Television and the Web
Activity Statement

Since February 2001, W3C's "Television and the Web" Activity has been integrated into the Device Independence Activty. This page is no longer maintained.

Work on Television and the Web is being managed as part of W3C's User Interface Domain.

  1. Introduction
  2. Current Situation
  3. Role of W3C
  4. What the future holds


Standardization bodies and vendors are currently making significant efforts to integrate Web and television technologies. As TV migrates from analogue to digital technology, data as well as video will be carried to TV sets. Many opportunities are opened up, and we have identified three main types of applications that might ensue. The first involves broadcasts that carry additional information as a background stream. This represents a logical progression to a richer content from the simple teletext that has been with us in some countries for many years. Another possibility involves the synchronized broadcast of Web content and television. Finally, some applications might involve clicking on hypertext links using a remote television controller to provide for two-way interaction with Web and television content.

Here are some more concrete examples to illustrate the kind of application which we have in mind:

Role of W3C

W3C is to play an active role in the area of Television and Web integration.

Our involvement includes work regarding markup languages and style sheets associated with television broadcasting - for example, providing a subset or an extension of features for the HTML and CSS languages especially for TV applications.

W3C is the natural forum for organizations wishing to work together on the relationship between Web technology and television. W3C's strengths lie in its in-depth knowledge of Web technology and the fact that it exists to operate on a global basis and not for specific geographical areas. W3C seeks to coordinate its work with that of existing groups in the field of television standards, such as:

Current Situation

HTML Working Group

The HTML Working Group is close to finishing work on a modular version of XHTML, with participation of representatives of the TV community. One of the primary motivations of this work is to support use of XHTML in TV-based applications, in which not all XHTML functionality is needed. XHTML will allow omission of certain modules not needed for particular TV applications, and the addition of new, TV-specific markup modules.

There is an ongoing dialogue between working groups in different television standards bodies (ATSC, ARIB, DVB, SMPTE) and W3C on the adoption of XHTML for television. The goal is to avoid proliferation of regional TV-specific HTML dialects.

CC/PP Working Group

The mission of the CC/PP Working Group is to develop a framework for the management of device profile information, which can be used to adapt Web content to TV receivers, mobile devices and other Web appliances. The Group will work in close cooperation with other Working Groups in the W3C. The group has issued a number of Working Drafts.

TVWeb Interest Group

The TVWeb Interest Group has three missions:

  1. It serves as a pool of experts on TV/Web integration, some of whom will participate in the W3C working groups relevant to TV/Web integration.
  2. It serves as a coordination body with the TV-specific regional standardization groups working on TV/Web integration.
  3. It will prepare and review documents related to TV/Web integration.

Communication between participants takes place via a public, archived mailing list, (archive). The TVWeb Interest group is open to anybody; membership in W3C is not required.

The Interest Group has produced a document entitled "TV Broadcast URI Schemes Requirements" describing the requirements for a URI scheme to address material that is broadcast over a TV channel. Based on this requirements document, the group has reviewed the "tv:" URI scheme, which became Informational RFC 2838 at the IETF.

What the future holds

W3C is continuing the dialogue with TV standards bodies to encourage the adoption of W3C specifications such as XHTML, CSS and DOM as a single, worldwide base for TVWeb applications.

W3C's Device Independence Activity replaced the TVWeb and Mobile Access Activities in January 2001. Made up of two Working Groups and an Interest Group, the Device Independence Activity will carry on the work of TVWeb to provide for single Web authoring and interoperability.


Philipp Hoschka, Television and the Web Activity Lead

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Last modified 14 February 2001

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