Despite the emergence of alternative transmission formats, television continues its evolutionary process and is nourished by new technologies, consolidating itself as a leading element of entertainment and content generation.
By Santiago Jaramillo H.
At present, evolutionary processes are not alien to any instance, and more if we talk about technological issues, especially in an industry such as television that is increasingly advancing with broader steps, this because the new generations are marking a clear trend and that obeys greater demands, which is aimed at the massive consumption of content, but access to these must be faster and through platforms that have immediate access.
In Latin America the radiography of evolution could be said to have gone from analog to digital, then from SD to HD. If you look at the service providers, they all cater to digital streaming in SD/HD and H.264. Most broadcasters in the region are in the transition to digital, and in Brazil, the most comfortable country in the process, the analog blackout is already planned for 2016.
In the future we will see the complete digital transition of the OTT service offering, not only for delivery to mobile devices, but also for connected TVs and game consoles, as these connect to TVs, and the resolution requirements will be very high. OTT services will provide at the same quality, bitrates and resolutions that operators are delivering via satellite and cable.
A number of challenges for the implementation of high-resolution OTT services, including VOD and time-shifted TV, should also be highlighted, but the great challenge for operators in the region will be to overcome bandwidth limitations to offer these services in the consumer's own home. With more people consuming more video, reflected in high bitrates over the Internet, operators will have to invest in network equipment and more fiber optic infrastructure to keep up with demand.
In this same sense, and oriented to the main changes in terms of transmission formats is the position of Yaniv Ben-Shushan, director of Broadcast & Satellite of the company Harmonic, Inc., who states that "the main changes in terms of transmission formats in Latin America are in the transition from analog to digital transmission, and the transition from standard definition (SD) to high definition (HD) video."
It also admits that transmission formats that are being implemented in the global context are already being adopted by Latin American countries. "Similar to what has been happening in the U.S. and Europe over the past decade, cable and satellite operators and broadcasters in Latin America have been making the analog to digital transition, with MPEG-4 H.264 HD/SD being the leading applied format. While there are some MSOs and broadcasters working with legacy systems that still use MPEG-2, the rest are moving to H.264."
A thriving region
Moving on to the topic of how important the Latin American broadcast format market is, our guest comments that "it is very important, since more than 200 million customers are being served by hundreds of broadcasters who are switching to ISDB-T. The terrestrial market is shifting from analog to digital and most countries selected ISDB-T as the standard. The popular broadcast sequence will be HD and 1sec (for mobile reception) over the terrestrial network."
He also expresses that his company understands these market needs, and continues to increase the presence of personnel in each country, as well as investment in the region to support the growing number of customers, which includes many of Latin America's leading television companies, cable, satellite and IPTV telecommunications service providers.
Is the Internet displacing traditional methods?
After questioning whether new broadcast formats, such as the Internet, are displacing traditional ones, the director of Broadcast & Satellite of the company Harmonic, Inc., believes that "multiscreen services are being implemented today everywhere, however, they are not displacing traditional services, rather they are becoming an opportunity for MSOs and broadcasters to offer added value to their customers."
Ben-Shushan also details that operators are offering OTT and multiscreen services, in addition to their linear services. "By taking their linear content, transcoding it to multi-bitrate web and mobile resolutions and packaging it from HLS, Smooth Streaming and Flash, operators can bring the content to their customers anytime, anywhere – on their iPads, mobile phones, computers or TVs."
In short, even as the demand for video devices continues to grow, that of delivery to the "main screen" – television – remains strong, and will remain so.
However, complements Marcos Rodríguez, telecommunications engineer and IPTV advisor: "It should not be left aside that the average user in the region continues to use the TV screen to watch conventional television and the computer for content downloads. The goal is to get these downloads made through multimedia devices connected to television and the Internet is the big goal. Undoubtedly, the TV will increasingly be a terminal of access to services, not only to television channels ".',