SMPTE-HK 18th Anniversary Seminar Emerging Technology with Focus
on OTT, 4K+ and 3D
(9 November 2012)
Helvetica Light is an easy-to-read font, with tall and narrow letters, that works well on aThis November marked the 18th anniversary of the Hong Kong Section. A part of the anniversary events was a seminar entitled “Emerging Technology with Focus on OTT, 4K+ and 3D,” which took place at the auditorium of the Hong Kong Design Institute.
After a welcoming speech by Past Chair K.L. Lam, Tony Berthaud of Thomson Video Networks provided an insight into “Delivery Broadcast Quality Video over OTT Networks.” Operators are facing the challenges of delivering contents to multiple screens and applications with different formats and bandwidths, especially broadcast quality videos over the OTT networks. Compression become an important issue in order to save cost on content delivery network.
Berthaud pointed out that the screen sizes of different devices range from a few inches to 55 inches or more, thus adopting the right bit rate and resolution for the right display is crucial. As the compression technology is improving at the rate of 12% annually in terms of bit rate reduction, Berthaud predicted that this would turn Internet TV challenges into real opportunities with lower operation costs for delivering contents.
Andy Huang of BesTV Technology concurred with Berthaud regarding the development of OTT. In his talk on “Smart Media Strategy of BesTV,” Huang shared his experiences in BesTV Cloud, the new media service platform developed by his company. The platform serves as SaaS for content and application, PaaS for platform, and IaaS for infrastructure. Its services include app store, games, education, finance, banking, bill payment, tele-shopping, etc. Its HD programs also provide Dolby 5.1 audio. He reported that BesTV had developed OTT platform and OTT set-top box and provided services to multiple screens including IPTV, Internet TV, mobile TV, Internet video, and Internet publishing with over 20 million users. Its IPTV with over 10 million users is the largest of its kind in the world. BesTV has partnered with other TV operators to expand its viewership with the objective of watching TV evolving into using TV, Huang said.
Zhao Zhicheng of Beijing TV started his “Application of Cloud Computing in Broadcast Industry” with a slide showing passengers with their mobile devices inside the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway. Zhao cited that in the fast changing environment of multi-media, the development of conventional media had experienced a slow down. There is a need to consolidate and unify the platform. In response to such rapid change, Beijing TV has undergone changes toward Internet TV. As new media have their different forms and business models, flexibility is crucial in supporting each of the media. The station has concentrated on the construction of an application platform for providing resources for delivering contents and making use of modular and standardized designs. It has developed a cloud platform for management system, routing and all in one application to meet the requirements of different business models. For cloud platform, it is important that the system should be stable and safe, modular and flexible, highly automated in management, and have high utilization rate and fast response capability. It should also go green. In terms of application, cloud technology has become more prominent among enterprises. The advantage of cloud computing and Internet is not on calculating, but bringing people together, Zhao concluded.
In the topic of “File Delivery,” Darren Breeze of Yapku explained that there was a need to have a format standard to deliver files with metadata for different users. He cited exemplars of standardizations such as the Digital Production Partnership and Advanced Media Workflow Association whose efforts in file standardization have developed metadata standard and tools like AS-11 standard to facilitate the delivery of files in the market place. Breeze highlighted a number of important issues such as network quality and latency, security and audibility, servers of operators, file size and tight deadlines, they are factors which would affect file delivery. Breeze concluded that file delivery, if it is conducted properly, could save cost and build a good quality archive and meet requirements of different media.
In his talk on “Advance4K+ Digital Still and Motion Camera Imaging Technology from Shoot to Screen,” Ted Schilowitz of RED Digital Cinema demonstrated how an HD camera with 4K resolution had become more user-friendly to operate. With a hand-held RED camera Schilowitz shot some footage of the audience with available light and instantly playback and projected the HD images on screen by means of a 4K digital cinema projector specially installed for this occasion. The result of the low light shooting with 4K resolution was impressive and comparable with the production quality of Hollywood films.
In his “3D Stereo Imaging Review: the Hong Kong and Asian Linkage,” Percy Fung of Digital Magic reported on the progress of 3D film production in Hong Kong during the past few years. Fung shared his experiences with audience and screened excerpts of some commercials produced by his company. He cited that Hong Kong had become one of the major 3D production centers and provided 3D pre- and post-production services to many Asian countries. More than 15 3D movies have been completed with the participation of local crew and 3D technicians. Fung pointed out that there is a need for 4K standardization and anticipated the debut of laser digital projectors in 2013.
The seminar attracted over 400 professionals and students, some from China and Macau. At the anniversary dinner party after the seminar, around 100 speakers, members, and VIP guests had a chance to mingle with one another. Chair Tony Ngai took this opportunity to thank Jim Butler of Ideal Systems Asia Pacific Limited for his support to make the anniversary events possible.