Jonathan Try, the vice-president of technology at Amsterdam’s Digital Media Centre, offers up his predictions for the things to look out for at IBC this year.

At the end of last week I saw the first of the IBC ‘refugees’ strolling down the street near my children’s school with suitcases, flight cases, and a piece of paper with directions.

Obviously lost, I tried to find them as soon as I’d seen the children through the school door, but they were nowhere to be seen. I hope they made it to the RAI by now, but it was a bit of a hike!

It’s like this most years as soon as the build up begins. Amsterdam, the city I count as home, starts to fill with people preparing to create IBC, shortly to handover to the teams that man the stands that will almost certainly treat us to more 3D demonstrations than there are visitors.

From the high profile screenings to the humble video connector, I have no doubt that 3D will be mentioned somewhere. But what will cause the bigger headache, I wonder; watching 3D or the debate over which display technology causes the biggest headache?

2D is still important

But while 3D may dominate a lot of the show, even our own demonstration, the reality is that time will be more usefully spent in looking at developments in the world of 2D. With HD channels still in the minority anything that can improve efficiencies and get the cost down for channel owners to move to HD is going to be very relevant.

Also, the increasing demand for VoD on cable or mobile platforms and the huge variety of delivery ‘standards’ means we’ll be looking for more efficient ways to handle the content and metadata conversion and distribution.

The continued push for content to be streamed over the internet or to mobile as a must have add-on for broadcasters will also make any advances in this field very relevant.

Again the competition on cost for the channels and difficulties in establishing new revenue streams means it will be cost-effective solutions that have the most attention. None of us can escape the fact that broadcasting has to be a business that pays its way and the continued focus on the business aspects in the IBC conference is very welcome.

To this end we’ll be looking at most aspects of playout and distribution that allow our clients to increase revenue and reduce costs. From remote playout to reduce distribution cost to commercial insertion to open new markets.

Automated QC to identify possible faults with digital files and complement and increase the focus of human QC will help cope with the ever-increasing volumes of digitally delivered content.

Don’t forget the audio

Putting aside the video for a moment, we can’t lose sight(!) of the audio. Loudness control continues to be topical and the use of surround sound in enhancing the enjoyment of video content is essential. I’ll be looking for ways to expand the systems we use for processing and distributing surround sound.

With the push towards ever more realism in viewing and doing it everywhere, let’s not forget the role of imagination.

Despite the advances in quality, a good story can be told in sound as well as pictures. In the early days of television this was succinctly put by the seven year old boy who famously announced he preferred radio to television ‘because the pictures were better’.  

Bearing this in mind over the next few days may help us keep our feet on the ground.

Digital Media Centre (DMC) is a provider of channel playout services, TV distribution and content delivery across Europe. DMC will be demonstrating remote playout of 3D content in Hall 1, Stand D.39 at IBC (10-14 September).