GlobeCast and France 24 will launch a Hybrid Broadband Broadcast Television (HbbTV) trial early in 2012 with the support of Orange and SES, writes David Fox. The service will be offered to satellite viewers of France 24, initially in Western Europe, and add a layer of interactivity to satellite TV programming by harnessing the capability of connected TVs.
Throughout 2012, participating satellite TV viewers will use their connected televisions to interact with France 24's linear and non-linear programming via their broadband connection. No additional equipment or hardware will be required.
It is intended to demonstrate HbbTV's ability to enhance the quality of DTH users' viewing experience and will provide insight into how broadcast offers can combine the power and reliability of traditional broadcast delivery with potential of broadband.
GlobeCast will use its broadcast experience and knowledge of connected television to lead this trial. It will also provide ground services and uplink from its Paris technical operations centre. The satellite feed will be delivered via one of the Astra satellites at 19.2ºE — SES' leading orbital position in Western Europe. Orange, which is a major internet service provider, promises to offer improved quality of service for the viewer, and is developing this service within its strategic Smart Networks program.
"France 24 is present on five continents, reaching tens of millions of households around the world in three different languages [French, English and Arabic]. With this project, we've taken a step towards ensuring that all of these viewers have the same ability to interact with our programming," said Frank Melloul, France 24's Head of strategy, development and public affairs.
"We're now finally seeing the convergence of broadcast and the Internet," added Philippe Rouxel, GlobeCast's Chief Marketing Officer. "In this new connected world, we are helping our broadcast clients offer an interactive, high-quality experience to their viewers worldwide, regardless of delivery method."
"We have already seen the successful roll-out of HbbTV in other European markets such as Germany and look forward to the launch of this exciting new service from France. HbbTV is just another example of how satellite technology will continue to provide an enriching experience for viewers around the world," said SES' Chief Commercial Officer, Ferdinand Kayser.
HbbTV is an industry standard providing an open and business-neutral technology platform that combines TV services delivered via broadcast with services delivered via broadband and also enables access to internet-only services for consumers using connected TVs and set-top boxes.