1- The project objectives

One of the challenges of the coming years for European broadcasters will be multi-platform delivery of TV content on broadcast, IP and hybrid delivery platforms (i.e. both big screen, hybrid and two-screen solutions).

The introduction of the HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV) standard helps to overcome the fragmentation of the connected TV market. HbbTV provides a straight-forward specification on how to combine broadcast and broadband content plus interactive applications. TV content can be enhanced with additional synchronised services in a customised manner. Currently, Hbbtv 1.1 compliant devices are available in the market; and lately, 10th February 2015, the HbbTV Association announced the release of the new HbbTV 2.0 specification.

For access services HbbTv opens an entirely new opportunity for users who may choose an access service delivered via their IP connection which then seamlessly integrates with the regular TV programme. The elderly and people with various disabilities rely on subtitles, audiodescription or sign lunguage. And, in addition, Web-based and HbbTV-based solutions offer the potential for customisable services where the user can adapt these to her or his special needs and abilities or preferences.

The project aims to:

  • Advance solutions for improved accessibility to media, both utilizing and supporting the successful uptake of HbbTV throughout Europe;
  • Deploy pilot services and validate these in at least three European countries in the context of four different thematic pilots;
  • Perform expert testing of novel workflows or components thereof the production of accessibility services at European broadcasters;
  • Evaluate interoperability in a multi-platform environment including also multilingual aspects to test easy solutions for media accessibility;
  • Benchmark the quality of access services from a user-centric approach and promote accessibility as an added value for education and social inclusion;
  • Become a major platform in the e-Inclusion economy currently taking place, influencing the economy, and possibly 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.

In its complementary large scale user testing pilots (lab conditions) on quality metrics the project will examine the delivery of accessibility services such as subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, audio subtitles, audio description, clean audio and many customizable features to hybrid TV, PC, tablet or smartphone. Multiple EU languages, large and small, font siez, sign language, and language situation – monolingual, bilingual – will be taken into consideration as well as the three translation modes: dubbing, subtitling and voice-over. Both quality and quantity metris will be addressed in a user centric approach.

2- The project target groups

HBB4ALL addresses the needs of all citizens, but especially those users with sensorial impairments, the aged, and people with mild cognitive impairments such as dyslexia and aphasia for whom the services hitherto have not been sufficient.

The project will identify improvements to existing access services and ways of addressing the key technical, organisational and legal obstacles to the sustainable take-up of these services throughout Europe. Being an ETSI (European Telecommunications Standrads Institute) standard, Hbbtv is currently linked with any digital TV service in the world. DVB is widely used throughout all continents. Sooner or later, all countries in the world will have completed their analogue-to-digital switchover. As a consequence, the results of HBB4ALL will be of worldwide relevance and will, through standardisation bodies such as the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) and ISO, also be publicised on a worldwide level. To transform the accessibility vision into reality, HBB4ALL targets all relevant stakeholders and all components of the value chain.

More detail about the project consortium.