BROADCAST * Activity Report

JTC Broadcast Activity Report 2015

Chairman: Simon Fell , EBU

Responsible for the standardisation of broadcast systems for television, radio, data and other new services via satellite, cable, Satellite Master Antenna Television and terrestrial transmitters, and for the standardisation of programme transmission and receiving equipment

More than 95% of inputs to JTC Broadcast are standardised by ETSI, with CENELEC responsible for the standardisation of radio and television receivers. 

Over the years, the JTC has produced standards and specifications for interactive TV, terrestrial TV, radio (including hybrid radio), satellite TV, fixed line TV, mobile TV and audio technologies. Traditionally, broadcasting standards have often been developed on a national or regional basis. Nevertheless, JTC Broadcast’s outputs have become the de facto standards in most parts of the world. For example, Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) is being deployed globally and 70% of all digital broadcast TV receivers worldwide follow the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) specification for satellite, cable or terrestrial delivery. This includes China, where DVB-C is deployed for cable systems, and North America which relies heavily on DVB satellite standards. 

In 2015 JTC Broadcast concentrated on digital broadcasting. Television is a rapidly developing technology and TV standards are expected to undergo significant changes in the near future. The JTC continued to focus on Ultra High Definition TV (UHDTV) and related areas. In particular, the committee finalised a new version of the ETSI Technical Specification (TS) on DVB Audio Video Coding which now also addresses AC-4 audio aspects and DVB 3DTV Phase 3.

The JTC completed its multipart standard on AC-4, an innovative codec for next generation digital audio compression for audio for video and audio-only delivery. AC-4 offers an advanced sound experience to meet modern entertainment requirements including home theatres, online streaming and video games. Part 1, a revision of the original specification which focuses on channel-based coding, was published in June. Part 2, which was published in September, will enable new, more immersive and personalised consumer audio experiences in the future.

Also in the audio area, a new TS was published in April on Multi-Dimensional Audio (MDA). MDA is intended for use in live streaming/broadcast contribution applications and in post-production. It can serve as the input to all next generation consumer delivery systems that are designed to compress, carry and preserve the object-based audio payload and metadata. This specification defines a mastering format for object-based audio for use by consumers, and an MDA bitstream, which contains uncompressed audio with a rich metadata set. 

The JTC revised the HbbTV standard, which allows the creation of TV services that combine broadcast and over-the-top content, introducing a global open platform as an alternative to proprietary technologies. The updated version of the specification, which corresponds to HbbTV 2.0, covers new capabilities such as companion device support, HTML5 user experience and advanced video delivery features such as UHD and High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) for broadband-delivered video. HbbTV is proving very successful; by the end of 2015, more than 20 countries had launched HbbTV services. These services enable consumers to access a broader range of content which enhances the broadcast programme. HbbTV also allows broadcasters to include advanced interactive services and Internet applications such as information services, catch-up services, video-on-demand, an electronic programme guide and interactive advertising. Users can access these services through connected TVs, set-top boxes or, through a connection with a companion screen, on smart phones, computers and tablets. 
In the radio area, the JTC revised the TS that details an extension to the main Latin-based character set used in digital radio receivers to support the expansion of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) technology into additional countries in Eastern Europe. To ensure consistency of display, even in low-cost radios, the representation of each character on simple starburst displays was also specified. In addition, minor updates were made to the Digital Radio Mondiale receiver status and control interface to include a new audio codec.

The JTC continued to update its popular DVB service specifications, describing the necessary metadata for TV broadcast. The ‘DVB-SI (Service Specification)’ enables all the various components of a video service to work together. This European Standard (EN) is updated on a regular basis, to take into account new technologies and applications. The latest version, which was scheduled for publication in 2016, will provide the necessary updates for companion screens and streams and UHDTV, as well as updates for the C2 delivery descriptor.

The existing DVB Internet Protocol TV standards were reviewed and updated to add support for Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). 

Finally the JTC completed the DVB-S2 extensions (DVB-S2X) specification and the corresponding guidelines. S2X will bring more spectral efficiency to professional satellite applications as well as new operational modes such as channel bonding.

The maintenance of TV Anytime specifications continued in 2015 with an update of the part on metadata schemas.