Following technical reconfiguration to Saorview’s second multiplex last month, further changes have been rolled out this week, increasing available capacity on Ireland’s digital terrestrial TV platform.
On Tuesday, services on Saorview multiplex one were compressed, creating capacity to relaunch the 2rn test card on channel 51. This in turn is part of a test of HbbTV on the platform.
According to 2rn, these test transmissions are broadcast to the NorDig standard – HbbTV 1.5 specification.
The primary function of these tests are to ensure that the Saorview platform is ready to accommodate future development in this area and to ensure that Irish broadcasters wishing to take advantage of newer technologies (in order to bring Irish viewers an improved and richer interactive experience) are accommodated.
But there’s a wider reason behind the HbbTV tests. Currently Saorview only supports MHEG5 for text and interactive services. MHEG5 is being phased out, not just by platforms, but also by device manufacturers.
And broadcasters are reviewing the potential for HbbTV to deliver future teletext and interactive options, such as a red button link to the broadcaster’s streaming service as used by the BBC to connect the red button to iPlayer.
A look at the specs of a recent Samsung Smart TV confirms Samsung is only keeping MHEG5 support for users in Ireland. In other countries, MHEG5 support is typically disabled by default. HbbTV (up to version 2.0.3) is supported instead.
In the UK, this means a newer Samsung TV may load the BBC HbbTV connected red button app that links to iPlayer instead of the old text-based MHEG5 service.
Saorview hasn’t yet indicated what may happen with the extra capacity and what types of extra interactive functionality may become available. However, the latest developments put Saorview in a good position to stay relevant, and a viable complement to the plethora of apps available on smart TVs.
PICTURED: transmitter image. COPYRIGHT: The TV Room.