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Thursday, March 24, 2011

BBC TV and Video Futures

The boffins at the BBC have been doing a lot of interesting work with an eye to the future of tv and video. And they have been kind enough to share a lot of their work via their blog.
Boffin by ajc1
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajc1/2368836604/
A Connected Future for TV
Many TVs are able to connect to the Internet, either directly or via a plethora of IP-connected boxes. However, for most viewers, the Net is just a different way to receive programming - an alternative to cable, satellite or over-the-air broadcast channels. In March 2011, Roly Keating, BBC Director of Archive Content, used his keynote speech at the Digital Television Group's Annual Summit to describe his vision for Connected TV.
televsion by waltjabsco
http://www.flickr.com/photos/waltjabsco/684747788/
For Keating, Connected TV means more than just video on demand or using your TV to browse the Internet. He would like to enrich the experience of watching TV by giving viewers the ability to explore topics in greater depth, by providing just-in-time context, by creating links between TV and Internet programming and viewers. To me, this means bringing the power of hypermedia to visual content, just as the web has brought hypermedia to text in recent decades.

Frame Accurate Video in HTML5
Dirk-Willem van Gulik, BBC Chief Technical Architect, reviews how he and his team have worked with the open source community to create frame accurate video editing capabilities using web technologies, specifically HTML5. This means that using off-the-shelf browsers, it will be possible to work on video at professional levels of precision, on virtually any kind of web-connected device.

At this point, the capabilities are only in the bleeding-edge versions of (certain) browsers. And the frame accurate browser facilities are just foundational; the actual tools to perform full-fledged video editing can be built on top of this platform, but don't exist quite yet, it seems. But I think it is great that the BBC have really invested in building out missing capabilities in open source tools that will ultimately benefit not only themselves, but may other publishers, large and small.

BBC's Technology Vision
Spencer Piggott, Head of Technology Direction for BBC Technology, reveals the BBC Technology Strategy. In a comprehensive set of bullet points in the linked powerpoint, he covers the plans for such topics as high definition, content acquisition, development platforms, transcoding, internet distribution, rights management and search, amongst many others.
Vision sign by hamptonroadspartnership
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hamptonroadspartnership/5351621035/
It is great to get this kind of insight into the BBC Technology challenges and plans. It would seem that the BBC boffins are working on lots of interesting things, which is reassuring.
Reassuring by arenamontanus
http://www.flickr.com/photos/arenamontanus/2849737658/

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