Pixel Story of Video Broadcasting By Neha Shah with Urvashi Pal

5G, Cloud Computing, Interviews

Everyone of us is fond of High Definition Video e.g. 4K Videos, UHD and HD video on our TV,Laptop and Mobile device, but very few know about the engineering behind it. This week our Blogger Neha Shah got a chance to interact with Urvashi Pal ( a Broadcaster Researcher) to find out answers for questions that many of us have in our mind. So here were go with pixels story of Video Broadcasting.

Q 1. Techplayon (Neha): We are really excited to know your journey till Phd. 4K broadcasting, where did you get the inspiration of exploring the Video technology to the depth that you achieved your Phd?

A 1. Urvashi: I carried out my MSc research project in DVB-S2, under the supervision of Dr.Yi Ma, from Surrey University, UK; which was an industrial project related to the European Space Agency. It was a very interesting project where I got to learn about the challenges faced by a video signal over air. This project was examined by Professor Rahim Tafazolli, who is now the Director of the 5G Innovation Centre at Surrey.

After that, I worked with Doordarshan for sometime for implementing their free to air DVB-S2 service i.e. DD-Free Dish, which included SD and HD channels. It was during those days (in 2013), when I came across the latest press releases from IBC, RAI Amsterdam, that 4K resolution format or the Ultra-High Definition, is going to be the next best thing in the world of video broadcasting, along with HDR and HFR. That is what inspired me to upgrade my research work from HD to UHD.And for that, I would like to thank Dr. Horace King from Victoria University, Australia, to accept my research proposal and award me with a PhD scholarship.

Q 2. Neha: There are zillions of video formats and codecs available out there in the market, according to you what is the best guide to start with and to understand the video technology in depth in terms of costs, performance, quality, bitrates, adaptation etc.

A 2. Urvashi: I would say, start by understanding your nearest broadcaster!

Every country has a different success story. India uses DVB-S2 (Pay-TV) mostly, while Australia uses DVB-T (FreeView) and Catch-up TV (Free VOD), USA uses ATSC and Netflix (VOD). India is also gearing up in terms of high speed internet for content delivery.

DVB-S2 is a fixed – reliable quality service, but you need a set top box, antenna and a TV device subscription. Internet video just needs an internet connection on one device and you can stream or access that video over multiple devices. So DVB is a push mechanism, while VOD video is pull. However, with IPTV, video quality changes as per the available bandwidth, so the video quality can easily degrade and lag while you watch that World Cup Cricket match! So there is trade-off between reliability and accessibility. But you never know, this might change in the future!

I think this is the best guide to start with. Once you know the content delivery model you are dealing with, then you can understand the model requirements, like where you need more frames (in sports for sure), where you need a dedicated connection (sports, news), where you need a video on demand (movies, serials), etc.

Q 3. Neha: Nowadays, many players are thinking of adapting the new Video coding format from Google VP9 which is royalty free an open source, do you think it will be able to compete with the MPEG’s HEVC/H265?

A 3. Urvashi: It will take a lot to 100% replace the traditional MPEG codec, across the globe. It’s not just about being more efficient or better. It is also about being compatible with the existing devices and being scalable in the future model. As a result, there will a co-existence of two or more standards. Apple’s announcement for the support of HEVC is a proof of that both VP9 and HEVC are widely accepted by big organizations.

Q 4. Neha: Where can our users get an access to all your publications?

A 4. Urvashi: Everything is listed on myLinkedin profile (www.linkedin.com/in/urvashipal ). My latest publication is with SMPTE-Sydney, July 2017 conference.

Q 5. Neha: I remember you mentioned in our chats about the upcoming change in TV broadcasting is CLOUD ( Eg. Ericsson Media Cloud), can you please elaborate more about it?

A 5. Urvashi: Video over IP, based on the SMPTE 2022 standard, is the next big technologychange that the broadcasters need to prepare for. Having said that, there is also the need for an infrastructure that should be further adaptable for another change, but without being disruptive.

Cloud infrastructure with virtual networks (NFVs) are a breakthrough that reduces storage, cost and production timeline problems. The big idea is that the broadcaster puts all the content into cloud, and manage the trafficwith customised Software Defined Networks (SDN); at the same time, the consumer can assess the same content any time from anywhereon any device, and even share the video playlist with others, rate it, and make it more interactive.

Q 6. Neha: This is kinda hypothetical question, like we see in movies that the cops catches the criminal by detecting his face finds his real time analytics, footprints etc and catches him, with constant improvements in video quality and resolutions the video quality and resolutions are improving, do you think this can become a reality in future?

A 6. Urvashi: Hypothetically, yes why not! Once we have amazing satellites with dedicated connection to focus and follow the target seamlessly on real time basis, and enough bandwidth to support this high resolution data.

Q 7. Neha: We want to know, what does a technical person do during personal time?

A 7. Urvashi:In my personal time, I enjoy watching movies. J

About Urvashi Pal
Urvashi has recently completed her PhD in UHD Broadcasting, from Victoria University, Australia. She has done her Engineering in Electronics and Telecommunications, from India; and Masters of Science in Mobile and Satellite Communications, from Surrey University, UK. She has also worked with Doordarshan, India, on their prestigious project of DVB-S2, now known as DD-Free Dish. If you have more question ,
you may reach out her at LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/urvashipal/


About Neha Shah 
Neha is currently working as Sr. Technical Analyst, Starzplay (Dubai). Completed her schooling and graduation from India.She has been surrounded by the huge TVs, STB and gaming consoles throughout her work experience. Apart from churning and grinding codes and exploring new technologies she love cooking, talking with intellects, travel different places and listen songs .
you may reach out her at LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nehas510/