French Public Broadcaster Goes for HbbTV

The era of the connected home with its smart TVs has already arrived, hasn’t it?

France Télévisions, the government-owned public broadcast network, has selected HbbTV technology to launch a DTT portal and TV news app. The viewing device, whether it be TV set, STB, Blu-ray player or other, will need to have the HbbTV technology embedded.

Throughout the day, France Télévisions will send to HbbTV devices international, national and regional news bulletins, recent sports reports, the latest video weather forecasts and an electronic program guide.

It plans to add a social media sharing capability shortly.

Users will be able to access the portal plus France 2 HD and France 4 DTT channels. They will also soon be able to access all France Télévisions channels on all Internet connected-TVs that have HbbTV either embedded or in an Internet-connected STB.

HbbTV is a European-developed standard for hybrid STBs for receiving broadcast TV and broadband apps in a single user interface — hybrid broadcast and broadband, hence HbbTV. France Télévisions said it tested HbbTV during the 2011 French Open tennis tournament.

The France Télévisions catch-up news app will initially be available on Philips TV sets and over the next few months on more connected devices. More features, apps and services will be added as will more TV sets.

France Télévisions is a government-owned company that was formed by merging the public television channels France 2 and France 3, later joined by France 5, France Ô, and France 4. It’s funded by a government mandated television license fee and advertising.

HbbTV has already been selected by the public service broadcasters in Germany and Austria. HbbTV may make a clean sweep of all TV broadcasters in continental Europe. The BBC-backed YouView, whose specification has not yet been finished, has the inside track in the UK and Ireland but its tardiness may be losing it some of its appeal.

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