DVB-I Spec for Internet-Centric Linear TV Services Approved

GENEVA—The DVB Steering Board has approved the DVB-I specification, which aims to ensure linear TV delivered via the internet is as user-friendly and robust as traditional TV, DVB announced today.

The specification, published as DVB BlueBook A177, is intended to make it possible to deliver linear TV services to any device, including TV sets, smartphones, tablets and media streaming devices, with the right internet connection and media player, the organization said.

"In developing an internet-centric solution for linear television services, we are providing the industry with a crucial missing piece that raises internet-based delivery to the same level in the DVB ecosystem as RF-based content delivery," said DVB Chair Peter MacAvock. "With these building blocks, addressing the discovery of DVB-I services and the delivery of program metadata, DVB offers broadcasters and operators an exciting new deployment option."

The new specification defines DVB-I Service Lists, a way for connected devices to find sets of linear TV services that can be delivered via broadband or broadcast. It also provides a means to pull down electronic program data for these services to enable viewers to access content via a consistent user interface, DVB said.

Publication of the specification means vendors and others can begin implementing DVB-I enabled clients, and broadcasters and content providers can move forward making services available via the specification, it said.

DVB also has issued an RFP to build a DVB-I reference application. The organization anticipates choosing a supplier and completing negotiations by the end of the year, which should make it possible for the initial implementation to be shown at DVB World 2020, March 9-11, in Valencia, Spain. The resulting client will be made available freely under an open source license, DVB said.

While DVB-I refers to service discovery and program information, it is part of a broader DVB ecosystem, including the recently published DVB-DASH streaming specification (DVB BlueBook A168), updated recently to include a low-latency mode, and a forthcoming specification for multicast adaptive bitrate streaming (DVB-mABR).

DVB has published a frequently asked questions page online about DVB-I as well as DVB-I information on its website.

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.