ABU Digital Broadcasting Symposium 2015 (3-6th March) at the Istana Hotel -Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The theme of this year’s symposium was “Enabling Change Smartly”. The ABU/DBS event is attended by the ABU members, who are the broadcasters from the Asia Pacific region. The format of the symposium is a mixture of Conference and Workshop sessions with manufacturers being able to attend a booth to highlight their technologies. The main papers are presented in 4 days with a specific workshop on DVB on the 2nd of March.
The official opening was made by Malaysian Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Dato’ Jailani Johary who was introduced by the ABU Secretary General, Dr Javad Mottagui. The theme of the introduction speech by Dr Javad Mottagui was for the need of the continuation of free to air transmissions. While broadcasters must also focus on other forms of distribution such as OTT as “an inability to deliver on different platforms could result in a lost opportunity for broadcasters”. While Dato’ Jailani Johary emphasized with clear targets, the Malaysian government’s commitment to provide free-to-air DTT transmission with targets to reach 98% of Malaysians by 2017. He also emphasized the importance for digitization and the need for broadcasters to enter into various forms of media.
Conference and workshops:
The conference expertly run by Dr Amal Punchihewa, Director ABU Technology and the ABU team is supported by a wide spectrum of suppliers to the industry. However, as the ABU’s 270+ members are Broadcasting TV stations there is a strong focus on transmission standards. Standard bodies such as DVB and DAB are very present at the show. The papers and workshops are a mixture of themes from broadcasting standards; to broadcasting business opportunities and 4-8K technologies. This year there was also focus on other forms of distribution and not just the use of the Broadcasting spectrum. Saying that on the 2nd of March there was a unique day devoted to DVB with a workshop called “DVB-T2: Technologies and Implementations”. With this year’s slogan being “Enabling Change Smartly” it is clear that technology will move on but be intelligent in selecting and adjusting your decisions for your specific needs. The world has changed and from the old days of selecting one standard and moving with the majority. The new world offers many directions and technologies of which the end TV stations need to adapt with what makes sense for them. One standard or system in one country may not be the most suitable in another.
The IABM was present to support the member companies and promote the IABM training activities. Peter Bruce presented the end user trends as a result of the surveys carried out by the IABM in 2014. This was part of a session chaired by Joan Warner of Commercial Radio Australia with the title of “New Business Models”. The panel included some thoughtful presentations such as, Sanjay Salil’s presentation form Media Guru on the monetization of archive material.
Other interesting sessions were held covering the move to 4K and higher resolution titled “Delivery of beyond HD resolution” by representatives of NHK / KBS and Sony. With workshops performed by IABM members Wasp 3D on “Changing the content creation paradigm” and Rohde and Schwarz’s workshop on both DVB-T2 compliance and workflow efficiency throughout the complete signal chains. Sessions were well attended and suppliers felt that the workshops had the greatest focus by the attendees.
The exhibition booths pose an excellent opportunity to show the up-to-date technologies available from the broadcast suppliers to help the ABU members. There was a wide array of demonstrations showing all aspects of UHD, Software workflows, DVB-T2 and more. The nature of the conference format of the ABU/DBS is that there is quiet time during conferences sessions that the delegates can take time out to discuss all aspects with the suppliers of the industry. I would like to highlight two interesting technology showings at the ABU – DBS Symposium.
Firstly, in a move to illustrate that 4K is practical today. Village Island, working with Measat and Total Communications made a live technology demonstration showing multiple 4K HEVC 60p signals being distributed from the playout center at Measat then beaming via satellite to the conference at the Istana Hotel for viewing. This was achieved by streaming from their Village flow playout server. Then sent at a bit rate of 50-55 Mbps over satellite using a DVB-S2X modulator. They sent 2x4K HEVC channels with an allocated bandwidth of 36 Mhz. The satellite reception at the Istana hotel was via a 3m dish, with SED-Decimator D3 monitoring and DVB-T2 Re-mux / Decoding for viewing on the Village Island stand and then redistribution to Measat’s booth via optical fiber. A proof that the distribution workflow for 4K is here now. And yes the pictures looked smashing.
Secondly, NHK had a live showing of 8K with a compact playout server showing the most amazing footage of Japanese drum group Tao and time-lapse footage of Mt Fuji. While showing live pictures from their small 8K Camera weighing only 2 kg. NHK is a leading developer of 8K Super Hi-Vision and the result was clear to see on their 8K screen. Japan has committed to cover the Olympics in 8K in 2020 and NHK’s technology showings highlights that Japan will be ready when the games come.
This was a successful conferences from the ABU as they highlight to their members the need to understand the spectrum allocations; digital transmissions and consider moving to UHD with multiple forms of customer engagements and on top of that embrace OTT. The world is changing and the business cases posed in some sessions may help the end user resolve commercially how to get there. The Conference was well attended, interactive and insightful; the Workshops gave a more detailed understanding of technologies while the Exhibition section showed some focused state of the art workflows. Many IABM members were present and gave positive feedback of the event and confirmed that they would attend next year.
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