The HbbTV Association has announced the release of a new HbbTV 2.0 specification. It paves the way for a new wave of consumer TV services based on advances including companion device support, HTML5 user experiences and support for advanced video delivery features like Ultra HD and HEVC.

The association now expects that manufacturers, broadcasters, and operators will begin introducing a new generation of interactive broadcast and broadband TV services in 2016.

It adds that with HbbTV 2.0 consumers will be able to enjoy a wide range of new services. These include advanced user experiences based on HTML5; seamless viewing of video content across TV, smartphones, PCs and tablets; innovative companion applications that enhance the TV experience with detailed program info, voting, play to screen and other use cases; standardised delivery of Ultra HD content with HEVC; improved accessibility of services with better support for subtitles in multiple languages; access to broadcast content captured to local storage in the receiver; and support for consumer privacy.

Meanwhile, broadcasters, pay-TV operators and OTT video providers will benefit from synchronization of broadcast and broadband streams to augment the broadcast stream with additional audio channels and other advanced features; media and application synchronisation between TV, tablets and smartphones; secure playback for adaptive streaming technologies; and support for new advertising models.

The association says that to achieve this benefits, the new specadds a range of new technologies and features including support for HTML5, DVB CI Plus 1.4, HEVC video and TTML subtitles. It also enhances support for existing technologies including MPEG DASH, DSM-CC object carousel, synchronisation of apps to TV and user input.

Furthermore, it is designed to ensure that HbbTV 1.0 and HbbTV 1.5 applications will continue to work on HbbTV 2.0 devices.

The association is also immediately launching its tender process for the supply of an HbbTV 2.0 Test Suite. It is anticipated that the test suite will become available in 2016, enabling the launch of HbbTV 2.0 compliant products and services that year.

Commenting on the release, Klaus Illgner, chair, HbbTV Association, said: “The HbbTV Association is pleased to announce the HbbTV 2.0 specification which sets the stage to introduce exciting new services in 2016. The specification benefits consumers and broadcasters by introducing new and innovative ways for enjoying TV programming.

“With HbbTV 2.0, consumers will be able to explore a richer, more immersive experience with new applications, exciting user interfaces and support for companion devices. This is an important milestone for the industry and represents the efforts of HbbTV Association members who have worked to define the specifications for the next wave of TV based on HbbTV.”