If you’re old enough, you surely remember the old black-box-type TV with a simple remote, or even its older ancestor equipped with just a few buttons and a large back that needed extra space in the living room. But those days are long gone and the world of content and streaming services offers modern solutions that allow people for an unforgettable experience. These include HbbTV and Smart TV.

HbbTV and Smart TV are both great options and can help your business grow so you can expand your services, reach a wider audience, and deliver a great user experience to even the most demanding viewers. 

So what are HbbTV and Smart TV and which is better? Here’s everything you need to know!

What’s the Difference Between HbbTV and Smart TV and Why Does It Matter?

Although the two have a lot in common, HbbTV and Smart TV have significant differences.

Let’s take a look at HbbTV and Smart TV, how they differ from each other, and why this difference matters.

What Is HbbTV and How Does It Work?

HbbTV stands for Hybrid broadcast broadband TV. As stated on the official site dedicated to HbbTV, it’s “a global initiative dedicated to providing open standards for the delivery of advanced interactive TV services through broadcast and broadband networks for connected TV sets and set-top boxes.”

HbbTV can be considered in two ways. From the technical point of view, it’s a technology that enables users to receive content in a hybrid way. That means you can use different devices to stream entertainment satellite, terrestrial and Ethernet networks, but also set-top boxes, and access media with OTT (over-the-top) services. Users can also interact with content for a more personalized experience (e.g., access menu with options to additional video programming, view sports statistics, or show a program guide with different options).

The other side of HbbTV is the abovementioned industry standard ETSI TS 102 796. It defines norms and guidelines for harmonized broadcast and delivery of entertainment services to users. Its main goal is to provide a seamless experience for content receivers where users can interact with their TV to better fit their needs.

What Is Smart TV and How Does It Work?

Smart TV is an intelligent television that gives you many options to watch your favorite content. In simple words, Smart TV is a television connected to the internet that gives you access to different forms of entertainment – music and music videos, movies, tv shows; you can even use it to display photos or play video games.

It’s like a smartphone or your computer (which you can also pair and connect with your Smart TV). It lets you store your favorite content, easily access it, stream various types of content, access different platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, news platforms, and others from all over the world. With Smart TV you can also check social media, cast a presentation from your laptop, or even make voice and video calls.

Additionally, it offers a “smart home” option that allows you to connect Smart TV to other devices in your household (for example, a dishwasher, lights, sound) and control it from the level of your TV.

In short, Smart TV works like a TV with management capabilities for aggregated content of all types. It lets you quickly and conveniently move around the digital world. 

Why Are HbbTV and Smart TV Important?

It’s hard to find a classic television these days. All popular brands shifted to manufacturing Smart TVs – LG, Philips, Samsung, Panasonic, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and many more.

HbbTV and Smart TV, even though different, are the future of television and digital content. The aim of the two technologies is to provide flexibility and meet the high demands of the end-users.

For businesses, content providers, advertisement agencies, and other companies delivering content it brings opportunities for easier reach of audience and potential clients to build market presence and brand awareness.

More and more content is available on TV and users consume it more than ever. People not only watch movies and tv shows but want to be able to quickly and easily access their favorite substance, be it music, photos, educational content, fitness apps, or cooking recipes.

So HbbTV and Smart TV may bring benefits to many content creators. If you’re one of them, you just need to know how to target your audience.

HbbTV vs Smart TV – Which Is Better?

Both HbbTV and Smart TV provide a great way to reach new clients and target content to a wider audience. But both have advantages and disadvantages.

Here are all the pros and cons of HbbTV and Smart TV that it’s worth paying attention to when creating your product.

Pros of HbbTV:

  • Apps don’t need to be installed locally because they’re part of the TV signaling.
  • Since HbbTV is aimed at delivering content on a national level, you have higher chances to reach an audience specific to a given region.
  • You can partner with TV broadcasters in their ad efforts and create more effective joint promotional campaigns.
  • You have more revenue opportunities by offering more targetable ads. You can target an audience with ads specified geographically, taking into account the location, time of the day, national holidays, and other individual factors.
  • As a broadcaster, with HbbTV technology you can view statistics about the viewership in real-time as well as in a traditional form. That type of data gives you better insight into users’ behavior so you can make better, data-driven decisions, and quickly react to changes.

Cons of HbbTV:

  • HbbTV technology is available mainly in Europe so it may be difficult to target different audiences. Your efforts will have to focus only on those countries where HbbTV is available. Nevertheless, the standard and hybrid technology become more and more popular globally so there’s a big chance for future expansion.
  • Because HbbTV is not available everywhere, you might experience problems with app deployment. With HbbTV technology, apps are deployed on the country level so it can take extra work and resources to release them adjusting specific parameters to different viewers or modified marketing efforts aimed at specific groups of users.
  • You have to sign a commercial agreement with every TV broadcaster which means more work and negotiations.
  • Because HbbTV is less popular, not all countries want to exploit it that may make the expansion of your services more challenging.
  • Technically, HbbTV is more fragmented – HbbTV has several versions that need to be supported and has several routes of transport (DVB-C/T/S, IPTV). Hence, it requires more work to support these two technical requirements.

Smart TV is more popular than its rival HbbTV. But is it really that good? Here are the pros and cons.

Pros of Smart TV:

  • Smart TVs are available globally and services and apps rolled out for them don’t require as much work in set up as those on HbbTV.
  • Users can easily and quickly access their favorite content via streaming platforms, dedicated apps, or live TV. Smart TVs don’t require a complicated setup and technical knowledge.
  • It’s easy to target an audience with ads.
  • Smart TVs offer many additional useful features (voiceover, smart home and remote control of devices, playing music, video games, storing content, etc.).

Cons of Smart TV:

  • Apps have to be available via app stores and need to be downloaded directly to the TV.
  • Connection with the Internet makes Smart TV users vulnerable to threats and cyberattacks. For many people, privacy issues are a big deal and you need to provide a high level of security to the end-user. A lot of viewers don’t like to reveal their personal information and preferences. For that reason, you need to provide a service or platform that will not endanger their privacy.
  • Although it’s easier to target an audience with ads, rolling them out and taking marketing efforts may be a bit more difficult; it involves negotiating with agencies, advertisers, and getting entangled in the ad-buying ecosystem.

When it comes to choosing HbbTV over Smart TV, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula. It all depends on your needs, the technology you are willing to use, and your financial contribution.

Try to combine both, or when developing your products for Smart TVs, have in mind the HbbTV technology. That way, you’ll find it easier to deploy your work and reach a wider audience.

Wrapping It Up

The way people watch content has changed over the last decade and you need to be flexible to meet high, constantly changing expectations of the end-users.

Both HbbTV and Smart TV can bring many benefits to your business, you just need to choose wisely. And if you need a helping hand, make sure to reach out to our team – we’ll happily guide you through the intricacies of streaming platforms, Smart TVs, and show you how to do it all the right way!