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Putting the building blocks in place

The DVB Project instigated the vibrant business of digital linear TV, but for its third decade in creating technical infrastructure it has to deal with broadband and hybrid services (OTT), as well as the very real promise of VR.

Of the first area Peter MacAvock, chair of the DVB steering board, and EBU head of distribution, platforms and services, said: “It used to be called TV, but now it is something else. All those different devices and networks have placed another set of technical challenges on the industry.”

“What we were looking to do was make the DVB fit for purpose in order to address those demands. Have we been successful? Well, the short answer is ‘not yet’,” he added. “But we are only getting started in some new areas. The building blocks are in place, and it is now down to us to identify and resolve the technical challenges.”

He had in mind areas like targeted advertising using open standards, adaptive bitrates and multicast. For VR, the commercial requirements will be defined by a DVB group led by Ludovic Noblet of b-com.

“We hope to be a key provider of the technologies that facilitate commercially successful VR and AR services,” said MacAvock. “But it remains to be seen whether the broadcast community gains a lot out of VR and AR. It has the potential to be quite a substantial niche.

“The big trend at the moment is in sports rights – how to turn a live sporting event into an exciting visual experience using stuff other than linear video. That is right down the alley of VR and AR, and exploiting the potential in that space,” he added. “You will need the aptitude for turning a live event into a game, and the expertise for writing attractive apps.

The DVB Project will be ready when we do identify how the broadcast community can play in that space: we are pretty much there in terms of the building blocks for the specification effort.”