Broadcasters in the Asian region are keenly investigating live 8k digital terrestrial and satellite video transmission, immersive video and audio technologies including 3D-TV, AR and VR, and AI in applications ranging from colour correction to sports analytics. Those were some of the highlights presented at the Asian Broadcasting Union (ABU) Technical Committee conference, hosted by NHK in Tokio, 18-19 November.

The EBU maintains a continuous exchange with the ABU, monitoring media technology trends in the Asian region and working towards alignment of key technology standards.

One of the decisions taken by the ABU TC at its annual conference was the adoption of a Recommendation on ‘Media Nodes for Live IP’ – a document originated in the EBU and calling on vendors of IP-based production equipment to implement a defined list of interoperability features. 

Olympics in UHDTV

The conference discussed current and near-future topics such as UHDTV with 8k resolution, personalization, big data, artificial intelligence, and the ongoing spectrum negotiations at WRC-19. The ABU also mounted demonstrations of its work on topics such as cybersecurity for IoT (Internet of Things) devices, convergent technologies in broadcast, broadband and OTT, and UHDTV/8k broadcast via DTT and satellite.

The 2020 Summer Olympics event in Tokio was a recurring theme in many presentations, as a case in point of UHDTV now being on the cusp of becoming mainstream in larger parts of the region. Japanese public service broadcaster is NHK mounting the first full UHDTV coverage of the global sporting event, capitalizing on experience gathered with its work on UHDTV technologies such as 8k and immersive audio. 
The transition to UHDTV services was also the focus of several demonstrations by ABU member states, such as Korea, China and others. 

Visions for the next decade

The conference’s technologies showrooms were filled with innovations by NHK STRL, the NHK R&D Lab, and other companies. NHK showcased elements of its media technology vision for 2030, arranged around the concept of a comprehensive media experience dubbed ‘Diverse Vision’ that incorporates 3DTV, AR, VR and personalization.
On show were 8k VR demonstrations, the world’s first flexible 4k OLED display, immersive sound, synchronised AR content offers, 3D displays, live 8k Digital Terrestrial and Satellite transmission, AI sport analytics, AI tools for colour correction, language services, an 8k Moon landing content library, a mobile film scanning unit, a public-facing open archive solution, and more.

Collaboration for the future

The conference also took cues from Europe and the US: providing an update on European activities, EBU Technology & Innovation’s Dr Hans Hoffmann presented EBU work such as on 5G and the 5G Media Action Group (5G-MAG), as well as an overview of SMPTE’s future strategies and broadcaster involvement. The BBC’s Lindsay Cornell presented on the UK broadcaster’s 5G broadcast trials for rural areas, and BBC World’s Nigel Fry joined a panel of experts discussing the future of linear television. 

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