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Elemental powers over-the-air and streaming 4K broadcasts

Japan’s Kansai TV has used video processing from Elemental Technologies to encode 4K content using high-efficiency video coding (HEVC/H.265) for terrestrial broadcast delivery over ISDB-T to an Ultra HD TV as part of a 4K demonstration ahead of the World Cup.

Japan’s Kansai TV has used video processing from Elemental Technologies to encode 4K content using high-efficiency video coding (HEVC/H.265) for terrestrial broadcast delivery over ISDB-T to an Ultra HD TV as part of a 4K demonstration ahead of the World Cup.

Unlike other digital transmission standards, ISDB-T covers television, radio and data services. It drives efficiencies by enabling terrestrial TV and mobile terminal broadcasts over a single transmitter – in contrast to other standards (such as DVB-T2) that require two transmitters. Japan, the Philippines, Costa Rica and many South American countries have adopted ISDB-T.

During the demonstration, original KTV content, such as the 2014 Osaka International Women’s Marathon, was transmitted by very low power from an indoor UHF antenna with 64QAM modulation to a receiving antenna licensed for the demonstration. Elemental encoded the content in 4K/HEVC at full frame rates for transmission at 14.5Mbps over ISDB-T to a decoder for display on a Toshiba Regza Ultra HD TV.

“We could not have done this without Elemental, which has set the pace for the industry in terms of proven 4K/HEVC transmissions and is the only video processing vendor that offers 4Kp60 live encoding with high quality video,” said Koichi Ono, deputy director of the technology promotion division for the Kansai Telecasting Corporation’s broadcast technology department.

“With World Cup 2014 around the corner, pressure is intensifying to realise successful 4K OTA broadcasts,” added Keith Wymbs (pictured), Elemental’s chief marketing officer.

KTV recently migrated to a full 4K editing system, plus newsroom systems from Grass Valley (read the full story here).

A night at the opera

Elemental was also involved in the recent web broadcast of the Vienna State Opera production of Verdi’s Nabucco with Placido Domingo in the title role, which was claimed to be the world’s first live production in 4K over the internet.

It was streamed using HEVC, delivered via MPEG-DASH, for viewing globally as well as to a 65-inch Samsung UHD TV at the opera house.

The Vienna State Opera is making nearly all of its 2014/2015 season productions accessible to viewers via the web, smart TVs and mobile devices, and has created a smart TV app with fully integrated Ultra HD playout and time shifting.

The collaborative workflow for the live 4K streaming was designed by Elemental partner, Vienna-based ETAS High Tech Hardware Systems. The production was shot on a Sony PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K camera, and delivery of 4K HEVC MPEG-DASH streams was managed by the cloud service Ooyala for viewing worldwide via either the custom Wiener Staatsoper Samsung smart TV app or a PC-based application. The Opera produces more than 40 live broadcasts annually and has been using Ooyala’s cloud video technology for several months to deliver opera and ballet performances to fans around the world live or on demand.

“Our multiscreen offer, VoD services and user-selectable two-channel live programme provide new and exciting ways for fans to experience the arts with the highest levels of accessibility and artistry,” said Christopher Widauer, director of digital development for the Vienna State Opera. “The flexibility, speed and power of solutions from Elemental and the unique ability to stream 4K video using HEVC and MPEG-DASH, are vital for us to broaden the possibilities for opera and ballet viewing experiences.”

As well as 4K HEVC realtime video streaming, Elemental supports live streaming and VoD for the Wiener Staatsoper full HD livestreaming service, which enables viewers to purchase a selection of live performances over the web to be enjoyed on computers, mobile devices (iOS and Android), connected TVs and on Samsung smart TVs, time-shifted for optimal viewing in each local market. Elemental also supports a Vienna State Opera companion application that shows subtitles and score sheets through a second screen app in sync with the broadcasts.

Elemental’s latest software release 2.4 includes extra advancements in HEVC adaptive bitrate profiles and full frame 4K Ultra HD HEVC encoding, enhanced support for Adobe Primetime DRM, updated presets for the latest YouTube specification, MXF Op-1a compliant outputs and expanded support for ad insertion and captioning.

Because Elemental can perform full frame 4K encoding, any tearing, scene change and stream synchronisation issues associated with portioning and reconstructing 4K frames during the compression process are eliminated.

The release also includes optimisations to the Elemental Video Engine for improved performance, enhanced ease of use, and finer encoder control via REST-XML APIs.

For broadcasters, Elemental Cloud can now offer a live-to-VoD application in a production workflow using HEVC as a contribution format to reduce bandwidth for content sourced remotely and delivered to the cloud for processing.