Hybrid SmartStreet Project to research TV on the NBN

Will seek to research the viability of free-view TV on the NBN as well as showcase the television as a PC-like communication tool

Hybrid Television Services (HTS), the company behind TiVo in Australia, has announced the launch of the Hybrid SmartStreet Project, aimed at building awareness and understanding of the tangible benefits of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

According to the Hybrid SmartStreet Project website, the initiative will approach Tasmanian homes which are already connected to fibre, rather than copper, to participate in a 12-month trial in which the project will simulate the NBN’s speed and capacity.

The homes will be provided with a TiVo media device and other products and services which exploit high speed broadband and monitor how these services, in conjunction with other internet-based services in the homes, are used. It will also monitor broadcast television viewing behaviour and consumption.

A major driver for HTS’s participation in the research project is to prove that the digital free-to-air broadcast model, coupled with on-demand entertainment in a high speed broadband connected world, was a viable one.

“Today, advertising subsidises the cost to consumers for much of the entertainment Australians enjoy,” the website reads. “With the onset of Video On-Demand and the proliferation of content available on the web, the role of the advertiser is a critical one.

“What role can the advertiser play in subsidising broadband entertainment to Australians? If people can receive additional entertainment to their TV legally and without having to pay for it, what impact can this have on download piracy? Can the advertiser play a role in subsidising services (as well as content) – what is the model and how well is it received by consumers?”

The Tasmanian Government, a partner in the project, said it was seeking aid the understanding of the NBN through showcasing entertainment and service delivery over broadband beyond the PC.

“As the television is the communication tool this project will demonstrate that broadband services are not limited to PC households or those with computer or keyboard skills,” the web site reads.

The government also sought to partner in studies to gain a better understanding of NBN users fears, needs, expectations and demands which would ultimately inform product and service design and consumer demand.

Project partner Tastel Community Telco, which will provide fibre optic internet connectivity, VoIP telephony services, equipment installation, and on going customer care throughout the duration of the trial, said it was participating to “develop knowledge around relevant services in the NBN environment and develop value propositions for schools, hospitals, business and residential markets.”

It will also seek to demonstrate the extensive opportunities the NBN will deliver to Tasmanian business via the digital economy.

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