Taking the lead in the HEVC and 4k revolution


Malcolm Harland TV-Bay Magazine
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There’s probably a good reason that BVE is held in late February — it offers you a few weeks to set your annual plans in place. Then, once you’ve decided on the opportunities you want to take advantage of and improvements you want to make, you have a chance to visit this massive exhibition to see the latest technological innovations that will help to bring your plans to fruition.

If you haven’t already started to look at how best to put HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) and 4K to work for you, then 2018 is the year to do so. This year, HEVC will establish itself as the new codec; it’s being adopted by iOS devices and broadcasters are introducing it on their latest set top boxes. Now’s the time to embrace the many benefits it offers to your video streaming needs, such as better quality, lower data rates, more reliability, and higher compression.

As the year’s budget is set at your organisation, you’re probably finding yourself either having to maintain or reduce costs, or find ways to increase revenues. Moving to HEVC offers you either option, without compromise.

At Garland, we’ve been helping leading UK broadcasters and content providers to use HEVC to provide 4K UHD live video for football, motorsport and music event coverage. They’re now producing a wider range of 4K UHD content due to lower acquisition costs. For fans this means the chance to see more of what they want, which in turn increases the value they perceive in their subscription. We’re proud to work with Sky Sports who chose NTT Electronic's HC11000 contribution encoders and decoders in Sky’s bid to be the first-to-market with end-to-end HEVC 4K UHD delivery on its sports platform last summer, and who continue to work with us on their platform.

Consumers are excited by the 4K UHD-receiving devices available to them. You only have to spend a few minutes in a shop selling 4K UHD televisions or smartphones to see how mesmerised people are by the sharper, colour-rich images on display. The only thing holding some of them back from investing in the devices: a lack of 4K UHD content from mainstream broadcasters. But that’s changing quickly. Broadcasters are taking action now to maintain and increase viewership against the new age of content providers, such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon, who are producing their own original content in 4K UHD.

Sports content in 4K UHD is 2018’s must-have for fans. It’s arguably the area where traditional broadcasters will have no choice but to step up to meet demand or risk losing out to those willing to supply this quality content. It will be difficult to play catch-up after the fact.

FIFA will be producing all 64 matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia in 4K UHD. Such a high-profile, global offering will give the format the push it needs for wide-spread acceptance, moving it from a nice-to-have to a must-have. Sports fans everywhere are bound to start upgrading their own devices as the excitement builds.
So, how do you stay at the forefront of this new technology without risking an investment in something that won’t simply fall flat? Can you even afford to consider this?

It would be a bit smug to answer, “Can you afford not to?” While there is truth to this retort, at Garland, we understand the monetary and resource risks here. That’s why we’ve been working to find ways to make the risks more manageable by offering a variety of technology solutions that cover a range of budgets and needs.

We also know that there is nothing quite as idea-generating as having a chance to test-drive a technology solution. While you can try to sit around a meeting room brainstorming, using a product is the best way to discover the performance, monetisation or cost-saving opportunities in a highly tangible and interactive way. It’s one of the reasons we’ve been leaders in promoting new technology by allowing our customers to demo or rent these new solutions before committing to buy.

So, when you’re visiting BVE, be sure to ask if the solutions you’re seeing are going to help you provide better quality, add more content, or lower your operating costs by making the best use of the benefits of HEVC and 4K. Watch out for innovators such as LiveU, NTT, Media Excel and BWS who are way ahead of the game. LiveU’s LU600 HEVC portable transmission unit now supports HD and 4K UHD formats for the widest possible flexibility for live event coverage. NTT are established in production with hardware-based 1RU 4K UHD HEVC contribution platforms with a number of key deployments in Tier 1 broadcasters. Media Excel have both hardware and software upgrades to their class-leading HERO multiscreen transcoders and multichannel contribution codecs. At BVE, also take a look at the BWS ‘Sapphire’ encoder and decoder, which will be a new ‘jewel’ in the Garland crown.

The good news is there’s still time to build HEVC and 4K into your 2018 plans. You have choices … and the choice is yours.

Malcolm Harland, a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Garland, has been providing professional and profitable digital video solutions almost 15 years.


Tags: iss129 | garland | hevc | liveu | hc11000 | media excel | ntt | bws | lu600 | Malcolm Harland
Contributing Author Malcolm Harland

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