The inaugural HbbTV awards attracted entries from 17 countries. The winners were announced at a reception in Rome during the sixth annual HbbTV Symposium. The event, attended by over 250 delegates from across Europe, showed the enthusiasm for the hybrid broadband broadcast standard, in a world where online services are increasingly setting the standard for user experiences.

The award for the best use of HbbTV for advertising and promotion went to R2B2 bro in the Czech Republic for a solution which allows ‘header bidding’ for programmatic advertising sales.

The best broadcast enhancement award went to rbb, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, for its application to accompany Band Camp Berlin, a twenty-part daily documentary for the children’s television channel KIKA.

The multiscreen award went to Norwegian company Vewd, formerly part of Opera, for its work on media synchronisation and companion screen support, based on use cases developed with the BBC.

Digital UK received the award for content discovery with its Freeview Explore system for editorial recommendations on Freeview Play.

Freeview Australia was recognised for best marketing or promotion with its campaign for Freeview Plus.

The best technology innovation award went to Media Broadcast in Germany for Dash Direct Play, which allows online channels to be seamlessly integrated with those broadcast over terrestrial networks.

The Grand Prix Prize was awarded to Tivù in Italy for “a collection of shortlisted entries using many of the HbbTV latest features”.

HbbTV Association members from around the world awarded the best individual contribution Thi Thanh Van Nguyen from Samsung R&D Institute in recognition of her work in the Testing Group.

Matthew Huntington, the chief technology officer of Freesat and the chair of the judging panel, which included William Cooper of informitv, said: “We were overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of submissions we received and are delighted that these, the first HbbTV Awards, attracted 71 entries from 17 countries.”

The two-day symposium demonstrated the vitality of HbbTV market in Europe, where it has become the de facto standard for services combining broadband and broadcast services. It has been adopted in over 30 countries worldwide, including Australia and New Zealand.

Many of the applications discussed can trace their ancestry back to the early days of interactive television at the turn of the millennium. The real breakthrough has been the adoption of web standards, making application development much more accessible.

However, the user experience can also be limited as a result, compared to the increasingly slick services that users are becoming accustomed to on their phones and tablets.

At the very end of the symposium, William Cooper of informitv presented an approach that could bring greater performance and productivity to services, particularly to so-called operator apps.

Based on work done with the LUNA module from Craftwork, he described how it enables fast, fluid and flexible user experiences to be delivered across diverse devices and displays, as a potential complement to the HbbTV platform.