Some key dates:
1884: first electromechanical television system is patented
1911: first world’s transmission of simple shapes by a Russian scientist
1927: first long-distance public television broadcast from Washington – birth of analogue terrestrial television
- broadcasting of the Olympic Games in Berlin
- BBC starts the world’s first public regular broadcasting service
1950s: color television broadcasts in USA, NTSC standard; PAL and SECAM color television standards were used mainly in Europe 1962: first TV signal transmitted to the Earth from a Soviet satellite
2012: analog transmission was to be replaced by digital broadcasting in the European Union. Depending on the way of broadcasting, digital television can be divided into terrestrial, satellite and cable TV.
Every type of broadcasting has its own standards:
- Terrestrial TV operates in DVB-T and DVB-T2 standards (Digital Video Broadcasting Terrestrial).
- Satellite TV operates in DVB-S and DVB-S2 standards (Digital Video Broadcasting Satellite).
- Cable TV operates in DVB-C standard (Digital Video Broadcasting Cable).
Modern trends: TV and Internet convergence
Featuring the current development trends let’s look at convergence of TV services with Internet. Currently, we observe that the development of digital TV services of different forms goes along with the further penetration of Internet across the world. Combining the benefits both of standard TV and Internet services helps an operator to strengthen its position on the market. Benefits for users are obvious: now they can see much more than before on a screen with the help of one remote control and one navigation menu.
A delivery of a video and audio content over Internet directly to customers using their set-top-boxes or TVs is known as OTT. Unlike IPTV, such systems are not controlled by system operators and therefore cannot provide reliable transmission of video and audio data. Usually OTT services are delivered by streaming media providers such as Netflix. It may be free of charge content (based on ads showing) or any kind of on-demand services. Plenty of TV manufacturers have been introducing series of hybrid TVs capable to receive a broadcasting signal and OTT services as well. Apart from the Ethernet port (or Wi-fi module) presence, these TVs must be integrated with a specific hardware-software platform providing the proper work of the system: sending requests to server, correct reception of services, buffering of the information, decoding, playback etc. A TV set of such a kind is known as «Smart TV» or «connected TV».
Notwithstanding its benefits Smart TVs have some serious disadvantages such as: the limited video content range due to restrictions imposed by content providers, an awkwardness of surfing Internet etc. Moreover, broadcasters often have to adapt their content for different platforms. A standard set of Smart TV features consist of several on-line video and movie services, social networking applications, WEB-browser, on-line games and so on. Pay-TV operators who use hybrid platforms generally utilize a much smaller set of such services. Mostly they can deliver streaming content for authorized subscribers only as it is in standard pay-tv platforms. Access to these services can be realized with the help of hybrid set-top-boxes (e.g. DVB-S2 receiver with Ethernet or Wi-fi connectivity). Using hybrid platforms, existing operators are able to attract more subscribers and collect additional profit.
In 2009 an association called HbbTV (which includes world’s best known broadcasters and equipment manufacturers) was founded. The purpose of this consortium was a development of common standard for hybrid television which later was established and adopted in several countries (mostly in Europe). Adoption of the new standard will reduce costs for implementation and integration of the interactive services. HbbTV supporting devices enables consumers to view broadcast and broadband services in a seamless manner on their flat screen TV via a single device. The standard provides a means of realization EPG, VOD portals, catch-up services, interactive advertising, social networking, games etc.