Articles
State of the Nation - January 2019
Dick Hobbs - new I’m writing these thoughts on the morning of 20 December. From my desk in Tunbridge Wells I am normally gently aware of air traffic at five thousand feet, lining up to land at Gatwick Airport. Today it is silent: since 9.00 last night some idiot has been flying drones across the runway.
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation - November 2018
Dick Hobbs - new There is an interesting seminar called Size Matters at the KitPlus Show – organised by the publishers of this fine magazine – at MediaCityUK in Salford on 6 November. It’s a talk by cinematographer Alistair Chapman on the way that camera technology is changing, and in particular the size of the electronic device which creates the image is growing.
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The Pace of Change
Dick Hobbs - new

The youngest human to stand on the moon (so far) was Charles Moss, the lunar module pilot of Apollo 16. Charlie had a wonderful claim: his father witnessed the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, and lived to see his son on the moon.

Does anything capture the speed of technological advance better than that? The whole of the history of powered flight in one lifetime.

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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new

I am writing this in the middle of a record-breaking heatwave in southern England. Yet it is time to be thinking about the mists and mellow fruitfulness of autumn, or at least the predictably damp and chilly Amsterdam when IBC hits town.

What will be the hot talking points of IBC this year? I am not in a position to talk about what the big vendors will be showing: I have so far received just the one preview press release (take a bow, Calrec).

Tags: iss132 | ibc | ibm | watson | ai | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Artificial Intelligence and Economics
Dick Hobbs - new It’s May, so it seems inevitable that this month’s column should be a bit of a reflection on NAB. And it will, in due course. But first, some news which I think is interesting. Cisco, the IT giant, is selling off its video software solutions business. It is being bought by an as-yet unnamed new company, backed by venture capitalist Permira Funds.
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new

On the most recent occasion I was trimmed, my hairdresser had just returned from a holiday in Hawaii.

Where she thought she was going to die. She thought this because the state’s emergency alert system was triggered, sending messages across all available platforms, for 38 minutes, that a ballistic missile was about to strike. That, I suspect, is the sort of thing that casts a pall across your holiday.

Why did it happen? Essentially it happened because an operator selected the wrong menu item. “I feel very badly from what’s happened,” he is quoted as saying, in a somewhat mangled version of English which may at least in part explain his difficulties with menu items.

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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new This morning I was eating my healthy muesli and idly listening to Radio 4 when someone came on who claimed to be from the Oxford University Computational Propaganda Project.
Tags: iss129 | fake news | facebook | tv globo | amagi | robot | ai | artificial intelligence | Dick Hobbs - new
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State of the Nation - Telling Imaginary Stories
Dick Hobbs - new In mid-October, Nokia issued a press release from its headquarters in Finland, announcing a refocusing of its business, with a growing emphasis on digital health. Read on a few paragraphs, though, and you find this statement....
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State of the Nation - part 2
Dick Hobbs - new This is, of course, the IBC issue of this splendid magazine. Much of the rest of its pages are filled with what you will see there, or (in some cases) what vendors and their marketing communications agencies want you to see there.
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State of the Nation - part 1
Dick Hobbs - new Imagine you are the director of the Champions League Final, knowing that 200 million people will be watching your every decision. Or you're directing the Eurovision Song Contest. Or even, to be honest, the Tunbridge Wells local news opt out. And at live minus 30 seconds, all the screens in the monitor wall suddenly go black then show a demand, in broken English, for 300 Bitcoin.
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Misinterpreting complexity for sophistication
Dick Hobbs - new Professor Niklaus Wirth was one of the pioneers of computing as we know it. He was responsible for the Pascal language, a project he completed in 1970. Wirth became professor of computing studies at ETH-Zrich, and retired in 1999, although he remains active to this day.
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Dick brings out his cutting room scales
Dick Hobbs - new At this time of year, in the run-up to NAB, my in-box is even more filled than usual with press releases craving my attention. It is one of the universal truths so unloved by PR people that the sheer weight of numbers threatens to overwhelm.
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Driving the Bandwidth Conundrum
Dick Hobbs - new At the time of writing, there is a story on the IBC website with the headline "In five years the problem won't be bandwidth, but knowing what to do with it". That seemed to me to be an interesting assertion, so I read on.
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Dick Hobbs is counting heads
Dick Hobbs. Now I am absolutely not going to get into politics in this column. But as I wrote last month, I am a bit concerned about truth and honesty. As I am sure we all are.
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Dick finds the truth out there
Dick Hobbs. The Oxford English Dictionary has determined that its word of the year for 2016 was "post-truth". We'll skip over the fact that it is, clearly, two words.
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Health and Safety gone mad
Dick Hobbs. The first true broadcast television service started 80 years ago, on 2 November, 1936. Its home, famously, was Alexandra Palace, a vast and really rather run-down building on top of Muswell Hill in north London. Originally opened in 1873, and re-opened in 1875 after a catastrophic fire, it was built primarily as an entertainment venue. Indeed, it was built as "a palace of the people", a usage of that expression a century or more before most of us associate it.
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Hacking Hell
Dick Hobbs. There was a really scary story in the news a week or two ago. In the words of Yves Bigot, director-general of TV5 Monde, "we were a couple of hours from having the whole station gone for good".
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Dick looks at the faster future
Dick Hobbs. I really enjoyed IBC this year. The fact that I barely set foot on the show floor is, of course, entirely coincidental, and I should take this opportunity to apologise to all those people I did not see in Amsterdam.
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Dick puts it all together
Dick Hobbs. Many of you will be reading this as you prepare for IBC. Some may even be reading it on the train/plane/ship to Amsterdam. I want to take a couple of minutes of your time to look at a last minute addition to IBC. It concerns IP, but trust me: this is good news so please do not stop reading just yet.
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Realising the ideal
Dick Hobbs. On 26 July 1916 there was a public meeting in New York. It was called by a group led by Charles Francis Jenkins (and more on him in a moment). But the guest speaker was Henry D Hubbard, at the time the secretary of the US National Bureau of Standards. This is some of what he said:
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Up in the air with Dick
Dick Hobbs. In the last issue of this magazine was a very interesting article by Lee Sheppard of SGL, talking about the pros and cons of archiving in the cloud. While there is a lot of conversation about cloud storage, its pluses and minuses, I have to confess to still being slightly confused about the practicalities and economics of it. So armed only with Google and the calculator on my iPhone I set about some back of envelope thoughts.
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Girl Power
Dick Hobbs. This month I was going to write about something important about the future technological platforms of our industry. It would have been incisive, enlightening and enriching. It really would have been.
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Sin City
Dick Hobbs. I am writing this is the immediate aftermath of yet another NAB. For me that means a week of walking around,talking to a wide variety of people and taking the temperature of the industry.
Tags: iss113 | NAB 2016 | 4k | HDR | Oculus Rift | Heath Robinson | Nokia | dick hobbs | Dick Hobbs.
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Building Blocks
Dick Hobbs. That is the MIT Media Lab saying, in a typically American academic way, that they want to help producers make better content. That is what you find if you Google "object-based broadcasting".
Tags: iss112 | lego | MIT | dick hobbs | Dick Hobbs.
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Getting real with virtual
Dick Hobbs. It's only February (or it is when I am typing this) but already we are suffering from exhibition overload. I did not go to Mobile World Congress, having no real desire to be mugged in Barcelona. But I did look in at BVE somewhere near London where a conversation with an exhibitor and old friend set me thinking. And perhaps wishing I was at Mobile World Congress.
Tags: iss111 | google cardboard | virtual reality | dick hobbs | Dick Hobbs.
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Highly Experienced
Dick Hobbs. I was recently asked to write an article on quality of experience in video streaming. Obviously the first thing I did was ask Saint Google to find me recent research on the subject.
Tags: iss110 | streaming | bt | broadband | professor pitts | dick hobbs | Dick Hobbs.
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Taking aim
Dick Hobbs. We have a lot to look forward to this year. In Europe we are likely to find huge amusement in the American presidential election which this year seems to be throwing up an unprecedented set of clowns. In midsummer we have the Olympics in Rio, which should be quite a carnival.
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Dear Santa
Dick Hobbs. My Christmas list this year is very modest. I really do hope that my naughty:nice ratio has been appropriate and you will be able to get at least some of these down my chimney.
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Still looking good
Dick Hobbs. The television industry is in crisis, as we all know. Experts everywhere are telling us that consumers want content on demand, wherever they are. Online and mobile platforms will mean the end of the broadcaster and the channel as a brand.
Tags: iss107 | television industry | content | on demand | stats | figures | audience | advertiser | dick hobbs | Dick Hobbs.
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
A brief history of time
Dick Hobbs. And another IBC is written into the annals of history. Another week in Amsterdam, sharing knowledge and experience. Say what you like about IBC: it is a great chance to meet, talk and learn.
Tags: iss106 | ibc 2015 | television | time | delay | live | ip signal | dick hobbs | Dick Hobbs.
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Hold up the weather
Dick Hobbs. Its no go my honey love, its no go my poppet. Work your hands from day to day, the winds will blow the profit. The glass is falling hour by hour, the glass will fall for ever, But if you break the bloody glass, you wont hold up the weather.
Tags: iss105 | weather forecast | met office | bbc | television | Dick Hobbs.
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Chasing ratings
Dick Hobbs. As everyone is no doubt aware, the BBCs core structures are being investigated at the moment as part of the renewal of its charter. The political bodies set up to do this are made up largely of anti-BBC people, so we are in for interesting times.
Tags: iss104 | bbc | programme | producer | audience | ratings | market research | dick hobbs | Dick Hobbs.
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Back to the future
Dick Hobbs. I was recently talking to the estimable James Gilbert, who runs the equally estimable graphics and automation specialist Pixel Power. He said something that made me think. We were talking about scalability, and he said that it works in two directions. There is the sort of scalability that we all readily understand, and which is so beloved of marketing copywriters.
Tags: iss103 | iwatch | apple | technology | ultra hd | las vegas | Dick Hobbs.
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Those pesky scientists
Dick Hobbs. This month's picture is of something I was given on a visit to the Grass Valley camera factory in Breda, maybe 10 years ago. I think it is a thing of beauty, which is why it sits in pride of place on top of the wine cabinet.
Tags: iss102 | 4k | future | hd system camera | grass valley | dick hobbs | Dick Hobbs.
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
A box of delights
Dick Hobbs. In the immediate aftermath of NAB and its bombardment by new gizmos, I want to talk about Professor Noriaki Kano. In the 1980s, at the Tokyo University of Science, he came up with a simple model of product design for customer satisfaction.
Tags: iss101 | nab | science | diagram | product | baseline expectation | linear satisfiers | the delighters | Dick Hobbs.
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
What a difference a decade makes
Dick Hobbs. If you have got to the back of this magazine, you cannot fail to have noticed that it is issue number 100. I asked Simon Tillyer and Matt Robbins, the dynamic duo behind the publication, how it all started.
Tags: iss100 | decade | look back | NAB | 2005 | modulus video | xdcam | broadcasting | leitch | dick hobbs | Dick Hobbs.
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Tune in and turn on
Dick Hobbs. It was World Radio Day last month. Friday the thirteenth, to be precise, but I do not think the date was chosen with disaster in mind
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Bring up the bodies
Dick Hobbs. If you have even once turned on BBC television in the last couple of months, you could not fail to learn that the big blockbuster drama this winter is Wolf Hall, a television adaptation of Hilary Mantel's two-thirds complete trilogy about the Tudors, and Thomas Cromwell in particular.
Tags: iss098 | wolf hall | hilary mantel | tudor | lighting | candlelight | twitter | reaction | dick hobbs | Dick Hobbs.
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Time out
Dick Hobbs. Charles Holland Duell, United States Commissioner of Patents from 1898 to 1901, is supposed to have said "Everything that can be invented has been invented". It is pretty certain that this is a completely apocryphal story, of course, but it sticks in the memory.
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
BAH! Humbug
Dick Hobbs. Yes, its that time of year again. When, if you are a commercial broadcaster, you start coining it in with the Christmas commercials.
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Keeping up standards
Dick Hobbs. Keeping up standards with Dick Hobbs
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Exposed to ideas
Dick Hobbs. I did not get the chance to attend much of the IBC conference this year. But I did make sure I was there for the interview with Professor Brian Cox, which was excellent.
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Swiss Role
Dick Hobbs. More from the Cutting Room and Dick Hobbs
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Is bingeing the new black?
Dick Hobbs. Dick Hobbs and binge viewing
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Is the future virtual
Dick Hobbs. Dick Hobbs asks if the future is virtual
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Changing expectations
Dick Hobbs. Dick Hobbs talks about future expectaions
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Head in the cloud
Dick Hobbs. Dick Hobbs has his head in the cloud
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Whats in a name
Dick Hobbs. Dick Hobbs broods over branding
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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Dick Hobbs reaches for the remote
Dick Hobbs. Dick talks about the BBC's remote production and coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics
Tags: iss087 | BBC | BBC Sport | Sochi | Winter Olympics | Trolley | Remote Production | Dick Hobbs.
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
Dick Hobbs is Counting Pixels
Dick Hobbs. At the start of each year you hear the sound and fury as the technology correspondents of broadcasters and the popular press head off to Las Vegas for CES, the annual exhibition of the Consumer Electronics Association.
Tags: iss086 | Dick Hobbs | Las Vegas | CES | Consumer Electronics Assiosiation | 4k | pixels | Dick Hobbs.
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs. Click to read
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