Television’s Future Examined at IEEE Broadcast Symposium

The reach of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society’s annual Broadcast Symposium was extended worldwide this year with Web streaming performed by NewTek.
ALEXANDRIA, VA.: Presentations at the Oct. 19-21 Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineer’s Broadcast Technology Society Symposium—the 61st such event—covered the gamut from spectrum issues to tower design; however, new modalities for dissemination of television programming appeared to dominate the program.

These included a tutorial session on Internet-delivered television with presentations by the NAB’s Skip Pizzi (“Connected TV: The U.S. Broadcast Perspective”), Microsoft’s John Simmons (“Emerging International Standards for Internet Television”), and Yahoo’s Scott Lincke (“The Connected TV Technology Landscape”).

Other Symposium presenters examined the changing landscape in moving programming from content creators to both viewers and network-affiliated television broadcasters alike. Mobile/Handheld DTV drew its own share of attention at the conference, with papers presented on M/H coverage and service prediction, as well as conditional access and digital rights management issues associated with this new broadcaster service.

Friday’s Symposium luncheon event was keynoted by Sterling Davis, recently retired vice president of engineering for the Cox Media Group. His presentation, “Up in the Air,” examined some of the challenges which face today’s broadcasters, including Mobile DTV deployment, White Space spectrum issues, and the possible loss of television broadcast channels in connection with the National Broadband Plan. Sterling termed the channel repacking scheme associated with the Broadband Plan “impossible,” due to the laws of physics, its impact on low-power television broadcasters, and U.S. border nation issues.

A “first” at this year’s Symposium was the live streaming of the entire event program via the Internet, thus making the conference available to a global audience. NewTek supplied both equipment and operating personnel for the Webcast. The IEEE also plans to make the video recording of the conference proceedings available for later on-demand viewing.

The three-day BTS Symposium was held at the Alexandria Westin Hotel here. Co-organizer of this year’s event, David Layer, said that plans are already underway for the 2012 Symposium, which is now scheduled for Oct. 17-19 at the same location.