IBC Round-up

We’ve been reporting on the 4Ever government-driven project in France since April 2012 when the project was established to test and develop UltraHD technology. The group has been working on HEVC encoding testing and looking at other “better pixel” features including doing some tests of HDR technology for soccer. These could be particularly helpful where part of the stadium is in the sun, while the rest is in the shade. The group has been looking at HFR as well. There is no real problem with capturing at 120Hz or display at 120Hz, but obviously there is a cost to transmission, so the group has been testing whether reducing the transmission frame rate delivers satisfactory results. It has also been testing the effect of HEVC on higher frame rate content and has created test content for that purpose.

ABox42 is a young (2.5 years old) STB maker in Germany. The company was in a very buoyant mood as the firm has done a deal with Deutsche Glasfaser (DG) for FttH boxes. The boxes will support HTML5 and advanced HLS adaptive bitrate streaming. The DG service uses unicasting to deliver 100 SD channels, 50 HD channels and 100 radio channels. HbbTV is supported. At the show were new hybrid boxes with DVB-S2, DVB-T2 and DVB-C connectivity. ABox42 told us that it is interested in providing support for even very small operators and has back end control software as well as client devices. The clients are based on Broadcom chips and at the show was also the X-series which supports UltraHD IPTV.

AirTies of Turkey was promoting its mesh networking technology that is designed to help get good coverage of WiFi around the home, an even bigger challenge now that 802.11ac is rolling out and the company had a booster at the show, the Air 4920, first announced in March. The company expects to announce a major new customer soon, and is expanding in the US. The company is working with SoftAtHome to develop a cost-optimised HEVC STB. The SoftAtHome player handles broadcast, multicast, unicast and adaptive streaming with quick switching from one kind of stream to another. Features include HTML5 support, a WebKit browser, media centre capability and multiscreen re-distribution. The box allows 802.11ac wireless connectivity, operating at 2.4 or 5GHz frequencies.

We commented on CreateLED from Shenzen in our Gitex report last year (Display Monitor Vol 20 No 41). This time, the company was also emphasising its outdoor LED systems which are available in pitches from 6mm to 10mm. The company told us that it uses its own processors to drive the wall and sees broadcast as a potential market, along with rental and retail.

DigitalTVLabs from the UK was talking about its new HbbTV test suites and told us that it can now test MPEG-Dash. It said that a key part of the testing involves setting up typical network shaping and problems such as packet drops etc. The company has also developed DVB test streams for HEVC content being delivered over DVB-T2 and S2 and has been testing using streams from Elemental. Increasingly, clients are wanting “full service” packages from the firm, rather than products.

DuneHD has a reputation for making some of the smallest STBs and dongles. The firm’s HD102 IPTV box is now shipping and it claims that the HD Connect device is the “world’s smallest”. Even though the boxes are small, they have strong functionality and can be configured with full featured middleware. The company says that it is winning business as it is a flexible supplier that can bring products to market fast. It was showing the HEVC-enabled TV-204 which it announced in the Spring of 2014. Samples will be available in Q4 and mass production will start in Q2 2015.

We didn’t spot it while going around the halls, but Eagle Kingdom Technologies (EKT) showed a “Power Plug” style IPTV/OTT STB that simply plugs into a power socket and uses RF4CE for remote control and WiFi and powerline for communication. The box is based on the Entropic DCP5205 which has an Arm Cortex A9 CPU. RDK support is available as well as CAS and DRM solutions. USB PVR and media player functions are supported.

The EBU had a booth and was showing HDR content compared to standard video. It was also showing DVB-DASH, a subset of MPEG-DASH that is optimised for broadcast applications. DVB-DASH is expected to be a big part of the next version of HbbTV.

Etri of Korea had a demonstration in the IBC Future Zone of UltraHD stereo 3D where the left eye content was delivered over a traditional broadcast channel, while the right eye view was transmitted over a mobile-based network. This would mean that a broadcast company could deliver full resolution S3D content without needing to have a dedicated channel at all.

Eutelsat and Cisco were talking about how Eutelsat’s “smartLNB” (a satellite receiver that has a narrowband satellite return channel for short transmissions of IP packets) can be used with Cisco’s Videoscape technology to allow consumers to access live IP streaming and Push Video on Demand services.

Eyevis of Germany was highlighting its new small pitch LED technology which was being shown in 2mm pitch (it’s available from 1.5mm to 2.5mm). The company emphasised to us the mechanical housings of the panels which allow front or back access. Front access helps with space saving and maintainability. The design, like the Microline tiled RP system it sells, has a mechanical design that is intended to allow a range of different configurations including concave and convex shapes.

Eyevis also showed its slim (455mm) 50″ cube which is designed for easy handling, including front or rear access. The projection and electronics unit is modular, so in the event of a problem, the front can be removed and the entire module quickly exchanged. The cubes can be set right against a wall, saving space in typical control room applications. We had a quick look at the 85″ UltraHD monitor which has 100% NTSC colour gamut and has an OPS slot so that it can be fitted with a 3G HD-SDI interface for broadcast applications. Touch is available as an option.

Fransat (France), Freesat (UK), and Tiv