Broadcast industry stalwarts discussed various ways in which broadcasters and content distributors can tackle current issues. Changing patterns of content delivery, new technology, and workflows were important topics of discussion.

Broadcasting has changed in more ways than one and in order to cope with the changes in the industry, broadcasters have had to adapt from delivering content to a single device to delivering content to multiple devices ranging from 4K televisions to mobile phones. Broadcasters face new challenges to produce the best-quality video and audio for the consumers at the lowest bandwidths.

Professional Seminar Series (PSS) returned to India in June 2016. Now in its seventh year, the PSS continues to combine expert knowledge from TSL Products and leading brands Axon, Dolby, Ericsson and Tektronix. It provided a powerful thought leadership platform to bring together the global television broadcasting community, discussing the current and future challenges facing the broadcast, satellite, terrestrial, cable and IPTV industries.

An all-day seminar was held in New Delhi to address challenges of changing media consumption. Broadcast industry stalwarts discussed various ways in which broadcasters and content distributors can tackle these issues. Changing patterns of content delivery, new technology and workflows were important topics of discussion including Enabling IP Workflows for Broadcast from TSL Products; UHD Systems and Practices from Axon; Delivering New Consumer Experiences with Next Generation Codecs from Dolby; Software Defined Video Processing - The Next Step in Video Delivery by Ericsson, and Introduction to IP Video and PTP by Tektronix.

TSL - Views on Audio and Video-over-IP One Year Later

Industry experts from TSL discussed the state of audio- and video-over-IP of last one year. One year ago, the protocol wars were in full swing, standardization was lagging behind, companies were unable to build an all-IP broadcast facility, the IP infrastructure was not feasible yet and broadcasters were holding off on investment. After summarizing IP's state further, the presentation gives an insight into how customers are driving the move to IP at present. Standardization is important due to interoperability as it allows best of breed and quicker adoption.

Applications. Live Production and Contribution: Direct SDI replacement where the video, audio, and metadata are all embedded into a single stream in S2022-6 and separated video, audio and metadata streams, where element of interest are embedded in TR-03 are included in live production, and Contribution works on transport stream replacement where the video, audio and metadata are all embedded into a compressed stream, in both S2022-6 and TR-03.

Audio. Broadcasters need an IP transport mechanism that can carry many channels of PCM audio along with a means of knowing what they are. None of this works without control, connection management, auto-discovery, and metadata. Unfortunately, this is the least developed of all the components. There is currently no standardized control protocol for video or audio. There are, however, some huge strides being made forward.

The presentation also gave an insight into the after-a-year status of audio- and video-over-IP - clear standardized front runners are starting to appear, manufacturers behind proprietary protocols are starting to move toward standardized protocols, the cost of network switches continues to fall as predicted. Confidence level at broadcasters with regards to IP is improving day by day and real projects aiming for an all-IP infrastructure are now a reality.

Ericsson - Software-Defined Video Processing

Re-Inventing the TV experience. In its presentation based on changing scenario of video delivery experts, Ericsson gave insight into changing view habits of consumers. Thirty hours per week is the average weekly active viewing time according to the Ericsson consumer lab. They presented facts and figures showing daily media habits such as percentage of people watching different media types at least once a day. On-demand viewing of content is done by 45 percent people. A shift from fixed to mobile devices is one of the major factors in changing daily viewing habit where 61 percent of consumers watch TV and video on their smartphones - an increase of 71 percent since 2012. Experts also presented graphs and data about weekly viewing situation on yearly basis and importance of TV media features. HVS high-dynamic range and TV was also the part of presentation where an expert presented how it is creating the HDR experience and how HDR and UHDTV are applicable on viewing devices. HDR is predicted to have a major success; HDR+UHDTV will be seen as the ultimate experience, HDR+HD will be common where UHDTV is not possible. By 2017, TV manufacturers will be focused on UHDTV HDR TVs, live TV services will be single layer, and VOD assets will be in multiple formats.

High-efficiency video coding has boosted requirement for multi-screen; more hardware is emerging for HEVC and will be UHD capable. Video production will become more compact with full software and IP headend. Erricsson's virtual headend 2016 and the vision for the same for 2017 were highlighted to give an insight about company's approach toward changes.

Dolby - Remote Audio-over-IP

Experts from Dolby discussed all about remote audio-over-IP starting from defining it to why it should be adapted for AV media to getting into production with it. A recent development, i.e., large bandwidth stadium connectivity, is now feasible, several global events are produced remotely, and standards are in place now. Broadcasters are moving over from telecom circuits and satellite links to IP contribution, and the next logical step is remote production

Why IP? The networking industry is significantly larger than broadcast, and equipment is standardized and easily available and cheaper. The same network can be used for different types of data and equipment use is quicker. With the ease come challenges like IP is designed to carry data on a best effort basis, live events have a directly opposite requirement, and sophisticated timing and control is required

Remote production. Contribution circuits work one way but remote production requires two-way circuits. Latency and control are major concerns. Several remote production trial and events have been done globally and almost all used dark fiber to link the venue and central facility. But such luxury is not yet present in India.

Summarizing it all, main points were: remote production is a reality today, it can take coverage of smaller sports and events that are economically viable; the move to IP is irreversible; many standards are in place but it is still evolving; full control is still missing in the puzzle and manufacturer alliances are in place to improve interoperability of equipment.

Axon - UHD Systems and Practice

UHD is the changing face of television industry; taking this thought forward, the speaker from axon discussed about transition from SD to HD, earlier failed attempts and how 4K is the future of TV. Ultra-high-definition is better in every way; it provides more, better, and faster pixels. As for connectivity, Earthnet and IP are seen as reliable sources but with some challenges. Both audio and video processing with UHD were explained along with discussing the UHD facing complications with Dolby E. Further frame synchronization with Dolby E was highlighted. Wide color gamut is responsible for better pixels, which provide more dynamic range. Faster pixel will impact broadcast infrastructure where 100 Hz/120 Hz will be the most probable standard.

Higher frame rate will require much more bandwidth and will also require 25 Gbps (IP) infrastructure. There will be substantial impact on bandwidth distribution as well.

UHD 1 TV will become mainstream in 10 years; however, 27 percent of companies are not planning to launch UHDTV programming at all. But the question remains if UHD 1 will be surpassed by 
UHD 2 soon.

Overall, the PSS seminar was well received in providing information on topics related to challenges and difficulties faced by broadcasters with changing media consumption and how to tackle them effectively. The PSS seminar is set to make its return to India in2017.