Modernizing the Cutting Edge


Myles Carter - new TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
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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
Contributing Author Myles Carter - new

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    Atomos with the Ronin on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Harmonics Tom Lattie on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Harmonics Tom Lattie on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Primestream on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Primestream on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • NewTek on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    NewTek on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Wyplay on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Wyplay on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Volicon on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Volicon on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Forbidden Technologies on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Forbidden Technologies on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Atomos with the Datacolor Spyder on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Atomos with the Datacolor Spyder on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Sound Devices on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Sound Devices on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Audio Network on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Audio Network on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Cooke Optics on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Cooke Optics on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Softron Media Services on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Softron Media Services on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Cobham on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Cobham on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Riedel Communications on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Riedel Communications on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • TMD talk asset management solutions on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    TMD talk asset management solutions on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Behind the scenes of the Teradek booth on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Behind the scenes of the Teradek booth on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Wowza Media Systems on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Wowza Media Systems on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Stream UK on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Stream UK on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Cambridge Imaging Systems on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Cambridge Imaging Systems on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Digital Vision on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Digital Vision on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Polecam talk high speed on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Polecam talk high speed on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Haivision live encoding HEVC at IBC 2013

    Haivision live encoding HEVC at IBC 2013

  • SIS LIVE and their products ManPak and DriveForce at IBC 2013

    SIS LIVE and their products ManPak and DriveForce at IBC 2013

  • Softron Media at IBC 2013

    Softron Media at IBC 2013

  • Telestream with Wirecast version five at IBC 2013

    Telestream with Wirecast version five at IBC 2013

  • Telestream with Post Producer at IBC 2013

    Telestream with Post Producer at IBC 2013

  • Yospace: Advert Insertion at NAB 2013

    Yospace: Advert Insertion at NAB 2013

  • Vimond Control Center at NAB 2013

    Vimond Control Center at NAB 2013

  • Autocue at BVE 2013

    Autocue at BVE 2013

  • StreamUK at BVE North 2012

    StreamUK at BVE North 2012

  • Radiant Grid at NAB 2012

    Radiant Grid at NAB 2012

  • Haivision at NAB 2012

    Haivision at NAB 2012

  • Cinegy at NAB 2012

    Cinegy at NAB 2012

  • LiveU at NAB 2012

    LiveU at NAB 2012

  • SIS LIVE at NAB 2012

    SIS LIVE at NAB 2012

  • YoSpace at NAB 2012

    YoSpace at NAB 2012

  • Anton Bauer at NAB 2012

    Anton Bauer at NAB 2012

  • Garland Partners at BVE 2012

    Garland Partners at BVE 2012

  • StreamUK at BVE North 2011

    StreamUK at BVE North 2011

  • Suitcase TV at IBC2011

    Suitcase TV at IBC2011

  • Digital Rapids at IBC2011

    Digital Rapids at IBC2011


Related Shows
  • Larry Jordan with Thom Holliday talk streaming at BVE 2016

    Larry Jordan with Thom Holliday talk streaming at BVE 2016


Articles
Smashing the WTA Tour
Danny Ridler The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is the global leader in women’s professional sport with more than 2500 players representing nearly 100 nations competing for a record $146 million in prize money. The 2018 WTA competitive season includes 54 events and four Grand Slams in 30 countries. In 2017, the WTA was watched around the world by a total TV audience of 500 million – with host broadcast services provided by NEP UK.
Tags: iss133 | tennis | wta | nep | outside broadcast | ob | Danny Ridler
Contributing Author Danny Ridler Click to read or download PDF
What is next in OTT
Mary Kay Evans In the past year alone, we’ve seen a substantial increase in the amount of OTT content that’s being streamed. In the first quarter of 2018, there’s been a 114 percent year-over-year growth in streaming video hours, and those numbers are only expected to rise. With OTT revenue predicted to reach $16.6B in 2018, a 40% gain over last year, there’s no question that OTT is booming, and that there’s never been a more critical time to pay attention to the space.
Tags: iss133 | ott | verizon | cisco | Mary Kay Evans
Contributing Author Mary Kay Evans Click to read or download PDF
IBC in a post Brexit world
Peter Savage 2 Cast your mind forward and we are not in 2018 but next year and, yes, it’s you and me walking to the departure lounge to catch the plane to IBC just as I, and perhaps also you, have done for the last 25 years. (By the way, where is my long service award – and perhaps a new pair of shoes as I must, surely, have walked the equivalent of five Caminos covering the 12 halls in the Rai). We are at the gate and my imagination kicks in as I hypothesize on what the trip might look like next year. I leave it to you to decide which is closest to what might be to come.
Tags: iss133 | azule | brexit | ibc | finance | Peter Savage 2
Contributing Author Peter Savage 2 Click to read or download PDF
The Pace of Change
Dick Hobbs - new

The youngest human to stand on the moon (so far) was Charles Moss, the lunar module pilot of Apollo 16. Charlie had a wonderful claim: his father witnessed the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, and lived to see his son on the moon.

Does anything capture the speed of technological advance better than that? The whole of the history of powered flight in one lifetime.

Tags: iss133 | state of the nation | st2110 | st2110-10 | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Ruth Matos Interview - A Career Unfolds
Ruth Matos We first met Ruth when we employed her as a student to help with our live studio at BVE in 2013. We were struck by her determination, passion and ‘I’ll do anything to help’ attitude. We became friends of Facebook and have since seen her career in the industry develop and unfold. We thought it was about time to catch up and share her inspiring story of where she is now, how she got there and the challenges she has faced along the way.
Tags: iss133 | interview | filmming | career | education | Ruth Matos
Contributing Author Ruth Matos Click to read or download PDF