NAB Perspectives: Ericsson’s Goldman Stresses Abilities of HEVC, 4K in Current Workflows

To meet the demand for more content on more devices, Ericsson unveiled the AVP 4000 compression platform, powered by the company’s first-ever in-house–developed programmable video chip. For Ericsson, it’s not about getting into the chip business; it’s about offering a platform that offers the best video compression at the lowest possible bitrate.

“It’s a means to an end in order for us to be able to control our own destiny and continue on the path of being best in class,” says Matthew Goldman, SVP, technology, CTO Group, Ericsson. “By using a chip in combination with other programmable logic, we’re able to be much more flexible and [offer] higher responsiveness to the customers.”

By addressing all applications, including SD, HD, 1080p50/60, 3DTV, and Ultra High Definition TV; codecs, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC, and JPEG2000; resolutions; and profiles, Ericsson’s AVP single platform eases integration, expansion, repurposing, training, repair, and upgrades, considerably lowering the overall cost of ownership.

The company continues to be actively involved in development of the HEVC standard. Having launched its SVP 5500 HEVC/H.265 encoder for delivery of live and linear TV over mobile networks to mobile devices at IBC 2012, Ericsson showed the complete end-to-end use of real-time HEVC encoding for mobile applications at NAB 2013.

“The reason it makes sense for mobile broadcast first is the rapid deployment of handsets — what other appliance do you have in your home or on your person that you replace every six months? It’s that rapid replacement that allows new technology to be able to be tried out,” says Goldman. “The second area is the resolutions themselves. Whether it’s a smartphone or a tablet, the resolutions aren’t Ultra High Definition. … That’s not needed initially in the first application in mobile.”

A focal point of the Ericsson booth was a stunning demonstration of real-time 4Kp60 4:2:2 10-bit capture using AVC. Although the end-to-end ecosystem to deliver 4K to the home does not yet exist, Goldman stresses that Ericsson technology enables 4K acquisition today so that content providers can build up their archives for when the format goes mainstream in the future.

 “The Masters was going on, we just had the Final Four, we have Sochi coming up. All these events are considered premium events, not only for the live event itself as it’s happening but for the live capture in the best image quality possible, because they’re worth value to the content provider for years to come,” he points out. “[AVC] allows a sports-content provider to capture real-time content, deliver it over a network to a production area, and keep that 4K format. Of course, it can’t go to the end user yet, but … they can downconvert to HD to use today, [and] they have it in their archives because it was mastered as 4K.”

Ericsson also introduced its Broadcast Services business, which combines Ericsson’s global-services expertise with the deep broadcast-industry track record of Technicolor’s Broadcast Services division, which Ericsson acquired last July.

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