Broadcast Beat Magazine September, 2015 - Page 19

SMPTE ADVANCES UHD DIALOG AT IBC2015 by Barbara Lange

Already the focus of much industry buzz, ultra high definition (UHD) continues to be a hot topic as IBC2015 approaches. Every day the contributions of increased spatial resolution, high dynamic range (HDR), and wider color gamut (WCG) to delivery of an immersive viewing experience are becoming better understood by a broader swath of the industry, much about UHD still remains unclear. This is largely because, despite its rapid evolution, UHD for broadcast remains a technology without a complete and well-established ecosystem. The actual rollout of UHD services demands a host of adaptations to existing broadcast ecosystem, from end to end.

SMPTE has been taking a long, hard look at this ecosystem in its standards work, and the Society brings its expertise to a technical session at IBC2015 titled “UHD: Where Do We Stand, and Where Are We Going?” Though members of the Society will contribute to a variety of sessions during the IBC2015 exhibition, this particular session is produced by SMPTE. Scheduled for 16:00 on Sunday, Sept. 13, in the Emerald Theatre as part of the Advances in Technology stream, the session will be moderated by SMPTE Executive Vice President Matthew Goldman, who is senior vice president of technology, TV compression, at Ericsson. He will be joined by panelists including Hans Hoffmann, head of media production technology at the EBU and former SMPTE standards vice president; SMPTE executive member Spencer Stephens, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Jamie Hindhaugh, chief operating officer at BT Sport and BT TV; and Richard S. Prodan vice president and chief technical officer at BROADCOM Corporation,

In addition to exploring the ways UHD’s implementation will affect broadcasting and theatrical releases, these industry leaders will dedicate time to examining the full UHD ecosystem, from equipment such as UHD-capable cameras, switchers and servers to UHD-ready infrastructure and the bandwidth it can provide. Specific topics slated for discussion will include UHD’s demand for bandwidth, and how that requirement is driving the development of new compression methods (and related standards) that will support delivery of UHD content to consumers. Naturally, because the debate is far from over, experts will also weigh in with their views on the relative importance of resolution, HDR, and WCG.

The fact that the UHD ecosystem is still in development makes an investment in new technology a potentially risky move. During the session, Goldman, Hoffmann, Stephens, and other industry leaders will talk about how this concern influences their research and development efforts and strategic decision-making, and also about the steps they are taking to remain nimble even while investing in UHD.

Complementing this topic will be a series of case studies — provided by leading broadcasters— that examine the strategy and success of the “pathfinders” that have rolled out the first UHD implementations. In addition to providing a fresh and timely perspective on the state of UHD, these case studies will offer insight into how media companies are moving into UHD, the strategy behind such initiatives, the challenges and opportunities they have encountered, and the unique ecosystems they developed to make UHD services a reality in broadcast and cinema.

In addition to chairing the SMPTE-produced session, Matthew Goldman also will participate in a session titled “Breaking the Codec: Are Current Video Compression Standards Enough?” with SMPTE Fellow David Wood, a consultant to EBU Technology and Information, current chair of DVB groups in 3DTV and UHDTV, and past chair of the World Broadcasting Union Technical Committee. Scheduled for 16:00 on Sunday, Sept. 13, the session will touch on current and emerging video compression standards, discuss the demands driving further development of such standards, and (continued on next page)

BROADCAST BEAT MAGAZINE

IBC Issue September 2015

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