Sitting at home watching the Olympics 400m Women’s hurdles final live on NBC’s 4K HDR channel, home audiences were captivated by the sweat and effort displayed on screen with immersive sound of the runners’ feet hitting the track. Viewers thousands of miles away could be excused for thinking they had the best seat in the Japan National Stadium. The live 4K HDR broadcast of NBC’s primetime show throughout the Games were an extrasensory experience unlike any previous Olympics telecasts.
There was a time when the mere mention of bringing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning into the media industry brought visions of robots replacing humans. Today that is certainly not the case—although we might be getting close: I saw a robotic camera operator move the cameras for a national television news show from his converted kitchen table. On-air, viewers never saw a difference from the programs they always watch.
After a year like 2020, predicting the future is scary business. However there are several leading-edge technologies—many borrowed from the IT and consumer-facing industries—that certainly look to make a significant impact on video production and broadcasting in 2021. Here are some, in no particular order, that will see continued implementation and streamline production and distribution workflows. To date we’ve seen these new tools begin to alter the way video production and distribution is done, helping the industry move forward and media businesses grow, and that’s certain to continue in new and exciting ways.
In 2017, at that year’s VidTrans conference a regional gathering of members of the Video Services Forum (VSF), a new protocol for delivering audio and video over lossy IP networks (including the public Internet), was born. It was an idea that many had been skeptical of, since the open Internet brought with it all kinds of quality, security, latency and reliability issues.
In part-1 of this series, Challenges, we introduced the basic concepts of the technology behind live OTT delivery. In this article, we dig deeper to help broadcast engineers and technical managers understand the intricacies of HTTP and IP technology, so they will be able to design and support OTT systems more effectively.