Tag : Delivery

Channel in a box

A single solution that automates the compilation and playout of program, commercial and promotional material to be sent to the transmitter or delivered via any other broadcast medium, such as the internet. As the name implies, the purpose is to provide all the functions needed for placing a program on air in a single ‘personal computer’ box, running standard operating systems. The long term aim was to create a software solution that runs on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, thus providing broadcast performance at a fraction of the usual cost.

At the start, in the 1990s, personal computers had a small fraction of the power they provide today. Initially CiaB users were generally small or start-up TV channels or disaster recovery operations. Some functions, such as graphics and video input and output, had to be handled by special cards within the box. Also working with the many different file types used for delivering the material meant that it was often a challenge to play out the material from the box.

Today, the long-term aim has been reached. Computers can offer the power to handle all the required functions in software, except the basics of video in and out, for multiple channels of HD, if required. CiaB offerings range from simple solutions providing automation and playout of video, channel branding and captions to the most fully featured including rich graphics, comprehensive audio handling including Dolby and insertion of ancillary and signaling data for use downstream by other devices as well as many other features found more traditionally in the broadcast chain.

Also the CiaB customer base has expanded from a small market of low-cost start-ups, which it still serves, to include the mainstream business of serving all sizes and types of broadcasters.

Website: http://www.snellgroup.com/products/channel-in-a-box/ice-family/ice-overview/

D-ILA

Digital Direct Drive Image Light Amplifier. Technology developed by Hughes-JVC for video projection up to large screen size for home theaters. Digital images are displayed by a CMOS chip which has a reflective liquid-crystal surface where electronic signals are directly addressed to the image modulator. The image pixel information is addressed to a matrix of ‘transistor’ cells beneath the liquid crystal which directly responds to voltage level; the gray scale is determined by the voltage set on each pixel. The reflection of the projector lamp light focused on the chip produces an image. The technology has been used up to cinema-screen size and can display 4K resolution.

Deliverables

Deliverables are the TV programs, promotions, advertising and other material that are delivered to broadcasters for distribution on their networks: TV channels, agencies, Web, DVD, mobile phones, etc. The business of making deliverables has hugely expanded with the widening scope of digital media platforms. Today it is a big and complex business.

As industry bodies like the UK’s DPP race ahead with implementation of AS-11 for broadcast TV program delivery, The Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA) has released an update to the MXF Commercial Delivery specification, AS-12.

www.digitalproductionpartnership.co.uk/

Traditionally deliverables have been made by copying from the edited masters of programs, commercials, and any other material ready for transmission. This process involved copying the edited master to the customer’s required video format and recording medium for delivery to the broadcaster or publisher.

In the UK the industry has avoided dealing with a potentially huge selection of formats by the implementation of the DPP (Digital Production Partnership) standard which all users accept. This is an implementation of the AMWA AS-11 format.

Making deliverables can involve treatments such as pan and scan, color grading and standards conversion. If they are for use on mobile phones then different aspect ratios and sizes may apply, requiring processes such as conversion and image re-framing. Some internet video such as the BBC’s iPlayer catch-up service uses a lower frame rate to help reduce the data rate.

To provide the best quality for all users the original material should be produced in the highest required viewing resolution. Also the frame rate should be high enough to work well with the largest required format. For instance the 1080/24P or 25 HD format can be used to make high quality versions for most television formats. This top-down approach preserves quality as the HD image size means any resizing will be downward, making big pictures smaller, rather than up-res’d blow-ups from smaller pictures. For frame-rate conversion, over half a century of running movies on TV has established straightforward ways to fast play 24 f/s material to at 25 f/s and to map it to 60 Hz vertical rates using 3:2 pull-down for television. However, increases in the size and brightness of consumer displays mean that the resulting motion judder is becoming less acceptable, so that more sophisticated frame rate conversion is becoming necessary.

Combinations of fast replay (24 to 25 f/s), 3:2 pull-down, down-res and ARC are applied to output the required image format, vertical rate and aspect ratio. For example, fast play of 1080/24P at 104.16 percent speed produces 1080/25P. Down-res produces 16:9 images in 576 lines and then the 25 progressive frames are read as 50 interlaced frames to create the 576/50I TV format widely used in Europe and the old ‘PAL’ countries. ARC is applied for 4:3 output. Changing from 24P to 60I vertical scans is achieved using 3:2 pull-down. Increasingly, 104.16% fast play is becoming less acceptable because of the audio pitch shift, so people are demanding high quality 24 to 25 frame rate conversion.

Today a majority of movies are produced in the DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) standard for distribution. This is close in size to the UHDTV-1 4K TV standard and can be re-sized to 2K which is only slightly wider than 1080-line HD (2048 against 1920 pixels per line), and the same 1080 lines. However the sampling of TV is 4:2:2 whereas digital cinema uses 4:4:4, meaning that the TV material will not look quite as sharp as the 2K (or 4K!) made-for-movie content. Also TV and cinema use different colorspaces.

Deliverables

But that material may need further editing, for example, a commercial for showing in a different country may require a new soundtrack and text for pricing. There may be censorship issues so shots need adjusting or replacing. Also the growth of digital media platforms means that more work may be required for a wider deliverables market – with escalating numbers of versions required. Some scenes of a digital film master may need re-grading for domestic TV viewing or further processing to fit the bandwidth and screen limitations of mobile viewing.

This type of work may be best undertaken with the finished program in uncommitted form, where the source material and all the tools and their settings are available, so that any part of the program can be re-accessed, changed and the whole program re-output exactly as required for the target medium and without compromising the quality of other deliverables.

See also: Digital Production Partnership, 3:2 Pull-down, ARC, Down-res, Up-res

Digital Cinema

Refers to the digital distribution and projection of cinema material. With virtually all films now using the DI process, the next step is to distribute and replay digital material. Thanks to the DCI’s Digital Cinema System Specification (July 2005), a set of standards is in place and the majority of cinemas worldwide are now converted to digital.

The digital cinema chain includes DCI-compliant equipment for mastering which generally uses JPEG 2000 compression encoding and high strength encryption. At the cinema players and digital projectors include decryption, image decoding and predominantly DLP, D-ILA technologies to display the images and provide consistently high quality viewing on large screens – no matter how many times the movie is shown.

Digital Cinema offers new methods for duplication, high-level security, efficient duplication distribution and greater flexibility. In addition, stereo cinema (a.k.a. 3D) is easy to set up and present using just one projector (not two), along with a left and right eye selective viewing system.

Many digital cinemas can also show live (or recorded) footage originating in HDTV. These presentations typically include live sports, big events and theatrical performances from around the world, creating new markets for cinemas.

See also: DCI, DLP-cinema, D-ILA, SXRD

DLP

(Texas Instruments Inc.) Digital Light Processing is the projection and display technology which uses digital micromirror devices (DMD) as its light modulator. It is a collection of electronic and optical subsystems which enable picture information to be decoded and projected as high-resolution digital color images. DLP technology enables the making of very compact, high brightness projectors. Over 100,000 movie theater screens worldwide use its DLP Cinema technology, and many more DLP-driven systems are used by consumers.

The technology also allows for higher frame rates (beyond 24f/s) and stereo 3D presentations.

See also: DMD

Website: www.dlp.com

DMD

(Texas Instruments Inc.) Digital Micromirror Device. A silicon CMOS integrated circuit used to modulate light in a wide variety of applications. The most common use is in digital projection systems where one or more devices are used to create high quality color images.

The device is a memory circuit whose elements are arranged in a display format array matrix. Each element has a minute square hinged aluminum mirror on its front which can tilt about its diagonal axis. The electrical charge in the memory cell causes the mirror to deflect from one tilt position to the other. By changing the memory data, the mirror can be switched very rapidly (about 15kHz) to create pulses of light whose duration causes the pixel to appear at a particular brightness, so producing the display of gray scales. DMDs are produced at different sizes according to the resolution required. The smallest contains over 500,000 mirrors. Devices for 2K (2048 x 1080) and 4K (4096 x 2160) DCI formats are widely used in digital cinema projectors as well as in home cinemas.

See also: DLP

Website: www.dlp.com

DVB

Digital Video Broadcasting, the group, with over 200 members in 25 countries, which developed the preferred scheme for digital broadcasting in Europe. Initially the DVB Group put together a portfolio of broadcast standards; the major ones including a satellite system, DVB-S, and now the more efficient DVB-S2, a matching cable system, DVB-C (and now DVB-C2), and a digital terrestrial system, DVB-T (and now DVB-T2). DVB-H is a newer broadcast standard designed for terrestrial operation with hand-held devices, typically mobile TVs, phones and tablets where power must be conserved.

DVB-S (1995) is the original DVB forward error coding and modulation standard for satellite television. DVB-S is used for both broadcast network feeds and for direct broadcast satellite services.

DVB-S2 (2003) is used for all new European digital satellite multiplexes, and satellite receivers will be equipped to decode both DVB-S and DVB-S2. Currently its main use is to distribute HDTV. DVB-S2 is based on DVB-S adding two key features: allowing changing encoding parameters in realtime (VCM, Variable Coding and Modulation) and ACM (Adaptive Coding and Modulation) to optimize the transmission parameters for various users for a claimed net performance gain of 30 percent (ie, more data transmitted for more channels).

DVB-T is a transmission scheme for digital terrestrial television (DTT). Its specification was approved by ETSI in February 1997 and DVB-T services started in the UK in autumn 1998.
As with the other DVB standards, MPEG-2 sound and vision coding are used. It uses Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (COFDM) modulation. It enables effective operation in very strong multipath environments (that cause picture ‘ghosting’ in analog TV reception), meaning in can operate an overlapping network of transmitting stations using the same frequency. In the areas of overlap, the weaker received signals are rejected. Where transmitters carry the same programming the overlapping signals provide more reliable reception, known as a single-frequency network (SFN).

DVB-T2 (2009). The DVB TM-T2 technical group worked on a more advanced DTT standard focusing on modulation, channel encryption and signal layout. The resulting DVB-T2 offers a 50 percent increase in payload capacity under similar reception circumstances. Its error correction coding, shared with DVB-S2 and DVB-C2, involves LDPC (Low Density Parity Check) coding combined with BCH (Bose-Chaudhuri-Hocquengham) coding, offering a very robust signal. Along with other changes it is more flexible, supporting SD, HD, UHD, mobile TV, radio, or any combination thereof.

DVB-C (1994) for digital transmission via cable transmits an MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 family digital audio/digital video stream, using a QAM modulation with channel coding.

DVB-C2 (2010) almost doubles the payload so relieving the many cable networks that were running at near capacity.

The DVB digital TV standards are used around the world with notable exceptions being ATSC in the USA and Canada, ISDB in Japan, DMB-T/H (Digital Multimedia Broadcast-Terrestrial/ Handheld) in China, and T-DMB in South Korea.

There are several additional DVB transmission standards that can be found on the website. These include DVB-RCS2 that provides an air interface specification for low-cost two-way satellite broadband VSAT (very small aperture terminal) systems to provide dynamic, demand-assigned transmission capacity for a wide range of users. It provides a broadband Internet connection with no need of local terrestrial infrastructure. Data speeds of several tens of Mb/s down to terminals, and up to 10 Mb/s or more can be achieved.

DVB-CPCM DVB Content Protection and Copy Management is a digital rights management standard which is under development. This is intended as a practical rights management system primarily for European digital television; but other countries may adopt it.

CPCM allows adding information to digital content, such as TV programs, that shows how content may be used by other CPCM-enabled devices. Content providers can store flags with the content to indicate how it may be used. All CPCM-enabled devices should obey these flags, allowing or denying its movement, copying to other CPCM devices, controlling use on other equipment, and observing time limits.

The full technical specification of DVB-CPCM is available for free downloading at the DVB website.

Website: www.dvb.org

See also: COFDM, IP, IP over DVB

Encryption

The process of coding data so that a specific code or key is required to restore the original data. In conditional access broadcasts this is used to make transmissions secure from unauthorized reception and is found on satellite, cable and terrestrial broadcast systems. Encryption and content security are vital to the growth of digital media markets where copies can be perfect clones of the owners’ valuable assets.

HDCP

High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection was designed by Intel to stop any copying of digital video while it is being transported across DVI or HDMI interfaces. This means it eliminates the possibility of intercepting digital data midstream between the source (set-top box, DVD players, etc,) and the display screen. HDCP, which encrypts the digital data, is also used in digital cinema. In all cases it is used to protect all high resolution (HD, UHD and Digital Cinema) content from being copied on the link from player to screen.

See also: HDMI

Website: www.digital-cp.com

IPTV

Internet Protocol Television refers to the use of the IP packetized data transport mechanism for the delivery of streamed realtime (live streaming) and downloaded television signals across a network. This is a huge subject as video accounts for an increasingly large part of internet traffic. Cisco predicts that, excluding video peer-to-peer file sharing, 79 percent of domestic internet traffic will be video by 2018, up from 66 percent in 2013. And that including file sharing, it will take between 80-90 percent of global consumer traffic in 2018.

Website: www.cisco.com

Multiplex (Mux)

Generally describes a collection of communications channels bundles into one transport system. For example, voice and data co-exist on a phone line carrying conversation and Internet access. In digital television ‘a multiplex’ describes a group of video channels multiplexed into single transmission stream occupying the space of one analog terrestrial TV channel. The term ‘Bouquet’ has also been used in this context.

OTT

Over-The-Top (content) refers to video and audio that is delivered over the broadband internet without involving broadcasters of cable, satellite or terrestrial television systems. The provider may be aware of the content but is not responsible for it, or in control of it.

See also: IPTV

Versioning

In today’s multimedia world there is much demand for many version of a finished production. This business has ballooned. Historically versioning involved making copies from the edited and graded master to various videotape formats and, via a standards converter, to other video standards (e.g. NTSC to PAL). Now technical variations involve many more formats being supplied, including Web, mobile, HD and SD TV, DVD and cinema, as well as a variety of display systems including LED, LCD, Plasma and digital cinema. Aside from the technical needs, other requirements such as commercial, language and religious influences are among the many factors that can be causes for more yet versions.

Versioning is big business, as the number of versions can run to many tens and involve much more than simply making copies of the master. For example, work may involve re-grading to suit different viewing conditions, re-insertion of text or images to suit different regions or countries, pricing (for commercials) adding or removing shots or scenes for censoring, etc. Generally, for this to be done efficiently and effectively requires nonlinear editing in an uncommitted environment; where original footage and all the post processes that produced the master are available for recall and allow direct access to further adjustments, to re-make the result in a short time.