Special Reports

What’s in store for 2017 – ‘IP simplifies metadata transmission’ – Bryce Button

2016 was the year of IP. What about 2017? 2017 is likely to see a continuation of trends that fuelled the broadcast, production, media and entertainment industry in …


2016 was the year of IP. What about 2017?
2017 is likely to see a continuation of trends that fuelled the broadcast, production, media and entertainment industry in 2016. This would include broadcast IP, led and guided by vendors and users alike through bodies like AIMS, the Apsen Community and the Sony IP Live Alliance. HDR with extended colour range and luminance settings will likely see maturation with adoption for SDI workflows through SMPTE and a continued rollout for OTT by services such as Netflix and Amazon in not just HD but also Ultra HD resolutions. Furthermore, HDMI 2.1, announced at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, promises to offer both extended HDR support as well as the potential extension of support for larger resolutions all the way up to 8K over a ubiquitous cable standard.

Will the transition to broadcast IP pick up the pace?
The transition to broadcast IP is likely to move slowly but methodically as many issues remain, mainly in regard to bandwidth, ease of use, and timing protocols that are not simple to address. Streaming and OTT solutions that offer quick and easy access are likely to see implementations from all parties — from the single producer to the largest broadcaster — as viewers scatter their viewing time across platforms, from tablets to PCs, smartphones and traditional TV sets. To get the most out of their viewing experiences, consumers are likely to seek out HDR content when possible as the outlay to enjoy this is reasonable.
In late 2016, we also saw many manufacturers bring affordable HDR displays to market. Lastly, we should not forget the continuing rollout of fibre back bones and connectivity solutions that offer answers to distance issues, cable size, and the bandwidth limitations of many coaxial offerings.

Do you think that HD will become a mainstay across Asia?

In various territories, growth factors will differ based on historical realities and access to creation and consumption tools. For instance, much of Africa, the Middle East, and even Europe are still cementing their transitions to HD from SD, and some may even bypass HD altogether as they opt to move toward Ultra HD. The cost, end-user demand, and the realities of implementation are likely to drive some of these decisions. Some areas may even utilise the internet to provide upgrades rather than wait upon the broadcast industry locally. The US, Europe, and Asian countries, such as Japan, are likely to see business growth due to an increased demand for HDR as well as a growing appetite for higher resolution imagery and frame rates across the board.

Which technologies, according to you, will have a growing impact on the content operations entities?

HDMI 2.0 and above, 12G-SDI, 3G-SDI, and fibre as connectivity standards are likely to affect both content and operations entities as a combination of reasonable cost and bandwidth spark a demand. We could also start to see the emergence of IP backends married to acquisition tools like cameras, which could begin impacting delivery pipelines.
Compression technologies will also continue to battle it out for supremacy as bandwidth realities for pipelines still affect so many. Whether that battle is settled with wider acceptance of HEVC codecs, such as H.265, is yet to be determined as it potentially solves delivery needs but may not be quite right for acquisition and editorial needs. Apple ProRes, OP1a with MXF support, and even AVC still offer a lot for production.
A part of the growing challenge that has plagued the industry for years is finding an efficient way to transport metadata and what metadata exactly should be standardised for transport throughout pipelines, all the way from acquisition to delivery. This is one of the reasons that broadcast IP holds so much interest beyond its wide-reaching physical connectivity. IP simplifies the transmission of metadata and offers simpler sidecar possibilities for this kind of transmission than traditional broadcast technologies.
Finally, it is tough to ignore Thunderbolt 3. The major new connectivity option impacts both content creators and consumers. With support for multiple protocols, deep bandwidth, speed and power delivery, it’s bound to affect many. It is still early days but we will see a lot of movement in this space in 2017.

How will media companies manage the growing demand for content on OTT and streaming platforms?

Streaming and OTT adoption will continue to thrive because they offer the ability to circumnavigate traditional delivery channels. Companies, individuals, creators, and studios can all go directly to market with these technologies and social media platforms like Facebook Live. For professional broadcast, there is plenty of competition and thus the push to move quickly but surely with broadcast IP.

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