The article below on BroadbandTVNews gives a reasonable reading of the current non-carry of HbbTV from the public stations on the cable networks of Ziggo and UPC in the Netherlands. It is somewhat of a shame if the suggested tactics are being used by the cable operator to prevent HbbTV being available to customers. Ziggo has a somewhat reasonable claim for their non-carriage: their latest interactive TV common interface module requires the use of the red button to launch interactive VOD applications. The issue is probably trivial to solve if there would be a genuine interest to serve the end customer. The UPC reason is even less clear. Maybe HbbTV itself is not a killer app at this stage, and the public operator catchup TV is already available on the settop boxes (not on TVs with CI+) of these operators for free as part of the most basic subscription, but HbbTV is an important trend in TV services that cable operators should support towards the future. The argument of competition between cable and operator services seems too far fetched in the author’s opinion.
There is a new energy accord in the USA. As usual it is little and late with these voluntary measures. The worst being that 2/3 of all energy the boxes use is in “idle” state (no active use) while only 50% of that energy will be saved. Of course the box should have its processor ready to react to inputs from the environment, but that should be possible with today’s standards while limiting power consumption much more. Just have a look in your left hand: right: that phone is doing a great job, even decoding HD video, and not consuming even 10% of the STB. In short: it is a matter of putting more energy into the design of the hardware and software of the boxes. The hardware is largely equal, so it is (mostly) the software stupid!
The expectation is that this will blow over the ocean to Europe as well, as did a previous US accord.
The gloves are off on DTT spectrum management and white spaces in the UK. White spaces technology uses locally available UHF frequencies for other than DTT applications, e.g. a local broadband connectivity. The problem is that it is very difficult to set good parameters on “available frequency”.
The present statement seem very unnuanced; i.e. things may be coming to a close; and this being Digital UKs (terrestrial broadcasters) way of improving their position against OFCOM (the regulator) that is promoting white spaces technology as a way to further use available spctrum efficiently.
In smaller countries competition is not always easy to organize, but in Belgium the regulator is showing some courage and is making an attempt, by opening up the cable network services to alternate operators (for fixed tariffs). This piece of regulatuion is heavily fought and quite unique: an earlier attempt in the Netherlands where cable is almost as dominant in TV distribution led to a defeat of the regulator on procedural grounds. They did not reattempt the procedure on the grounds that competition had increased in the mean time (IPTV and fibre are gaining ground, traditional cable keeps on loosing ground in the Netherlands). Belgium has only two competing platforms: cable (the regional operator) and Belgacoom (IPTV). Now thirds can enter the market. Since it is a deal on service level technical conditions will be equal to the existing cable environment.
Recently Telenet also lauched Common Interface Plus under some encouragement of public opinion and regulators. But this only makes Telenet services available on receivers other than Telenet’s own proprietary ones; it does not enable other operators.
Kabel Deutschland is rolling out special WiFi hortspots in city centers in Germany, unlike Dutch cablers Ziggo and UPC, that use their Cablemodem base to run a (selective-access) public WiFi service. It is interesting to see how this fits in the Vodaphone takeover move (see this link).