Video: The End of Broadcast?

This discussion asks what the limits are of ‘broadcast’ in a world increasingly dominated by streaming. Whilst services like the BBC’s iPlayer have demonstrated how on-demand can sit alongside live streams of linear channels, the growing world of Disney+, Netflix and Apple TV+ is muscling in on the family television bringing with them different ways of accessing video.

Presented by Ian Nock, chair of the IET Media technical network, this is the 2020 John Logie Baird lecture online. First up, is Chris Wood from OTT specialist Spicy Mango who represents the perspective that OTT is the way forward. This isn’t a fight between screen sizes, he starts by saying, but rather about experiences and expectations. A great example of this is how pause and rewind features have made their way into many linear TV offerings. The convenience to pause a video while you leave the room or discuss it was so powerful that when it was possible to bring it into live, it did. This type of feature migration will continue to happen as the types of service merge.

Chris makes the important point that ‘live TV’ often means linear. There is a lot of live streaming available through Twitch, sports providers like DAZN and companies like Amazon Prime which is not captured separately. This makes it hard to understand how much people are still valuing the live feeling. Live TV, he says, is not going away whatever happens to linear RF transmissions because we need live programming, we enjoy it differently.

Source: DTG

Next, representing the UK Digital TV Group (DTG) is Yvonne Thomas who looks at the fragmented landscape with a large variety of types of VoD service available – subscription, advertiser etc. For the younger audience whose experience of video is predominantly over IP, their experiences become quite fragmented meaning it’s hard for a broadcaster to maintain continuity and relevance. Yvonne also talks about the proliferation of IT needed to watch all this content which can lead to families inadvertently exposing their data or compromising their security.

Nigel Walley from Decipher makes the point that some of our intuitions are wrong. As we see trends evolving, whilst the industry was initially discussing the rise of ‘second screens’, it’s important to realise that some of this was driven by the simple fact that the only place you could watch Netflix of YouTube was your second screen. As consumer electronics manufacturers have made space for ‘Netflix’ buttons and we see Google and Apple with their HDMI connected players, we see people have quickly reverted to watching good content on their best screen; their TV.

Another important point made by Nigel is that as much people companies talk about the ability to individually target viewers and deliver highly customised services, there will always be situations with shared viewing whether they may as well not be logged in as customisation takes much more of a back seat.

Source: OMDIA

Maria Rua Aguete from Omdia challenges our assumptions on who the big players in streaming are. They can be ranked both by revenue and by subscribers. Maria shows us that China Telecom, Baidu and Tencent are in positions 2, 3 and 4 when counted by subscribers. Still, one third of the world’s OTT subscribers are held by Amazon, Netflix and Disney+.
Maria continues to deliver a vast range of timely statistics that help us understand the current situation within the pandemic. She covers the popularity of free services with in the UK, recent M&A activity, the consumers’ rising appetite for video and international channels.

The session closes with a 20 minute Q&A.

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Speakers

Maria Rua Aguete
Technology Fellow & Executive Director,
Omdia
Yvonne Thomas Yvonne Thomas
Strategic Technologist
Digital TV Group
Chris Wood Chris Wood
CTO,
Spicy Mango
Nigel Walley Nigel Walley
Managing Director,
Decipher
Ian Nock Moderator: Ian Nock
Chair, IET Media Technical Network

Video: State of IP Video Networking & Distribution


Andy Bechtolsheim from ARISTA Networks gives us an in-depth look at the stats surrounding online streaming before looking closer to home at uncompressed SMPTE ST 2110 productions within the broadcaster premises. Andy tracks the ascent of online streaming with over 60% of internet traffic being video. Recently, the number of consumer devices which have been incorporating streaming functions, whether a Youtube/Netflix app or a form of gaming live streaming has only continued to grow. Within 5 years, it’s estimated that each US household, on average, will be paying for over three and a quarter SVOD subscriptions.

SARS-CoV-2 has had its effect on streaming with Netflix already achieving their 2023 subscriber number targets and the 8-month-old Disney+ already having over 50 million subscribers over the 15 territories they had launched in by May; it’s currently forecast that there will be 1.1 billion SVOD subscriptions in 2025 globally.

The television still retains pride of place in the US both in terms of linear TV share and the place to consume video in general, but Andy shows that the number of households with a subscription to linear TV has dropped over 17% and will likely below 25% by 20203. As he draws his analysis to a close, he points out how significant an effect age has on viewing. Two years ago viewing of TV by over 65s in the US had increased by 8% whereas that of under 24s had fallen by a half.

An example of the incredible density available using IP to route video.

The second part of Andy’s keynote talk at the 2020 EBU Network Technology Seminar covers The Future of IP Networking. In this, he summarises the future developments in network infrastructure, IP production and remote production. Looking at the datacentre, Andy shows that 2017 was the inflexion point where 100G networking took over 40G in deployed numbers. The next big stop, 400G, has just started to take off but is early and may not make 100G numbers for a while. 800 gig links are forecast to start being available in 2022. This is enabled, asserts Andy, by the exponential growth in speed of the underlying chips within switches.

Andy shows us an example of a 1U switch which has a throughput of over 1024 UHD streams. If we compare this with a top-end SDI router solution, we see that a system that can switch 1125×1125 3G HD signals takes two 26RU racks. Taking 4 signals per UHD signal, the 1U switch has 3.6 times the throughput than a 52U SDI system. He then gives a short primer on 400G standards such as 400G for fibre, copper etc. along with the distance they will reach.

Now looking towards The New IP Television Studio Andy lays out how many SDI streams you can get into 100G and 400G links. For standard 3G HD, 128 will fit into 400G. Andy discusses the reduction in size of routers and of cabling before talking about examples such as CBC. Finally, he points out that with fibre, round trip times for 1000km can be as low as 10ms meaning that, any European event can be covered by remote production using uncompressed video such as the FIS World Ski Championships. We’ve seen, here on The Broadcast Knowledge that even if you can’t use uncompressed video, using JPEG XS is a great, low-latency way of linking 2110 workflows and achieving remote production.

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Speakers

Andy Bechtolsheim Andy Bechtolsheim
Founder,
ARISTA Networks

Video: Working remotely in a crisis

We’ve perhaps all seen the memes that the ‘digital transformation’ of a company is not because of ‘leadership vision’, adapting to the competition, but rather ‘Covid-19’. Whilst this is both trite yet often true, there is value in understanding what broadcast companies have done to deal with the pandemic virus and COVID-19.

Robert Ambrose introduces and talks to our guests to find out how their companies have changed to accommodate remote working. First to speak is Jack Edney of The Farm Group, a post production company. They looked closely at the communication needed within the organisation, managing priorities of tasks and maintaining safety and resources. Jack shows how the stark difference between pre- and during- lockdown workflows seeing how much they are now remote. Jack explains how engaged his technical teams have been in making this work very quickly.

Brian Leonard from IMG has done much the same as IMG have moved towards remote working as they have changed from 300 people on site to around 3 people on site and everything else remote. Brian talks about how they’d expanded into a local building in order to make life easier in the earlier days. He then considers the pros and cons of being reliant on a significant freelance staff – that being the option of using their pre-existing equipment at home. Finally we look at how their computer-based SimplyLive production software allows them the immediate ability to remotely produce video.

OWNZONES is up next with Rick Phelps who gives a real example of a customer’s workflow which was on-premise showing the before and after diagrams for when this moved remotely. These workflows were extended into the cloud by, say, using proxies and editing using an EDL, encoding and amending metadata all in the cloud. Rick suggests that this is both a short-term trend but suggests much will remain like this in the longer-term.

Finally, Johan Sundström from Yle in Finland takes to the stand to give a point of view from a public broadcaster. He explains how
they have created guest booths near their main entrance connected to the new channels so facilitate low-contact interviews. Plexiglass is being installed in control rooms and people are doing their own makeup. He also highlights some apps which allow for remote contribution of audio. They are also using software-based mixers like the Tricaster plus Skype TX to keep producers connected and involved in their programmes. The session concludes with a Q&A.

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Speakers

Jack Edney Jack Edney
Operations Director,
The Farm Group
Johan Sundström Johan Sundström
Head of Technology Vision,
Yle Finland
Rick Phelps Rick Phelps
Chief Commercial Officer,
OWNZONES
Brian Leonard Brian Leonard
Head of Engineering: Post and Workflows
IMG
Robert Ambrose Robert Ambrose
Managing Consultant,
High Green Media

Video: The End of Broadcast? Broadcast to IP Impacts

It’s very clear that internet streaming is growing, often resulting in a loss of viewership by traditional over-the-air broadcast. This panel explores the progress of IP-delivered TV, the changes in viewing habits this is already prompting and looks at the future impacts on broadcast television as a result.

Speaking at the IABM Theatre at IBC 2019, Ian Nock, chair of IET Media, sets the scene. He highlights stats such as 61% of Dutch viewing being non-linear, DirecTV publicly declaring they ‘have bought their last transponder’ and discusses the full platform OTT services available in the market place now.

To add detail to this, Ian is joined by DVB, the UK’s DTG and Germany’s Television Platform dealing with transformation to IP within Germany. Yvonne Thomas, from the Digital Television Group, takes to the podium first who starts by talking about the youngest part of the population who have a clear tendency to watch streamed services over broadcast compared to other generations. Yvonne talks about research showing UK consumers being willing to have 3 subscriptions to media services which is not in line with the number and fragmented nature of the options. She then finishes with the DTG manifesto for a consolidated and thus simplified way of accessing multiple services.

Peter Siebert from DVB looks at the average viewing time averaged over Europe which shows that the amount of time spent watching linear broadcast is actually staying stable – as is the amount of time spent watching DVDs. He also exposes the fact that the TV itself is still very much the most used device for watching media, even if it’s not RF-delivered. As such, the TV still provides the best quality of video and shared experience. Looking at history to understand the future, Peter shows a graph of cinema popularity before and after the introduction of television. Cinema was, indeed, impacted but importantly it did not die. We are left to conclude that his point is that linear broadcast will similarly not disappear, but simply have a different place in the future.

Finally, head of the panel session, Andre Prahl explains the role of the Deutsche TV-Plattform who are focussing on ‘media over IP’ with respect to delivery of video to end user both in terms of internet bandwidth but also Wi-Fi frequencies within the home.

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This panel was produced by IET Media, a technical network within the IET which runs events, talks and webinars for networking and education within the broadcast industry. More information

Speakers

Andre Prahl André Prahl
Deutsche TV-Plattform
Peter Siebert Peter Siebert
Head of Technology,
DVB Project
Yvonne Thomas Yvonne Thomas
Strategic Technologist
Digital TV Group
Ian Nock Moderator: Ian Nock
Chair,
IET Media Technical Network