September 10, 2012

DVB extends its reach to companion screens

The DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting) group is seeking an expanded role to unify global standards for multiscreen services, while also ending the historical regional fragmentation in digital terrestrial transmission. The organization is best known for setting physical layer standards for the three traditional broadcasting media of cable, satellite and terrestrial, but for the latter its DVB T and DVB T2 specifications are just one of four regional standards. At the same time emerging multiscreen services are being held back by fragmented standards, particularly over interaction between companion screens and linear broadcast services. At an IBC press conference the DVB said it wanted to act as a unifying force both in digital terrestrial transmission and companion screen interaction, while also clarifying its position over an emerging third generation satellite standard, presumably called DVB S3.

So far companion screen applications have grown up around many different proprietary technologies and are ripe for standardization, according to Nick Wells, vice chair of the DVB Technical Committee. “I expect to see broadcast and IP networks working together and here the DVB has a huge amount to offer,” said Wells.

The trend towards growing use of portable devices such as tablets for watching video also made it imperative that the world´s terrestrial broadcast bodies including the DVB start moving towards a single common standard, according to the DVB´s executive director Pete Siebert. “For years we´ve had fragmented industry standards which if we´re being honest has cost the industry a huge amount of money,“ said Siebert. This mattered less when broadcast transmissions were received exclusively by TVs that