BROADCAST * Activity Report

JTC Broadcast Activity Report 2016

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 the functional requirements 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) and Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) are being deployed globally and 70% of all digital broadcast TV receivers worldwide follow the 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. 

Television is a rapidly developing technology and TV standards are expected to undergo significant changes in the near future. In 2016 JTC Broadcast continued to focus on digital broadcasting and was particularly active in Ultra High Definition TV (UHDTV) and related areas, interactive TV and radio.

In the audio area the JTC produced a new Technical Specification (TS) which defines extensions to the Enhanced AC-3 codec to carry object audio in a manner that is backwards compatible with existing channel-based operation. In September a specification was published which defines a consumer object based audio renderer for use with the AC-4 codec in consumer set-ups. 

In the area of interactive TV, the committee 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 2.0.1, mainly addresses gaps relative to the ETSI Standard for the MHEG-5 Broadcast profile as used in the UK and the TS on DVB-MHP, as used in Italy. In a separate specification, HbbTV 2.0.1 was extended with broadband discovery, addressing situations in which broadcast signalling does not reach the HbbTV terminal. HbbTV is proving very successful; by the end of 2016, 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.

The JTC also revised the MHEG-5 Broadcast Profile, mainly to improve understanding of the specification.
In the radio area, the JTC simplified the Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) system standard by removing obsolete features and adding clarifications to improve interoperability. Following the general move by broadcasters from the original DAB audio coding to the more efficient DAB+ audio coding, the JTC took the opportunity to remove DAB audio coding from the system standard into a separate TS. Other supporting TSs were revised to ensure consistency with the new system standard.

The JTC continued to update its popular DVB Audio and Video coding specification which describes the necessary audio and video coding schemes to be used within DVB broadcast. The latest version, scheduled for publication in 2017, defines the implementation of the UHD-1 Phase-2 features: High Dynamic Range (HDR), Higher Frame Rates (HFR) and Next Generation Audio (NGA). This specification will be complemented by a new version of the DVB Subtitle Specification and an update of the DVB Service Specification. 

The revisions of all of the existing DVB Internet Protocol TV standards to add support for Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) were published. 

The JTC completed a new version of the specification for the modulator interface (T2-MI) for a second generation digital terrestrial television broadcasting system (DVB-T2) and implementation guidelines for a second generation digital cable transmission system (DVB-C2).

The JTC specification for Cross Platform Authentication for limited input hybrid consumer equipment was published in April. This allows personalised content on radio and television devices (limited input consumer equipment) to associate an online identity with media devices.

The maintenance of TV Anytime specifications continued in 2016 with an update of the part on metadata schemas.