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BroadcastAsia2011: BCA Steams Along

June sees Singapore once again host the BroadcastAsia exhibition and conference, running in parallel with the CommunicAsia event, which focuses on often parallel technologies from the telecom arena. This year both events move downtown to the Suntec Singapore and Marina Bay Sands venues, much closer to hotels and dining than recent editions, which were held near the airport. For the convenience of delegates a shuttle bus will run between the two events.

Last year saw 55,000 industry visitors, with more than 50 per cent considered international. This year will see the participation of many first-time exhibitors, including 3M Touch Systems, AsiaSat, Fibre Home Technologies, Bridge Technologies, and Zynga. Group pavilions from Korea, Sri Lanka, and Thailand will also be seen at BCA for the first time.

Conference visitors will be able to hear more than 75 speakers, including international figures such as Jake Winnett of Microsoft, Ray Baldock of Grass Valley, Steve Schklair of 3ality USA, and Dr Randolph Nikutta from Deutsche Telekom, Germany. Asia is well represented in the speaker list as well, with a roster that includes Tohru Masuda from NHK; Raghav Bahl, of Network18, India; Juan Foo, from Shooting Gallery Singapore; Lorna Tee of October Pictures Hong Kong; Park In-Taek from TOUCHSKY Korea; Percy Fung of Digital Magic Hong Kong; and Wilma Galvante from the GMA Network in the Philippines.

The conference will feature a brand new format, with up-to-date sessions on the latest developments of broadcasting and “broader-casting” in the international arena, the growth of 3DTV, as well as the return of ever-popular topics such as file based workflows, new developments in transmission standards, and much more. The Creative Content Production Conference also returns with a greater focus on content development and production in the film and TV industry.
Despite what some see as over-hyping, many industry figures are predicting 3D will be the next big revenue generator in the broadcast industry, so BCA 2011 will include a dedicated 3D track. What other topics will be discussed, and how does Broadcast Asia determine what to cover between trendy but possibly over-hyped subjects and more established core issues?
“There are constantly changing priorities together with new issues and potential topics that arise through the year,” explained Martin Salter, Conference Director. “(But) key issues of technology, production, delivery, and business remain at the core of the conference.”

Salter said the key topics would not be eclipsed by high profile but possibly narrower interest. In addition he noted that many delegates plan their business and travel itineraries well in advance of the event, so stability of the core issues is essential.

Salter added that HD underpins 3DTV delivery, and recent price movements have seen 3D receivers sell for the same or very little more than HD receivers of a year ago. However he adds there still remain the factors of increased production costs, limited program availability, and the current need to wear glasses. Big events such as Soccer finals and Olympic events may also prove to be powerful events driving consumer demand, he opined.

A subject of increasing interest that has become an established industry trend in recent years is the use of DSLRs. A DSLR workshop will be held to cover the essentials of working with this equipment. Topics include video resolutions and frame rates, formats, lens options, audio capture, support systems, and color correction in post.

Transmission Track

Formerly with MediaCorp, Tay Joo Thong now heads a consultancy company, MediaComm Associates. At Broadcast Asia he will chair sessions on DVB-T2.

Mr Tong points out that things are moving in the digital transmission world. Singapore has begun a project called the National Digital Broadcasting Infrastructure (NDBI), with viewers needing only to use indoor TV antennas for reception. National broadcaster MediaCorp will also conduct a DVB-T2 trial soon. Many countries in the region are also bullish on a possible analogue switch off in 2015. The Philippines, which had earlier announced adoption of Japan’s ISDB-T system, is now also running a T2 trial.

He sees “a lot of excitement on T2 especially in countries that are going to adopt T1”, adding that many “will want to use T2 because of its enormous improvement in bit rates and quality.”

In answer to the question as to what extent has ‘Broadcast to Mobile’ been supplanted by ‘Broadcast to Tablets’, he figures the tablet’s size to be more suited to TV: “I am sure with the proliferation of tablets broadcasters will create a presence there quickly, including interactive applications.”

Expressing disappointment at 3D’s slow progress – “not growing as much as the hype” – he sees HD as a steady build into existing broadcasters infrastructure, but 3DTV may have to “take a back seat.”