European Connected TV: From the Accessibility Vision into Market Reality

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HBB4ALL addresses media accessibility for all citizens in the connected TV environment. HbbTV, Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV, is a European standard increasingly adopted by European broadcasters. One of the challenges in the coming years will be the delivery of multi-platform audiovisual content and making this content accessible. The elderly and people with disabilities rely on subtitles, audiodescription or sign language. Customizing accessibility services through options for personal preferences is only one example of future possibilities


Europe, March 10, 2014 - (PressReleasePoint) 


The HBB4All consortium is proud to announce the start of the European project HBB4ALL (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband for All).
The project addresses media accessibility for all citizens in the connected TV environment. HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV) is a European standard increasingly adopted by European broadcasters. One of the challenges in the coming years will be the delivery of multi-platform audiovisual content (anytime, anywhere, any device) and making this content accessible for all. The elderly and people with various disabilities rely on subtitles, audiodescription or sign language. Customizing accessibility services through options for personal preferences is only one example of future possibilities. HBB4ALL is co-funded by the European Commission under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP). The project started in December 2013 and runs for 36 months. The official kick-off meeting was hosted in Barcelona (13/14 January 2014) by HBB4ALL coordinator UAB (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain).

Main objectives: The HBB4ALL project aims at:
  • Advancing future-proof solutions for improved accessibility to media, both utilizing and supporting the successful uptake of HbbTV throughout Europe;
  • Introducing and large scale user testing of such innovative services in at least three European countries;
  • Introducing and expert testing of novel workflows for the production of accessibility services at European broadcasters;
  • Understanding interoperability in a multi-platform and multilingual environment to test easy solutions for media accessibility;
  • Benchmarking quality of access services from a user-centric approach and promoting accessibility as an added value for education and social inclusion;
  • Becoming a major platform/player in the e-Inclusion economy currently taking place, fostering the future market take-up of exciting innovations in conceiving universal accessibility tools and concepts to satisfy the diverse interests of all societal groups. 
The project will examine the delivery of TV content to PC, tablet, smartphone and TV’s with an array of communication solutions such as subtitling, audio description, clean audio, and many customizable features. Multiple EU languages, large and small, sign language, and language situation – monolingual, bilingual - will be taken into consideration as well as the three translation modes: dubbing, subtitling, and voice-over. For this purpose, the project will test access services in various pilot implementations in three European countries and gather user feedback to assess the acceptance and the achievable quality of service in the various delivery scenarios (broadcasting, hybrid, full IP). 
On this basis, HBB4ALL will elaborate pertinent guidelines, guides of good practice, metrics, and recommendations. It will initiate campaigns to promote the project results and thus raise awareness not only on the necessity of access services but also on the technical solutions available. For that purpose, and to transform the accessibility vision into reality, HBB4All targets all relevant stakeholders of the value chain from content providers to user associations.

The Consortium: The consortium includes 12 European partners, two of which are academic institutions, four broadcasters, two research institutes and four SMEs, all experts in the field of media accessibility.
  • 2 Academic Institutions
UAB: the project coordinator Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) plays a leading role in scientific research in Spain
UPM: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Spain's oldest and largest technical university, has participated in more than 130 European R&D projects over the past 4 years
  • 4 Public Broadcasters
RBB: Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg is the public broadcaster for the federal states of Berlin and Branddenburg and part of the ARD (Association of Public Service Broadcasting Corporations) in Germany.
RTP: Radio e Televisao de Portugal is the Portuguese public radio and television broascaster, the oldest and largest media entreprise in Portugal. HBBTV services are operational on an experimental basis.
TVC: Televisio de Catalunya is a Spanish Catalan public broadcaster with long standing experience both in research projects and industrial applications in digital broadcasting
Swiss TXT: os a company of the public broadcaster SRG/SSR in switzerland and provides a vast variety of services to the broadcaster and other third party customers.
  • 2 Research Institutes
IRT: Institut für Rundfunktechnik is the specialized non-profit broadcast and multimedia technology intitute company strongly facours open technical standars and horizantal system markets.
VICOMTECH: is an applied research center for Interactive Computer Graphics and Multimedia located in Spain.
  • 4 SMEs
VSONIX: is founded by a team of senior researchs of Faunhofer IGD (Germany), one of the biggest research institutions for applied visual computing world-wide.
SCREEN: Screen Subtitling Systems, in UK, specialises in developing products for the preparation and delivery of subtitling and value-add information services across multiple platforms and devices including Hbbtv and Smart TV platforms.
PPG: People's Playground is based in Amsterdam, on firm background experience in web software development, i.e. video/medi streaming and backend technology.
HC: Holken Consultants & Partners is specialising (France) in b-to-b market research and strategic & marketing oriented business consulting, operate in connected creative.

For more information or interviewing one of the partners please contact:

Hadmut Holken: holken@holkenconsultants.com
Website www.hbb4all.eu 


Broadband, Disability, Telecommunication, Technology, Television, Internet, Europe, France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland


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