An IPTV set-top box on an HDMI stick will be launched at the CES trade show in Las Vegas. It is the first operator class device in this form factor that is compliant with the HbbTV hybrid broadband broadcast television standard. It uses the httvLink middleware from HTTV, which will also be used in the first deployment of HbbTV on an IPTV network.

One of the perennial questions facing the television industry is whether there is a continuing role for the set-top box. While various dongles have been marketed as retail products, including the low-cast Chromecast HDMI stick from Google, there is an opportunity for operators to use such devices to deliver services direct to television displays, based on the open HbbTV standard.

The Novabase dongle plugs into an HDMI port and enables both WiFi and infra-red control. It uses a system on chip processor from Sigma Designs. The software development kit offers support for HTML5 webkit applications and full HbbTV compatibility enabled by HTTV. It is certified for multiple cardless conditional access systems including Nagravision and Verimatrix.

First shown as IBC in Amsterdam, the HDMI stick is capable of being deployed as a streaming media player for over-the-top online video services, a multi-room thin client using the SAT>IP home network distribution protocol, or as a full feature terminal for an operator IPTV service.

“The SMP8674 httvLink solution offers best in class performance for interactive broadcast standards such as HbbTV,” said Mustafa Ozgen, who is responsible for home multimedia at Sigma Designs. “Our open framework SDK solution for SMP8674 that supports QT-Webkit enabled the fast port of httvLink middleware, and the partnership between Sigma Designs and HTTV. Pairing this with cardless CAS solutions then makes a very promising thin client to excite operators looking closely at the HDMI-stick form factor.”

RĂ©gis Saint Girons, the chief executive of HTTV, said: “It proves our strong position on the HbbTV standard and our ability to be at the forefront of innovation.”

He recently joined the company from Nagra, where he was senior vice president for OpenTV, having been co-founder of the original joint venture between Thomson and Sun Microsytems.

The HbbTV middleware from HTTV, known as httvLink, has also been selected by Eutelsat KabelKiosk to power its new wholesale IPTV offering. This will be the first time that HbbTV will be deployed on an IPTV network.

KabelKiosk is operated by Eutelsat. It will use the httvLink middleware from HTTV and set-top boxes from Kaon Media. It will enable IPTV network operators to offer services under their own brands to households across Germany.