Broadcasters and service providers are keen to start using several innovative technologies that promise to shape our industry. No doubt, OTT video quality is of paramount importance, but equally pressing is the need for infrastructure solutions that enable operators to fully embrace the move to the cloud.
Attention is required throughout the whole workflow if new services are to seamlessly integrate with existing DTH provision. At CES in January, much attention was devoted to the need for player optimization. At NAB the reciprocal functionality will be on display to those in the midst of early cloud-based service deployment or green-field operators making the first moves into SaaS. The move to an all-IP broadcast environment will be evident as a software-based approach to video production.
AIMS will be promoting a SMPTE ST 2022-6 workflow, including file and live switching. The evolution of this approach is to embrace the needs of broadcast affiliates in terms of cloud provision for backhaul, production and targeted advertising. There is no doubt this application showcases most of the hot technology areas that are on the shopping lists of those visiting Las Vegas this year. Since Harmonic showcased a complete UHD HDR workflow at IBC 2016, it is clear that HDR is now viewed as a crucial ingredient for those looking to improve on current HD services.
However, deploying HDR in a DTH scenario is a challenge, so it’s no surprise that early deployments have concentrated on OTT and VOD. At CES in January, the wholesale adoption of HDR across new UHD offerings was very apparent. HDR ups the ante on UHD, enabling broadcasters and service providers to meet viewers’ appetite for native UHD and 4K content.
Another area capturing the imagination of NAB attendees will be VR. Opinion is divided about where VR fits into service provision. In light of 3D, many in the industry are demanding to see the business case. There’s no doubt that gaming provides a tremendous platform from which to promote this technology.
Whether the technology is mature enough for full-blown event coverage or restricted to an ad campaign remains to be seen. My personal favorite use case at CES was using VR to promote museums like the Smithsonian and Natural History Museum.
The underlying trend for cloud and virtualization does not detract from the major implications associated with ATSC 3.0. These will map out the rollout of UHD, including HDR, and a more IP network focused approach to distribution. It’s clear that a trip to Las Vegas in April will be enlightening, and for many, the 2017 NAB Show will shape future industry thinking. – Ian Trow, Senior Director of Emerging Technology & Strategy at Harmonic