A media briefing was held at the Pan Pacific Orchard Hotel earlier this morning to give journalists a sneak peek at trending products and technologies to be featured during BroadcastAsia 2012. Understandably, BroadcastAsia's booth areas will showcase broadcasting equipment and technologies - segregated under Cinematography, Film, and Production zones on the show floor. The event will feature 703 exhibitors from 41 countries, mainly from film, TV, digital media, and entertainment industries. Key exhibitors include Canon, Harmonic, Sony, Panasonic, Thomson, and Miranda, to name a few. BroadcastAsia 2012 will be held at the Suntec Convention Center from 19th to 22nd June.
Like previous BroadcastAsia events, this year's conference will feature a wide panel of speakers from network providers and broadcasters as well. They'll touch on hot topics such as future broadcasting models and the viability of second-screen strategies (mobile devices, for example). Two themes stood out, however, during the press briefing. And it was evident that a great deal of emphasis was given to OTT (Over-the-Top) solutions, and the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera designed to entice professionals and consumers alike. Mr. Calvin Koh, added that this year’s event will feature a larger number of overseas and local participants, as well as debut exhibitors. He also mentioned that visitors would be able to take an exclusive look on industry developments, such as cloud broadcasting and Over-the-Top technologies.
Before delving into the matter, we would like to establish what exactly OTT is. This is the name given to Catch-up TV, delivered on demand. The major difference from IPTV, a model users will be familiar with if they have had a set-top box installed for their TV viewing, lies in the time frame within which content is delivered. While IPTV delivers a rigid, scheduled programming experience controlled by the content provider, OTT lets you take charge of what you view and draw up your own order. Examples of OTT services include Netflix, Hulu and even YouTube can be considered a proponent of OTT. Even Smart TV VOD services, such as Singtel’s VOD for Samsung’s Smart Hub, can be included under the banner.
On hand at the event was Mr. Protik Banerjee Director of Sales and Operations (Singapore, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) at EVS to shed light on the OTT developments in the South East Asian region. EVS, along with Sony, will be working on providing the technology for an OTT platform that will leverage on content provided by Sony Pictures and StarHub. The end result of the collaboration is C-Cast and C-Sync, applications for Android and iOS devices, which are already being tested out in Malaysia. With respect to sports, for instance, there is a wealth of video footage shot from different angles not seen on conventional broadcasting content. Users may access this add-on content via the C-Cast app and a secondary screen, such as a tablet for example. Instant replays and delayed viewing of content are also possible.
Overall success of C-Cast itself will depend on the method of monetization and its deployment. Subscription models and ads are the likeliest revenue streams for the parties involved, and it also remains to be seen what kind of content will be available to users. But after the first foothold gained by Netflix and Hulu, it is definite that OTT is the way forward. Hopefully, C-Cast might soon be prevalent worldwide once legal barriers and region-locked DRM woes abide. On that note, Broadcast Asia 2012 will be featuring all parties involved in the making and distribution of C-Cast and C-Sync as well.
We were also treated to a rare glimpse of Blackmagic Design's Cinema Camera. This professional video camera was first revealed during the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show three months ago, and is now ready to make its Southeast Asian debut at BroadcastAsia 2012. The camera's chassis is built with tough aluminum, and topped off with a smooth rubber front to facilitate easy grips. Besides using the imaging device in a traditional way (like how you might hold a DSLR for example), the Cinema Camera also comes with an optional twin-grip accessory for outdoor shoots or more 'rugged' shooting requirements. More on the camera's ports and features after these photos.
In short, expect a 2.5K image sensor and 13 stops of dynamic range. For zippy recordings, the Cinema Camera also features a built-in SSD recorder and is perfectly compatible with ZE and EF mount lenses which makes it extremely versatile. Other perks include a speedy Thunderbolt display port for computer captures. Blackmagic's color-correcting software, DaVinci Resolve 9.0, will be bundled as a value-add application with the camera as well. The video camera will be available at a suggested price of S$3,795 (body alone) from authorized retailers.
That's about all we have for you from the media briefing. We'll bring you more coverage on the event proper in two weeks time with more technological and broadcasting trends as the show unravels. Till then, do stay tuned!