Distribution in the UHD Era


Paul Briscoe TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Paul Briscoe
Issue 103 - July 2015

Once upon a time, there were few broadcast TV standards. Each used its own regional image formats, color encoding scheme and sound and vision modulation standards. High-power over-the-air (OTA) transmitters broadcast the signal on internationally coordinated and regionally allocated radio frequency (RF) channels, making it easy for viewers to tune in programs. It was a robust model that forever shifted the entertainment paradigm. The upstream technologies quietly evolved from analog to digital, and home TV sets reached the performance limits the standards allowed. This was a simple, stable ecosystem, based on a daily programming schedule of shows and monetized by interstitial soap commercials. Life was simple, and people were happy.

With the advent of cable, a technology that could be added to existing TV sets with a simple set-top box, the channel count jumped. Consumers responded to the opportunity afforded by greater choice in their viewing. Satellite direct-to-home service followed, offering the same huge array of channels and choice.

High-definition TV (HDTV) brought new heights in picture and sound quality. Besides the better picture, it brought overall digital quality, offering audiences a new sense of TV reality. With stereo and surround digital audio, OTA HDTV was a very successful replacement for good old analog, which relinquished its channels some for HDTV, some for new services such as broadband data.

HDTV represented a major technology advance at every node in the food chain. Throughout the standard definition (SD) era, evolution was generally incremental. Improvements to performance and capability remained within the SD performance envelope. Although the migration to HDTV required new everythings, from camera to receiver, the monetization model of the SD era continued as it always had, and the business of broadcasting rolled on. When HD equipment is deployed today, it is no more difficult a process than deployment was in the SD days.

While the simultaneous arrival of flat display technologies was a key enabler of the HD revolution, development of the necessary OTA standards and regulations also was key and such things take time. Over that time, technology suppliers were able to develop the elements needed to build end-to-end systems.

Meanwhile, something else happened: The internet grew up, leading to the rise of streaming video technologies which today allow delivery of broadcast-quality HD to all manner of internet devices over typical consumer connectivity levels. Unburdened by regulatory issues and standards development, internet technologies thunder along at an almost frightening pace. The ability to stream video over the internet has opened a Pandoras box in which lives the future of media consumption. Whether it is YouTube or UStream, Hulu or Netflix, over-the-top (OTT) web content delivery services have come of age, as has their market.

Today, having thoroughly commoditized HD, manufacturers are again looking for the next technology step, which is ultra high definition (UHD). UHD offers the promise of higher resolution and frame rates, wider color gamut (WCG), high dynamic range (HDR) and fancy sound. As they did with HDTV, broadcasters and regulators around the world now are working on moving the business of broadcasting to UHD. Manufacturers throughout the ecosystem are responding with products, particularly consumer TVs, far ahead of the reality of a first broadcast.

Considering the shift to UHD

Unlike the comparatively straightforward transition to HD, the shift to UHD presents some serious challenges for broadcasters.

The first of these challenges is that OTA standards, marketing issues, regulatory approval and deployment all take time, an eternity in the internet age. Over the years it will take, for example, for Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) 3.0 standards to hit viewers rabbit ears, there will be growth of processor power and internet speeds. Even with todays technology, delivery of UHD content over the internet is already common and growing; HD is old hat. With about three iterations of Moores law between here and an optimistic airdate, will there be any need for UHD to go OTA at all?

Another UHD challenge concerns audience and viewing habits. The generations that grew up on traditional broadcast TV continue to watch it; however, their kids and grandkids dont so much. Rather, they consume what they want, when they want, all over the internet. As broadcast markets grey, content and advertising follow, becoming less appealing to younger audiences. Will the next generation of viewers want UHD at all?

Although mobile broadcasting has been a paradox, with attempts to deploy services such as ATSC - Mobile/Handheld (ATSC/MH) in the U.S. falling flat, mobile devices are the fastest growing segment of the consumption market all of it OTT.

Both the production and consumer equipment manufacturers are far ahead of the UHD reality curve. Today, it is possible to purchase an end-to-end UHD broadcast system, from camera to consumer set, minus the OTA element. Thus equipped, a facility is effectively all dressed up with nowhere to go.

These challenges all point to a solution that is already at hand, and it is one that has nothing specifically to do with UHD. Replacing traditional OTA transmission to the home with transmission of bits over the internet is not only a way to deliver UHD now, but also a vehicle that offers all of the benefits of OTT: enhanced advertising opportunities, data mining, and on-demand viewing. It requires a paradigm shift in regulatory thinking, and an even bigger one in broadcasters boardrooms.

There is much to figure out. Pressing questions include how to regionalize and maintain existing ad revenue while ramping up new monetization methods; how to use big data viewer metrics to deliver useful ad targeting; and how to manage and monetize a library of on-demand content. With these questions come the challenges of managing an entirely software-based delivery system that puts control in the hands of current and coming generations of viewers.

Where does it all end?

For OTT-casters, there is no obvious conclusion. The internet will continue to penetrate markets worldwide, and available bitrates will continue to climb while cost per bit continues to drop. Combined with the evolution of processing power and codecs, the delivery of high-quality content such as UHD programming will become increasingly trivial. The shift from personal computer-type platforms to smart devices is well underway, making them true OTT television consumption vehicles.

OTA broadcasters face the challenge of addressing an evolving audience and following a long road to the next technology step. Content considerations aside, their ability to harness the modern internet consumer is key to their survival. Will they do it with a big transmitter on a hill? Perhaps not for much longer. Spectrum is under continuous and growing pressure for redeployment, mostly for internet bits. There will come a tipping point at which the value of the bandwidth required by a TV broadcast clearly is not equal to the value of other bits that could occupy that space.

Finally, broadcasters face the demographic shift of their viewers from those who grew up with and are content with appointment TV and those who want what they want, when they want it. The whole model of scheduled broadcasting came from the limitations of the technology of the day, and thats no longer relevant in the OTT world, nor to its inhabitants. A well-curated broadcast stream and a library of pull content could be the basis for a solid future model for broadcasters.

To thrive in the future, OTA broadcasters need to look beyond the next big format and instead find workable models for relevance and monetization on the internet sooner than later. UHD will come along for free.

Tags: iss103 | distribution | delivery | uhd era | tv standards | image formats | hdtv | technology | Paul Briscoe
Contributing Author Paul Briscoe

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

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    MultiDyne SilverBACK at IBC 2014

  • Dejeros products at IBC 2014

    Dejeros products at IBC 2014

  • Zylight Fresnel updates at IBC 2014

    Zylight Fresnel updates at IBC 2014

  • Pronology at IBC 2014

    Pronology at IBC 2014

  • TMD summarises their work this year at IBC 2014

    TMD summarises their work this year at IBC 2014

  • Thomson Video Networks at IBC 2014

    Thomson Video Networks at IBC 2014

  • BBright at IBC 2014

    BBright at IBC 2014

  • WORK Microwave at IBC 2014

    WORK Microwave at IBC 2014

  • EBS at IBC 2014

    EBS at IBC 2014

  • Visual Unity at IBC 2014

    Visual Unity at IBC 2014

  • Hitachi at IBC 2014

    Hitachi at IBC 2014

  • Gearhouse Broadcast OBLite at IBC 2014

    Gearhouse Broadcast OBLite at IBC 2014

  • Comigo at IBC 2014

    Comigo at IBC 2014

  • AVIWEST at IBC 2014

    AVIWEST at IBC 2014

  • Viaccess-Orca at IBC 2014

    Viaccess-Orca at IBC 2014

  • Harmonic at IBC 2014

    Harmonic at IBC 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck DP-HR range at IBC 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck DP-HR range at IBC 2014

  • SIS LIVE ManPak and LoStow at IBC 2014

    SIS LIVE ManPak and LoStow at IBC 2014

  • Cobham satellite EXPLORER products at IBC 2014

    Cobham satellite EXPLORER products at IBC 2014

  • Cobham new receiver at IBC 2014

    Cobham new receiver at IBC 2014

  • Fibrenetix with StorageDNA at IBC 2014

    Fibrenetix with StorageDNA at IBC 2014

  • Cinegy at IBC 2014

    Cinegy at IBC 2014

  • Quantel LiveTouch at IBC 2014

    Quantel LiveTouch at IBC 2014

  • Quantel deal with AFP at IBC 2014

    Quantel deal with AFP at IBC 2014

  • Front Porch Digital at IBC 2014

    Front Porch Digital at IBC 2014

  • TMD Mediaflex at IBC 2014

    TMD Mediaflex at IBC 2014

  • TMD at IBC 2014

    TMD at IBC 2014

  • Pixel Power Buzz at IBC 2014

    Pixel Power Buzz at IBC 2014

  • Matrox at IBC 2014

    Matrox at IBC 2014

  • Blackmagic MultiView at IBC 2014

    Blackmagic MultiView at IBC 2014

  • Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

    Snell Kahuna Production Switcher at IBC 2014

  • Telestream Wirecast and Switch at IBC 2014

    Telestream Wirecast and Switch at IBC 2014

  • Telestream Vantage support for DPP at IBC 2014

    Telestream Vantage support for DPP at IBC 2014

  • Facilis at IBC 2014

    Facilis at IBC 2014

  • Fibrenetix with Quadrus at IBC 2014

    Fibrenetix with Quadrus at IBC 2014

  • Sonnet Technologies Thunderbolt Chassis at IBC 2014

    Sonnet Technologies Thunderbolt Chassis at IBC 2014

  • Volicon Products at IBC 2014

    Volicon Products at IBC 2014

  • Volicon at IBC 2014

    Volicon at IBC 2014

  • NewTek TalkShow at IBC 2014

    NewTek TalkShow at IBC 2014

  • Blackmagic and Fusion at IBC 2014

    Blackmagic and Fusion at IBC 2014

  • Metus at IBC 2014

    Metus at IBC 2014

  • ChyronHego Metacast at IBC 2014

    ChyronHego Metacast at IBC 2014

  • ChyronHego Lyric PRO at IBC 2014

    ChyronHego Lyric PRO at IBC 2014

  • Sonys new cameras at IBC 2014 - including the FS7

    Sonys new cameras at IBC 2014 - including the FS7

  • Broadstream Solutions at NAB 2014

    Broadstream Solutions at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Monarch HD at NAB 2014

    Matrox Monarch HD at NAB 2014

  • Metus at NAB 2014

    Metus at NAB 2014

  • Cineline Fluid Head from Miller Camera Support at NAB 2014

    Cineline Fluid Head from Miller Camera Support at NAB 2014

  • MultiDyne Products at NAB 2014

    MultiDyne Products at NAB 2014

  • Nugen Audio at NAB 2014

    Nugen Audio at NAB 2014

  • PacTV Truck at NAB 2014

    PacTV Truck at NAB 2014

  • PAG Batteries at NAB 2014

    PAG Batteries at NAB 2014

  • Phabrix RX rack mount range at NAB 2014

    Phabrix RX rack mount range at NAB 2014

  • Phabrix at NAB 2014

    Phabrix at NAB 2014

  • Phabrix TAG at NAB 2014

    Phabrix TAG at NAB 2014

  • Pixel Power at NAB 2014

    Pixel Power at NAB 2014

  • Polecam presents award to AMS Pictures at NAB 2014

    Polecam presents award to AMS Pictures at NAB 2014

  • Pronology at NAB 2014

    Pronology at NAB 2014

  • Quantel Pablo Rio at NAB 2014

    Quantel Pablo Rio at NAB 2014

  • Quantel Enterprise sQ at NAB 2014

    Quantel Enterprise sQ at NAB 2014

  • Quantel QTube at NAB 2014

    Quantel QTube at NAB 2014

  • RTW at NAB 2014

    RTW at NAB 2014

  • SGL at NAB 2014

    SGL at NAB 2014

  • SIS LIVE product range at NAB 2014

    SIS LIVE product range at NAB 2014

  • SIS LIVE ManPak at NAB 2014

    SIS LIVE ManPak at NAB 2014

  • Softron MovieRecorder updates at NAB 2014

    Softron MovieRecorder updates at NAB 2014

  • Sony Alpha7S at NAB 2014

    Sony Alpha7S at NAB 2014

  • Sound Devices at NAB 2014

    Sound Devices at NAB 2014

  • Studio Technologies at NAB 2014

    Studio Technologies at NAB 2014

  • Telestream Enterprise at NAB 2014

    Telestream Enterprise at NAB 2014

  • Telestream Switch at NAB 2014

    Telestream Switch at NAB 2014

  • Thomson Broadcast at NAB 2014

    Thomson Broadcast at NAB 2014

  • Perception at NAB 2014

    Perception at NAB 2014

  • Visual Unity at NAB 2014

    Visual Unity at NAB 2014

  • Volicon at NAB 2014

    Volicon at NAB 2014

  • Calrec Summa at NAB 2014

    Calrec Summa at NAB 2014

  • ChyronHego PowerClips at NAB 2014

    ChyronHego PowerClips at NAB 2014

  • ChyronHego at NAB 2014

    ChyronHego at NAB 2014

  • Cinegy at NAB 2014

    Cinegy at NAB 2014

  • Clear-Com ProGrid at NAB 2014

    Clear-Com ProGrid at NAB 2014

  • Clear-Com HelixNet Partyline at NAB 2014

    Clear-Com HelixNet Partyline at NAB 2014

  • CueScript Prompters at NAB 2014

    CueScript Prompters at NAB 2014

  • Dalet at NAB 2014

    Dalet at NAB 2014

  • Dejero at NAB 2014

    Dejero at NAB 2014

  • DPA Microphones at NAB 2014

    DPA Microphones at NAB 2014

  • Editors Keys at NAB 2014

    Editors Keys at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies Software-Defined Video at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies Software-Defined Video at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies HEVC solutions at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies HEVC solutions at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies Multiscreen Solutions at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies Multiscreen Solutions at NAB 2014

  • Ericsson at NAB 2014

    Ericsson at NAB 2014

  • Facilis at NAB 2014

    Facilis at NAB 2014

  • GB Labs Space at NAB 2014

    GB Labs Space at NAB 2014

  • Glensound Atomic Copper at NAB 2014

    Glensound Atomic Copper at NAB 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck at NAB 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck at NAB 2014

  • Haivision at NAB 2014

    Haivision at NAB 2014

  • IMT at NAB 2014

    IMT at NAB 2014

  • Inmarsat at NAB 2014

    Inmarsat at NAB 2014

  • JVC GY-HM850 and GY-HM650 at NAB 2014

    JVC GY-HM850 and GY-HM650 at NAB 2014

  • JVC concept products at NAB 2014

    JVC concept products at NAB 2014

  • Libec ALLEX slider system at NAB 2014

    Libec ALLEX slider system at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

    Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Capture Card at NAB 2014

    Matrox Capture Card at NAB 2014

  • AQ Broadcast at NAB 2014

    AQ Broadcast at NAB 2014

  • Atomos Shogun and Ninja Star at NAB 2014

    Atomos Shogun and Ninja Star at NAB 2014

  • Atomos Operating System at NAB 2014

    Atomos Operating System at NAB 2014

  • Atomos at NAB 2014

    Atomos at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

  • Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

    Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

  • Brainstorm Multimedia at NAB 2014

    Brainstorm Multimedia at NAB 2014

  • Broadstream Solutions on the Oasys stand at IBC 2013

    Broadstream Solutions on the Oasys stand at IBC 2013

  • Oasys Chameleon at IBC 2013

    Oasys Chameleon at IBC 2013

  • Loft London Solutions with Cubix on the Oasys stand at IBC 2013

    Loft London Solutions with Cubix on the Oasys stand at IBC 2013

  • Official TOUR Video 2013

    Official TOUR Video 2013

  • AC Entertainment Technologies at BVE 2013

    AC Entertainment Technologies at BVE 2013

  • Jonathan Harrison at BVE North 2011

    Jonathan Harrison at BVE North 2011

  • Gekko at IBC2011

    Gekko at IBC2011


Related Shows
  • ADDER Technology LIVE at BVE 2016

    ADDER Technology LIVE at BVE 2016


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Perimeter LED screens management
Nicolas Houel Opened in January 2016, Parc Olympique Lyonnais, also known as Groupama Stadium, is the new home of Olympique Lyonnais football club, one of the most popular clubs in France. Since its inauguration, the stadium was a host of UEFA Euro 2016, and was also chosen to stage, among other important events, the 2018 UEFA Europa League Final and football at the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Tags: iss133 | 3dstorm | graphics | groupama stadium | liveexpert | livecg | deltacast | Nicolas Houel
Contributing Author Nicolas Houel Click to read or download PDF
Why are trade shows still important
Mike Crimp First, the disclaimer: as the CEO of a rather large trade show, my opinion is likely to be skewed. However, I wouldn’t be here – now in my eighth year at IBC - if I didn’t truly believe that well-curated trade shows like IBC are a hugely important resource for our industry.
Tags: iss133 | ibc | innovation award | Mike Crimp
Contributing Author Mike Crimp Click to read or download PDF
Taking on a self employed placement year
Joshua Round The idea of being self-employed or freelancing has always been somewhat terrifying for me. There is a level of uncertainty and responsibility that comes with the freedom of being self-employed, the likes of which makes me wonder why I chose to give it a go for my placement year as part of my university course - (BSc) Television and Broadcasting.
Tags: iss133 | placement year | university | student | education | portsmouth | Joshua Round
Contributing Author Joshua Round Click to read or download PDF
Creating Authentic Content That Counts
Frank le Mair We’re deep into the 2010’s and the way in which we consume content has changed forever. Broadcasters and content owners are fighting for eyeballs in a saturated market where consumers are watching their favourite shows on different devices across a number of platforms. To target millennials and younger generations, who generally consume short bursts of video on YouTube and social media - particularly Snapchat, Instagram and now IGTV - media companies are creating more and more authentic stories and are using platforms that are compelling for this demographic. Unlike generations before them, they have totally new video viewing patterns and ideals.
Tags: iss133 | insight tv | monster energy | amazon | millennial | Frank le Mair
Contributing Author Frank le Mair Click to read or download PDF
How todays technology platforms can make AMAZING seem mundane
Bruce Devlin - new Some things never change. It's September and it's time for another IBC. Maybe I'm getting old and maybe I have selective memory about the past, but recently there hasn't been the buzz of years gone by. Sure, as you wander around the vast halls there will be lots of enthusiastic sales people trying to give you the best demo possible, but something has changed and to survive, I believe that vendors and customers need to change too.
Tags: iss133 | ibc | class | vulture | imf user group | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read or download PDF