ABU @ IBC 2017
Report by Ms Kiymet Erdal, Chief Engineer, Turkish Radio Television Corporation
First of all, I would like to thank to ABU and TRT for giving me the chance to attend this great event in its 50th anniversary. The IBC conference gave me the chance to witness the hot technical discussions of today and future technologies, with very valuable speakers from the industry all over the world. The exhibition halls, future zone and future reality theatre were the visual side of what you could hear in the conference sessions.
It was a big show with more than 56,000 people (visitors, exhibitors and contributors), many things happening in each corner of the RAI centre, such as the conference programme with paper sessions, tech talks, advances in technology, future platforms, forums, etc; the exhibition halls with brand new technologies of manufacturers, new solutions for production, measuring, monitoring and control of network sources, implemented infrastructures, OB trucks, future zone with eye- catching future projects, IP Showcase etc.
In between the conference rooms, halls and the booths the topics mainly discussed, which I was very interested in, involved IP networks, Cloud production, augmented TV, VR, AR, MXR, machine learning, and artificial intelligence AI, viewer attraction and content variety on different platforms.
It is apparent that software is replacing hardware, operations are migrating to the cloud; production, distribution and archiving are changing from local to virtual operation. IP and cloud are important components of the future broadcast infrastructure. These new technologies are changing the state of the industry, the projects in R&Ds and then the success stories.
In the future zone, the focus was on multi sensory virtual worlds and imagery of the future. Technologies like mixed reality, 3D audio, object-based audio production, flexible OLED display, 8K Super Hi-Vision system, holographic projections etc., that will affect our lives in our living rooms in the very near future, were interesting and impressive.
Existing technologies like UHD, HDR, Dolby Atmos are attracting viewers. Inevitably, TV experience is transformed and with enhanced entertainment experiences like voice control, home robotics, e-commerce and audience engagement is aimed.
Innovations and new technologies turn into life changing developments. The new developing technologies will be used to give a different experience and will give new opportunities especially for sports fans. These challenges transform into different business models and content production. For instance when talking about Artificial Intelligence and machine learning content production, sports especially, will change. Metadata creation, smart search, facial recognition, intelligent clipping and speech to text applications for subtitling, seem to affect whole production chain. Object based audio offers a totally different experience and EBU is promoting OBA for use by broadcasters that it will allow multiplatform distribution and consumption of the programme, enable personalisation and access services and keep costs down.
Interviews made with robots, Sophia and Professor Einstein, were impressive and we must face that the robotics and AI technology, the science and creativity, is approaching the media industry fast.
Implementing new IP techniques and technologies, moving the workflow from SDI to IP based networks while preserving the SDI baseband video quality, the broadcasters need to introduce new solutions, think about integration into existing architectures taking advantage of the benefits those IP solutions bring.
New ways of thinking will be required as the workflow, both for live and pre-produced content, becomes more IP-focused and content is handled in the cloud and physical interfaces are removed in favour of IP transmission and connectivity. The adaptation to operations will take time.
With the existing standards there are already some IP connectivity applications in use; for inter networking streams and capturing time relations between them, SMPTE ST2110 final draft is also ready here. In the IP showcase the demonstration, with nearly 50 vendors showed that IP production, playout and contribution is becoming a flexible and practical reality with interoperability based on SMPTE ST2110.
SMPTE ST2110 standards provide tools to enable companies to move the workflow from SDI to IP based networks while preserving the SDI baseband video quality. By separating video essence from audio and metadata information broadcasters can build more agile and efficient IP based workflows. It was a good opportunity to see the systems running behind the scenes while listening the tech-talks and presentations from the experts.
In optimising the production workflow, especially for remote production and live contribution using IP networks, bandwidth reduction is required; reducing complexity of operations, reducing storage costs, lower cost network infrastructure especially for 4K and 8K workflows where more video streams, higher frame rates, higher resolutions is needed, the work on new codecs is essential.
The technical need for application-specific improvements and for commercial purposes, new coding tools and codecs are on their way. It is announced that the next generation video compression for video over IP JPEG-XS is to be published in 2018.
IP 4K/UHD and HDR OB Trucks with IP production switchers, IP multiviewers with IP infrastructure technology attracted visitors. The set-up allows us to work with audio and video separately within IP workflow based on VSF TR03.
I also visited some audio specialists’ booths regarding my responsibility in my company, mixing consoles, wireless systems; IEM, intercom, monitoring and commentary systems are providing AoIP solutions with Dante, Ravenna and AES- 67. Audio seems to be ahead of video in IP domain as 1 Gb ports are successfully used, unlike the video equivalents.
Broadcasters need simplified SDI/IP workflows and support during the transition to IP. This is another big step for the broadcast infrastructure to be planned in more efficient and flexible way. Hybrid solutions will play an important role during transition. The automation and advanced control systems technologies will also help to improve efficiency and reliability. As the control of systems becomes more widespread, complex operations will become simpler.
Remote production over IP networks with low latency will be beneficial for central, practical and low cost production. File based procedures and automation are still important topics with efficient solutions from different vendors.
Last but not least a special invitation only C-Tech Forum 5G was held. We, the broadcasters, should keep an eye on the impact of 5G on the broadcasting industry to benefit from the technology and become prepared for the possible threats.