The Smart TV Alliance is joining forces with the HbbTV Association, extending the scope of the HbbTV specification to address online video services. The combined organisation aims to streamline standards to allow interactive applications to be deployed across connected television devices.

The Smart TV Alliance was founded by LG Electronics, TP Vision, Toshiba and Panasonic in 2012 to create a platform for smart television applications. Its specification uses a common application programming interface, based on web technologies to support multiple brands of televisions. These include webOS TV, in the case of LG, Android TV as used by TP Vision and the Philips brand, and Firefox OS as employed by Panasonic. A software development kit is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Ubuntu Linux.

Hybrid broadcast broadband TV or HbbTV is now a global initiative to harmonise the broadcast and broadband delivery of services though connected televisions and set-top boxes. The HbbTV specification is based on elements of existing international standards from the worlds of broadcasting and the web. The latest HbbTV 2.0.1 has been published by the standards body ETSI.

There are over 58 million connected televisions around the world compatible with the Smart TV Alliance specification. 30 million devices use the HbbTV specification to access 250 apps deployed in 20 countries.

The harmonization of activities will aim to enable developers to create applications for broadcast and broadband delivery via connected TV or set-top-box using a common HbbTV specification. The HbbTV and STA organizations have already started technical collaborations and the merging of their administrative activities is expected to be complete within a year.

“Our combined efforts will bring a new level of innovation to consumer entertainment services,” said Merwan Mereby, the president of Smart TV Alliance. “Consumers will see more TV applications and enjoy better interactive experiences when accessing entertainment or information services from their smart TVs or set-top-boxes.”

“Through the incorporation of Smart TV Alliance’s activities, HbbTV will be able to address the combined scope of broadcast and over-the-top services with a shared focus on delivering the HbbTV Specification that best meets the needs of these converging markets,” said Dr Klaus Illgner, chairman of the HbbTV Association Steering Group.

In 2014 the HbbTV Association merged with the Open IPTV Forum, a similar industry organisation for end-to-end Internet Protocol television services, formed in 2007.