IBC Highlights — Ultra HD, HEVC and Monetizing Multiscreen

IBC 2013 brought in a record number of attendees this year. With over 50,000 visitors and 1,400 exhibitors, there was plenty to keep us busy during the week!

QuickPlay was amongst those who were exhibiting but we took the opportunity to scour the event to discover the latest insights impacting multiscreen.

Here are some of the key themes that emerged out of this year’s event:

Ultra HD – 4K resolutions and beyond

  • Ultra HD was a key theme discussed at IBC 2013. While there are broadcasters like Sky Deutschland and BSkyB who are already testing 4K the overall the take away is it will take 3-5 years before it gets to consumers as a stable technology. Despite this prognosis, there is excitement in the ultra HD world especially for soccer fans that own $5000 HDTVs! FIFA TV and Sony announced that they would be broadcasting FIFA 2014 World Cup Final in 4K from Brazil next summer.

HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding)

  • HEVC (or H.265) compression scheme was discussed, as the possible driver accelerating adoption of Ultra HD. This view was prominent despite the fact that high-end HEVC profiles are still under development. A new standard was necessary to efficiently support 4K and 8K resolutions because with H.264, the current standard, the file/stream size grows substantially when encoding at these resolutions.
  • HEVC is designed to overcome the file size limitation. By utilizing substantially advanced encoding techniques it has been shown to save 25% -50% on bandwidth compared to H.264 standard. Many traditional broadcast and pay tv vendors – Ericsson, Avertz, Pace etc – were actively demonstrating HEVC and 4K at IBC.

Monetizing in the connected era

  • Monetization of multiscreen was key topic for broadcasters and pay tv operators. They are all keen to hear about how multiscreen can be monetized. Vendors like Ericsson and others had specific sections of their exhibition just focused on monetization of media content. Interestingly, already QuickPlay customers like Bell and Rogers in Canada are doing well by testing multiscreen business models. For example, Bell charges subscribers $5 for 10 hours and now Rogers is following suite.

Big Data driving cloud services consumption and monetization

  • Many panels at IBC discussed multiscreen analytics driven by big data. The talks focused on presenting better programming on multiscreen to drive up opportunities for monetization. Many vendors had major presentations they were running in their booth focused on consumption analytics. Big data also featured prominently around optimizing advertising on multiscreen. Big data drive analytics has benefits and application to marketing, commissioning, CRM teams, ad sales teams, and scheduling teams with in video service providers, thus it has the potential to affect more than one part of the business model.