Crystal Balls and the future of television TandM


Steve Nunney TV-Bay Magazine
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by Steve Nunney
Issue 79 - July 2013
Best to keep well away from the Australian fast bowlers then! Joking apart, what is the future of television test and measurement? Or should we rather refer to media dispersion MD for short. MD is taking off big-time. After the five year digital switchover process was completed, everyone had digital terrestrial television, but not many only just watch programs on their free to view digital TV any more. Video sequences, shorts, product demonstrations, soaps, thrillers, comedy shows, childrens TV and many many more are available on a mobile or tablet format via the internet via ethernet, WiFi or mobile network, satellite and cable.

Back in the early days of cable television, I remember discussing the changes that will occur with advertising revenue as it goes towards placements in programs. The internet has of course sucked up telephone numbers of revenue, leaving TV in a sorry state especially as adverts can be skipped and are now no longer played when the advertiser thought it would be. But no matter what the state is of the economy, people will sit in front of some form of display to get their fix of the entertainment that suits them. Even so test and measurement is the arbiter of vision and audio quality
The criteria regarding quality of program has shifted and the same will occur with the video and audio content. To put it in perspective, the videographer shooting a wedding does not need to observe television broadcast specifications laid down by the ruling bodies. The teleconference nor the video seen on YouTube has no need to comply with any prerequisite. Indeed many program paths from suppliers suffer due to the trade-off of bandwidth against cost. Try watching BBC iPlayer - the quality and jerkiness is not good and this is direct from BBC! So in the future where does test and measurement come in?

Also most people will watch almost any quality, so long as it tells the story and it is important for them to watch it. How many times have you watched a movie on a plane journey low quality video re-production? You still enjoyed the movie especially with another gin and tonic - probably. The case in point here is that the movie was made with high quality production values that constrained the technical parameters so even when it was watched on a small 6 inch screen on the back of seat J34, from an on-demand player it still hit the spot.

No matter what the MD mechanism is in the future, no matter if its super high def., premium channel suppliers will want to provide the best of service and the best quality programming at the receiving end the last mile. This is only attained by constant regard to parameters which they may lay down, or have been set by technical bodies. The original criteria for program essence may be broadcast specification or new ones derived post analogue, but the need to maintain premium picture and sound quality is part of ensuring continuity from camera origin to the viewer which in turn makes the program more convincing and enjoyable.

So no matter what medium, standard or dimension we watch MD in, the future is clear - it will need Test and Measurement as its backbone to ensure the optimum viewing experience.


Tags: iss079 | crystal balls | future of tv | tandm | t and m | video and audio quality | test and measurement | Steve Nunney
Contributing Author Steve Nunney

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