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HbbTV plan for Australia

After digital switchover, Australian free-to-air television is planning its next technological revolution combining broadcasting and the Internet.

Freeview Australia – the industry representative body comprising public service broadcasters and ABU Members ABC and SBS, as well as commercial broadcasters Seven Network, Nine Network, Network Ten, Prime Media Group and Southern Cross Broadcasting – is working with the local FTA networks and TV manufacturers on a co-ordinated launch of Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) next year.

HbbTV is a major new pan-European initiative that is designed to enable local FTA TV networks to deliver programs and other content over both broadcast spectrum and the internet at the same time on the one TV, via one universal remote control.

The Freeview board is reportedly currently finalising an industry-wide strategy to roll out the new technology.

The Australian approach differs from its UK counterparts Freeview and YouView, with the latter developing its own proprietary open IPTV platform distinct from the more widely accepted HbbTV standard, while Freeview, despite sharing common shareholders in the BBC and ITV, sees its existence in a connected TV future as separate from YouView.

“Following soon after the completion of digital switchover across the country, HbbTV will be the next exciting innovation for the free-to-air platform and will deliver an expanded and unparalleled television experience to all Australians, for free,” stated Freeview Australia general manager Liz Ross.