Modernizing the Cutting Edge


Myles Carter - new TV-Bay Magazine
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Over the last decade, streaming as a medium has seen tremendous growth. Services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video are no longer just post-hoc distributors of broadcast television content, they have become content creators and are producing some of the most well received "television" content of the past few years. For example, at the 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards, not a single major Emmy nomination was received by a streaming service; three years later, in 2016, Netflix alone was nominated for 17 awards-more than any of the major broadcast networks.

With a deluge of quality online-only content being produced, and a move to get more content from the traditional broadcasters online, it's no surprise that there has been a move toward ending cable television subscriptions or "cord-cutting" during the same period. According to a Pew Research study, in 2015, one-in-seven Americans had canceled their cable subscriptions, and 35% of adults aged 18 to 29 were either cord-cutters or "cord-nevers", a group who had never had a subscription to begin with.

Further, increased internet availability, increasing connection speeds, live camera based content and the ability of various devices to view streaming content almost anywhere, at any time, with the highest possible quality, at the viewer's individual location has been driving growth.

However, while the group that relies on cable and broadcasters is shrinking, traditional television is still king. Offering visually high-quality images over existing infrastructures, dependable distribution of live content, and features that aide in accessibility for a broad swath of the population, for an "out-dated medium", television has some major advantages.

To even be considered a comparable service and a public good, online streaming needs to look to traditional broadcasters for examples of how to enhance their services and advance the technical aspects of streaming video in the same way that they did content.

Distributing Live Content

As cliched as it may sound, television brought a window-to-the-world into the home. Allowing the viewer to watch the day's news each evening, catch their favorite team, or follow live events as they happened, nothing offers the same real-time information distribution as broadcast television.

Live content online is new. Platforms like Facebook Live and YouTube are facilitating it, and there have been a few events (Trump Inauguration, 2016 Olympics) that have had major live streams available, but these are intermittent and based around one-off events. Through these same "live streaming" platforms and the ubiquity of smart devices, we can view stream live feeds from anywhere.

As noted, this is a place where traditional broadcast has stood out. Being able to offer those once-in-a-lifetime events to viewers with sharp picture without major latency issues, technical restrictions, or loss of quality is key to engaging viewers. Online, the difficulty of offering the same experience when working with high quality live streams can boil down to one issue; bandwidth restrictions. It's fine if you can offer a dedicated connection, but once you need to stream across Wi-Fi or to a wireless device, bandwidth demands and connectivity raises major issues.

To combat this, advanced compression algorithms have been developed and are being perfected. Take H.264 for example; available since 2003, H.264 is the de facto gold standard compression technology in the world not only because it's widely available for users but because it's been constantly tweaked and optimized allowing better and better pictures to be squeezed into a smaller pipe. In many cases, the compression is virtually imperceptible, and by choosing to integrate an optimised codec like H.264, it'll be easier to get both live and recorded content to more people on the connections they currently have.

Universal Accessibility

At the end of the day, the decision on what will be watched comes down to how easy it is for people to tune in and take in an experience that allows them full enjoyment. The general user experience in both on and offline mediums is fairly comparable, with interactive guides allowing users to preview what they're going to watch, along with many added features bringing out program/stream details.

However, for those with accessibility concerns, the world of online streaming is still the Wild West. With few rules and standards governing how online video is to be displayed, these people face a huge disadvantage in comparison to the FCC governed and experienced world of broadcast.

For example, closed captioning has been essential in ensuring that all deaf viewers have the opportunity to get a fulfilling television experience. This has been mandatory in the United States for almost 25 years and makes it easy for not just the deaf, but those with lesser hearing impairment, to have access to programming. However, technological limitations have prevented closed-captioning signals from even being embedded into a stream that comes from a caption-enabled broadcast signal. Captioning for live streaming has been almost non-existent and only available in video-on-demand situations where transcription has been completed beforehand.

Moving Cutting Edge Forward

By taking the lessons of broadcasting, and including some technological twists, it's not a difficult process to offer a stronger, more familiar viewing experience for those who are moving to a primarily on-line viewing lifestyle.

For example, as mentioned above, closed captioning data (even live) is already embedded in the original analogue broadcast signal, and Matrox has integrated a method for extracting this signal into the Matrox Monarch HDX streaming/recording encoder. Retrieving the captioning data from the SDI VANC or line 21, the Monarch HDX device then embeds the data within the H.264 essence as CEA-608. This caption-enhanced content can be streamed (RTMP) to media servers such as Wowza, or content delivery networks (CDNs) including YouTube® Live or Ustream®, or recorded as MOV/MP4 files, and then be decoded by players such as Telestream® Switch. This means that not only can captioning be taken from an offline workflow, but it can be done live and easily provided to the online viewer.

Que Sera, Sera?

Streaming is still developing and coming into its own. It remains to be decided if we all end up cutting the cord, if broadcast and internet converge, or if cable remains in our homes over the long term. By making the streaming experience exceptional, traditional television will be forced to compete and, in the end, viewers end up the winner, with an ever rising bar for video content, both on and offline.


Tags: iss124 | matrox | ip | h.264 | h.265 | streaming | Myles Carter - new
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Live event streaming solutions
Lorna Garrett It's summer! Just those two words alone are exciting. Combine them with words such as "music festival" or "sports" or "travel" and you have yourself a summer to remember. To ensure you have the hottest summer yet, consider live streaming your event ¦ wherever it is.
Tags: iss126 | garland partners | gpl | liveu | streaming | lu600 | liveu solo | Lorna Garrett
Submitted by Lorna Garrett Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The challenges of media workflow automation
Dave Clark The media workflow challenge has never been more complex, and it's growing. In response exploding consumer demand for high-quality, engaging programming, media operations are under the gun to create content and deliver it to an ever-growing range of platforms and devices. Managing video assets - that is finding them, accessing them, and using them efficiently and effectively - is one of the biggest barriers to success in today's environment.
Tags: iss126 | automation | workflow | cloud | on-premise | hybrid | mam | square box | Dave Clark
Submitted by Dave Clark Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Getting started with IMF
Bruce Devlin - new Content is still King, but only if you can get it out to the consumer. I have just had the privilege of doing a live episode of Bruce's Shorts at the EBU IMF Workshop in Geneva. It was a privilege because I was able to talk about real world issues in making IMF compositions rather than talking about the theory of IMF. I was happy that people laughed at the jokes but even happier that people were taking notes and came up to discuss practical solutions to these difficult problems.
Tags: iss126 | class | imf | mam | Bruce Devlin - new
Submitted by Bruce Devlin - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Ad servers and switching solutions
Peter Blanchford Hardware-based ad servers and switching solutions have been around for a long time and, broadly speaking, do the job just fine.
Tags: iss126 | starfish technologies | ad server | ts splicer | ts switch | gop | Peter Blanchford
Submitted by Peter Blanchford Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Live sports and event production
Brian Eldredge There is an overwhelming amount of content being recorded by sports broadcasters and digital services teams. A broadcaster might capture hundreds of hours of content over the course of, say, a golf tournament, yet only a fraction of that content makes it to air. But what about the rest of it, such as interviews, scenic shots, promos, and behind-the-scenes footage? Too often, priceless moments that don't make it into the broadcast get left on the cutting room floor because they're either not preserved or the right people can't access them, or both.
Tags: iss126 | wazee | dam | cloud | Brian Eldredge
Submitted by Brian Eldredge Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
State of the Nation - part 1
Dick Hobbs - new Imagine you are the director of the Champions League Final, knowing that 200 million people will be watching your every decision. Or you're directing the Eurovision Song Contest. Or even, to be honest, the Tunbridge Wells local news opt out. And at live minus 30 seconds, all the screens in the monitor wall suddenly go black then show a demand, in broken English, for 300 Bitcoin.
Tags: iss126 | iabm | british airways | ransom | bitcoin | cybersecurity | cots | Dick Hobbs - new
Submitted by Dick Hobbs - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Media Production Show and other news
Duncan Payne So, the 2nd Media Production Show has been and gone. Hands up who went to Islington by mistake? I know at least two people who did. Their secret is safe with me! For me, the sign of a great trade show is when I come away really enthused about an innovative use of existing technology or a brand new product. When I find something that combines both these things, then I'm a very happy man.
Tags: iss126 | adamantean | finance | leasing | mps | ptz | sam | Duncan Payne
Submitted by Duncan Payne Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Implementing an IP workflow
John Smith -new The eventual move to incorporate IP into your infrastructures is an inevitability. However, with justified concerns about interoperability and uncertainty about which vendors are best placed to help organisations achieve their IP media networking and content delivery goals, is it any wonder there is hesitation about moving forward? Broadcasters very wisely, don't want the pain without the gain!
Tags: iss126 | medialinks | ip | mdp3020 | gateway | John Smith -new
Submitted by John Smith -new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Monetizing OTT
Oliver Botti Competition in the TV arena is hotting-up for traditional broadcasters with even ESPN, a strong-hold of sports TV, seeing a reduction in subscriptions with the number of American homes paying to get the service declining by more than 12m since 2011. With Mintel reporting that the subscription video streaming market in the UK is due to exceed revenues of GBP 1 billion (EURO 1.37 billion) by 2019, and account for 38% of the total UK video market, traditional broadcasters clearly cannot afford to turn a blind eye.
Tags: iss126 | ott | moentizing | fincons group | Oliver Botti
Submitted by Oliver Botti Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The Dressing Room - shooting steamy scenes
Josh Portwine W's latest factual entertainment series relies completely on the ability of fixed rig filming setups to make cast members forget their inhibitions. Described as a fly-on-the-wall documentary, "The Dressing Room" gives TV audiences unprecedented access to team-sport dynamics off the field of play by inviting them into the hidden world of dressing rooms at venues across the country.
Tags: iss126 | aw-eu70 | aw-rp120 | stv | motion content group | shooting partners | Josh Portwine
Submitted by Josh Portwine Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Mobile internet connectivity in the field
Bill Nardi Mobile Internet connectivity is critical to the success of remote news crews. Whether they're doing a reporting assignment for news, sports, or live events, they need a strong and reliable Internet connection. To have an edge over their competition and get content to air faster, crews need to be able to work just as if they were in the studio, but from the field.
Tags: iss126 | dejero | mi-fi | gateway | wi-fi | cellular | Bill Nardi
Submitted by Bill Nardi Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Lighting - the stuff you do not see
Tama Berkeljon Lighting is the stuff you don't see that makes a difference in what you do see. How the audience feels about a character and whether the scene is scary, tense or upbeat are communicated by the quality and placement of light. Lighting can take the drama to a whole new level - think about film noir with all those shadows on the wall.
Tags: iss126 | outsight | ghost in the shell | led lighting | Tama Berkeljon
Submitted by Tama Berkeljon Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Integrated and automating marketing campaign production
James Gilbert ITV, as an integrated producer broadcaster, creates, owns and distributes high-quality content on multiple platforms. It operates the largest commercial family of channels in the UK and delivers its content through traditional television broadcasting as well as on demand via the ITV Hub. ITV has the largest share of the UK television advertising market and its family of channels attracted a total share of viewing of 21.4% in 2016, the largest audience of any UK commercial broadcaster. ITV's main channel is the largest commercial channel in the UK, delivering 99% of all commercial audiences over five million.
Tags: iss126 | pixel power | itv | marketing campaign | James Gilbert
Submitted by James Gilbert Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 Review
Ben Sherriff The Canon Cine range of lenses have been around for quite a few years now. The CN-E Cinema Prime lenses became an early alternative to using PL adaptors or the Zeiss Compact Prime lenses. Other than that the choice was rehoused stills lenses or maybe if you were lucky a set of Zeiss super speeds. The cine lens set became a cost effective offering for sharp prime lenses with clear and accurate markings for proper functionality.
Tags: iss126 | canon | review | cn-e | 18-88mm | t4.4 | Ben Sherriff
Submitted by Ben Sherriff Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Audience engagement with advertising in an OTT world
Hank Frecon Adapting to how we advertise in an OTT world starts by reaching audiences on every screen with tailored content. Most consumers viewing habits include multi-tasking and juggling different activities at the same time, particularly the younger viewing audiences who tend to watch in a more fragmented, on-demand manner. The task of monetizing content in a way that suits this method of viewing pushes monetization strategies to adopt new technologies, so first let's look at the opportunity.
Tags: iss126 | ott | advertise | acr | source digital | Hank Frecon
Submitted by Hank Frecon Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Facebook Workplace - why it might just work
Jake Ward At the Facebook F8 Developer Conference last April, Facebook's Workplace, a collaborative platform for organisations, announced enhanced live video functionality. Being able to stream live into Workplace will fundamentally change the way companies communicate, from broadcasting weekly meetings and webinars to live streaming Q&As. The possibilities really are endless.
Tags: iss126 | facebook | workplace | groovy gecko | Jake Ward
Submitted by Jake Ward Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
360 degree video storage requirements
Dave Frederick Swim with bears, run with the bulls, get a pads-eye view of a rocket launch: 360 degree video production, also known as cinematic VR, makes these and many other bucket list-worthy events more accessible than ever. The format has evolved into a powerful storytelling tool, and one that changes not only the way in which visual experiences are shaped, but also the way in which media consumers perceive and interact with video content.
Tags: iss126 | 360 degree | vr | storage | vfx | ssd | san | nas | quantum | Dave Frederick
Submitted by Dave Frederick Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Remote Production - Speed, Control, Infrastructure
Ian Cookson - new Remote production gives broadcasters the ability to capture a wider range of live events, such as regional sports, news or music festivals, and mix them in a remote facility hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Tags: iss125 | calrec | live production | pac-12 | artemis | Ian Cookson - new
Submitted by Ian Cookson - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine