IBC 2019 report: the calm before the storm
We'll spare you here the demos about 5G, 8K and blockchains. We're sure by the time you read this article you'll find other reports to cover them extensively!
Convergence of networks (hybrid broadcast broadband)
There is a reality of a comeback of HbbTV. Broadcasters are interested in feedback channels and all the possibilities in content customization (ad personalization, getting the right resolution or codec for your content, switching contents according to users' preferences, etc.). However the interoperability issues that have plumbered HbbTV deployments may be solved with ATSC3 (and DVB-I later, click here for the DVB IBC demo descriptions).
Quite weirdly that's efforts on the conformance that will finally allow the convergence of networks. That's an opportunity so feel free to contact us.
As stated above the HbbTV deployment obstacles are the TV receiver. TV manufacturers have development cycles of 12 months with a firmware maintenance of 24 months. Some companies such as Ateme could convince TV makers to integrate SHVC (scalable HEVC, which allowed us to win a NAB award last year) support, so why is the HbbTV support is still inconstant? Because of some insufficient conformance.
We know conformance is hard. Conformance is ungrateful. However conformance is necessary.
The key aspect of conformance is to control what you do. Considering the generation of integrated reference vectors that would cover a set of several standards is not realistic. That's unfortunately what we have today.
We hope to tell you more as Motion Spell / GPAC Licensing was chosen to do some MPEG conformance on MIAF.
Several points struck us:
- Quortex demonstrated some live streams that could be generated just-in-time: no more prepackaging, only just-in-time. No need to generate some Sony PS3 streams if the content (or any of its parts) is not consumed. This seems economically viable as CPU is cheap compared to bandwidth. The company leverages the low cost of CPU computing with lots of hacks, the demo is stunning, and they have started to sign with prestigious customers.
- Limelight talked about extending edge computing or lambda processing within their network. To be followed along with Quortex.
- Eluvio made some fuzz although it is clearly paperware at the moment. CCN are a probable future but it is unclear how the current distribution model over the Internet can be disrupted. This could be complementary to existing offers.
The 3D compressed videos (V-PCC) seduces
Professionals of the video industry see VR as a decreasing trend. We don't. Head mounted displays are cumbersome and that's why AR and VR crossed into XR.
V-PCC has seduced at IBC for several reasons:
1) The video based approach rely on existing video codecs (HEVC) and can benefit from existing hardware accelerations. MPEG provides a reference software.
2) The standardization part (codec and transport) will be finalized by the end of 2019.
3) The compression ratio is incredible. The lack of material makes bandwidth predictions complex but we are talking of a few mbps for a realistic human representation.
4) This approach is AR/VR compatible.
The only drawback at this stage is about the capture. Either the capture takes time, or it is expensive, or it is low quality. We are actively looking for a solution. Don't hesitate to share your thoughts with us!
Other approaches include 3DoF+ and TVMs (that we demonstrated in the Future Zone). Nokia also had a booth and won an award. Here is an interesting reading.
You can learn more on our work on the VR Together website.
Open-source extends its reach
The EBU open-source meetup has become a classics of IBC. It is clear that open-source and royalty-free initiatives have gained some space in the professional industry.