Research & Development

Posted by Scott Cawley on , last updated

IBC is the massive annual broadcast technology show that takes place in Amsterdam every September. The industry comes together to exhibit the latest developments that will be shaping media in the near future. As ever, BBC Research & Development will be there and this year we are demonstrating to the world's broadcasters our innovations in 5G broadcasting and production.

BBC R&D Stand | Talks & Presentations with Partners | Tech Papers


On the BBC Research & Development Stand (Future Zone, Hall 8, F08):

Download our guide to what we're showing on the BBC R&D stand at IBC 2019

Find us in IBC's Future Zone in Hall 8, stand F08 at the Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Congress Centre from Friday 13th to Tuesday 17th September. We're also appearing on some of our partner's stands, and our research papers will be presented during the conference as well.

5G Broadcast
Enhancing mobile standards to deliver TV and Radio applications.

BBC R&D - 5G in Orkney

5G is the next big change in mobile communications. A less well-known feature of 5G is that it defines some new modes for broadcast use, including SIM-free reception of broadcast services.

Through engagement with the mobile communications standards body (3GPP), we have been able to develop technology that in the future could allow free-to-air 5G broadcast services to operate direct to mobile devices without audiences needing a mobile network subscription.

We will be demonstrating our newly developed 5G broadcast modem (base station and receiver), based on 3GPP Release-14/15 eMBMS. This is allowing us to evaluate this exciting new technology as well as try out potential enhancements to the current standards.

IP-based delivery of the BBC’s services is increasingly important and we are keen to understand how 5G might help us to reach our audiences, especially on mobile and portable devices.

Object-Based Media: Forecaster5G

A montage of options available in our Forecaster experiment - a weather forecast displayed with and without sign language presentation, for mobile devices, with subtitles.

Forecaster5G (developed as part of 5G-Xcast, a 5G-PPP Phase 2 project) is an object-based media experience delivered using a hybrid of multicast and unicast transmission modes. The demo shows a weather forecast that has been broken down into several objects at production, which are streamed in a pseudo-live manner.

The commonly-used and bandwidth-heavy objects are delivered over multicast, using our Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over IP Multicast (DASM) system. Meanwhile, personalised and bandwidth-light objects are delivered over unicast. The end device renders objects depending upon several factors, including user preferences (e.g. choosing between the main or sign language presenter), device orientation (portrait or landscape), and unique personalisation (in the form of icons for the location of the user’s friends).

This approach shows how object-based media experiences could be delivered at scale over future fixed and 5G networks, while improving the user experience and conserving network resources.

5G in Production and Industry Collaboration
Working with the mobile industry to use 5G in media production

BBC Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones being filmed by a camerawoman using 5G to deliver the pictures back to the studio.

BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones presenting the UK's first live broadcast insert via 5G. (Photo: Beth Timmins)

For the past year we have been exploring the possibilities that 5G offers programme makers and content producers.

In partnership with the EBU we have been working with other broadcasters, suppliers and manufacturers from across Europe to identify requirements of all production types from producers of online content to the future of radio mics and cameras.

This work feeds into the 3GPP and will enable more flexible and reliable mobile content creation as well as facilitating lower cost IP-based production.

We will be explaining this work, presenting what may be possible with 5G, plus showing how we completed one of the first live broadcasts using a commercial 5G network in May 2019.

High-quality mobile AR over 5G
Using high-bandwidth low-latency mobile networks to enable high-quality immersive experiences

5G Tourism at the Roman Baths

We will be demonstrating an example of visually-rich immersive AR content on a mobile device using edge computing to render the content remotely, as could be used in a 5G network. We developed this in the 5G Smart Tourism project, working with partners including Bath & North East Somerset Council and Aardman.

It was designed to allow visitors at the Roman Baths to look back in time at their surroundings. The latest mobile phone AR technology tracks the user’s position and orientation, which is sent to a mobile edge compute server that renders an animated view of the historic scene and streams it as video back to the handset. This allows high quality interactive CGI to be shown without relying on the phone having high graphics capability. Other aspects of the project relating to the network technology can be seen on the TM Forum stand.

Download our guide to what we're showing on our stand this year

BBC R&D Stand | Talks & Presentations with Partners | Tech Papers

BBC Research & Development Contributions Elsewhere at IBC 2019:

IP Showcase

The Connection Management display at the IP Showcase at IBC 2017.
BBC R&D’s IP Production Facilities team is participating in IBC's IP Showcase in room E106/107. The showcase is an overview of the current state of the industry on open and live IP. This includes demonstrations and theatre presentations, and emphasises recent developments on interoperability testing, and the development of the TR-1001-01 recommendations for how to deploy IP within facilities.

BBC R&D colleagues will be part of several demonstrations and presentations:

  • Andrew Bonney will present on recent TR-1001 testing at 12.30 on Friday, and the NMOS testing tool that was used for this at 10.30 Monday.
  • Judy Parnall will give an overview of public broadcasters’ concerns and experiences at 13:00 on Saturday.
  • Peter Brightwell will give an update on the current state of NMOS at 10:00 on Monday, and what ST 2110 and NMOS mean for on-premise cloud a few hours later at 13:00 on Monday.
  • The team will be demonstrating latest developments in the NMOS set of specifications, including IS-07 event and tally and BCP-003 API security.

EAR Production Suite - ADM Tools for Next Generation Audio
Engineers at BBC R&D and IRT have been collaborating on a project to bring ADM (Audio Definition Model, BS.2076) support to Reaper - a digital audio workstation (DAW) package. ADM allows content creators to capitalise upon the advantages of so-called next generation audio by providing a standardised metadata format to describe object-based, scene-based and channel-based audio productions.

To compliment this DAW support for ADM, a new set of plugins have been developed to provide comprehensive support for the more advanced features of ADM. In addition, these plugins are able to render audio via the EAR (EBU ADM Renderer), using an open source library to interpret and render ADM content according to ITU Recommendation BS.2127.
On the EBU stand for the duration of the show.

Ultra HD Forum Masterclass
Lessons learned by operators from their early commercial deployments of live UHD services.
In The Emerald Room, with Phil Layton, Saturday 14th September, 09:30-10:55

5G User Cases for Production
On the EBU Stand, with Ian Wagdin, Saturday 14th September, 14:00-15:00

How 5G enables Virtual and Augmented Reality
5G is being rolled out, and its characteristics are advertised as perfect for VR and AR. At 100 times the bandwidth of 4G LTE, 5G can deliver the high definition, high fidelity audio and video that immersive media require. Or can it? This session will discuss the features of 5G that enable the production and distribution of immersive media, and look at actual, real-world experiments.
In Room E102, with James Gibson and Alia Sheikh, Saturday 14th September, 14:15-15:00

5G User Cases for Production
See live 5G-enabled remote production in action, explore 5G use cases, discuss industry best practice, benefits to broadcasters, the experience for audiences and more.
On the BT Stand, with Ian Wagdin, Sunday 15th September, 16:00-17:00

Radio Distribution Strategies for a Connected World
An overview of our 5G RuralFirst Broadcast Radio trial.
In The Emerald Room, with Andrew Murphy, Monday 16th September, 09:00-10:30

Technology Innovations Driving Stories and New Business
This IBC session will bring together broadcasters who have put in place successful innovation strategies. Discover how innovation processes and strategies have been established and how broadcasters have put in place partnerships with start-ups. The panel will reveal how they moved ideas out of the lab and into operation, creating new business opportunities. There will be examples and demos, before finishing with a panel discussion to share best practises.
In The Emerald Room, with Robert McKenzie, Monday 16th September, 11:30-12:45

BBC R&D Stand | Talks & Presentations with Partners | Tech Papers

BBC Research & Development Technical Papers and Presentations:

BBC R&D Colleagues will be presenting technical papers based on their work all week at IBC. This is a great opportunity to get details on the work our teams do day to day.

5G for Broadcasters - New Opportunities for Distribution and Content
In the Tech Talk: Good film choice - should be with you next Wednesday
“You watched that, others then watched this”. True personalisation is the fine art of accurately packaging an increasingly diverse set of content types from an actionable expression of interest. In this Tech Talk, one broadcaster explains the complexity of the intelligent content tagging task under-pinning their personalisation system and the benefits they have seen, whilst another shares user feedback on a trial hybrid broadcast that pro-actively personalised their content streams.
With Andrew Murphy, Saturday 14th September, 09:30-10:45 in Room E102

Taking Object-Based Media from the Research Environment into Mainstream Production
In the Tech Talk: Production case studies - The gain after the pain
As we seek to deliver UHDTV and VR-360 video through the internet and other limited channels there is increasing pressure on the world’s experts to find new tricks which will lead to lower transmission rates. However all these clever tricks are patented before they are incorporated in new standards and this is currently resulting in high licence fees for implementers. In this insightful panel session we shall hear brief presentations by world experts from differing sides of the fence.These experts will then debate where the future of compression systems lies – and indeed, whether the present situation is symptomatic of weakening standards in other media technologies.
With Matt Brooks and Thomas Preece Sunday 15th September, 09:15-10:30 in The Forum

BBC R&D Stand | Talks & Presentations with Partners | Tech Papers


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