NAB Perspectives: ATEME’s Antonovich Looks to Future of HEVC

4K isn’t the only buzzword floating around the Las Vegas Convention Center. At Booth SU7102 and beyond, it’s all about High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). ATEME recently announced the availability of the industry’s first open-source implementation of a software media player supporting HEVC, which will allow service providers and broadcasters to accelerate experimentation of the new HEVC codec standard in the field.

“It’s real and it’ll be delivered this year,” says Mike Antonovich, SVP/GM, Americas, ATEME, of the company’s adoption of HEVC. “Our transition plan is, you will see it released for file transcoding — as we do on-demand TV and catch-up TV in the fall — in September/October and for live streaming to the Web by October/November. That’s the path to market, that’s where the most need is: it’s at the low end of the mobile transportable market — the tablet, the phone — that needs very high quality delivered in increasingly smaller bandwidth, and so that’s where high-efficiency encoding is really important.”

Of course, HEVC and 4K often go hand in hand. Although Antonovich does not foresee the commercial viability of 4K for at least a few years, he believes that HEVC will play a critical role in the format’s rollout. 

“The whole broadcast-chain move to 4K will take years,” says Antonovich. “You’ve got cameras out now, but we don’t have slow-motion devices, we don’t have graphics devices, we don’t have switching matrixes, and, of course, we don’t have end-user appliances in the home. … And then, of course, network bandwidth isn’t available to support 4K either, which is why you need HEVC. HEVC will start to grow the rest of the bandwidth into smaller slots so that we can shoehorn in more 4K channels. … [It’s] just another page of how we had to do it when we went from SD to HD — the same bottlenecks with cable and broadband and satellite had to be overcome by regrooming and creating space to allow high definition to find its way to market. This is just seven years later; here we are again, but at least we know how to do it.”

ATEME showcased the new Kyrion CM5000, a modular hardware encoding platform dedicated to contribution over satellite and IP/ASI networks, and new Kyrion DR5000, a hardware integrated receiver/decoder dedicated to professional contribution over satellite and IP/ASI networks. Both are flexible, with a wide range of latest-generation features for an increasingly demanding clientele.

“Everybody wants the very best quality, and our hallmark is video quality; that’s what we’re known for,” says Antonovich. “When you’re carrying top-notch world-class sports, you really want to carry it home in the very best quality [and] be able to produce it in-house and maintain as much of that quality as you can for distribution. We’re positioned very nicely in the high end of the video-encoding–transition marketplace and, increasingly, customers are willing to pay for quality.”

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