Opera, the web browser company, has teamed up with Ocean Blue Software to provide an integrated solution for set-top boxes and network-connected televisions based on the HbbTV Hybrid Broadcast Broadband standard. As on the web, where Opera is well known but has only a tiny percentage market share, there are a number of browser providers aiming to use web standards for interactive television interfaces. Opera believes that browser software will eventually be built into every television.

Using a DVB middleware stack from Ocean Blue, incorporating HbbTV extensions, the Opera solution runs on a Linux operating system.

“The rise of HbbTV is a testament to the role of web technology as an essential component in next generation hybrid set-top box and connected television software stacks. We envision a future where the web is on every TV, both as an application platform and a full browser,” said Lars Boilesen, the chief executive of Opera Software.

The browser company is actively supporting HbbTV as well as the Canvas platform that is proposed by a number of British broadcasters.

“At the moment there are different broadcast broadband initiatives on the European market, including HbbTV in Germany and France, and Canvas in the United Kingdom, so there will be different market scenarios,” explained Christen Krogh, the chief development officer of Opera Software. “However, Opera Software and Ocean Blue plan to offer a common technology platform to all of these developments, based on open web standards.”

“TV and STB manufacturers want a feature-rich, low-risk solution,” said Ken Helps, the chief executive of Ocean Blue Software. “The collaboration between Ocean Blue and Opera provides a robust HbbTV solution that reduces time to market and therefore overall cost.”

The combination is being shown running on the STi5105 processor from STMicroelectronics. “ST is proactively supporting key software vendors such as Ocean Blue and Opera who are delivering the key building blocks that will provide the consumer with the next generation, rich entertainment experience on television via broadcast and the internet,” said Philippe Lambinet of STMicroelectronics.

Opera plans to extend its HbbTV solution with pre-packaged broadband services from GooMe, based in Israel.

Opera is a member of the HbbTV consortium. The HbbTV specification was developed by IRT, SES Astra, ANT, Philips, Open TV, Sony and Samsung and has been submitted as a draft ETSI standard. It combines elements of web and digital broadcasting standards, integrating work from the Open IPTV Forum.