Discovery CTO John Honeycutt says the broadcaster will be studying the emerging technologies of virtual reality and artificial reality as it heads towards its coverage of the 2018 Olympics in Pyeong Chang.
“We were in Rio watching and observing and seeing who’s doing what. We see opportunities because we’re starting a fresh and not having to drag technologies from the past,” Discovery’s John Honeycutt told the CTO panel at IBC 2016. “You have to avoid playing technology bingo, but who thought this time last year we’d be talking about Snapchat,” he said.
During the US Open, Discovery was able to give a 360 degree view of the court using augmented reality.
Honeycutt is cautious about just taking the next technology to come along, but sees an opportunity in emerging 5G technologies. “It’s about the opportunity to have a high-quality experience 5G, 6G, 10G whatever, it’s a significant increase in available capacity… You have to look at the supply chain and get it as far back as possible and work with it.”
Ulf Ewaldsson, CTO, Ericsson, said the company had already made 35 operator announcements on 5G from operators who saw it as an opportunity to rationalise their business.
But Honeycutt won’t be leaping into Ultra High Definition – he says the experience of running a 3D channel had provided work that could be used in the future: “The question becomes can we provide something that is materially better. With high definition the physical size of the TV changed, the location changed, we brought in better audio. It wasn’t just the one thing…. But if you look at HD to 4K there’s days I can’t tell.”