HbbTV standard gets updated with HDR, HFR & immersive audio

02 Mar 2018 | Rasmus Larsen |

The HbbTV (Hybrid broadcast broadband TV) standard has been updated to version 2.0.2 that adds support for High Dynamic Range and High Frame Rate video as well as immersive audio formats.

Will be supported in 2019 Smart TVs

HbbTV is an open standard aimed at “harmonising the broadcast and broadband delivery of entertainment services” through Smart TVs and set-top boxes. Also sometimes referred to as “red button” it allows you to open a user interface for streaming video while watching a TV channel by pressing the red button on your remote control.

HbbTV version 2.0 added support for 4K Ultra HD resolution, and version 2.0.2 now adds support for HDR (High Dynamic Range), HFR (High Frame Rate) and NGA (Next Generation Audio).

- “With this new release of our core specification, we fill a gap in delivering broadband services to connected TVs and set-top boxes. We enable the use of new, exciting audio and video technologies to deliver HD and 4k content with much better pixel quality to HbbTV-compliant devices,” said Jon Piesing, HbbTV Vice-Chairman.

HbbTV is deployed sporadically throughout Europe but has had very limited success. While it is marketed to consumers as a way to enjoy streaming content with TV channels as a gateway, it is increasingly being employed as a way to track viewing habits and serve targeted ads. The HbbTV Association and the Smart TV Alliance joined forces in 2016. Today, technical development of HbbTV builds mostly on work done in DVB, which is the TV tuner standard used throughout Europe and other regions.

The use of 4K, HDR and the other new formats is optional, the association said.

HbbTV version 2.0.2 will be implemented in Smart TVs starting from spring 2019, meaning the 2019 TV line-ups. It is not clear if existing Smart TVs can be updated to version 2.0.2.

HbbTV version 2.0.2

High Dynamic Range (HDR), which significantly increases the contrast ratio in video content, producing crisper and livelier video. The specification supports both Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) and Perceptual Quantizer (PQ) coding.
High Frame Rate (HFR), which increases the current 50/60 frames per second to 100/120 fps. HFR offers sharper images of moving objects. This is especially useful in fast-moving sports content.
Next Generation Audio (NGA) technologies, which support object- or scene-based audio for a much more immersive audio experience. The specification supports both AC-4 and MPEG-H.
- Source: HbbTV, technical documentation

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