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CES: New TV standard released

The Advanced Television Systems Committee has approved the release of ATSC 3.0, a range of TV standards that will give broadcasters the ability to deliver 4K Ultra HDTV and interactive services using a mix of Internet and broadcast connections.

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) has commemorated the achievement of a major milestone in TV history, with final member votes being tallied for approval of remaining standards that together comprise the ATSC 3.0 suite of next-generation TV standards.

Announced at CES 2018, running at Las Vegas, the release of ATSC 3.0 is the culmination of a five-year effort to re-think over-the-air broadcast television service in the Internet age. ATSC 3.0 provides broadcasters with remarkable flexibility and new market opportunities through enhanced transmission and reception functionality and delivery of 4K Ultra HDTV, immersive audio, and interactive services using a mix of Internet and broadcast connections.

Marking the milestone today at CES, ATSC President Mark Richer was joined onstage by Consumer Technology Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro, National Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Gordon Smith.

“Our suite of ATSC 3.0 standards paves the way for a new kind of television service, one that is far more flexible and adaptable than previous standards. ATSC 3.0 will bring historic innovations to broadcasters and to viewers, from robust transmission to immersive audio, and from 4K Ultra-HDTV to interactive services and more. The 20 individual standards that comprise the release of ATSC 3.0 will give broadcasters the ability to utilize new transmission methods and finally bring together innovations in both over-the-air and broadband services,” said ATSC President Mark Richer.

“ATSC looks forward to continuing work on the standard, including its deployment in initial markets and future enhancements. We remain uniquely positioned to support the first trial launches of ATSC 3.0 services and products beginning this year. In addition to our ongoing standards work, the ATSC has a very important role in educating stakeholders about how the technology works and assisting in implementation planning in the U.S. and other parts of the world,” Richer said.

South Korean broadcasters initiated ATSC 3.0 broadcast service focused on Ultra HDTV last year and plan to transmit next month’s XXIII Winter Olympics in PyeongChang using the new standard. American broadcasters hail the new standard and its Internet Protocol backbone, which opens the doors for new opportunities.

Marriage of Broadcast and Broadband

“Broadcasters stand ready to take full advantage of the capabilities of the new voluntary standard, which can seamlessly mix both broadcast and broadband content to deliver enhanced information and entertainment for our viewers. One of the most compelling new features of ATSC 3.0 will be the rich media emergency alerting capabilities, allowing local broadcasters to target viewers in specific areas in their markets when disaster looms. Our viewers depend on their local stations for breaking news and information, and ATSC 3.0 gives local stations the ability to merge resources and information like never before,” said Gordon Smith, President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters.

With the release of ATSC 3.0 on the opening day of CES 2018 in Las Vegas, the technology industry looks ahead to the new year. ATSC 3.0 is expected to be demonstrated in private suites and in various behind-the-scenes demonstrations at the annual CES, with consumer products more likely to be introduced in 2019 or 2020.

“Coupled with the latest innovations in display and audio technology, Next Gen TV, powered by ATSC 3.0, will offer a breathtakingly immersive viewing experience with access to an array of innovative and interactive information services,” said Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association. “While we forecast sales of digital displays to increase in 2018, we anticipate future growth will be driven in part by this exciting new technology and the amazing features it brings.”

U.S. Deployment Begins Soon

“Going forward, I see the ATSC as an important information center for broadcasters and manufacturers preparing to launch services and products,” said ATSC Board Chairman Richard Friedel, Executive Vice President and General Manager for FOX Networks Engineering & Operations. “That means exciting opportunities for our members to get engaged in field testing, broadcast trials and plug-fests this year. There will also be opportunities to contribute to important new work on conformance and compliance, privacy and security, and more.”

Audio/Visual

Planet Radio TV tune in on any device

Planet Radio TV plans to be Africa’s first online broadcaster that allows its listeners to watch via Internet and satellite TV as well as listen via FM or Internet radio. SEAN BACHER visits its studios.

Planet Radio TV (PRTV) is broadcast much like any other terrestrial radio station, allowing its users to tune into it with a standard FM tuner. But its owner, Planet Image Productions, is about to launch two other means of tuning into the station.

In the coming month, MultiChoice will place a new satellite in orbit that will, by the new year, allow Planet to broadcast to subscribers via the satellite. Planet has also announced the PRTV app, which can be downloaded to Apple, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile devices, allowing users to stream the content to their phones and tablets.

‚”What makes this unique though is that our systems will automatically detect a user’s connection speed and stream content in a format that suits that speed, says Planet Image CEO Wale Akinlabi. ‚”For example, someone connecting through 3G will be able to view high-definition video and hear high-definition audio. A user with a slower connection will still be able to view and listen to the station, but at a lower quality.‚”

This, he believes, will eliminate the buffering issue which discourages many users from streaming video and audio to their devices.

The radio station comprises 80% African music, with the remainder being international, and is targeted at Africa’s youth.

‚”At PRTV we intend to change the way consumers view, listen and interact with television, radio and Internet mediums,‚” says Mabel Mabaso, chief operations officer and director at Planet Image. ‚”It is an exciting platform that synchronises three mediums, providing opportunities for consumers and advertisers alike.‚”

Planet RadioTV differentiates itself from other local broadcasters with its clever use of software and hardware. Planet Image uses a high-definition video-graphics (HDVG) rendering program, designed by Orad, an Israeli company specialising in TV production software. This software suite, combined with four Panasonic high-definition cameras, is able to detect and focus on a person’s voice. When the camera fixes on a voice, that camera is automatically activated and begins broadcasting. Should someone else begin talking, a separate camera will detect the voice and focus on that person.

The software controlling the cameras also performs basic video editing. Mabaso says that, although the initial cost of the equipment was more than that of standard cameras, it will prove well worth it, as it eliminates the need for a dedicated cameraman filming the show in the studio.

‚”Another payoff is that we don’t need that much office space,‚” she says.

Based in Randburg in Johannesburg, the studio is small in comparison to most others and the control room is just big enough for one person.

‚”The control room merely serves as a back-up should one of the cameras fail. It also allows us to control when and where visual adverts appear.‚”

The system is also tightly integrated with applications like Skype.

‚”We can interview someone overseas without having to send a crew there to perform recording. We simply communicate via Skype, making the interviewee’s Internet camera an extension of our own in-studio cameras.‚”

Besides featuring local and international music, the station has regular fashion, food and cooking, music and culture segments, which are broadcast to around 30 000 listeners around Africa.

Rounding up the technology aspect, PRTV has integrated Twitter and Facebook, allowing its listeners to interact with DJs.

Listeners can tune into Planet Radio TV by logging onto www.planetradio.co.za

* Follow Sean Bacher on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Canon EOS M – small and simple

Canon has extended the EOS range with the EOS M, its first compact system camera. Although not yet available in South Africa, the EOS M offers DSLR quality images and full HD recording in a compact, easy to use device.

Canon has expanded the EOS range with the launch of the EOS M. The company’s first ever compact system camera (CSC), the EOS M offers DSLR-quality imaging and full HD movie creation in a compact and easy-to-use model.

The EOS M is available in sleek black, glossy white, stylish silver or bold red colours, and condenses Canon’s EOS imaging heritage into a stylish, compact design. The model launches alongside two new lenses, the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake and the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom, as well as a new compact EX Speedlite the Speedlite 90EX. For those who want to push their images even further, the EOS M can also use Canon’s range of EF lenses with the new Mount Adapter EF-EOS M, for even more creative freedom.

The quality of a Canon DSLR

The EOS M’s high-resolution, 18 megapixel APS-C hybrid CMOS sensor also allows you to blur the background for beautiful portraits, or for close-ups with impact.

With the inclusion of Canon’s DIGIC 5 processor, colours ‚’pop’ and skin tones are beautifully natural, while a super-fast shutter allows you to capture split-second action.

Shoot what you see and easily express your creative vision

Every aspect of the EOS M has been designed to make it simple to capture high-quality images. With the high-resolution, 7.7cm (3.0‚”), Clear View LCD II Touch screen, the EOS M gives you as much or as little control over your photos as desired. Simply select different shooting modes and settings via the on-screen icons, or let Scene Intelligent Auto adjust the camera settings according to the subject and shooting conditions, leaving you free to focus on composition and selecting the perfect moment to hit the shutter release button.

Turn film-maker with EOS Movie and Video Snapshot

When a moment calls for more than a still image, the EOS M lets you switch to Full HD video with stereo sound.

Extending the EOS System with dedicated accessories

In addition to compatibility with Canon’s existing EF lenses, accessories and Speedlites, the EOS M launches with its own range of accessories. Two new EF-M lenses offer portability and high performance when using the new model the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom and the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake lens. Both feature new stepper motor technology for exceptionally smooth AF performance, as well as precision Canon optics, while their compact designs offer the perfect form-factor to complement the camera’s pocket-sized body.

Additionally, the EOS M will ship with the new Speedlite 90EX flash unit as standard. Lightweight and highly-compact, it offers a maximum guide number of nine and supports wide-angle lenses, making it an ideal general-purpose flash for everyday use. A wireless master function also allows the control of multiple flash guns wirelessly, allowing more advanced users to experiment with a range of creative lighting effects.

EOS M key features

· The quality of a digital SLR in a compact body

· Scene Intelligent Auto

· Be versatile with interchangeable lenses

· Create out-of-focus backgrounds for high impact

· Easy-to-use touch-screen

· Atmospheric photos in low light

· Full-HD video with Video Snapshot Mode

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