The TV Industry Is Closing In On A Century Of Change


USA: The television industry is closing in on a century of change, says Chris Shaw, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Cobalt Digital.
John Logie Baird's role in the introduction of broadcast television has earned him a place in history and the 44th slot on the list 100 Greatest Britons. Sandwiched between Charles Dickens (#41) and Boy George (#46), his contributions have impacted our daily lives – perhaps more than any other on that list. 
Baird was one of the inventors of the mechanical television, demonstrating the first working system in 1926. Could he envision the innovations, advances and revolutions that have brought theatre into our homes and sporting events to devices in the palms of our hands? 
A near century’s worth of improvements have replaced those first black and white blurred analog images with amazing colour, we’ve gone from SDI to HD-SDI, to UHD 4K pictures. Audio has evolved from mono speakers to Dolby 5.1 all around sound, Dolby ATMOS and object audio. No longer is the viewer listening to audio tracks; they are drawn in like a participant with audio in front, behind, sideways, and above.  
Broadcast technologies change constantly. Remember satellite transmission? Cable TV? OTT streaming? Now there’s Cloud technology, only in its infancy.
The use of compressed video through HEVC 4K encoders and decoders provide viewers with an amazing real-time experience; whether watching news or a sports match. The “smart” TV is a phenomenon with its programmable capabilities and voice recognition. These improvements have had an extraordinary influence on daily lives, yet the evolution of broadcast technology continues.
Live sports is one of the most lucrative markets, but now eSports has captured millions of global viewers as they watch gamers compete via streaming technology. 
Computer capability and miniature camera quality have both improved so incredibly that fans feel they are sitting in the cockpit of a race car at Formula One or NASCAR. And when it comes to field games and other sporting activities, three or four cameras isn’t enough anymore. Large stadiums are cabled for multiple units, all enhancing the viewer’s experience. 
With all these technology advances, broadcasters have experienced radical changes. Streaming companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu have addressed our appetites for non-traditional entertainment, forcing established entertainment companies such as Disney to adjust to remain competitive.
Broadcasters have to understand and adapt new technologies or become as obsolete as dinosaurs. And Cobalt Digital, always at the forefront, has been listening to customers since we were established in 1997 to address their needs with current best-of-breed solutions and anticipate future requirements. We’ve partnered with industry leaders such as Technicolor for advanced HDR conversion tools, Linear Acoustic for loudness correction and monitoring, and Dolby for the finest audio encoding and decoding. To maintain our leadership status we dedicate significant resources to research, meet with prospective customers and consistently attend technical seminars and events. 
Challenges need to be overcome, but with challenges come solutions. 
Chris Shaw serves as Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Cobalt Digital.
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