IBC Awards Recognize Projects From Production to Home

AMSTERDAM—IBC announced its IBC2012 awards September 9, honoring companion apps and asset management; the latest in home content delivery; an 80-year history of ground-breaking broadcast developments; cutting-edge research and the best in exhibition stand design.

“Our industry is changing, with new delivery platforms and business models expanding on the foundation of the long history of broadcasting,” said IBC CEO Michael Crimp, in a statement. “This year our awards have really reflected these changes, taking us right into the home with new ways of discovering and enjoying the finest content.”

The IBC International Honour for Excellence was presented to the Science and Technology Research Laboratories (STRL) of Japanese national broadcaster NHK. Its developments over 80 years have had an impact all along the content chain, from broadcasters, right into the home. The plasma display was one of its developments. The award was accepted by NHK President Masayuki Matsumoto.

NHK formed STRL in 1930. The results of its research have had a direct impact on the viewer, including color television, HD, satellite broadcasting, plasma displays and more. It recognized broadcast technologies could be used in other industries, for example, high-definition television used as the basis for medical imaging. This in turn put STRL at the forefront as technologies converged, creating today’s “TV everywhere” environment.

The IBC Innovation Awards for Content Creation, Content Management and Content Delivery go to a broadcaster or media business that has taken the best of today’s technology to create an innovative solution to a real creative, technical or commercial challenge.

With multi-screening and social media one of the most debated topics at IBC2012, it was appropriate that the winner of the IBC Innovation Award for Content Creation was a second-screen app, a way of adding to the viewer’s enjoyment by synchronizing interactivity on an iPad with a television program. FX UK took the award for its companion app for “The Walking Dead,” developed by Red Bee Media and using audio watermarking technology from Civolution for synchronization.

Taking the IBC Innovation Award for Content Management was NASCAR, the high-thrills American motor sport. Its race officials needed instant access to pictures from 18 trackside HD cameras, to make judgments on incidents and accidents and setting penalties where required. Telestream, in association with Promise Technology and Quantum, developed a compact system, which put control of multiple replays into the hands of the official.

The IBC Innovation Award for Content Delivery took us back to the hands of the viewer. 4oD, the video-on-demand service from Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, wanted to make its content available on platforms its viewers preferred, and saw the Xbox as an ideal way to deliver high-quality VoD. With KIT digital, it developed an app for the Kinect controller, which allows the viewer to use voice and gesture control to explore and select the content.

The team of international editors and consultants who judge the IBC Innovation Awards chose to honor FIMS, the Framework for Interoperable Media Services, with the IBC2012 Judges’ Prize. This collaboration led by the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA) and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) jumpstarted the process of file-exchange standardization, vital if the real benefits of file-based workflows are to be realized.

AMWA and EBU brought together virtually all the manufacturers in the sector, and many of the major broadcasters. They developed the first version of the specification, released earlier this year, and the first implementations of FIMS-based technologies are on air with Bloomberg Television and its technology partner Triskel. Bloomberg estimates that the development of a new workflow has fallen from six weeks to three days thanks to FIMS.

The award for IBC2012 Best Conference Paper Award, which best communicates cutting-edge research was won by a team from the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications Heinrich Hertz Institute: Christian Riechert, Frederik Zilly, Peter Kauff, Jens Güther and Ralf Schäfer. Their paper describes core work on autostereoscopic television: 3D without glasses. Autostereoscopic displays require five, 10 or more channels to create the impression of depth for viewers at different viewing angles. These have to be created in receiver from the incoming two-channel stereoscopic 3D signal. The Fraunhofer work is on the algorithms required to achieve a flexible solution, and how they might be implemented in a relatively low-cost chip for mass manufacture.

IBC presented IBC2012 Exhibition Design Awards for the most practical and attractive stand design in three categories. Winning for the Most Imaginative Use of Shell Scheme Space was Marvell Semiconductors: the judges praised its “wow feeling.” For free design stands up to 100m2, Netgem took the award for its “open, welcoming living room.” SES won the award for Larger Free Design Stand impressing the judges with its futuristic feel.