State of the Nation - part 2


Dick Hobbs - new TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
i

This is, of course, the IBC issue of this splendid magazine. Much of the rest of its pages are filled with what you will see there, or (in some cases) what vendors and their marketing communications agencies want you to see there.

This year’s IBC is a particularly special event, though. It is 50 years – almost to the day – since the very first International Broadcasting Convention, held in London in 1967. Authorities from Edmund Burke to Lemony Snicket have said words to the effect that “those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it”. Can IBC67 tell us anything useful?

The way we make and distribute content today is completely different to 50 years ago, the most startling difference being that most of it was still in black and white. The big drama hit of 1967 was John Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga, which occupied primetime Sunday for no fewer than 26 weeks from January to July. For decades after, audiences talked of the wonderfully colourful dresses in The Forsyte Saga, but it was shot and broadcast in black and white.

Colour came to Europe that year with the launch of BB2 (controller not-yet-Sir David Attenborough). It was tennis from Wimbledon that first saw colour broadcasting (John Newcombe was men’s champion; Billie Jean King beat plucky Brit Anne Hayden). Attenborough was asked to come up with a primetime show that would drive sales of colour receivers, and invented the one-frame snooker championship Pot Black in 1969.

In Europe we bought a lot of television programmes from America (so no change there then). Family cowboy saga Bonanza was popular, as was an emerging hit sci-fi show called Star Trek. Top sitcom was Bewitched. These all arrived on our shores as cans of film, so telecine was not a creative art but a practical solution to the transmission of recorded content.

It is no surprise, then, that one of the founders of IBC was John Etheridge, then general manager of the broadcast division of Rank Precision Engineering, which shortly became Rank Cintel, Rank Brimar (maker of the CRTs) and Rank Taylor Hobson (now back to its original name of Cooke Optics and still making some of the world’s best lenses).

Etheridge’s two partners behind IBC were from companies now forgotten, at least in the industry today: John Tucker of EMI and Tom Mayer of Marconi. As an aside, this was the foundation of the spirit of co-operation which IBC celebrates, as they were fierce competitors in business. EMI and Marconi had each developed a colour studio camera and were keen to become the preferred choice.

Many of the vendors who took stand space at the first IBC are no longer with us, but several are. I have already mentioned Cooke Optics, which pre-dated television let alone IBC. Photon Beard was founded 134 years ago: Peter Daffarn still talks about the traumas of moving from gas lighting.

Vinten, too, is more than 100 years old so a long established business in camera supports by 1967. Back then it was showing the latest models in pedestals and pan and tilt heads, capable of supporting “cameras weighing from 100 to 500 pounds”. I’ve just done a back of envelope calculation to work out that an Arri Alexa with Cooke lens and accessories would be 11kg tops. The 1967 Vinten capacity for 225kg cameras seems very over the top to our eyes.

Facts like the weight-bearing capacity of a head were very much in people’s minds at the first IBC. Technical specifications were everywhere. Scully, for example, wanted visitors to know that its range of audio recorders featured total harmonic distortion less than 0.005% at +18dBm. When was the last time you made a buying decision based on that sort of data?

Jumping forward to now, what are the questions that will be on people’s lips at IBC2017? There are the obvious hot topics around IP connectivity and the SMPTE 2110 set of standards, and that is a really important issue for today and tomorrow. But what else will people be talking about? I’ve got a couple of strands in mind which I think might move from slow burner to hot topic this time around.

The first is 5G, the latest in wireless communication. Big advances in speed and capacity are promised. The University of Surrey 5G Innovation Centre is home to more than 170 researchers and backed by more than $100 million in investment funding. It has already streamed 4k Ultra HD to mobile devices. “The demonstration shows the capabilities 5G could hold for bandwidth-hungry applications,” said Professor Rahim Tafazolli, director of the centre. “It provides much higher quality, less compressed images than 4G/LTE, streamed to a mobile device or television.”

Ah yes, but Bogdan Frusina, founder of Dejero, warns that 5G “is not a standard yet. It is not a single technology: it is a way of managing a network using a combination of technologies. The the challenge is spectrum – and that is always limited.

“In the built environment you are going to have real challenges. If you are in a very crowded environment, with multiple networks in the same place you are not going to be able to deliver the theoretical bandwidth.”

Dejero is keen to exploit ever-faster connectivity because it provides bonded cellular transmission systems for live broadcasting. It has now added the ability to blend cellular circuits with Ku-band IP satellites, which could have a big impact.

Rival company LiveU recently worked on a project which is unlikely to be helped by 5G networks: live coverage of the annual reindeer migration across the Norwegian wilderness, for NRK’s “slow TV” project.

Radionor helped out by building a microwave-based phased array mesh network, reconfiguring it as they went because the reindeer, unaccountably, did not follow a pre-planned route or timing. But they achieved 150 hours of continuous live transmission.

I think new ways of getting the signal from the event to the host to the consumer will be one of the issues people will be talking about at IBC. The other is whether this artificial intelligence, machine learning concept has any legs in our business. Companies like Amagi are promoting their concepts at IBC this year.

But the most significant advance comes from TV Globo in Brazil. A group of engineers at the company is to take home the IBC Conference Prize for the best paper, for their work on big data, business analytics and machine learning. The systems allow them to create better news content, as well as provide much stronger content recommendations for subscribers. It is a real pointer to the way ahead.

But what do I know? The real hit of the show could come from any one of the 1700 exhibitors I have not mentioned. If you are going to be in Amsterdam, I hope you find what you are looking for, and I hope you find something that you were not looking for but is going to change your business. I might see you at the new Beach, weather permitting.


Tags: iss127 | ibc | 5g | dejero | liveu | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new

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.

Related Interviews
  • Dejero show the new generation EnGo at IBC2018

    Dejero show the new generation EnGo at IBC2018

  • HEVC Compression for EnGo from Dejero at NAB 2018

    HEVC Compression for EnGo from Dejero at NAB 2018

  • Mobile Connectivity with Dejero GateWay at NAB 2018

    Mobile Connectivity with Dejero GateWay at NAB 2018

  • CellSat - the cell and Ku-band IP satellite solution from Dejero at IBC 2017

    CellSat - the cell and Ku-band IP satellite solution from Dejero at IBC 2017

  • IP Gateway from Dejero at NAB 2017

    IP Gateway from Dejero at NAB 2017

  • Dejero at IBC 2016

    Dejero at IBC 2016

  • Dejero at NAB 2016

    Dejero at NAB 2016

  • Dejero at IBC 2015

    Dejero at IBC 2015

  • Dejeros products at IBC 2014

    Dejeros products at IBC 2014

  • Dejero at NAB 2014

    Dejero at NAB 2014

  • Dejero on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Dejero on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Dejero LIVE+ VSET at NAB 2013

    Dejero LIVE+ VSET at NAB 2013

  • Dejero + Nucomm Connect Live at NAB 2013

    Dejero + Nucomm Connect Live at NAB 2013

  • Nucomm on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Nucomm on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • IDX at BVE North 2011

    IDX at BVE North 2011

  • IDX at IBC2011

    IDX at IBC2011

  • LIVEU Workflow solutions at NAB 2015

    LIVEU Workflow solutions at NAB 2015

  • LiveU: Smart Grip at NAB 2013

    LiveU: Smart Grip at NAB 2013

  • LiveU at IBC 2012

    LiveU at IBC 2012

  • LiveU at NAB 2012

    LiveU at NAB 2012

  • LiveU at IBC2011

    LiveU at IBC2011

  • Garland at BVE 2017

    Garland at BVE 2017

  • Telestream Live-U Backpack at BVE 2013

    Telestream Live-U Backpack at BVE 2013

  • Garland Partners at BVE 2012

    Garland Partners at BVE 2012


Related Shows
  • Using cellular networks for video capture

    Using cellular networks for video capture


Articles
Accelerated Workflows with eGPU
Mike Griggs From the UK’s National Trust to magazine publishers to manufacturers, digital content creator Mike Griggs has a wide and varied portfolio of clients for whom he creates 3D art, motion graphics and multimedia exhibits. A typical day might involve sampling birdsong near Virginia Woolf’s country estate or creating 3D animations for VR. To keep on top of these demands, Griggs wanted to take the full power of the GPU computing revolution on the road.
Tags: iss134 | sonnet | egpu | amd | post production | editing | Mike Griggs
Contributing Author Mike Griggs Click to read or download PDF
Giving Welsh sport a global audience
Adam Amor From the Ospreys Rugby Union team, to the Football Association of Wales, as well as national cycling, swimming and boxing coverage, Port Talbot based Buffoon Film and Media has been heavily involved in putting Welsh sports on the world stage.
Tags: iss134 | blackmagic | atem | buffoon | micro studio camera | Adam Amor
Contributing Author Adam Amor Click to read or download PDF
Keeping it remotely real
Reuben Such Everyone wants to do more with less. Always have, although it could be argued that doing more with more is something to aspire to, not many have that luxury. So let’s stick with the prevailing winds of doing more with less, and not just doing more, but doing it remotely, particularly in terms of production. Remote production, in particular, is getting a lot of attention in the field these days, but not so much in terms of the remote operation of fixed studios.
Tags: iss134 | remote control | IPE | IDS | Reuben Such
Contributing Author Reuben Such Click to read or download PDF
What content providers need to know about OTT
Hiren Hindocha As OTT (Over-The-Top) technology has gotten more mature and established robust standards over the years, the concept of OTT monitoring is gaining popularity. With customer expectations soaring, it’s vital for OTT providers to deliver superior quality content. To deliver Quality of Experience (QoE) on par with linear TV broadcast, the entire system, starting from ingest to multi-bitrate encoding to delivery to CDN must be monitored continuously.
Tags: iss134 | ott monitoring | qos | logging | compliance | dash | atsc | cloud | Hiren Hindocha
Contributing Author Hiren Hindocha Click to read or download PDF
An Obituary to Timecode
Bruce Devlin - new A stoic and persistent character that stubbornly refused to change with the times, Timecode has finally passed on, but no-one has noticed. A long-lasting industry veteran, Timecode was brought into this world at an uncertain date in the late 1960s due to the needs of analogue tape workflows and the demand for synchronisation between audio and video devices. A joint activity between SMPTE and the EBU led to the work on Time and Control codes starting its journey to standardisation in the early 1970s.
Tags: iss134 | timecode | smpte | ebu | edit | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read