The ‘Demo room’ was a great achievement for SMPTE 2013, and we may look back on it in twenty years’ time in the same way we now look back on the 1892 demos at the SMPTE conference of digital TV and analogue HDTV. So, what was on show?
One thing was an appraisal of what you actually get for your money on a UHD-1 TV with native UHD-1 compared to the same content at 1080p up-scaled. There was a difference, but it was not huge.
Another thing was the impact of using HEVC compression on image quality. Estimates of at least a two to one saving compared to AVC seem to be well founded.
Images of UHD-1 images with frame rates of 50 and 60 Hz were on show, and delegates could see the kind of quality that the new HDMI 2.0 will ‘let through’ to the display.
There were also demonstrations of live UHD-1 content.
For the morning of the last day of the Conference, I also attended the stream of session on ‘clouds’. At previous SMPTE conferences there has been an air of reluctance by the studios to use ‘clouds’ to store their most precious content, because they do not want even the remotest risk of harming them. This year, at least apparently, confidence in, and use of, clouds has grown. The use of ‘hybrid systems’ where you use your own storage when you have some left, and turn to a cloud when you don’t, was a popular theme, and may represent the shape of things to come. Such things can be done automatically. Clouds may be a competitive market, so one of the skills broadcasters may need is to ‘shop around’ for the cloud space.