February - AXF Advances, 8K, and Digital Workflows
It has been noted in recent issues of SMPTE Newswatch that 2014 is shaping up to be a year in which standardization efforts to address certain long-standing, crucial issues in the world of electronic media data transmission will bear major fruit. Among these is the issue of interoperability in data archive systems. To address this issue, in recent years, the SMPTE Working Group TC-31FS30 has been pushing to develop an open specification, the Archive eXchange Format (AXF), and codify it into an official industry standard. AXF addresses the need for interchange of archived data and is intended to end years of separate, proprietary approaches to archiving, in which systems from different manufacturers do not have the ability to simply and efficiently migrate data to and from systems of other manufacturers.
January - Lip-Sync Progress, Faster Satellite IP, Standardized Camera Reports, and more
In the world of technical broadcast standards, 2013 showed major progress. 2014 promises to significantly extend that progress, as it relates to a problem that began vexing content creators almost from the first day that sound was added to moving images, and then become far more complicated once the digital broadcast, multiplatform era took over. That longstanding problem involves how to seamlessly synchronize audio and video program signals from the moment of acquisition to when that content reaches viewers. This challenge, of course, is better known as the "lip-sync issue."
November - VoIP for Professional Media Networks
As the Video over Internet Protocal (VoIP) revolution marches on in the different sectors of the media content creation, distribution, and consumption sectors, it is helpful to consider what the term VoIP means to broadcasters as they push to evolve their facilities for the file-based era. From their point of view, in terms of adopting IT tools and principles, the SMPTE 32NF-60 Working Group is focusing on VoIP specifically as it relates to professional media networks--the professional use of live video over IP.
October - The UHDTV Paradigm
Headed to IBC 2013, where Ultra High Definition Television (UHDTV) was to be a prominent topic, David Wood, Chairman of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) working party 6C, the group responsible for making international recommendations associated with UHDTV, was eager to discuss the latest on UHDTV. UHDTV has clearly soared from being a buzzword and interesting technological experiment to a format that will have major implications for broadcasters, filmmakers, and consumers in the coming years.
August - Workflows in the Cloud
Now that media distribution companies such as Hulu, Netflix, and others have successfully pioneered ways to distribute media content using Cloud computing-based systems, the industry is now pondering what parts of the content production workflow chain might someday be moved into the Cloud.
June - Internet Broadcasting
With all the buzz surrounding digital television these days, the impact of a specific subset of that category--Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) and broadcasting video via the Internet in a myriad of ways--can get lost in the haze of all the new camera, encoding, and display technologies and the fancy, new workflows and infrastructure overhauls that are now permeating the broadcast world. That said, in a sense, no new technology has more fundamentally impacted the traditional broadcast industry model than the Internet. After all, studies are consistently showing that the rapid growth of IPTV subscribers around the world, generally, the wide-ranging distribution of Internet-enabled television technology, and the ongoing movement toward Web-based services such as Netflix and Hulu have transformed home media consumption by diverting it away from merely "watching TV" to the advent of home media centers, where TV, streaming, games, data, and interactivity with content are all available to the consumer on demand. This development has diluted, disrupted, or altered traditional broadcast viewing numbers, habits, programming strategies, and business models in recent years.
April - Compression Trends: HEVC and More
The July 2012 SMPTE Newswatch covered how the Main Profile of the new High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) scheme, technically known as ITU-T H.265|ISO/IEC 23008-2, was on the verge of being finalized--a potentially significant leap forward in helping broadcasters achieve meaningful bandwidth savings on the distribution of high-quality video images over the existing H.264|MPEG-4 AVC standard. This past January, as expected, the ITU-T Study Group 16 achieved consensus and MPEG received approval for publication of the standard. That consensus, according to industry experts, is that HEVC has the potential to reduce data bit rates by as much as 50% over the current AVC standard. The new standard includes a main (8-bit support) profile and a main-10 (10-bit support) profile.
March - What's Next for Digital Cinema?
In an era where manufacturers of digital cinema-related technologies are routinely pushing an onslaught of tools and workflow techniques to advance what is theoretically possible in categories like stereoscopic imagery, higher frame rates, laser projection, content security, image capture, and so many others, the question to ask is what will eventually be feasible, rather than what will be possible. Keeping that question in mind, the follow-up might be, what is the next big thing for digital cinema, or at least, what should be the next big thing?
February - Closed Captioning
In recent years, most of the significant action in advancing the accessibility of closed captions in media has occurred in the world of broadband/Internet-based video. This march forward shifted into high gear in the past few years, since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) encouraged adoption of the SMPTE Timed Text (SMPTE-TT) format for delivering closed captions over the Internet.
January - Technology Trends 2013
Fresh from a visit to the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), SMPTE Immediate Past President Peter Ludé, also Sr. VP of Engineering at Sony Electronics, recently sat down for his annual conversation with SMPTE Newswatch to offer his thoughts on where media creation, distribution, and viewing technologies might be heading in 2013. His overall impression is that the industry remains in a state of evolution, rather than revolution, but he is pleased with the progress he has seen in many technology categories.
January - Next Generation Cinema Audio
In the world of theatrical sound, there are two important issues that SMPTE Technology Committees and sound system manufacturers are expected to focus on in 2013, closely followed by content creators and exhibitors. The first issue revolves around the growing need to improve ways to standardize testing, measurement, and calibration of theatrical sound systems in order to arrive at consistent playback between theaters. The second major issue involves expanding and improving multichannel playback to provide the cinema listening audience with "immersive" sound.