IBC2015 – 4K content and TV Everywhere were the big themes

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Without a doubt, the annual IBC event in Amsterdam is the most important Europe event in the Booxmedia calendar. We sent a team from Helsinki, and this time sharing a joint demo and expo space with our parent company Amino. Becoming part of the Amino family has been our major evolution since last year’s IBC and being integrated into the bigger Amino picture gives us more opportunities to engage directly with broadcasters and potential clients.

IBC2015 brought together more than 55,000 people from 170 different countries, and let us showcase our latest product developments to a wider audience of influencers and professionals who are involved in the creation, management and delivery of content.

But what did we bring to the table? Together with Amino we demonstrated a range of IPTV devices with 4K UHD capabilities, integrated cloud-TV software and support. We demonstrated our new modular end-to-end multiscreen cloud TV solutions, bringing content providers the tools they need to deliver a full range of home and mobile TV experiences – allowing their subscribers to watch what they want, when they wanted, on a device of their choice.

New 4K Products

Across IBC it was evident that the broadcast industry is forging ahead with 4K plans. From the professional / prosumer / consumer side of things, several companies unveiled their new 4K products. Big industry names like Sony, Black Magic and GoPro showcased their new cameras. Gary Adcock from Reel Chicago noted that, the new cameras “highlighted the power an image holds over the viewer when displaying delicacy of subtle color and contrast variations possible with HDR content”. Poetic!

Panasonic were one of the big names to reveal a whole suite of 4K production tools. From outside broadcast truck to video switchers, encoders, streaming capacity, field and studio cameras, the Japanese tech giant (already the world’s 4th largest producers of televisions) is betting big that 4K will soon dominate the video and film production worlds. Oh, and their 4K OLED TV is already being feted as the “best TV ever”! “There’s no question that 4K is heating up” says Techzone360 in their IBC roundup, noting that while global TV shipments declined 8% in Q2 2015, shipments of 4KTV showed triple-digit growth. Consumer demand and awareness for 4K is growing.

Content Providers Go 4K

And what the consumer demands, the market provides. From Denmark, broadband and IPTV provider Waoo! announced they would include provide advanced 4K IPTV services in their Ultra HD set-top boxes. South Korea’s Skylife – with 4.2 million subscribers – said they would offer customers 24-hour transmission of three 4K UHD channels. And from Turkey – an exciting emerging market that we’ve written about before – satellite operator Turksat is gearing up to give customers the country’s first live 4K TV channel.

Divergent Voices

But not every broadcaster is giving the thumbs up to 4K, as FierceCable reports. BBC’s Chief Technology Officer Matthew Postgate is on the record saying he’s “not really interested” in 4K technology. Remember however that legacy broadcasters are often saddled with massive tech infrastructure that would be logistically complex – not to mention financially ruinous – to replace, so they can be slow to pivot when new tech standards are adopted by other more nimble content providers.

Meanwhile Discovery’s CTO John Honeycutt says he’s looking ahead to 8K technology instead, a standard that could allow his Network to offer viewers different angles to an instant replay, for example. “It’s about more than just resolution,” says Honeycutt. (It’s worth mentioning that shipments of 8K screens are not even predicted to reach one million by 2020, according to some recent research).

Booxmedia at IBC2015

Turning back to our own IBC2015 experience, we enjoyed dozens of customer meetings at the show, including with several smaller broadcasters and service providers who are getting ready for their multiscreen launches. Thanks to our expanded market presence as part of the Amino group we had discussions with folks from literally all continents: North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and of course Europe.

Our solutions were very well received throughout the show. Our existing customers and new contacts are very, very excited about the deepening integration we have built between Amino set-top boxes and the Booxmedia cloud engine, especially our support for 4K UHD.

As the broadcast industry adopts scalable solutions for delivering OTT content with High Dynamic Range and extended colour gamut, with new products launching in 2016 and 2017 we can all look forward to a great new user experience.

— Jaakko


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