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PREDICTING THE FUTURE OF BROADCASTING Philip Laven Director, Technical Department European Broadcasting Union ACTS Concertation Meeting, Brussels 24 November.

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Presentation on theme: "PREDICTING THE FUTURE OF BROADCASTING Philip Laven Director, Technical Department European Broadcasting Union ACTS Concertation Meeting, Brussels 24 November."— Presentation transcript:


2 PREDICTING THE FUTURE OF BROADCASTING Philip Laven Director, Technical Department European Broadcasting Union ACTS Concertation Meeting, Brussels 24 November 1998

3 TECHNOLOGY IS ACCELERATING Music TV Radio 78 rpm record LP record stereo LP CD Mini-Disc DAT TV colour TV teletext NICAM Satellite TV PALplus AM radio FM radio FM stereo DAB audio cassette DVB Dates of introduction (approximate) VCR DCC

4 CONVERGENCE Broadcasters “Internet” services Internet Broadcast delivery or DIVERGENCE?

5 COMPETING DELIVERY SYSTEMS There will be numerous competing delivery mechanisms Success in the consumer market will depend on: –the range of features –ease of use –cost of equipment –cost of use –content (quantity and quality) Attractive content is the most important factor in the success of any multimedia product

6 BROADCASTING ADVANTAGES delivers high quality video & audio services simultaneously to millions of users huge installed base of receivers portable and mobile use, especially for radio easy to use, cheap hardware DISADVANTAGES spectrum scarcity has limited the number of broadcasters (but this problem will be eased by the introduction of digital broadcasting) little opportunity for interactivity

7 EVEN MORE BROADCASTING Digital technology will result in an explosive growth in the number of broadcast services –free-to-air –subscription –near-video-on-demand –pay-per-view Europe is moving to digital broadcasting: –DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) –DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting)


9 OVER-AIR BROADCASTS TO PCs Broadcasters Broadcast delivery

10 OVER-AIR BROADCASTS TO PCs Some PCs are fitted with TV cards to permit reception of analogue TV broadcasts This feature will become more common: – “50% of PCs sold in the USA in the year 2000 will be capable of receiving digital TV broadcasts” (Microsoft/Compaq/Intel prediction - June 1997) This represents an expanding market for normal broadcast TV services (analogue & digital) It could also permit important new forms of broadcast multimedia services, using the processing power and storage capability of PCs

11 TV ACCESS TO THE INTERNET Broadcasters “Internet” services Internet Broadcast delivery

12 TV ACCESS TO THE INTERNET A special set-top box (e.g. WebTV) can give access to the Web on a standard TV set Web pages must be magnified and re-formatted to ensure legibility on the TV screen: –many graphics cannot be accurately displayed –only part of page is visible without scrolling Advantages: –ease of use and low cost – (if you buy an optional keyboard) Disadvantages –“poor person’s Internet” with limited capability

13 SEPARATE WORLDS? Broadcasters “Internet” services Internet Broadcast delivery

14 INTERNET ADVANTAGES offers interactive multimedia services, including reasonable quality audio two-way communication enables a multiplicity of content providers world-wide network, apparently “free” to users DISADVANTAGES expensive equipment is needed, currently limited to <10% of European homes it suffers from severe congestion it cannot yet offer video services of useful quality it can be difficult to use

15 Computer enthusiasts praise “intuitive” GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) Undoubtedly, GUIs are a great advance on the MS-DOS prompt …. C:\> But there is still a long way to go In Windows 95, when you want to STOP using the computer, you must click on INTUITIVE INTERFACES? Above all, the next generation of home terminals must be easy to use

16 PREDICTIONS …... Internal memo, Western Union, 1876 This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value for us. HM Warner, Warner Bros, 1927 "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” INCUMBENTS BEWARE! Some broadcasters think that the Internet has nothing to do with broadcasting!

17 REPLACEMENT TECHNOLOGIES Nevertheless, we would be equally foolish to believe that all new technologies will automatically replace all old technologies –Radio broadcasting has not been replaced by television –The cinema has not been replaced by television or by video-cassettes –In fact, both radio and the cinema have gone from strength to strength – despite intense competition from the newer technologies

18 IN THE BEGINNING.... Only 3 years ago, streaming audio arrived on the Internet in the form of RealAudio ® 1.0 It claimed to offer “AM quality” sound, but the quality was very poor and variable At that time, most broadcasters felt that “audio over the Internet” was neither a threat nor an opportunity - one said: –“listeners used to FM and CDs will not tolerate the poor quality offered by the Internet”

19 EVOLUTION OF STREAMING AUDIO Audio quality is now much improved because of: –new algorithms for audio compression and for handling of transmission errors –14.4 kbit/s modems being superseded by 28.8, 33.6 or, even, 56 kbit/s modems More than 40 million copies of RealAudio software have been downloaded over the Internet

20 DOES IT MAKE SENSE? Does audio broadcasting via the Internet make sense for broadcasters or for listeners? Although there are millions of potential listeners on the Internet, typical audio servers can support only simultaneous listeners Would you spend $80,000 on a new radio transmitter to serve 200 people? The Internet can offer audio-on-demand services, in addition to re-broadcasting of radio services However, there is a copyright problem because of the global nature of the Internet

21 Low bit rates are possible through reduction of: –picture size –quality (resolution, colour fidelity, S/N, etc.) –number of frames per second Video over the Internet uses all these techniques –typically 1/16 of full screen –poor image quality –poor portrayal of motion High quality, full-screen, full-motion video requires high bit rates VIDEO OVER THE INTERNET © NASA

22 DIGITAL COMPRESSION MPEG-1 compression at 100 kbit/s gives poor picture quality: –even when used at 240 x 160 pixels (~10% of full screen) –even at 6 frames per second (25% of original) Much better algorithms will become available in the next 5 years: –0.5 Mbit/s will give reasonable quality –but 2 Mbit/s will remain a difficult target for full-screen high quality video on ALL types of source material

23 BROADCASTING VIA THE INTERNET Many broadcasters already use the Web to offer: –programme-related information –audio services (quality now OK) –video services (quality unacceptable) Some of Europe’s most popular web sites are operated by broadcasters Broadcasters are attracted by the global reach of the Internet: –real benefits for international broadcasters –even little stations can be “global” players –listeners can hear their favourite radio station wherever they are

24 ECONOMICS OF THE WEB There is no clear “business model” Almost all web sites lose lots of money –they generate little or no income –large web sites are expensive to develop and to keep up-to-date You may become a “victim of your own success” –if your web site becomes very successful, you will have to pay for more hardware (e.g. servers) and for greater bandwidth

25 MICRO-TRANSACTIONS The Web will be transformed by “e-commerce” which will allow secure on-line transactions At present, handling charges (e.g. on credit cards) outweigh the cost of many services Future developments will permit low cost “micro-transactions” Content providers will be able to charge users, for example: –$0.01 per each page viewed –$0.10 per hour of audio-on-demand –$3.00 per hour of video-on-demand

26 FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS The Internet will undoubtedly develop to offer a wide range of enhanced services, including good quality video and audio However, unlike broadcasting, the Internet: –is not well suited to simultaneous delivery of programme material to large audiences –cannot offer interactive services to mobiles and portables (without consuming huge amounts of the radio spectrum)

27 GROWTH OF THE INTERNET Take-off around 1995? Source: Network Wizards ( Every washing machine will have an Internet address!

28 GROWTH OF THE INTERNET Source: Network Wizards ( Factor of 2 every 12 months

29 INTERNET PENETRATION Iceland Source: Nua Ltd. ( Finland Norway Sweden Denmark

30 BROADCASTING & THE INTERNET The Internet will become very important for broadcasters as a new delivery mechanism: –for broadcast services –for on-demand services –for international audiences

31 MY PREDICTION.... Within 10 years, 50% of homes in Western Europe will be connected to the Internet –most will also be able to receive on-demand video services – even if the quality does not quite meet the goal of “broadcast quality” Is this prediction wildly optimistic? If true, it implies that the remaining 50% would still be dependent on traditional broadcasting Broadcasting will remain ubiquitous (~ 100%)

32 BROADCAST DELIVERY OF INTERNET Broadcasters “Internet” services Internet Broadcast delivery

33 BROADCAST DELIVERY OF INTERNET In the USA, some broadcasters transmit Web pages on spare capacity on analogue TV services –In Europe, this spare capacity has already been used for teletext Due to the limited capacity, the service includes a limited number of pages (e.g. 100) selected from popular Web sites Pre-selection of Web pages limits the usefulness of this service compared with full Internet access Better services could be included on digital TV or DAB services, where more capacity will be available, or on dedicated DVB channels

34 INTERACTIVE BROADCAST SERVICES Some operators dedicate a DVB satellite channel to deliver Internet content at Mbit/s, using telephones as a return channel Such services offer full interactivity with download speeds of “up to 0.5 Mbit/s” per user However, this implies a maximum of 80 simultaneous users across the entire footprint of the satellite (typically the whole of Europe)

35 PUSH TECHNOLOGY “Push” services (e.g. Pointcast) delivered over the Internet allow users to specify their interests: –news items about specific subjects –share prices for a particular company –a football team –weather in certain cities The user’s computer periodically checks if any relevant new information is available, and downloads it for display

36 PUSH = BROADCASTING? “Push” technology is: –similar to broadcasting in that many users receive the same information (almost) simultaneously –different from broadcasting in that users only receive their “narrowcast” information Works poorly with “dial-up” connections to the Internet, but works well with “persistent” connections (or broadcast delivery) Storage at the receiving terminal is essential

37 PRICE TRENDS Factor of 2 in 18 months Factor of 2 in 12 months Random-access memory Hard disks

38 MOORE’S LAW Moore’s Law predicts that price will reduce OR performance will improve by a factor of 2 every 18 months A factor of 2 every 18 months is equivalent to: –a factor of 10 every 5 years –a factor of 100 every 10 years These sustained long-term trends are responsible for transforming the computer industry Moore’s Law can be applied to a wide range of electronic components - not just silicon devices

39 STORAGE WILL BE VERY CHEAP Storage is unusual in radios and TVs, mainly because of cost constraints RAM: –US $2 per MB today –US $0.20 per MB in 5 years –US $0.02 per MB in 10 years Hard discs: –US $35 per GB today –US $3.50 per GB in 5 years –US $0.35 per GB in 10 years

40 DIGITAL AUDIO BROADCASTING (DAB) The data capacity of a DAB channel is 1.2 Mbit/s, but < 20% will be available for non-audio services A 64 kbit/s channel can deliver: –28.8 MB in 1 hour –1 MB in 2 minutes A 28.8 kbit/s modem used to access Internet services usually delivers far less than 28.8 kbit/s Data services delivered via DAB will achieve continuous throughput at the nominal data rate (i.e. 64 kbit/s = 64 kbit/s) to mobile receivers

41 LOCAL STORAGE “Intelligent” storage in the receiver would allow: –sophisticated interactive multimedia information services, continuously up-dated and instantly available –TV viewers to “order” a programme to be recorded by a single click during a trailer –automatic indexing of recorded programmes The “data carousel” concept wastes bandwidth, whereas local storage is much more efficient Local storage (and push technology) enables broadcasters to “break free of the constraints of linear broadcasting”

42 BROADCASTING & THE INTERNET The Internet is a “powerhouse of technology” (such as streaming audio/video, downloadable software, push technology) These technologies require user terminals with considerable processing power and local storage However, broadcasting standards minimise the complexity of receivers (so as to reduce costs) –this constraint will become unnecessary because of the falling costs of computer processing and storage Broadcasters will embrace the Internet, ADOPTING and ADAPTING its technologies to benefit from the advantages of broadcast delivery

43 AN IDEALISTIC “S-CURVE” Early adopters Transition to mass market Reluctant purchasers

44 REAL S-CURVES Electricity Telephone Air conditioning Car Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas & Forbes magazine

45 SPEED OF PROGRESS Electricity Telephone Air conditioning Car VCR Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas & Forbes magazine

46 FASTER PROGRESS? Radio Colour TV VCR Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas & Forbes magazine

47 FROM 10% TO 90% VCR Microwave Colour TV Radio Telephone Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas & Forbes magazine

48 IF YOU ARE VERY, VERY LUCKY …. 10% after 5 years 60% after 10 years 90% after 20 years

49 A CONUNDRUM In 1989, 6 months after the start of the Sky TV service on Astra, the following question was posed in the UK: Q. What is the difference between Sky TV and the Loch Ness Monster? A. More people have seen the Loch Ness Monster BSkyB is now one of the most profitable companies in the UK

50 TECHNOLOGICAL TRENDS Technology is evolving rapidly and unpredictably But the trends are PREDICTABLE Over a period of 10 years, performance OR price of technologies will change by a factor of –100 x performance (at same price) –0.01 x cost (at same performance) We must take these trends into account: –when planning new types of service –when setting standards Have this been done well in the past?

51 EMPHASIS ON SOFTWARE In the past, R&D effort has concentrated on: –modulation & coding schemes for the broadcast signals (and for “return” channels) –compression of audio and video signals In the future, software will replace hardware –MPEG-2 is the last of the hardware “dinosaurs” –all future systems (including modulation schemes) should be based on software –downloadable software can help to cope with advancing technologies

52 IMPORTANT TOPICS APIs (applications programming interfaces) Encouraging free trade (avoidance of “gateways”) Future-proofing systems (and investments) –migration paths from “new” technologies to “newer” technologies Services/applications that are independent of transport media (e.g. scaleable technology) Mobility Applications of e-commerce Copyright protection Metadata (both for use in production phase and for use by consumers)

53 Broadcasters “Internet” services Internet Broadcast delivery THE WINNERS? ? ?

54 EVOLUTION OF BROADCASTING Stage 1 –A few services (analogue) Stage 2 –Many services (cable, satellite, digital) Stage 3 –Multimedia services (broadcasting, Internet) Stage 4 –On-demand services (server-based or local storage)

55 CONCLUSIONS Broadcasters (content providers) will become agnostic about delivery systems Traditional broadcasting will remain ubiquitous, but broadcasters will use the Internet (and its successors) to deliver new types of service Broadcasting plus local storage will be a powerful combination Too many debates on the future of broadcasting concentrate on delivery systems: –a few customers are motivated by technology, but most are attracted by “content” Not enough debate about content creation

56 AND FINALLY … Georges Pompidou: There are 3 roads to ruin: –women –gambling –technicians The most pleasant is with women The quickest is with gambling But the surest is with technicians

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