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 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

On-Demand Webinar: How to Prove Value with AI and Machine Learning

This webinar is now available online.

We’ve seen AI entering our lives in many ways over the past few years and we know that this will continue. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are techniques that are so widely applicable they will touch all aspects of our lives before too many more years have passed. So it’s natural for us to look at the broadcast industry and ask “How will AI help us?” We’ve already seen machine learning entering into codecs and video processing showing that up/downscaling can be done better by machine learning than with the traditional ‘static’ algorithms such as bicubic, lanczos and nearest neighbour. This webinar examines the other side of things; how can we use the data available within our supply chains and from our viewers to drive efficiencies and opportunities for better monetisation?

There isn’t a strong consensus on the difference between AI and Machine learning. One is that that Artificial Intelligence is a more broad term of smart computing. Others say that AI has a more real-time feedback mechanism compared to Machine Learning (ML). ML is the process of giving a large set of data to a computer and giving it some basic abilities so that it can learn for itself. A great example of this is the AI network monitoring services available that look at all the traffic flowing through your organisation and learn how people use it. It can then look for unusual activity and alert you. To do this without fixed thresholds (which for network use really wouldn’t work) is really not feasible for humans, but computers are up to that task.

For conversations such as this, it usually doesn’t matter how the computer achieves it, AI, ML or otherwise. The points how can you simplify content production? How can you get better insights into the data you have? How can you speed up manual tasks?

David Short from IET Media moderates this session with Steve Callanan who’s company WIREWAX is working to revolutionise video creation, asset management and interactive video services joined by Hanna Lukashevich from Fraunhofer IDMT (Institute for Digital Media Technology) who uses machine learning to understand and create music and sound. Grant Franklin Totten completes the panel with his experience at Al Jazeera who have been working on using AI in broadcast since 2018 as a way to help maintain editorial and creative compliance as well as detecting fake news and bias checking.

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Speakers

David Short Moderator: David Short
Vice Chair,
IET Media Technical Network
Steve Callanan Steve Callanan
Founder,
WIREWAX
Hanna Lukashevich Hanna Lukashevich
Head of Semantic Music Technologies,
Fraunhofer IDMT
Grant Franklin Totten Grant Franklin Totten
Head of Media & Emerging Platforms,
Al Jazeera Media Network

Video: Broadcast Content Protection

With video piracy estimated to cost the US economy $29M a year and programming rights costing 100s of millions of dollars or more, there’s plenty of reason to look to technology to protect your content. There is a long history of copy protection for broadcast/linear content which is continually changing.

Graham Turner, who has worked extensively in copy protection for many years, gives us an overview of how pay TV works, a look at the different types of protection and a look back at the history to see what we can learn from the mistakes made since the late 1980s.

After explaining the many reasons different types of channels have to protect their content, Graham explains the fundamentals of content protection, encryption and decryption being central to protection discussing symmetric and asymmetric cryptography. He then discusses key length which is something we hear a lot of, but can be non-trivial to understand. After all, AES talks of 128 and 256-bit keys, whereas in other areas we hear 1024, 2048 and more. Graham shows how these relate to the different keys in symmetric and asymmetric cryptography.

Pay TV is the area of focus for this video whereby live decryption keys need to be available at the set top box (STB) in the home. For DVD copy protection, the key is already in the DVD player and revocation of the rights of that DVD player are difficult. For TV there is a path from the broadcaster to the receiver which allows for more reactive rights management. ECM, Entitlement Checking Messages and EMM, Entitlement Management Messages, are the ways in which these permissions are spread so we look at how these work.

The architecture of the STB comes in focus next as Graham explains how the decryption and describing fit together along with hardware security and software security. Naturally after the STB has decoded the video, there’s interest in making sure the delivery to the TV is also secure which is where HDMI’s HDCP comes in with HDCP 2.2 protecting UHD content. HDCP is a method of ensuring that recording devices don’t get to record protected video whereas TVs or display devices can. Fingerprinting and watermarking are two technologies which are also examined showing how they are useful, to an extent, in identification of footage though not directly useful in preventing piracy itself.

The video ends with a very interesting look at the various high profile hacks from the last 30 or so years examining what was broken and how – in particular whether the cryptography itself was broken or whether the attack succeeded due to a weak link in the chain of another part of the system.

Watch now!
Speakers

​ Graham Turner ​Graham Turner
Television Technologist,
Former Chair, IET Media

Video: Online Streaming Primer

A trip down memory lane for some, a great intro to the basics of streaming for others, this video from IET Media looks at the history of broadcasting and how that has moved over the years to online streaming posing the question whether, with so many people watching online, is that broad enough to now be considered broadcast?

The first of a series of talks from IET Media, the video starts by highlighting that the recording of video was only practical 20 years after the first television broadcasts then talks about how television has moved on to add colour, resolution and move to digital. The ability to record video is critical to almost all of our use of media today. Whilst film worked well as an archival medium, it didn’t work well, at scale, for recording of live broadcasts. So in the beginning, broad casting from one, or a few, transmitters was all there was.

Russell Trafford-Jones, from IET Media, then discusses the advent of streaming from its predecessor as file-based music in portable players, through the rise of online radio and how this naturally evolved into the urge to stream video in much the same way.

Being a video from the IET video, Russell then looks at the technology behind getting video onto a network and over the internet. He talks about cutting the stream into chunks, i.e. small files, and how sending files can create a seamless stream of data. One key advantage of this method is Adaptive BitRate (ABR) meaning being able to change from one quality level, to another which typically means changing bitrate to adapt to changing network conditions.

Finishing by talking about the standards available for online streaming, this talk is a great introduction to streaming and an important part of anyone’s foundational understanding of broadcast and streaming.

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This video 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

Russell Trafford-Jones Russell Trafford-Jones
Exec Member, IET Media
Manager, Support & Services, Techex
Editor, The Broadcast Knowledge