Pixel Power - James Gilbert, Joint MD

Q. Evaluate 3D one year after it was perhaps over-hyped by various industry types at IBC 2010—what is it really settling down into?
The reality hasn’t changed from our perspective in the past year. Some of the key platforms and broadcasters have, or are launching perhaps one 3D channel, but we are not seeing more than that. To serve their graphics needs completely we need to be able to provide 3D graphics technology and services, which we are doing successfully. But 3D is not going to take the world over.

Q. What broad technology trends do you think will be front and centre at IBC?
In lots of ways the driver is no longer the technology; technology’s taking a backseat to productivity, efficiency and cost saving and it’s a facilitator for those processes. As a consequence, what we’re seeing as an industry is a lot more deployment of integrated playout solutions globally; they are coming into the mainstream now. I think the days of the traditional playout chain, for all but key “headline” channels, are numbered. So it’s very timely for us to be launching ChannelMaster.

Q. What’s new that you will show at IBC that broadcasters should look for there?
As mentioned above, IBC2011 sees the full launch of our ChannelMaster scalable integrated playout technology. This is a radical approach to playout that combines core automation competency, proper support for live events and total system reliability with no compromise branding and graphics, at a stroke solving the issues other channel-in-a-box systems leave unanswered.

Q. How is your new product offering different from what is available on the market?
Broadcasters increasingly need to support complex multichannel playout with high-class graphics that are proven to significantly enhance the value of a channel’s brand. Integrated playout solutions also need to be able to handle live input with preview. While highly integrated and automated playout systems (channel-in-a-box) have been in existence for more than a decade, they have so far failed to fully address these demands. ChannelMaster does.

Q. Where are you based and how many employees do you have? Anything we should know about your company?
We are headquartered in Cambridge in the United Kingdom, with offices in the United States (Burbank, Calif.) and United Arab Emirates (Dubai), and of course ,partner agreements around the world. We number 50 employees.

Q. How many years have you been going to IBC and what’s your fondest memory? What’s your favourite restaurant or pub?
My first IBC was the last year in Brighton—I remember it as wet and windy, a general weather theme that seems to have followed IBC to Amsterdam, although recent years have seen better weather. I have fond memories of customer and distributor dinner cruises and parties from the mid ’90s—but now people have less time for such things and marketing budgets are increasingly absorbed by the cost of staging and manning the exhibition itself. We normally stay at the College Hotel, which is in a quiet area with an excellent range of local restaurants.