The HBB4ALL (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband for All) is a European project, co-funded by the European Commission under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Program (CIP) and by 12 partners from several complementary fields: universities, TV channels/broadcasters, research institutes, and SMEs; all are experts in the field of media accessibility and the multi-device environment. The project started in December 2013 and runs for 36 months (learn more about the partners).
At the European level, the legislative and regulatory frameworks governing television accessibility in member states are influenced by the European Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS). On 24th April, the European Commission adopted its Green Paper “Preparing for a Fully Converged Audiovisual World: Growth, Creation and Values”. The objective of this consultation was to find out what convergence in the audiovisual sector means for things such as European economic growth and business innovation, media pluralism, cultural diversity and the protection of consumers, including children.
Within the European Union, Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (R&TTE) is subject to the R&TTE Directive (1999/5/EC). This Directive relies for its operation on Harmonized Standards developed by ETSI at the request of the European Commission.
These Harmonized Standards define technical characteristics which can be used to meet the essential requirements of the Directive, which include effective use of the radio spectrum and orbital resource so as to avoid harmful interference. Spectrum management remains a national matter. Under the terms of the Directive, authorities in the Member States are allowed to regulate radio interfaces, but are required to publish their regulations.
HBB4ALL addresses media accessibility for all citizens in the connected TV environment. HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV) is a global initiative increasingly adopted by broadcasters around the world. 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.