Television and the Australian Digital Video Broadcasting Standards


Australia has retired our old and proven analog colour television standard (the German PAL system with dual carrier stereo sound), which had served the country well for something like four decades. It's gone, and it won't be back. We now have our state-of-the-art digital television, and in Australia the current standard for terrestrial television broadcasting is called DVB-T. Satellite broadcasting is a slightly different standard, called DVB-S.  Both standards are capable of delivering television in standard definition (720p) or in high definition (1040p) formats. Somewhere on the horizon are broadcasts in 4K format, an even higher definition.

Besides the national broadcast standard there is a new emerging trend to mix both the broadcast signals received from your antenna, and the broadcasts received through the Internet (streaming video) in an "easy-to-operate" manner that does not require all sorts of set-top boxes and an entire battery of remote controls. This is called the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband Television (HbbTV) standard as created by the hbbtv organisation and published by ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute. Most Europen broadcasters have now adopted the HbbTV standard in their transmission for it gives them a seamless way to offer catch-up services and special interest group content without needing any additional equipment at the viewer's home. And as a result, the shop and businesses that sell TV sets in Europe are filled with so-called HbbTV compliant smart TV sets, which can display off-air broadcasts and streaming broadband content with great viewer convenience. Whether the program or content comes over the air or through your broadband connection is pretty much transparent now. The programs can be accessed with one and the same remote control from one and the same program guide on one and the same television set.

The joint Australian broadcasters have seen this trend happening in Europe, and whilst a bit late to get out of the starting blocks they now offer our very own Australian HbbTV services under the name "Freeview Plus".  

You can read their story on http://www.freeview.com.au/freeviewplus/

So, if you are out in the market to buy one of these new and fabulous flat screen high definition digital TV sets, do yourself a favour and go for a "smart" TV set that is "HbbTV" or "FreeviewPlus" compliant. It will increase your viewing pleasure with a tremendous scale.

Ask the television shop sales people for proper advice and tell them to show you what FreeView Plus (HbbTV) is all about.

Your Vantage Broadband Internet connection will provide you with access to all streaming content sources which follow the HbbTV standards.   To make this happen, connect your new smart TV set to your broadband router, preferably hardwired but a modern high-speed WiFi connection will also work.  That will give you access to lots of streaming content from the Internet right on your TV set..  Some content providers ask for subscription fees to see the latest movies, but there is also a wealth of material available for free, like you'll get with "Freeview Plus".

Make sure your next TV set is equipped for HbbTV and FreeView-Plus!