EBU makes new hybrid standards call
Published: 10.50 Europe/London, May 20, 2011 by Julian Clover

Peter MacAvock, the programme director of the EBU’s technical department, has again called for a single European hybrid standard. His comments at the Connected TV Summit in London came among increasing signs that HbbTV is making its presence felt.

MacAvock said that the worlds of the broadcast network and internet domains were coming together, but that the internet had the unique ability of being able to scare broadcasters.

“The broadcast consumption model is changing. It’s actually going to change quite radically and the presence of online content is something we have become used to and that will drive consumption going forward.”

With more devices available than ever before, MacAvock said the current increase in linear TV consumption gave broadcasters the opportunity to embrace new technologies, but he warned that a confused consumer is one that doesn’t use the services and did not provide a return on investment.

Different standards had only resulted in confusion and the implication that the EBU had only looked to the UK. “Failing of the European Broadcasting Union is that we should say lads get your head out of the sand there’s stuff going on elsewhere.”

In the case of HbbTV, the UK is going it alone through the YouView set of technologies, but MacAvock told delegates that in addition to France and Germany there was also now interest in HbbTV from Spain and the Nordic countries.

DVB-GEM chairman Smith-Chaigneau reminded the audience we had been here before, the European Commission having pulled away from a decision to mandate the MHP, now GEM, standard: “We’ve been asking for standards for the last 20 years, well we’ve made them, and people are ignoring them”.