Standards in media go back to the early days of cinema standardising the sprocket holes in rolls of film with the intent of making it easier for the US Army to distribute training films. This standardisation work marked the beginning of SMPTE, though the acronym lacked a T at the time since television hadn’t yet been invented. There is a famous XKCD comic that mocks standards or at least standards that promise to replace all that went before. This underlines why it’s more important what standards don’t say than what they do. Giving the market room to evolve, advance and innovate is a vital aspect of good standards.
The broadcast industry is emerging from a time of great stability thanks to a number of standards that have been around for ages. SDI is a decades-old technology that is ubiquitous in the industry. Likewise, H.264 has become the only codec to use unless you have a specific use case for HEVC, AV1, VP9 etc. thanks to its almost universal presence in devices. Black and burst is now being replaced by PTP in IP installations. This is novel, despite PTP’s upcoming twentieth birthday, because it doesn’t matter if PTP is four decades old, its launch in the broadcast sector is recent, support will be low.
This panel from SMPTE Hollywood features two members of SMPTE deeply involved with standardisation within the industry: Bruce Devlin, Standards Vice President and Thomas Bause Mason Director of Standards Development. . They are joined by IP specialist JiNan Glasgow George and moderator Maureen O’Rourke from Disney.
In a sometimes frank discussion, we hear about the attempt by standards bodies to try and keep up with the shift form hardware to software within the whole industry, the use of patents within standards, how standards bodies are financed and the cost of standards, software versus hardware patents, standardisation of AI models, ensuring standards are realistic & useful with plugfests, the difference between standards bodies such as ANSI, ISO, SMPTE etc.,
“OTT over the air” – ATSC 3.0 deployment has started in the US and has been deployed in Korea. Promising to bring interactivity and ‘internet-style’ services to broadcast TV, moreover allowing ‘TV’ to transition to mobile devices. To help understand what ATSC 3.0 enables, NABShow Live brings together Sinclair’s Mark Aitken, Bill Hayes from Iowa Public Television and SMPTE’s Thomas Bause Mason all of which are deeply involved in the development of ATSC 3.0.
The panelists dive in to what ATSC 1 was and how we get to 3.0, outlining the big things that have changed. One key thing is that broadcasters can now choose how robust the stream is, balanced against bandwidth. Not only that but multiple streams with different robustnesses are possible for the same channel. This allows ATSC 3.0 to be tailored to your market and support different business models.
ATSC 3.0, as Bill Hayes says was ‘built to evolve’ and to deal with new standards as they come along and was at pains to point out that all these advancements came without any extra spectrum allocations. Thomas outlined that not only is SMPTE on the board of ATSC, but the broadcast standards upstream of distribution now need to work and communicate with downstream. HDR, for instance, needs metadata and the movement of that is one of the standards SMPTE has formed. As Mark Aitken says ‘the lines are blurring’ with devices at the beginning of the end of the chain both being responsible for correct results on the TV.
The session ends by asking what the response has been from broadcasters. Are they embracing the standard? After all, they are not obliged to use ATSC 3.0.
Thomas say that interest has picked up and that large and small networks are now showing more interest with 50 broadcasters already having committed to it.
The SMPTE ST 2110 Professional Media Over Managed IP Networks suite of standards is a major contributing factor in the movement toward one common internet protocol (IP)-based mechanism for the professional media industries. The foundation for SMPTE ST 2110 standards is Video Services Forum (VSF) Technical Recommendation for Transport of Uncompressed Elementary Stream Media Over IP (TR-03). The SMPTE ST 2110 standards suite specifies the carriage, synchronization, and description of separate elementary essence streams over IP for real-time production, playout, and other professional media applications.
In this free webinar from IEEE, you’ll gain the knowledge you need to help your company make the most of SMPTE ST 2110, a critical enabler of fully internet protocol (IP)-based operations.
Joel E. Welch, Director of Education, SMPTE
Thomas Bause Mason, Director of Standards Development, SMPTE
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