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IBC 2008 Preview: Live Transmission Debated

Television has been live since it began, but, in this era of DVDs, PVRs, and Internet downloads, will it continue to be? Should it be?

That“s the subject of a Sunday afternoon conference session, “Are We Live?” at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam this week. Participants from countries ranging from Austria to Brazil, including Television Broadcast columnist Mark Schubin, will debate issues associated with live transmission, and audience responses will be instantly tallied electronically.

The IBC show floor will, of course, feature the transmission gear, from laser links to full-power transmitters, necessary to deliver live programming, but this year“s event will include unusual presentations.

Japan“s NHK, Britain“s BBC, Italy“s RAI, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Siemens, Cable & Wireless, SIS, and Eutelsat have teamed up on a demonstration of live Super H-Vision (SHV), TV with 16 times the number of pixels of what“s called “full 1080” HDTV and 22.2 channels of surround sound.

IBC participants in Amsterdam will be able to watch live SHV feeds from Turin, Italy arriving by satellite and others from London arriving via undersea fiber-optic cable. In the NHK Theatre, the feeds will be shown on a giant screen. They“ll also be sent to the EBU Village exhibit, where they“ll be displayed on flat-panel displays with “only” four times the number of pixels of full HDTV.

Then there“s the ceremony for the IBC International Honour for Excellence. Recipient Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks will stay on the U.S. West Coast, but his image will appear on screen at the awards ceremony live in 3D. And, if traditional movie-screen 3D isn“t unusual enough, NetInsight will demonstrate live “telepresence,” what appears to be an actual person at a speaker“s rostrum, using holographic optics.