Monday, 12 September 2016 22:35

Ericsson and BT showcase live HEVC 4K cutting-edge broadcast

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Ericsson and BT have showcased their "first 4K sports broadcast delivered through a live HEVC contribution link" for smarter, more efficient UHDTV content delivery.

IBC 2016. Originally known as the International Broadcasting Convention, IBC is billed as "the premier annual event for professionals engaged in the creation, management and delivery of entertainment and news content worldwide".

So, it is clearly a very appropriate venue for Ericsson and BT’s Media and Broadcast (M&B) and Sport divisions to have showcased their "first-ever live demonstration of a high efficiency video coding (HEVC) contribution link used in the delivery of 4K ultra-high definition television (UHDTV)".

Ericsson has more details of its attendance at IBC 2016 here, with plenty of additional info

There’s also a stack of great videos from Ericsson at IBC 2016 here

We are told that the "high-performance single-slice HEVC link" was used to "broadcast live rugby matches on BT Sport in 4K ultra-high definition during Round 2 of the AVIVA Premiership", with the broadcast delivered using BT's new links truck.

For those wondering, Ericsson and BT noted that ‘HEVC leverages new encoding/decoding techniques that facilitate cost efficiencies in the delivery of UHDTV content,’ and that their solution ‘meets the continued demands of TV consumers for heightened and more immersive picture quality, particularly for live events.’

Both companies say they were able to show ‘how UHDTV content can be broadcast through one single slice, without any signal stitching,’ with Ericsson's new encoding/decoding technology supporting ‘HEVC and removing the need for complex AVC quadrant based UHDTV contribution.’

This technique is also said to ‘offer TV service providers savings of up to 40% on bandwidth usage with far greater network efficiencies, as it only requires the use of one encoder/receiver to deliver optimal picture quality.’

It also shows the non-stop march and evolution of technology by humans to continually push limits and achieve breakthroughs.

BT M&B delivered the signal to Ericsson's Playout Centre in Hilversum, Netherlands, while Ericsson broadcast ‘the rugby matches live and direct to Ericsson's booth at IBC 2016 (#1.D61), as well as to BT M&B's booth (O.C01), located in the outside exhibition area at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre.’

Both companies proudly boast of their ‘a strong history of working together with leadership in UHDTV.’

An example of this comes from 2013, when ‘Ericsson and BT also produced the world's first multi-camera production of a sporting event, displaying it live in a 4:2:2, 10-bit resolution, 4K UHDTV signal at 60 frames per second using AVC.’

Another demonstration of the collaboration took place last year, when ‘Ericsson and BT Sport announced that they would work together to launch the UK's first UHDTV channel.’

Elisabetta Romano, Vice President and Head of TV and Media, Ericsson, said: "Ericsson and BT have a proud history of working together to push boundaries in immersive TV, and this latest 4K HEVC project highlights our focus on delivering new and improved services to today's demanding consumers.

“This demonstration shows we can drive better quality, operational simplicity and bandwidth efficiency, giving far greater cost-efficiencies in UHDTV delivery by contributing all the video content in a single slice. This is a turning point in UHDTV, making 4K live sports and events a practical, cost-effective and high-quality reality for the first time."

Mark Wilson-Dunn, Vice President at BT M&B, sayid: "We're delighted to be using Ericsson's state of the art encoding/decoding equipment for our 4K broadcast at IBC. The combination of the new equipment with our new UHD links truck will deliver unbeatable high-quality sports footage to viewers at this year's event. I'm looking forward to sharing our joint innovation and how we're delivering an even better service to our customers with the rest of the industry at IBC."

Mark Horton, Strategic Product Manager, Encoding Portfolio, Ericsson, took part in a ‘BT M&B breakfast briefing entitled "4K, HDR and Beyond" to discuss the impact of 4K on workflows, the role of standards and pan-industry collaboration, as well as future advances including high dynamic range (HDR), wide color gamut (WCG) and high frame rate (HFR).’

Ericsson has more details of its attendance at IBC 2016 here, with plenty of additional info

There’s also a stack of great videos from Ericsson at IBC 2016 here

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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