Traditional broadcasters are working hard to defend their businesses from the rising tide of streaming services, but according to a leading media and tech analyst, it is a battle they are unlikely to win. He expects more FAANG domination because of their bigger budgets. Some commercial channels are being held back by the "burden" of public service requirements.
There are only two distribution HDR formats: HLG and PQ. At IBC, the UHD Forum wanted to clear up any confusion: Dolby Vision is not a separate HDR standard but PQ with a dynamic metadata format on top. HDR 10+ is a dynamic metadata system. The reason it matters is that HDR televisions produced since 2016 all support both PQ and HLG, so it is not a concern that there are two formats in play. Both of them use a single, ‘static’ setting for a given programme to convey dynamic range. Interest is now turning to which dynamic variants the market should settle on. These change the setting as the picture changes.
Sky has revealed how it will integrate Netflix in an onboarding deal that goes beyond hosting an STB app, single billing and universal search and recommendation. A brand new £10 a month subscription pack called Ultimate On Demand combines Netflix with Sky box-sets. Sky Q UHD and multiroom customers get the Netflix Premium plan with Ultra HD and four simultaneous streams, while Sky Q HD customers get the HD and two-stream version of Netflix in the package. The line is drawn not between SVOD and Pay TV but between household types.
The Viewthority platform-as-a-service streamlines the content and security workflow in an effort to increase transparency and trust and simultaneously reduce technology friction and cost when content owners hand their assets to service providers. It could encourage distribution of content to more endpoints. It is also an example of how, in an increasingly cloud and SaaS-based world, vendors with bright ideas can move up the value chain.
Satellite can join the multiscreen party, boosting revenues with streaming services in shopping malls...
Neotion and Broadpeak have been outlining the potential impact of multicast ABR on the satellite industry if service providers use the technology to deliver TV into public spaces, from bars to cruise ships. Hotspots convert the multicasts back to unicasts so consumers can watch multichannel TV or VOD on their mobile devices. Satellite overcomes terrestrial congestion, scales well and can serve remote locations like petrol stations.
The broadcaster is using algorithms to search archives for programmes, or components of them, that will appeal to contemporary audiences, on a scale that is not practical using humans. Scene recognition and subtitle analysis are among the techniques used before the AI system creates a new piece of compilation content for editorial review. BBC Four is broadcasting a show next month that is partly AI-created and which explains the BBC’s progress in this exciting field.
Object-based broadcasting breaks down media into component parts that can be repackaged for individual viewers, bringing new meaning to the term ‘personalised TV’. BT Sport and the BBC are among the broadcasters proving its usefulness and the next challenge is to drive scale and standardisation. This concept impacts every area of the media business, starting with rights management. Metadata becomes all-important, while AI and machine learning are other technology building blocks.
Bitmovin provides an encoding SaaS that harnesses just about every cutting-edge innovation available, providing a vision of what modern compression can look like. Encoding is a software application, architected as a microservice, containerised for total portability, available in the cloud and on-premise. The video is split into chunks and distributed across multiple instances where they are processed in parallel. Artificial Intelligence is thrown into the mix.
More online distribution and the growth of UHD content, especially with higher frame rates, puts the spotlight on encoding efficiency. Content adaptive encoding (CAE) takes advantage of variations in content complexity to reduce bandwidth for a given perceptual quality, carving off 50% for some ‘talking heads’ video. The Ultra HD Forum has added CAE to its list of core technologies for its Phase B second wave specs.
There are calls for digital media to be made as accountable as traditional publishers for the dissemination of content. A British parliamentary committee says tech companies should be held responsible for “harmful and illegal content on their platforms”, while a report funded by Sky calls for a Code of Practice and an oversight body, plus incentives and sanctions. But just as citizens enforced the law in the wild west, the weight of public opinion may yet be sufficient to force digital platforms to govern themselves effectively.