PBS Adopts Spec to Streamline HD Delivery

TORONTO, ON–PBS is adopting a technical specification that will help the network standardize on an HD delivery format for contributed content from North American programmers.

The specification, AMWA AS-11 X9: MXF Program Contribution - NABA DPP HD (AVC) was developed by the U.K.-based group DPP in collaboration with the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) and the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA). The specification belongs to the AS-11 X family of air-ready master formats that define constrained media file formats for the delivery of finished media assets to a broadcaster or publisher.

“The adoption of AMWA AS-11 X9 by PBS is a significant moment for the industry, showing that a collaborative approach is essential to meeting the industry’s developing needs”, says Rowan de Pomerai, DPP Head of Delivery and Growth. “We, at the DPP, along with our colleagues at NABA and AMWA, are working closely with all of our members to ensure that each new specification addresses their business needs effectively.”

[Read: DPP is Ready to Roll]

AMWA AS-11 X9 uses a constrained version of the H.264 codec to offer significant benefits in picture bandwidth and fidelity for program distribution. The specification also supports audio carriage in both PCM and AAC format.

AMWA AS-11 X9 is one of the chosen delivery formats for PBS’s New Media Supply Chain and will be the subject of exhibits and sessions at PBS TechCon, taking place in Las Vegas April 3-5, ahead of the 2019 NAB Show.

“We see AS-11 X9 as a step toward ongoing PBS modernization efforts. The adoption of this specification is a key component to moving PBS away from legacy formats, processes and systems,” says Renard Jenkins, PBS Vice President of Operations, Engineering & Distribution. “The collaborative work of AMWA, DPP and NABA resulted in a format that should gain wide adoption throughout North America. We encourage vendors and broadcasters to consider its usefulness.”

Adoption of AMWA AS-11 X9 by other North American broadcasters is a key goal of this collaboration, alongside implementation by product vendors. In order to support this aim, the DPP Test Lab will launch its AMWA AS-11 X9 compliance testing program this month.

Products that pass the test program will be eligible to apply for a compliance certificate from AMWA, providing buyers and sellers with the confidence that DPP tested tools are technically compliant and interoperable. The DPP, NABA and AMWA will also work with their respective members to facilitate implementation.

“We are delighted that the AMWA AS-11 family continues to grow and show relevance across the globe”, says Brad Gilmer, AMWA Executive Director. “Its support in North America represents a significant step forward and promises to bring important business efficiencies to the media companies that adopt it.”

The DPP and its partners, including AMWA and NABA, continue to extend the AS-11 family. The next addition to the family will provide UHD delivery formats for both the European and North American markets.

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.