BSkyB chief engineer Broadcast Strategy Chris Johns has been a leading speaker at TVBEurope’s previous HD Masters and 3D Masters events. For this year’s Beyond HD Masters conference on 11 June, Johns will describe the evolution of the broadcaster’s journey through digital, HD and 3D strategies and onwards to Ultra-HD – with a cautiously optimistic prediction of UHD, couched with the challenges that will need to be overcome by Sky along the way.
This will be part of an opening two-parter with Sky Deutschland head of Innovations & Standards/Product & Operations Stephan Heimbecher. This scene-setting keynote will chart the consumer's apparent desire for ever-greater image quality on ever-larger home displays for greater visual experience.
The similarities with the emergence of HD, where certain operators took a pioneering lead, are striking but what lessons were learned in HD rollout that should be applied this time around? Crucially, where is the content for viewers to watch on new Ultra-HD sets going to come from?
The fate of 3DTV looks like being inextricably linked to Ultra-HD. Not only will the higher resolution help deliver full HD to both eyes in stereoscopic presentation but the higher resolution panels are essential for quality autostereo screens. More pertinently, TV set vendors are shipping Ultra-HD sets with 3D as standard. A key session on 11 June will feature Anthony Geffen, CEO & executive producer, Atlantic Productions; and Duncan Humphreys, Creative Content director, CAN Communicate.
The emergence of Ultra HD as a broadcast format is predicated on a number of factors, including advanced compression schema such as HEVC. A key session will update attendees about the status of the current UHD ecosystem, emerging standards and commercial implications of compression formats. Do we really understand what is meant by UHD: 4K or 8K, which interconnect standard? Could 4K be an interim standard with 8K becoming ‘Full UHD’?
Speakers will be Gwenaël Le Lay, Perceived Quality team manager, France Telecom/Orange Labs (representing 4EVER - For Enhanced Video ExpeRience); Richard Lindsay-Davies, CEO, Digital TV Group; and Richard Salmon, lead research engineer and specialist in Colorimetry, Displays and TV Beyond HD at BBC Future Media - Research & Development (representing the SMPTE UHD Ecosystem Group).
4K-acquired TV productions such as flagship documentaries and high-end drama are rare, but increasing. Should TV producers be mastering in 4K for archive? What budget premiums are there for 4K production and where are those costs incurred? Should post facilities be investing in greater storage and fatter ethernet pipes today? How is 4K content professionally monitored?
Tackling these issues at Beyond HD Masters are Richard Mills, CTO, ONSIGHT; Matt Platts-Mills, managing director, 4K London; and Philip Willis, professor of Computing and Director, Centre for Digital Entertainment at the University of Bath.
Which distribution platform is best placed now and in future to deliver cost-effective Ultra-HD? Do advances in MPEG-4 encoders and satellite modulation techniques mean that 4K could be delivered without HEVC? What investments do broadcasters need to make in transmission/reception -- where and how much?
Discussing these challenges for us will be Michel Chabrol, director Digital Cinema, 3D & Ultra HD at Eutelsat; and Dr David Wood, consultant, EBU Technology and Innovation (and chair World Broadcasting Union Technical Committee, chair DVB CM-UHDTV & DM-3DTV and chair ITU-R SG 6 WPGC).
What role might new powerbrokers like Amazon, Google, Apple or Netflix take in leading traditional media in the pursuit of 4K to the home? Ultra-HD needs a market but predictions for the installed based of 4K-ready displays in the home look a little light even by 2016. What's more, many broadcasters are still transitioning to HD – some from analogue to digital. HD has barely gone mainstream in the homes of major markets, so why would consumers warm to yet another – expensive -- TV set purchase? Carl Hibbert, head of Broadcast, Content & Services at Futuresource, will provide expertise at Beyond HD Masters 2013.
In addition we will feature a user case study in the area of 4K live production supplied by Platinum sponsor Sony Professional Solutions Europe, and a special insight into 3D broadcasting for TV from Gold Plus sponsor Sisvel Technology.
Content and speakers are subject to change without notice. Our full programme can be found at www.beyondhdmasters.com, along with full details on how to book your place at our 2013 event.