France’s 4EVER consortium conducted what it claimed was the first public demonstration of a live end-to-end HEVC delivery chain last week from the French Open tennis at Roland Garros 2013.
The High Efficiency Video Coding compression system is likely to replace the current MPEG-4 AVC standard for some types of transmission, thanks to being up to 50% more efficient when dealing with HD. The standard, which was ratified in January, is also better positioned to deliver higher resolution material, such as Ultra HD.
The trial broadcasts from Roland Garros were led by Orange Labs, as part of the 4EVER consortium, and took place last week (1-9 June). The pictures were delivered from the France Télévisions’ outside broadcast and the HEVC chain included encoding (from ATEME), streaming, decoding (using realtime INSA, Technicolor or Orange decoders) and display.
The content was encoded either at the truck (for internet transmission) or carried via contribution links to GlobeCast’s Serte teleport and encoded there. It was then transmitted using IPTV, DVB-T2 (using TeamCast modulation) and internet delivery networks. The matches could be viewed on PCs, TVs and tablets (using HEVC players from Telecom ParisTech and Orange), in high definition, at France Télévisions’ public spaces (RGLab), in the technical area of Orange and at a digital hub, La Cantine Numérique Rennaise, in Rennes.
The experiment incorporated both encoding and decoding in realtime and provided an opportunity to highlight the technological benefits HEVC can offer for viewing sports events in HD on multiple devices, including tablets.
Orange has said that it intends to launch a VoD service using HEVC to deliver 1080pHD over-the-top content, and hopes to use bit rates of about 3Mbps (about half that required by H.264).
4EVER (for Enhanced Video ExpeRience) is a three-year collaborative research project that began in 2012, comprising of nine industrial and academic French partners (including ATEME, Doremi, France Televisions, GlobeCast, Institut Telecom ParisTech, Orange Labs, TeamCast and Technicolor) and supported by the European Regional Development Fund. Its aim is to advance French research in the fields of HEVC and Ultra High Definition TV.
By David Fox