One of the top IPTV stories of 2008 was also one of the top stories of 2009. The hybridization of TV and Internet video delivery advanced much further this year, and the fun started at the very beginning, with several key announcements coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Among the CES news, LG and Netflix developed a video streaming service that bypassed TV service providers and their set-top boxes.
Creation of hybrid services, applications and TV widgets to access Internet resources accelerated throughout the year. Verizon Communications was one of the key service providers enabling widgets, for Facebook and other Internet destinations, but Internet giant Yahoo! also created its own Widget Channel to run on Samsung TVs, so service providers had competition for such innovations.
Later in the year, the Hybrid broadcast broadband TV (HbbTV) standard emerged and quickly gained ground. And, set-top boxes enabled with hybrid video delivery capabilities became a popular technology development among vendors.
But, the biggest news on the hybrid front was the TV Everywhere campaign led by Time Warner and quickly joined by Comcast, Verizon Communications and other service providers. The formalization of what many would call a walled garden approach, TV Everywhere was proposed as a concept to unify TV content delivery via both broadcast and Internet, and a way to rein in a public growing increasingly comfortable watching TV shows and related content online at independent sites such as Hulu. TV Everywhere looks to authorize pay TV customers to view that content at sites operated by the service providers, rather than random independents.
Then there was Project Canvas, the U.K. hybrid TV joint venture involving the BBC, BT and others. Canvas has faced more hurdles than TV Everywhere thus far, as in recent weeks the effort was still awaiting regulatory approval amid challenges from some that it is anti-competitive. Still, Canvas has captured the imagination of STB suppliers and other vendors all working on new technology developments with the hybrid movement in mind.
Netflix and LG announced a direct-to-TV video streaming service at CES
TV was a hot topic at CES 2009
Yahoo! announced a new Widget Channel
Hybrid set-top boxes are reviving the STB's prospects
Canvas awaited BBC Trust approval for its hybrid efforts
The new HbbTV standard quickly found support
Verizon threw its support behind the TV Everywhere initiative
CableLabs is working on TV Everywhere standards