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Japanese broadcaster NHK developing “Hybridcast” platform

A powerful new hybrid TV delivery system has been previewed by Japanese broadcaster NHK, which combines broadcast television with IP-delivered content and interactivity.

Called ‘Hybridcast”, the project also involves TV manufacturers such as Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic, which have developed modified versions of commercially available TVs to deliver the service.

Hybridcast allows information to be overlaid on top of broadcast images on the TV screen, and additional information to be displayed on companion devices such as tablets, thanks to HTML5-based applications.

Uses include overlaying player information on-screen during a football match, enabling quiz show viewers to play along at home, and tracking the location of presenters of a travel programme on Google Maps.

With commercial launch expected in 2013, this service builds on some of the hottest topics in the TV industry right now – social TV and companion screen experiences – and could provide the spur other broadcasters need to advance their own connected TV initiatives.

Tokyo-based online news site DigInfo.tv has posted a video interview with one of the senior research engineers for the project here.

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