NHK Hybridcast making broadcast TV interactive
Hybridcast is an infrastructure system being developed by NHK, with a view to commercial use in 2013. This system combines broadcasting with the Internet, to enable a variety of TV-centered services.
At this year's NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories Open Day, NHK exhibited prototype receivers, developed together with manufacturers, as well as the service concept.
"The manufacturers involved were Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, Sharp, and Mitsubishi Electric. They've supported Hybridcast using slightly modified versions of commercially available TVs."
"The service is achieved by running applications on HTML5, and we're presenting various ways of enjoying the service by using it with a tablet. For example, if you're watching a travel program, you can show where they are walking on a map. And if you're watching a quiz program, you can take part by answering the questions."
If used in conjunction with sports broadcasts, updates about the players and the game can be synchronized with the broadcast timeline and superimposed on the screen. This can be combined with a service that shows where each player is, creating a more integrated viewing experience.
"A big feature of this system is that content can be created by service providers other than broadcasters. So, it'll also be possible for new business players to create applications ."
"Tablets are already widespread, so we think they'll be a short-cut to this service. Next, we think it could be introduced in set-top boxes. But what we're aiming for at NHK is something that can be viewed integrally with a TV."
"A growing number of broadcasters are showing their approval for this service. This year, Fuji Television and BS WOWOW are giving their support. So we hope we can make this an all-Japan service."