An update to the HbbTV specification for hybrid broadcast broadband television adds support for DVB-I, the DVB standard for service discovery and programme metadata. It also improves integration with voice assistants and accessibility features. The HbbTV and DVB-I specifications both address the delivery of audiovisual services over broadcast and broadband networks. HbbTV is concerned with the application environment, while DVB-I concentrates on service discovery and programme information.

Version 2.0.4 of the HbbTV specification adds application support for DVB-I. The aim is to enable HbbTV applications to be used with channels that are discovered through DVB-I service lists. The changes include enabling referencing services delivered online using DVB-DASH, how DVB-I services and service instances appear in the HbbTV channel list, and how HbbTV applications are started and stopped as different DVB-I service are selected.

The update also improves support for accessibility features, enabling applications to query which features are supported and access user settings. It also enables the use of voice input for apps that register that they are voice enabled. The accessibility and voice features are left open to the manufacturer or television operating system provider to implement.

Vincent Grivet, the chairman of the HbbTV Association, said “This new version of the HbbTV core specification represents a huge amount of work by our members over the last 18 months. With this new milestone, the key global and European stakeholders of the TV world have evidenced their commitment to make sure HbbTV is always and fully up to the challenges of bringing a compelling TV experience to viewers.”

Jon Piesing, who chairs the HbbTV specification group, said the updates will improve the experience for users of HbbTV applications and services. “Integration with voice assistants is significant as voice input becomes more widely used in user interfaces of TV sets and other home devices. Accessibility features are an essential addition in the context of the European Accessibility Act. Integration with DVB-I is important as the distribution of live/linear programming via IP streams to TV sets becomes more widespread in the future.”