SBS launches a beta as Hbb TV starts to get real

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The future of TV isn’t one totally based on the internet, as Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV comes to life in Australia, starting with SBS of all the broadcasters.

There’s a new standard of TV coming, and while you will need a new television set to experience it (though a set-top box is a possibility later on), Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (Hbb TV ) could shake up the tellybox world considerably by providing the features of an internet-based catch-up service alongside regular broadcast television.

From this week, SBS is letting users play with the beta version of its catch-up service developed for these new Hbb TVs.  This can be accessed via a red button that appears on the screen while viewers are watching SBS One, SBS2, or NITV. Selecting the button launches a new SBS On Demand app developed specifically for Hbb-enabled TVs. The new app shows catch-up TV options and information while you’re watching a digital broadcast.


“Innovation in the digital space is key to the future of delivering uniquely SBS content for all Australians, and adding SBS On Demand to HbbTV-enabled televisions was a logical next step with the imminent launch of FreeviewPlus,” said Marshall Heald, Chief Digital Officer at SBS, adding that “it continues our commitment to bringing content to audiences when they want, and where they want it.”

“We’re releasing the app in beta today to elicit feedback from audiences to help us make further enhancements and improvements to the product during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and ahead of the Tour de France next month,” said Heald.

“Early adopters of this new technology will be able to provide us with valuable feedback to maximise the SBS On Demand experience.”

As we mentioned before, not all TVs will be able to run this, in fact at the moment, the number is very low.

At the time of writing, only Panasonic’s latest crop of TVs supports the technology, including the TH-32AS610A, TH-42AS700A,TH-50AS700A,TH-55AS700A,TH-60AS700A,TH-55AS740A, and TH-60AS740A televisions. Models will be coming from other manufacturers in the next few months, with LG, Samsung, Sony, and TCL joining the fray shortly.

Until then, only owners of these few Panasonic TVs will be able to try the concept, though SBS On Demand is available through other devices, including Sony’s PlayStation 3 and 4, the Xbox 360, Xbox One, numerous smart TVs, and of course smartphones and tablets.