EBU Unveils QC Criteria

The EBU has published the first release of its QC Criteria (EBU Tech 3363) developed by its Strategic Programme on Quality Control. EBU Tech 3363 is a large collection of QC checks that can be applied to file-based audiovisual content.

Examples include the detection of visual test patterns, loudness level compliance checks, colour gamut verification, looking for image sequences that may trigger epileptic seizures, etc. This collection of QC tests can be seen as a 'shopping list' which media professionals can use to, for example, create their own delivery specifications or establish test protocols for archive transfer projects.

Each QC Criterion in the list features a definition, references, tolerances, and an example, to help users reproduce the same tests with potentially different equipment (e.g. think of a broadcaster who receives material from a wide range of post production houses). Obviously such information can get quite technically detailed.

That is why the EBU group decided to present the overview of QC Criteria in a tabular format, similar to the well-known Periodic Table of chemical elements. Several characteristics support this metaphor, including the concept of specifying the tests as 'atomically' as possible, the fact that some tests posess (much) more complex properties than others and the idea of categorizing them into groups with similar characteristics.

For the EBU QC Criteria these are: audio, video, format/bitstream and metadata/other.

Source: EBU

Interoperability, Digital Rights Management and the Web

We are on the verge of an important inflection point for the Web. In the next few years commercial web video delivery utilizing new, international standards (DASH Media Ecosystem) will become commonplace. These standards will enable cross-platform, interoperable media applications and will transform the media entertainment industry, delight consumers and expand the nature of the Web.

Although all of the standards outlined below are necessary, the most significant change was the introduction of interoperable digital rights management technologies which enable the distribution of digital media on the open web while respecting the rights of content producers.

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A Report on the Impact of Cloud on Broadcast

This white paper has been commissioned by the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) to provide an assessment of the applicability of cloud technology and services to broadcast processes and key media business areas.

Initial Report of the UHDTV Ecosystem Study Group

This report provides an overview of image and audio technology standards and requirements for UHDTV production in the professional broadcast domain. This report represents a SMPTE study primarily focused on real time broadcasting and distribution and is therefore not an exhaustive analysis of UHDTV1 and UHDTV2.

Click here for the report

Source: SMPTE

New DASH-AVC/264 Guidelines Include Support for 1080p Video

Version 2.0 of the DASH-AVC/264 guidelines, with support for 1080p video and multichannel audio, is now publicly available on the DASH Industry Forum (IF) website.

The new guidelines includes several promised extensions, including one on HD video that moves the recommended baseline from 720p to 1080p.

720p had initially been chosen, according to the initial guidelines released in May, as a "tradeoff between content availability, support in existing devices and compression efficiency." At that time, the baseline video support used the Progressive High Profile Level 3.1 decoder and supported up to 1280x720p at 30 fps.

"The choice for HD extensions up to 1920x1080p and 30 fps is H.264 (AVC) Progressive 12 High Profile Level 4.0 decoder," the new guidelines state, adding support for 4.0 decoders that was lacking in the previous set of guidelines.

In addition, the guidelines also provide a way to handle standard definition (SD) content.

"It is recognized that certain clients may only be capable to operate with H.264/AVC Main Profile," the guidelines state. "Therefore content authors may provide and signal a specific subset of DASH-AVC/264 by providing a dedicated interoperability identifier referring to a standard definition presentation. This interoperability point is defined as DASH-AVC/264 SD."

The new guidelines also cover several multichannel audio options.

"The baseline 1.0 version of DASH-AVC/264 only required support for HE-AACv2 stereo," says Will Law, secretary of DASH IF and Chairman of its Promotions Working Group. "Version 2.0 introduces multichannel Dolby, DTS and also Fraunhofer profiles."

Law also says that there will be a number of DASH-AVC demonstrations around the at IBC at Amsterdam's RAI Convention Centre on September 12, 2013. "These demonstrations will show the latest advancements in the DASH workflow, from encoding, through delivery and playback, including 4K video, HEVC and multichannel audio," says Law. "You'll also see HbbTV and multi-screen applications as well as solutions for DASH use in the broadcast world."

These demonstrations will occur at various booths, including Akamai—the company where Law works as a Principal Architect for Media—Ericsson, Haivision, Microsfot, Nagra, and a host of others.

Digital Primates has been hosting a demonstration of a JavaScript version of a DASH-AVC/264 reference player. The dash.js is also being reviewed for the 1.0 release, according to Law, and release is planned just prior to IBC.

The official version will be launched soon at the DASH IF site but until then the Digital Primates demo can be found on their site. The demo requires Chrome or Internet Explorer 11 (IE); PlayReady DRM playback is currently only available with IE for this demo.

As the DASH IF points out, DASH-AVC/264 "does not intend to specify a full end-to-end DRM system" but it does provide a framework for multiple DRMs to protect DASH content.  The guidelines allow the additional of "instructions or Protection System Specific, proprietary information in predetermined locations to DASH content" that has previously been  encrypted with what's generally known as the Common Encryption Scheme (ISO/IEC 23001-7).

By Tim Siglin, StreamingMedia

Telestream Announces Open-Source HEVC Encoder Project

Telestream has announced the public availability of an open source H.265 (HEVC) encoder. The new project aims to create the world’s most efficient, highest quality H.265 codec.

The iniative is being introduced under both an open source and commercial license model and is being managed by co-founder MulticoreWare Inc, Telestream’s development partner.

“Telestream and MulticoreWare have had great success in the acceleration and commercial deployment of x264 and believe that a similar approach with the collaborative development of the next generation of high-efficiency codecs will benefit the industry,” commented Shawn Carnahan, CTO at Telestream. “The x264 project proved the effectiveness of developing a codec of this complexity. Leveraging the x264 technology in this new project will ensure that the new codec is as robust, efficient and high quality as its predecessor.”

Jason Garrett-Glaser, lead developer of the x264 project added: "Previous collaboration between Telestream and MulticoreWare led to successful work on the GPU acceleration of x264, a task deemed by many to be incredibly difficult, if not impossible. With these accomplishments in mind, I am excited to support Telestream in the founding of the x265 project, which follows in the x264 tradition of high performance, quality, and flexibility under an open source license and business model."

Access is free under GNU LGPL licensing, and commercial licenses are available for companies wishing to use the resulting implementation in their products. More information can be found at x265.org, where companies and individuals can contribute to the project.

Source: TVBEurope

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Who is Powering the Rise of Online Video?

A confluence of technologies, evolving business models and changing consumer lifestyles are converging to propel the rise of online video and fundamentally transform TV, advertising and content delivery methods.

Here are the online video ecosystem segments and companies that are giving rise to this transformation.