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5G, OTT and the role of standards will be hot topics at DVB World

Stan Baaijens (of Funke Digital TV), Chair of the DVB Promotion and Communications Module
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A look through the programme for DVB’s annual conference, DVB World, provides a good indication of which are the hottest topics in media delivery. Much of the focus at this year’s gathering, in Dublin, will be on 5G, OTT and changing attitudes regarding standards development. The technologies and trends in these areas are set to have a profound impact on the TV industry.


Cutting Through the 5G Hype

There’s a lot of hype around 5G, but it’s unclear what will actually be possible with the next-generation cellular mobile system. Among the many trials and tests, perhaps of most interest to the TV industry are the ones looking at mass delivery of video content. Whether using multicast or some sort of broadcast mode, there is a need for a scalable and efficient solution for large-scale delivery of media services.

As a result, there is a genuine demand for insight on how broadcast services can use 5G in the future. Key questions include whether existing broadcast infrastructure can be integrated into 5G and whether the technology can beneficially use existing broadcast spectrum (in the UHF band and elsewhere).

DVB already delivers the bulk of the world’s broadcast TV, and the organisation is now looking at what role it should play in a 5G world — in particular, how 5G can effectively dovetail with successful solutions like DVB-T2 and DVB-S2. We’re pleased to be collaborating with 3GPP, the body responsible for developing the 5G specifications, on a joint session at DVB World.


How Will DVB-I Impact OTT?

Whatever happens with regard to future broadcast networks, 5G will be an important pipe for OTT delivery. A recent study by ABI Research found that OTT subscribers were predicted to reach 400 million by the end of 2018.

It’s clear that OTT services are popular with consumers today, and they’re going to be a driving force of media delivery in the future. Yet, there isn’t a standardised end-to-end technology ecosystem for OTT that assures quality of service, robust delivery, and interoperability.

DVB aims to address some of these issues with its DVB-I efforts. DVB-I is a new suite of specifications from DVB that will make OTT delivery just as user-friendly and robust as classical delivery solutions (e.g., DVB-S/C/T and IPTV). With DVB-I, broadcasters can unlock the full potential of hybrid delivery, targeting any media device and enabling exciting new services through the power of the internet.


A New Standard for Standards?

The lack of a complete standardised ecosystem for OTT is indicative of the fact that the wider technology community seems to have forgotten that we need to generate end-to-end systems. Just as audiences have become fragmented, the standards landscape has become fragmented too.

This creates many questions. What is the relevance of a standardisation body in today’s fast-moving environment, where disruption seems to be the key to success for some notable newer players? Can the disruptive nature of the OTT environment coexist with standards? What standards development approaches are fit for purpose today? Is the rise of the open source software movement influencing the development of standards too? It’s important for the industry to discuss these uncertainties and envision what the future of standardisation looks like.


Conclusion
 

DVB built its reputation on bringing the disparate elements of the broadcast value chain together and finding agreement on specifications that would improve the situation for everyone. Twenty five years later, that job has become much harder and it’s given our community much to ponder and discuss. The annual conference is a great chance to bring those discussions to a wider audience, which is important if we are to ensure that whatever comes next in digital media delivery is as user-friendly and successful as the first wave of digital TV.


DVB World 2019

DVB World returns to Dublin for the first time since 2007, and will take place at the iconic Croke Park, March 11-13. For more information, including registration and programme details, visit: https://www.dvbworld.org/.


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