Speakers: Yukihiro Nishida, Amir Nafez, Paul Gardiner, Andy Quested
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) for information and communication technologies (ICTs). Its primary roles are to allocate global radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits, develop the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strive to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide. Study Group 6 (SG 6), as part of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R),1 has been leading the international standardization of the broadcasting chain from the production of programs to their ultimate delivery to the audience. To achieve its goals, its work is conducted in three working parties (WPs), 6A, 6B, and 6C, and one Task Group (TG) 6/1, each of which is responsible for the different technological areas in the end-to-end broadcasting chain, including program production, transmission, reception, and presentation, as well as quality and measurement, production operations, and accessible media.
Connectivity is becoming a key element in the production and distribution of multimedia content to address audiences worldwide. The development and use of technologies traditionally optimized for specific media applications are steadily being replaced by technologies playing in the global consumer market domain and able to rapidly evolve. The plethora of devices now able to consume media content, and the freedom given to users in doing so is massive. Connected devices now include smart TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets, car infotainment systems, smart speakers, as well as smart glasses, or head-mounted devices. The focus on media content is shifting from just linear to more interactive, social, even gaming-like, location-dependent, targeted, personalized and immersive.
As the lines between production, distribution, and platform technologies blur and as the digital transformation moves to the cloud, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) Technical Committee’s work becomes more important than ever as members seek the scale and sophistication that typifies global super aggregator offerings. EBU’s focus is on producing the products and facilitating the exchanges that underpin the strategic elements in these transitions by federating the members’ interests.
The Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) project’s suite of specifications continues to grow and evolve to address the diverse market needs of the many territories where they are used. DVB’s overarching objective remains to provide standards-based solutions that will allow the industry to adapt to future market challenges and capitalize on new technologies and opportunities offered by broadband and mobile networks.
The Joint Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM) had planned to continue its popular JT-NM tested program during the period since the last SMPTE Progress Report in 2021. However, COVID-19 restrictions and other complications made face-to-face testing impossible. The sponsoring organizations of the JT-NM—Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA), European Broadcasting Union (EBU), SMPTE, and the Video Services Forum (VSF)—did conduct a self-testing version of the program in the spring of 2021. Results of this were mixed, making it clear to the group that we should return to face-to-face testing when that became practical.
The Ultra HD Forum was established in 2015 to accelerate Ultra HD deployment by bringing together market leaders from every part of the industry. Broadcasters, service providers, consumer electronics, and technology vendors collaborate on solving real-world obstacles in deploying advanced media formats and publishing these solutions for broad adoption. The Forum’s Guidelines Working Group has published Guidelines that describe a uniform set of characteristics for “Ultra HD” content and consistent methods for creating and delivering Ultra HD content.
Just over five years ago, the SMPTE ST 2110 core standards were published. Building on the previously published work of the Video Services Forum (VSF TR-03:2015), the core ST 2110 specifications were the product of a drafting group with more than 200 participants, and typical meetings would garner a core of 60–70 attendees each week. The participants represented every major technology provider in the industry, and also many end-users, ensuring the standards covered the wide plethora of use-cases around the television production and distribution infrastructure universe.
The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at the University of Southern California’s (USC) School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) is a think tank and research center, funded by major studios and leading technology companies, which brings together senior executives, innovators, thought leaders, and catalysts from the media, entertainment, consumer electronics, technology, and supporting services industries along with the academic resources of USC to explore and act upon topics and issues related to the creation, archiving, distribution, and consumption of entertainment content.
The ASC MITC has provided leadership throughout the transition of our industry from film to digital including the development of digital techniques and technologies for making movies and television. The 2022 Report includes an update on the much needed StEM2 project (a follow-on from the original StEM, which provided vital film-based reference images for evaluation of digital cinema projection vs. traditional film print projection)
The past 12 months are best described as a year of “adaptive progress” as the world emerges from pandemic-driven lockdowns, high hospitalization rates, and government mandated restrictions for the general population as well as in motion picture production, exhibition, and associated science and technology activities.Press reports of theatrical box office trends for the first half of 2022 are generally positive, noting the strong performance of both “studio tentpole” movies and more original fare.