The DVB-I standard for service discovery emerged as a key theme at the HbbTV Symposium in Naples, the eleventh annual meeting of the hybrid broadcast broadband television association. There was general recognition that the two standards are highly complementary. The German DVB-I Pilot service was among the winners of the HbbTV Awards, despite the home advantage of the Italian pilot service that has also moved into its second phase.

The HbbTV conference was notable for the extent to which it embraced DVB-I. In his opening keynote, Vincent Grivet, the chair of the HbbTV Association described DVB-I as a good partner of HbbTV.

He observed that linear television channels are far from dead and viewing remains bigger than online in Europe in terms of usage and value. He also noted the need to maintain open markets and avoid closed systems that could be dominated by powerful gatekeepers.

Both DVB-I and HbbTV aim to address the challenges and opportunities of broadcast broadband convergence, but from different and complimentary perspectives.

DVB-I is primarily about service announcement and discovery, providing an online equivalent to the service information that is traditionally broadcast as part of a digital television signal.

HbbTV is mainly concerned with the application execution environment, specifying web standards for the presentation of interactive applications.

The latest version of HbbTV provides integrated support for DVB-I, so that applications can be aware of services discovered using that protocol.

HbbTV also has a mechanism for application discovery over broadband, for devices and displays with a broadcast input that does not carry application signalling. However, it does not have provision for service discovery solely over broadband, which is where DVB-I comes in.

HbbTV and DVB-I are complementary and not in competition, so it was positive to see so much emphasis on the latter.

There is no doubt that DVB-I is attracting a lot of attention in Europe and further afield through the successful pilot services in Germany and Italy. Both were featured in the conference programme in a session on DVB-I and HbbTV.

It seemed likely that the Italian project would win an award, not least since an Italian company supporting the project was as platinum sponsor. In the event, the award for best tool or product for HbbTV service development or delivery went to a company that was one of the gold sponsors, on behalf of the German pilot project.

The best technology innovation award went to ZDF for its Mediathek, while the best use of HbbTV for advertising went to Media For Europe from Mediaset EspaƱa. TV Nova from the Czech Republic received the best marketing award, while online aggregator wedotv was recognised as newcomer of the year.

The second day followed the unconference format and there was a packed session on DVB-I and HbbTV. This explored issues such as why digital rights management might be managed through an HbbTV app and how apps based on earlier versions of HbbTV can be supported through DVB-I.

Given the overlapping interests across HbbTV and DVB-I, consideration may be given to a dedicated event that covers these in more detail.

Next year the event will move to London, by which time we will no doubt know more about the Freely proposition from Everyone TV that will be based on the HbbTV standard.