IBC Reveals A Stunning Image

We have shorter issues again this week – but as we just sent out the IFA report, we didn’t think that you would be short of things to look at. We finished the IFA report on Wednesday evening, the main issue was finished on Thursday evening and now we’re at IBC.

I’ve already been to a couple of press events this morning with SES and Sony. I was struck immediately by a couple of things. First, not only the speed of innovation and technology change, but the acceleration in the rate of change. I wrote a Display Daily a while ago about how the human brain has a big problem dealing with exponential change and I was reminded of this. (TV Change Doesn’t Fit the Human Brain)

There has been a step change over the last couple of years in the development of the cloud and IP in video and now TV production is really, really changing – and for some broadcasters, very quickly. At IBC this morning, Sony streamed its press conference using a cloud production system. There were half a dozen cameras at the event that were streaming directly to the cloud via ip (Wi-fi, but it could have been via 4G or 5G in the future) and a single notebook PC was being used to produce the stream, with control and switching in the cloud. That’s a paradigm shift.

Earlier, over breakfast, SES talked about SVOD going past pay TV in revenues this year. Everybody knows that Netflix, Amazon and other OTT providers are coming, but the impact is big this year – it will be huge next year.

The other excitement for me, as a display geek, this morning, was that Sony used its Crystal LED display as its main display at the press conference. I remember reporting a couple of years ago when the firm switched from projection for the first time to a direct view system. However, the Crystal LED looked, as always, fantastic. During the event, which will be reported in detail in our IBC report, Hans Hoffmann, of the EBU and a frequent contact for us over the last few years, showed a minute or two of content from the EBU’s coverage of the European Athletics Championship. This content was captured and produced in UltraHD and with 100Hz refresh and HDR. It was stunning on the Crystal LED and I am confident that the combination was the best video I have ever seen on a large screen.

The demonstration really showed how the combination of the best of the current available technology, shown on a really good (and I mean really good) LED (micro or mini) can produce a phenomenal image. It was certainly better on the big screen than it would have been if you had seen the same races live at the event as you had the advantage of multiple camera positions and close ups. Of course, the atmosphere and other people is part of a stadium experience, but stadiums will have to add this kind of quality if they want people to keep coming to events.

Sony also announced a 31″ monitor with high colour volume and 1,000,000:1 contrast which, I suspect, is based on the Panasonic dual layer LCD (I’ll confirm it with them when I meet them later today). It looked great, as it should, and as it did when we saw it alongside the Eizo monitor based on the same panel at IBC last year. I said at the time that this was the first time that I had ever seen an LCD that looked better than an OLED. Since then, I have seen the Samsung miniLED backlight prototype in the Innovation Room at CES and that was just the second time.

Anyway, I have lots more to see, but the show has only been officially open for 30 minutes and so with several things learned already, and some stunning images, it makes IBC a lot more interesting to a display geek like me than most of IFA!