kineton’s headquarter in Naples, Italy. It was the third developer event in 2023 after the plugfests at the DTG in February in London and at Deutsche TV-Plattform in June in Berlin.

Developers from five TV manufacturers, five technology providers, two platform operators, five national broadcasters and six major regional broadcasters, representing more than 20 channels, attended the event in person, on average 17 people. The channel application providers tested their applications on the most recent software versions of brand new TV models – with some TV brands supporting DVB-I – and the technology providers tested their technologies, too.

The event provided a great, controlled platform for all participants to work towards interoperability to achieve an excellent user experience. It brought together HbbTV application developers and manufacturers from the whole of Europe to drive interoperability across all applications and devices.

The plugfest was followed by the HbbTV Testing Event, open to HbbTV members only and managed by the HbbTV Testing Group, and its Chair Ms. Van Nguyen (Samsung). It was the occasion to run tests with the new DVB-I specification which will be released in a future version of the HbbTV Test Suite.

HbbTV and Kineton would like to thank all participants who contributed to the success of the third plugfest in 2023. See you at next year’s events!

Author: Angelo Pettazzi, Kineton