Published: 11.25 Europe/London, April 18, 2011

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has adopted a set of Principles for Internet Connected and Hybrid Television. The Geneva-based organisation says that if applied, the principles could deliver lower costs, greater choice and a better viewing experience for consumers and called on its stakeholders to support and respect them.

“Only common solutions will unlock the full potential of hybrid and connected TV and deliver the best possible experience for viewers and success for hybrid systems,” said the EBU director general, Ingrid Deltenre. “In addition, content must be easily accessible and displayed as the broadcaster intended.”

The EBU argues that simply putting a television receiver and an internet browser in the same device fails to take advantage of the opportunities to integrate linear and non-linear delivery. It names HbbTV, MHEG-5, MHP and YouView as standards being developed by its membership space, however it warns that use of different technologies in the same market could become a barrier to success, a reference that could be taken to refer to both pay-TV platforms and consumer electronics manufacturers. “Standardised technology encourages more competition between suppliers, lower costs and more choice for consumers. There may be no complete solution to this, but the more stakeholders use common solutions across the world, the greater the potential for success of hybrid TV”.

There is also a warning that content integrity must be maintained and the risks of hybrid systems mixing up content from different sources avoided. “Hybrid systems must not allow the overlay of third-party content or commercial communications on the television picture without the broadcaster’s consent or an active decision by the viewer,” the EBU says.