UHD September - Page 20

4k2408_4k 01/09/2015 12:01 Page 2 bandwidth; will a major sports event or the debut of a major new drama season see networks inevitably falter? “The problem is often at ‘ISP border crossings’ we know Netflix has limited 4k to 15Mb not because of the end users constriction. That’s why we have developed a proprietary protocol for end-to-end systems for OTT because when you hand off to partners you need to sync everything to guarantee user experience,” says Mikeladze. “The solution is the distribution of the streaming service. Even in sophisticated markets, we are seeing the where MPEG4 is the norm, for example, might find it most difficult because developing nations can leapfrog – in developing nations it is not as fragmented in terms of distribution and there is less separation between content and delivery,” says Trow. UHD displays will deliver a cinema quality image to the home so the scope is there, just as in cinema, for users with pro-sumer 4k camcorders to record it and re-distribute it. Is there anything the content owner or distributor can do about it? “You will not be able to stop it,” says Burghard, “it’s like the tides in the ocean. You cannot control it but you can manage it. And already some like HBO have said a level of piracy is a good marketing tool, the example they used was Game of Thrones, but above a certain level it is very damaging – so when the whole series five of Game of Thrones was leaked that was very bad. Our view is that it is not just a technology approach – you can work on CA and DRM – but it is also the distribution of CDNs more than ever before, so in the UK, for example, there will be 60 POPs. To manage bottlenecks you have to get as close to the customer as possible and then combine that with dynamic bit rate solutions etc, but in the end delivering high quality demands high bandwidth that’s a law of physics,” states Brolin. “Certainly bandwidth at the moment is well suited to HD and there have been some unflattering comparisons of 4k and HD over the same access. The challenge for compression vendors is to get the bit rate down through HEVC to a level where the budget actually makes sense for a broadcaster to transition. And that means not just for premium VoD but with multi-screen functionality and features like targeted advertising etc available,” says Trow. How will the different markets for UHD evolve over the next couple of years? “We talk to the whole ecosystem,” declares Burghard. “They all say they will get there but in different phases. In India Tata Sky is already launching its channel. In Europe Sky has committed and in the US Comcast will launch Xfinity in UHD. In LatAm the likes of Globo will also adopt quickly as they have control end to end. So, the technology is difficult and UHD’s first forum will be VoD but broadcast will be there two or three years later.” “Curiously the more developed markets intelligence you generate, and takedown notices etc.” “Game of Thrones is a good example,” agrees Trow. “Piracy was always seen as an end distribution problem but as was seen there you can completely collapse the value chain by getting hold of a 4k master by breaching the internal security of the network.” “Yes, it’s about securing the whole value chain,” says Burghard, “as soon as the content exists you need to put your protection mechanisms in place at the server side in the earliest versions and then track it over the whole lifecycle of that content.” What about 8k, is 4k a near-obsolete stepping stone? “I suppose it could be if the standards bodies don’t get their act together – but 4k is a good match for the content being produced and for the size of living room most people watch in,” comments Trow. “In five or ten years, yes it will be 8k and then eventually 16k, of course.... may be. But for at least five years it will be only 4k,” predicts Mikeladze. “I don’t believe in waiting,” declares Brolin, “as these improvements in quality will bring innovations in terms of ways to use it that we don’t know yet. So, get this out and see what the consequences are and I’m sure there will be 8k in a couple of years. ” “We had millions of YX\