Julian Clover looks forward to an extended weekend in Amsterdam at the 40th anniversary of the IBC conference and exhibition.
On the advice of the former technical director of the European Broadcasting Union I’ve gone mobile. My personal possessions, including a DVB USB stick for the Mac, a year’s supply of business cards and a short wave radio are now in a suitcase with wheels. Any thoughts of racing down the concourse at the Amsterdam RAI centre towards the ‘beach’ have, fortunately, already been curtailed by the installation of barriers at either end of the walkway. I was expecting something a little grander given that this is IBC’s 40th year.
The question is what other forms of mobile will be around the show. The past two or three years of IBC have centred around the big new technologies of high definition, mobile TV, IPTV and creeping up on the outside broadband TV. Mobile TV is now in two parallel universes, one where surveys say how popular it is, and another where it is struggling to win subscriber acclaim. The technology has much to prove, but there is still a push towards some form of mobility. It’s just where it come from and my hunch is that for the time being at least it will be in the form of downloads and podcasts.
IPTV is being deployed, and in some markets is already becoming ‘just another delivery technology’. But all four delivery methods still have to prove themselves.
Meanwhile, time to keep an eye on the set-top box market, I’m thinking Philips, Samsung and Pace, though there will be other innovators. The hybrid set-top is with us, as are ever increasing hard drives, so the question is whether is one box serving slave units around the house or individual boxes. The pay-TV platforms want us to take multiple subscriptions rather than attaching a DTT box to the spare set in the kitchen.
The insides of the boxes are always attractive, so Osmosys EGG interface, designed to run more complicated displays on the current set-top inventory, is worthy of examination as will be the personalised mosaic devised by ICTV.
There is now a clear admission that HD didn’t happen the way it should and while we’re waiting for the rollout of more channels – in which Eastern Europe is playing a lead roll – we can all discuss the compression rates. Sunday morning as a chance to meet Dr Fujio, the man widely regarded as the father of HD.
Keep an eye on our daily feed Broadband TV News Today for up to the minute reports from the sessions and the show floor. ?