Interview with Wendy Aylsworth

If you want to get a feeling for how the transition to digital, networked entertainment is progressing in Hollywood, a talk with Wendy Aylsworth is a great place to start. The vice president of engineering for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers has spent much of this year retooling SMPTE for the new realities of digital media. In an interview at the annual SMPTE Technical Conference here, Aylsworth provided an update on the latest changes:

In addition to its traditional film and TV groups, SMPTE has created a new standing committee focused on technical issues related to digital media on broadband networks. The so-called Broadband B23 group met for the first time on October 27. Almost 100 people attended, many of them from companies new to SMPTE.

The group will define standard ways to package and organize digital media distributed over any network. It may also address content protection issues. The new SMPTE structure also includes groups focused on infrastructure areas such as network facilities, metadata and file structures.

"The old structure didn't allow us to take advantage of the concept of digital delivery and distribution," Aylsworth told the roughly 200 attendees here.

"It didn't support any models other than movies and TV. It didn't cover DVD, Internet or satellite," she said. "We were in two silos and it was constricting."

Separately, SMPTE launched a task force in August to explore standards for 3DTV. It drew as many as 100 people, a sign of the high level of interest in creating a home market for a growing pipeline of stereo 3-D movies.

"Generally a task force for us involves ten or twenty people," Aylsworth said.

By Rick Merritt, EE Times