TVT Power Rankings: Top 10 IBC 2015 Trends

IBC 2015 came to a close last week, and now that we have had time to take in everything that was on hand at the conference, here is TV Tech’s selected top 10 trends from IBC 2015.

Ultra HD
No surprise really here, UHD continues to be one of the biggest topics in the industry and IBC was no different. The question hasn’t really changed either, as professionals are still working on how best to distribute 4K productions to homes. A number of companies held demonstrations of their latest UHD technologies, and the UHD Alliance announced they are close to completing quality standards for 4K, as well as other next-generation premium audiovisual experience. Of course, Japan’s NHK—which sponsored their own 8K demo in the show’s “Future Zone” is already be moving past 4K, announcing it will start testing 8K broadcasts in 2016 with the goal of broadcasting the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics in the high-res format. And to jumpstart UHD in the United States, Harmonic announced a partnership with NASA to launch the NASA UHD channel as well as a UHD demo channel for retailers.

Virtual Reality
Many are waiting with baited breath for 2016 when virtual reality is expected to make a splash in a big way with multiple companies, including Oculus Rift, releasing new VR systems. People got a teaser of what is on the horizon in Amsterdam, with several booths—including Akamai—showcasing VR technologies. Jaunt VR was on hand to announce an exclusive partnership with VR production company 3MERSIV, while the company also plans to launch a VR content app by the end of the year. The Future Zone had several VR demoes featuring panoramic image capture from 360° camera rig systems and video stitching software applications.

IBC's exhibit on HDR

Aiding the development of UHD along with 4K is High Dynamic Range. Envivio and Dolby Laboratories helped show just what HDR is able to bring to the table with a presentation of Envivio’s Muse Live Ultra HD video processing software working with the Dolby Vision sets, while NHK offered up a stunning demonstration of HDR in 8K and Technicolor and Elemental Technologies demonstrated what they claim is the world's first live high-dynamic range (HDR) broadcast delivery system. There were also a number of panels covering the requirements and issues in the capture and post-production of HDR images and the technology and challenges of HDR and wide color projection, including a keynote from Pixar and ILM. 

OTT Delivery
OTT services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are growing at rapid paces and are forcing broadcasters to reconsider how they fit into the new market paradigm. Akamai Technologies was one of the companies to take this on, demonstrating live workflow services, on-demand workflow services, advertising services, media delivery and media delivery services, and media analytics with the goal of evolving OTT strategies, while Comcast Wholesale announced the launch of its Live Linear Streaming servicem which combines traditional and online video streaming workflows into a turnkey solution as part of the Comcast Wholesale portfolio of services.

In the midst of all the technology and product news at IBC, there were a number of high profile business announcements. Snell and Quantel took advantage of the gathering to announce its rebrand as Snell Advanced Media (aka S.A.M.); Telecom giant Ericsson announced its intent to acquire Envivio a San Francisco-based provider of video transcoding the distribution solutions in a deal worth $125 million; Avid laid out the details of its integration with Orad, which it acquired earlier this year; and Minnetonka joined the Telos Alliance and announced a product development partnership with Linear Acoustics.

Transition to IP
The broadcast’s industry’s slow march towards IP continued at IBC, as various vendors partnered with other companies to demonstrate video over IP capabilities. Imagine partnered with EVS in a demonstration to deliver live production, slow-motion and instant replay operations over IP. Tico Alliance, a group of companies working to develop technology to deliver 4K signals over 3G-SDI, announced it is working with SMPTE to enhance live IP systems, and added Deltacast, EVS, Media Global Links, and Tekronix to its membership ranks. The Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA), a consortium of some of the world’s largest media networks and vendors, launched the Networked Media Incubator (NMI), a project to deliver a framework for IP-based media systems using interoperable and open specifications for end-to-end identity, media transport, timing, discovery & registration, connection management and control. Other IP highlights included EBU and VRT demonstrating a fully IP TV studio, Grass Valley introducing GV Node, a real-time IP processing and routing platform, Evertz demonstrating its ASPEN IP protocol and announcing that Ross will integrate the ASPEN interface into Ross switchers and Newtek, with the launch of its NewTek-NDI (Network Device Interface), an open standard for live production IP workflows over Ethernet networks<

Immersive Audio
Immersive, multichannel 3D audio is gaining momentum, and a number of companies came to IBC 2015 to showcase what they are looking to add to the market. Jünger Audio displayed a prototype of its audio monitoring system that will allow broadcasters to check the quality of all immersive audio transmissions regardless of formats. An audio system developed by the MPEG-H Audio Alliance has also demo-ed, which includes object-based and immersive audio. Attendees got to experience what Dolby had to offer in terms of immersive audio first-hand, as the Dolby Atmos was installed in the IBC Big Screen Auditorium for screenings of summer movies ‘Fantastic Four’ and ‘Inside Out.’

The Cloud/Virtualization
According to a new survey from Snell Advanced Media, cloud-based technologies still draw some skepticism from industry executives. Only 13 percent of respondents were willing to use cloud-based technologies to playout a primary channel, and the same said they would never make the move. But that’s not stopping companies from pushing forward with the technology. Adobe unveiled updates to its Creative Cloud; Zoo Digital premiered a cloud-based metadata management service; SGL showcased cloud-based archiving; and Al Jazeera technology chief Mohammed Abuagla explained that cloud technology is becoming virtualized. “We have to change the way we are thinking and we have to adapt,” said Abuagla. “We don’t care what we are running on because everything is virtualized.”

Everybody loves drones, and attendees got to learn more about them first-hand with IBC’s Drone Zone. Companies like Amimon Ltd., Autel Intelligent, DJI, Intuitive Aerial and Shenzen Wingsland Technologies partook in daily demonstrations in the Drone Zone. Elsewhere throughout the convention center, a number of new drones were unveiled, including the tethered Fotokite Phi and a collapsible backpack drone from ProDrone. DJI also displayed two new cameras that go with its Inspire 1 drone.

Managing Your Trade Show Activities
As the industry’s second largest annual trade show IBC provides many opportunities to network and share information with colleagues. To make that process easier, this year IBC introduced the “Touch & Connect” service for attendees. All registered attendees for the conference were automatically registered for Touch & Connect and could access it through any device to make contacts, collect information or share contact details with a vendor with a single touch. IBC didn’t just make Touch & Connect for its five day conference, users can continue to maintain contacts through the system all year round. Find out more about the Touch & Connect here.

For a comprehensive review of the show, don’t forget to join us for “25 Things You Might Have Missed at IBC,” Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m., sponsored by AJA.