2-IMMERSE is a European project, which developed a reference architecture and the implementation of a reference platform for multiscreen applications over 3 years until the end of 2018. These are based on the concept of object-based broadcasting or object-based media, in which the individual service components (e.g. individual camera perspectives, audio as well as graphic insertions) are only assembled at the viewer’s site, thus a service can be optimally adapted to the available playback devices and the user's wishes.
To verify the platform architecture is as flexible as possible for all kinds of content and in different environments, various pilots were implemented, which vary in content as well as in the usage environment. When selecting the content, attention was also paid to an intensive exchange with the respective rights holders in order to convince them of the additional possibilities of the 2-IMMERSE Platform, but also to allow their feedback to flow directly into the implementation.
The 2-IMMERSE Platform is available under an open source license on
The following pilots were implemented:
1. Theatre-at-Home: Broadcast of a performance of Henry V. (Royal Shakespeare Company) for use at home. An essential focus in this pilot was to transport the environment, atmosphere and the possibility of interaction with other visitors in a theatre to the home.
2. MotoGP-at-Home: broadcasting of a Silverstone motorcycle race (BTSport, rights: DornaSports). This pilot is based on the existing offers of BTSport and extends them by giving the viewer more flexible access to the additional streams (Helicam, 360°, BikeCams, statistics, etc) on tablets and TV. IRT has chosen this content to demonstrate that the 2-IMMERSE platform also works with standard HbbTV (2) TV sets.
3. Football-Fanzone: The final of the British FA-Cup (also via BTSport) was selected as another sports-centric showcase. Besides a home version, a scenario for the use in public spaces, e.g. in sports pubs, was developed. A special feature of this scenario is that the service extends over several large screens and can be configured by the innkeeper. For example, a fan pub can display special feeds showing the trainer or their own fan curve, while a more balanced presentation is possible in a neutral pub.
4. Theatre-In-Schools: With the last pilot the project entered "new terrain", the use of theatre productions (a performance by Donmar Theatre) in school lessons. The content was created for 2 lessons in which the students watch the play in excerpts on the TV and their tablets, discuss it in small groups, formulate their own thoughts on their tablets, and then present it to the class using tablets on the TV (as blackboard replacement).
Videos on the individual pilots can be found on YouTube:
IRT has contributed its expertise on HbbTV 2 to the project, especially in the areas of Companion Screen Discovery/Communication and Media Synchronization, which are used in all pilots for the interaction between the individual screens. In addition, IRT has worked closely with end device manufacturers and broadcasters to enable the new HbbTV 2 features for use in broadcast services. With HbbTV 2 showcase and test applications provided by IRT, TV manufacturers were able to test their HbbTV 2 implementations. Thus, they offered an ideal complement to the formal certification tests of the HbbTV Test Suite. Two manufacturers entered the market in 2018 with HbbTV-2 implementations running the IRT showcases (one of them only in Italy).
On the part of services, IRT has collaborated with various broadcasters on HbbTV 2 showcases to demonstrate the novel capabilities of HbbTV 2. In 2018, a concept was developed with ZDF and the programme "1, 2, oder 3", which invites children to actively experience the programme. Not only with a remote control or Smartphone, but also with homemade mats, which are based on the elements in the TV studio.
End of 2018 together with rbb (broadcaster of Berlin and Brandenburg) we took a further step towards making accessible to broadcasters the most complex feature in HbbTV 2: Multistream Synchronisation, i.e. hybrid distribution of AV content via broadcast and broadband. For this purpose, a special timeline (aka MPEG TEMI) is fed into the broadcast signal of an ASTRA test service and by integration with the broadcast playout automation system of rbb the exact start of a broadcast can be determined.
This new interface can be used for a whole range of synchronous (additional) services. In addition to transmitting additional audio tracks for playback on the smart phone, for example if different audio tracks are desired in a family, this can also be used for regionalization (via the Internet) or for switching to UHD/HDR or NGA.
We will continue this work in 2019 and support the above-mentioned broadcasters as well as others in implementing such innovative HbbTV services.