Once again IBC proves to be the place to hear about what is about to happen and view what the technologists hope might, writes Julian Clover.
There was something at IBC that brought a sense of optimism to the industry, suggesting that while the European economy may still be in the doldrums, the industry as represented at the Amsterdam RAI (September 6 – 11) was still pretty positive.
The excitement this year revolved around additional screens and the ability to populate them with ever-increasing amounts of content. Previous years have seen the introduction of companion screens. These have now become either an iPad or an Android-based device.
But we were also introduced to a new term; the second screen, where content can be pushed by the broadcaster to a consumer who will of course have the appropriate channel app open ready and waiting.
French-channel M6 had convinced two-thirds of French iPad owners to download its catchup TV app, before providing an update that introduced Shazam-like technology to recognize the audio track from the main TV, before supplying a recipe or an extended commercial.
We even had an advertising executive to get excited about the opportunities ahead. There was seemingly no one around to get excited about what lies behind, such as the failed attempts to get Red Button advertising going. This of course is different.
Broadcasters have finally got to grips with over-the-top TV; embracing it for the first time with varying strategies, from ignore to embrace, but all with the general intention of keeping their brand at the front of the viewers’ mind.
A number of devices could be found around the show floor that were capable of picking up the connected TV services – I spotted Huwaei’s new YouView box the licence fee payer is providing for TalkTalk – while Kaon had Canal Digital’s NDS-powered embracing of hybrid TV.
For those who thought Microsoft Mediaroom was on life-support, think again, at Motorola the devices appeared to grow on trees.
Adaptors too, I was reprimanded for calling one a dongle, for converting an existing TV to one capable of receiving content over the internet. A window of only a few years surely, but Humax was putting its existing connected TV portal into individual markets.
Humax also has an Ikea-style curtain designed to keep out unwanted Wi-Fi signals from its demo room.
The star of the show was of course Liberty Global’s Horizon. Looking every bit as good as the promise and setting the switchboard alight at UPC Netherlands. Subscribers wanting to get hold of the first truly next generation box. I’m going to miss those coming next quarter statements.
The Japanese NHK Hi Vision next gen HDTV system was back with talk of new 4k and 8k transmission plans emanating from many a stand.
But where was 3D? At the DVB booth it was pointed out 3D could be a part of a new transmission system, given that new sets would be required entry.
At the many stand parties it was a case of raising a glass to absent friends.