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MONITORING The Beat Goes On... 4k, 8k, and the continual need for Test and Measurement by Adam Schadle Just a few short years ago, 4k was the future, but now that 4k televisions and other screens are becoming more widely available, the format is careening toward the present. 4k is still an emerging delivery format, to be sure. After all, there are still places in the world that have yet to transition from SD to HD. But progress marches on. Even as we’re in the process of adopting and perfecting 4k production equipment, methods, and content delivery, we’re looking toward doing the same with 8k video, with certain large-audience events and special venue applications as a starting point. What Does All of This Have to Do With Test and Measurement? The convergence of voice, TV, and data has led to a need for multiple resolutions and processing methods dedicated to each and every screen (TV, PC, and mobile). Therefore, the requirements of digital content distribution have increased dramatically. At the same time, advanced compression schemes such as HEVC and mJPEG have taken hold, paving the way for delivering additional 4k and 8k content — content that will have to be optimized to accommodate possible network bandwidth constraints while maintaining the best possible quality. Those factors, coupled 60 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 107 NOVEMBER 2015 with the onslaught of devices aimed at 4k and, soon, 8k, mean delivery networks will have to deliver 4k and potentially 8k content in all types of formats — reliably and with high quality. And that means testing. Specifi cally, a multifaceted strategy for analyzing different delivery scenarios in order to understand the quality of experience viewers will have. For the past couple of years, more and more broadcasters, service providers, and equipment manufacturers have been researching the technology requirements of delivering 4k content to a wide range of services — real-time TV channels delivered through cable IPTV or satellite, fi le-based delivery of VOD content, and streaming content over the Internet. And now some will need to do the same with 8k for specifi c applications. Much of the testing is designed to help make decisions about 4k (and eventually 8k) content- delivery workfl ows. Therefore, the testing focuses on the major areas where 4k and 8k technologies will have an impact: codecs, bit rates, and formats. In other words, a signifi cant amount of data needs to be compiled to support decisions to select the right codecs; the optimal bit rates; the appropriate fi le/container formats; and the best suppliers for contribution, distribution, and archiving functions. Then, once the delivery systems are deployed, testing should continue to ensure the quality being delivered matches expectations.