Video: DVB and HbbTV Technologies in TV Systems

As the amount of video consumed on the internet continues to grow, technologies that unify over-the-air broadcast with internet delivery. Doing this should allow a seamless mix meaning viewers can choose a service without knowing how it’s arriving at their TV, mobile device or laptop. This is the principle behind DVB-I and HbbTV.

In this webinar, Peter MacAvock and Peter Lanigan join moderator Dr. Jörn Krieger to answer questions about how DVB-I works and how the two organisations work together. To set the scene, Peter Lanigan explains what DVB-I is and where it sits within DVB’s other technologies.

Famous for the widespread technologies of DVB-T, -S and -C which underpin much of the world’s broadcasting, DVB have recently developed a broadcast-focused version of MPEG DASH called DVB-DASH on which DVB-I is built. Where there -T in DVB-T is for terrestrial broadcast and the -S in DVB-S for satellite broadcast, the -I in DVB-I stands for internet. Built upon the DVB-DASH standard DVB-I delivers services over the Internet to devices with broadband access whether that’s raw internet or over operator-managed networks. Most importantly, this isn’t just about TVs, but any device.

DVB-I aims to offer a way unify over-the-air broadcast with internet delivery. The apps used to deliver services to smartphones, tablets and desktops tend to create segregation as each provider delivers their own app. However, there is a benefit to removing the need for each broadcaster needing to maintain their app on all the many platforms. By unifying delivery, DVB-I also makes life easier for manufacturers who can deliver a single, consistent experience. Finally, it opens up a market for more general apps which deliver a TV experience without being tied to one broadcaster opening up more business models and a route to independent innovation.

‘Service Lists’ are the fundamental currency of DVB-I. Service discovery is therefore a critical aspect of DVB-I which was first defined in 2019 and updated in 2020. Service discovery is a technical, commercial and legal problem all of which are addressed in the DVB-I Service Discovery and Programmed Metadata standard which provides ways in which clients can access Service Lists and Service List Registries.

Another important aspect of delivery is targetted advertising since advertising underpins the business model of many broadcasters. DVB-TA defines targetted advertising for linear TV and is now being updated to include DVB-I. With DVB-TA, adverts are delivered to the receiver/device over IP based on various criteria and then triggered at the appropriate time as specified by the A178-1 signalling spec.

Source: DVB

Ahead of the Q&A, Peter MacAvock introduces the HbbTV organisation explaining how and why it works closely with DVB to generate specifications that drive Hybrid TV forward. Also a member organisation, HbbTV and DVB share many interests but where the DVB’s remit within broadcast is wider than the device-centric HbbTV scope, HbbTV also has a wider scope than DVB since STBs and other devices are in use outside of broadcasting, for instance in retail. Importantly, HbbTV has replaced MHP as DVB’s hybrid TV solution. DVB and HbbTV are sharing the task of making DVB-DASH content and validation tools available to their members.

The Q&A covers controlling of the quality of delivery, getting around the internet’s different reliability compared to RF. They also address scalability with reference to DVB-ABR Multicast. There’s a question on avoiding illegal channels being included in service lists which both Peters acknowledge is a conversation ‘in progress’ for which the technical means exist, but speficially how to implement them is still in discussion a lot of which surrounds ways to establish trust between the device and the service list registars.

The Q&A finishes by discussing whether telcos/ISPs are interested in adopting DVB-ABR Muilticast, compatability between DVB-I and HbbTV as well as 5G broadcast mode.

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Download the DVB-I Presentation
Download the HbbTV Presentation

Speakers

Peter MacAvock Peter MacAvock
DVB Chairman
Head of Delivery, Platforms and Services, EBU Technology and Development
Peter Lanigan Peter Lanigan
Senior Manager, Standardisation,
TP Vision
Jörn Krieger Moderator: Jörn Krieger
Freelance Journalist

Video: DVB-I. Linear Television with Internet Technologies

Outside of computers, life is rarely binary. There’s no reason for all TV to be received online, like Netflix of iPlayer, or all over-the-air by satellite or DVB-T. In fact, by using a hybrid approach, broadcasters can reach more people and deliver more services than before including securing an easier path to higher definition or next-gen pop-up TV channels.

Paul Higgs explains the work DVB have been doing to standardise a way of delivering this promise: linear TV with internet technologies. DVB-I is split into three parts:

1. Service discovery

DVB-I lays out ways to find TV services including auto-discovery and recommendations. The A177 Bluebook provides a mechanism to find IP-based TV services. Service lists bring together channels and geographic information whereas service lists registries are specified to provide a place to go to in order to discover service lists.

2. Delivery
Internet delivery isn’t a reason for low-quality video. It should be as good or better than traditional methods because, at the end of the day, viewers don’t actually care which medium was used to receive the programmes. Streaming with DVB-I is based on MPEG DASH and defined by DVB-DASH (Bluebook A168). Moreover, DVB-I services can be simulcast so they are co-timed with broadcast channels. Viewers can, therefore, switch between broadcast and internet services.

 

 

3.Presentation
Naturally, a plethora of metadata can be delivered alongside the media for use in EPGs and on-screen displays thus including logos, banners, programme guide data and content protection information.

Ian explains that this is brought together with three tools: the DVB-I reference client player which works on Android and HbbTV, DVB-DASH reference streams and a DVB-DASH validator.

Finishing up, Ian adds that network operators can take advantage of the complementary DVB Multicast ABR specification to reduce bitrate into the home. DVB-I will be expanded in 2021 and beyond to include targetted advertising, home re-distribution and delivering video in IP but over traditional over-the-air broadcast networks.

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Speaker

Paul Higgs Paul Higgs
Chairman – TM-I Working Group, DVB Project
Vice President, Video Industry Development, Huawei

Video: Making a case for DVB-MABR

Multicast ABR (mABR) is a way of delivering traditional HTTP-based streams like HLS and DASH over multicast. On a managed telco network, the services are multicast to thousands of homes and only within the home itself does the stream gets converted back unicast HTTP. Devices in the home then access streaming services in exactly the same way as they would Netflix or iPlayer over the internet, but the content is served locally. Streaming is a point-to-point service so each device takes its own stream. If you have 3 devices in the home watching a service, you’ll be sending 3 streams out to them. With mABR, the core network only ever sees one stream to the home and the linear scaling is done internally. Not only does this help remove peaks in traffic, but it significantly reduces the load on the upstream networks, the origin servers and smooths out the bandwidth use.

This video from DVB lays out the business cases which are enabled by mABR. mABR has approved the specification which is now going for standardisation within ETSI. It’s already gained some traction with deployments in the field, so this talk looks at what the projects that drive the continued growth in mABR may look like.

Williams Tovar starts first by making the case for OTT over satellite. With OTT services continuing to take viewing time away from traditional broadcast services, satellite providers are working to ensure they retain relevance and offer value. Delivering these OTT services is, thus, clearly beneficial, but why would you want to? On top of the mABR benefits briefly outlined above, this business case recognises that not everyone is served by a good internet connection. Distributing OTT by satellite can provide high bitrate, OTT experiences to areas with bad broadband and could also be an efficient way to deliver to large public places such as hotels and ships.

Julian Lemotheux from Orange presents a business case for next-generation IPTV. The idea here is to bring down the cost of STBs by replacing CA security with DRM and replacing the chipset with a cheaper one which is less specialised. As DASH and HLS streaming are cpu-based tasks and well understood, general, mass-produced chipsets can be used which are cheaper and removing CA removes some hardware from the box. Also to be considered is that the OTT ecosystem is continually seeing innovation so delivering services in the same format allows providers to keep their offerings up to date without custom development in the IPTV software stack.

Xavier Leclercq from Broadpeak looks, next, at Scaling ABR Delivery. This business case is a consideration of what the ultimate situation will be regarding MPEG2 TSes and ABR. Why don’t we provide all services as Netflix-style ABR streams? One reason is that the scale is enormous with one connection per device, CDNs and national networks would still not be able to cope. Another is that the QoS for MPEG2 transport streams is very good and, whilst it is possible to have bad reception, there is little else that causes interruption to the stream.

mABR can address both of these challenges. By delivering one stream to each home and having the local gateway do the scaling, mass delivery of streamed content becomes both predictable and practical. Whilst there is still a lot of bandwidth involved, the predictable load on the CDNs is much more controlled and with lower peaks, the CDN cost is reduced as this is normally based on the maximum throughput. mABR can also be delivered with a higher QoS than public internet traffic which allows it to benefit from better reliability which could move it in the realm of the traditional transport-stream based serviced. Xavier explains that if you put the gateway within a TV, you are able to deliver a set-top-box-less service whilst if you want to address all devices in you home, you can provide a separate gateway.

Before the video finishes with a Q&A session, Williams delivers the business case for Backhauling over Satellite for CDNs and IP backhaul for 5G Networks. The use case for both has similarities. The CDN backhauling example looks at using satellite to efficiently deliver directly to CDN PoPs in hard to reach areas which may have limited internet links. The Satellite could deliver a high bandwidth set of streams to many PoPs. A similar issue presents itself as there is so much bandwidth available, there is a concern about getting enough into the transmitter. Whether by satellite or IP Multicast, mABR could be used for CDN backhauling to 5G networks delivering into a Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) cache. A further benefit in doing this is avoiding issues with CDN and core network scalability where, again, keeping the individual requests and streams away from the CDN and the network is a big benefit.

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Download the slides from this video
Speakers

Williams Tovar Williams Tovar
Soultion Pre-sales manager,
ENENSYS Technologies
Julien Lemotheux Julien Lemotheux
Standardisation Expert,
Orange Labs
Xavier Leclercq Xavier Leclercq
VP Business Development,
Broadpeak
Christophe Berdinat Moderator: Christophe Berdinat
Chairman CM-I MABR, DVB
Innovation and Standardisation Manager, ENENSYS

Video: Multicast ABR opens the door to a new DVB era

Multicast ABR (mABR) is a way of delivering standard HTTP-based streams like HLS and DASH over multicast. This can be done using an ISP’s managed network to multicast to thousands of homes and only within the home itself does the stream gets converted into unicast HTTP. This allows devices in the home to access streaming services in exactly the same way as they would Netflix or iPlayer, but avoiding strain on the core network. Streaming is a point-to-point service so each device takes its own stream. If you have 3 devices in the home watching a service, you’ll be sending 3 streams out to them. With mABR, the core network only ever sees one stream to the home and the linear scaling is done internally.

Guillaume Bichot from Broadpeak explains how this would work with a multicast server that picks up the streaming files from a CDN/the internet and converts it into multicast. This then needs a gateway at the other end to convert back into multicast. The gateway can run on a set-top-box in the home, as long as multicast can be carried over the last mile to the box. Alternatively, it can be upstream at a local headend or similar.

At the beginning of the talk, we hear from BBC R&D’s Richard Bradbury who explains the current state of the work. Published as DVB Bluebook A176, this is currently written to account for live streaming, but will be extended in the future to deal with video on demand. The gateway is able to respond with a standard HTTP redirect if it becomes overloaded which seamlessly pushes the player’s request directly to the relevant CDN endpoint.

DVB also outlines how players can contact the CDN for missing data or video streams that are not provided, currently, via the gateway. Guillaume outlines which parts of the ecosystem are specified and which are not. For instance, the function of the server is explained but not how it achieves this. He then shows where all this fits into the network stack and highlights that this is protocol-agnostic as far as delivery of media. Whilst they have used DVB-DASH as their assumed target, this could as easily work with HLS or other formats.

Guillaume finishes by showing deployment examples. We see that this can work with uni-directional satellite feeds with a return channel over the internet. It can also work with multiple gateways accessible to a single consumer.

The webinar ends with questions though, during the webinar, Richard Bradbury was answering questions on the chat. DVB has provided a transcript of these questions.

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Download the slides from this presentation
Speakers

Richard Bradbury Richard Bradbury
Lead Research Engineer,
BBC R&D
Guillaume Bichot Guillaume Bichot
Principal Engineer, Head of Exploration,
Broadpeak