Monday, 28 February 2011

W3C Web and TV Workshop – Connecting TV and the Web

While many TVs in the market today are making use of web technologies to provide “connected TV” services, historically there’s been very little communication between the major players in the TV and Web worlds. Last week I spent some time at the W3C’s Web and TV Workshop in Berlin, which is one of a series of workshops organised by the W3C to try to improve this communication. I was presenting on behalf of the UK DTG, but there were also presentations that discussed the work of OIPF, HbbTV and other TV standards bodies.

While there will always be differences between the two industries (the philosophy around software upgrades, requirements on the stability of specifications, and the attitude to patent licensing, for example), there is scope for collaboration and these workshops have been a good place for starting the discussion that’s needed. Both sides recognise the importance of this kind of discussion: as more and more content providers deliver media to TVs, PCs, tablets and phones, this kind of co-operation is going to become crucial over the coming year.

This co-operation may involve bringing existing work from the TV world in to Web standards, or making sure that work underway in the W3C is suitable for use by TV services as well as services on PCs and mobiles. It will most likely be a bit of both, since both sides have a lot to offer. Both sides will benefit most, if we can avoid trying to re-invent the wheel, and hopefully these workshops and their follow-up activities will help keep that to a minimum.

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