The Open IPTV Forum is merging with the HbbTV Association, apparently because the markets for IPTV, OTT and Hybrid broadcast and broadband television are coming together. The OIPF will be integrated into the activities of the HbbTV organisation in a single legal entity.

“The single organization we have created will ensure that the common platform based on the OIPF browser and used by HbbTV will evolve in a compatible way to serve all three types of service delivery models covered by both our members,” said Nilo Mitra of Ericsson, who has served as the president of the Open IPTV Forum.

The OIPF is directing anyone interested in standardisation activities previously within its scope to join the HbbTV Association.

Dr Klaus Illgner-Fehns, the managing director of IRT and chairman of the HbbTV Steering Group, welcomed the opportunity to work with members of the OIPF. “We’re looking towards a converging future requiring us to adjust industry standards to changing market demands,” he said. “By merging with the Open IPTV Forum, we’re continuing to take steps to remain at the forefront of trends in the TV industry.”

There was only a cursory reference to the merger at the HbbTV symposium at Broadcast Asia, two days after the announcement, and no mention of the news on the HbbTV web site.

The HbbTV standard has been gaining traction in Europe and around the world. At the HbbTV symposium in Singapore there was a presentation of the forthcoming Freeview Plus service based on the standard. Other countries in the region are also interested in adopting HbbTV.

The HbbTV Association was launched in 2009, led by IRT, the German institute for television research, together with ANT, now part of Espial, and OpenTV, now part of Nagra. Other founding members included satellite operator SES Astra, and French broadcasters France Télévisions, TF1, and Canal+.

The HbbTV specification references the work of the OIPF, as well as web and DVB television standards.

The OIPF was formed in 2007 as an industry consortium to define an interoperable end-to-end specification for delivery of IPTV services. Ericsson was among its founding members. The initiative to develop open standards was partly a response to proprietary systems such as Microsoft Mediaroom, which was acquired by Ericsson in 2013.

The OIPF previously merged with the Broadcast Mobile Convergence Forum and then the MPEG Industry Forum.

The OIPF has worked closely with the HbbTV initiative on the specification of browser and media specifications for network-connected televisions and set-top boxes.

With the growing importance of HbbTV as a specification for combining services delivered over broadcast and broadband networks, the initiative needs more focus and resources to support its activities.

It is seven years since the OIPF was formed and while significant progress has been made in industry standardisation, there is much work still to be done.