EBU demos end-to-end 1080p/50 workflow

The EBU, at IBC2011 stand 10.F20, will show an unprecedented live 1080p/50 end-to-end signal chain from camera, contribution and final distribution to set-top boxes and display.

Quality has become a key commercial factor for broadcasters since home displays have grown larger and consumer expectations higher. While 4k and 8k formats may still be some years off, an economically feasible answer for now is to migrate high quality productions to a FULL-HD 1080p/50 master format. The EBU demonstration proves that the industry is ready to supply all the components for this 1080p/50 migration.

The demonstration involves a live picture being originated at the ARD Sternpunkt building, in Frankfurt, Germany, and sent via satellite and fibre to a display at the EBU Village, at the IBC in Amsterdam.

In Frankfurt a 1080p/50 studio camera (GV LDK 8000) produces the live 1080p/50 signal. To provide a comparison, a Snell Alchemist Ph.D. downscales the 1080p/50 source format to a second 1080i/25 signal. Both signals are sent via the EBU FINE contribution links to Geneva (AVC/H.264 encoded at 38.5 MBit/s video bit rate) using a Fujitsu IP9610 encoder. EBU Eurovision Geneva then uplinks both signals to Eutelsat W3A (2 x 24MHz).

At the EBU Village in Amsterdam, the incoming signals are presented on two Dolby PRM4200 reference monitors. In addition, the incoming 1080p/50 contribution link is re-encoded at 12Mbit/s AVC/H.264 L4.2 (8bit, 4:2:0) and DVB-S2 modulated at the EBU stand. The broadcast 1080p/50 signal is then decoded as it would be in the home by a Broadcom SoC STB platform.

The EBU is also demonstrating two currently prominent 1080p/50 internet video codecs. EBU Village visitors can judge for themselves which codec they prefer in terms of streaming quality via the internet to tablets or to their computers.

In essence, 1080p/50 is the true Full-HD format, and offers many advantages are that the 3G infrastructure supports not only 1080p/50 but also stereo 3D signals, which means installations are multipurpose. The EBU adds that it is an excellent master format that optimizes many genres, particularly sport, and it enables easy support of existing 1080i/25 and 720p/50 broadcasts, and for some broadcasters it might even be an option for delivery to the home without needing a greater bit rate than that required by 1080i/25 broadcasts.

The EBU 1080p/50 demonstration was developed by EBU intern Jens Fischer as part of his Master’s thesis, under the direction of Dr Hans Hoffmann, Head of Media Fundamentals and Production Technology at the EBU Technical Department in Geneva and Prof. Dr. Hedtke, of the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences.

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