IBC Q&A: Peter Siebert, executive director, DVB Project Office

This is a very significant IBC for Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB). Not only is the industry-led consortium marking its 20th anniversary, but it is also hosting a world-first demo. Based on the DVB-T2 terrestrial transmission standard, a 4K UHDTV service using HEVC encoding and a mobile service are being delivered in a single 8-MHz channel. But how quickly do you think 4K will take off on a practical level?
I think what this demonstration shows is that DVB has the necessary hooks in place to deliver 4K, and I expect that, in the next year, we will see many TV-set providers offering 4K sets at very reasonable prices. I don’t think we will have 4K live transmissions [at the same time], however, as I am not sure there will be availability of real-time encoders with sufficient quality. That’s very much the holy grail right now … everyone’s working on it!

What role will the DVB play in supporting and spreading the word about 4K?
Our first responsibility is to make sure that the necessary standards are established, and I think that, at the end of this year [or] early next, we will have these in place. These will encompass signal mechanisms and how to put [4K] into a broadcast signal. The second show will be to promote the standards through demos and other educative exercises. Obviously, IBC is very important in this regard.

Finally, any reflections on DVB’s 20th anniversary — or thoughts on its future?
I started in the industry in 1990, so the development of DVB has really followed that of my own career. It’s been fascinating for me to see how this small, private, not-for-profit organisation has changed television, to the extent that it has managed to provide the specification that 70% of all digital receivers are using.

The value of the DVB is that it brings all the relevant stakeholders together; it’s one place where they can come together and argue but also agree on technology for digital broadcast. As long as there is broadcast, there will be need for DVB, so I am pretty sure we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary 10 years from now.


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