UK television broadcast will be fully file-based and digital for programme delivery by the end of next year. The intention was announced on Saturday 14 September, during the IBC exhibition, by the Digital Production Partnership (DPP), which highlighted sports broadcasters BT Sport and Sky as being already prepared for the 1 October 2014 target date.
The DPP was set up in 2011 by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 (C4) to inform and advise the broadcast industry on best practice for digital production and data-based distribution of material. The initiative is supported by other UK broadcasters, including Channel Five, Sky, UKTV, BT Sport and S4C, as well as independent production companies.
During IBC the DPP hosted a session to update people on the progress of its work, including additions to the technical specification. Among these are the inclusion of EBU R128 for loudness monitoring and control, guidance on using 4k (Ultra HD) cameras and optional audio metadata for carrying multichannel audio metadata in programme files.
Mark Harrison, controller of production for BBC North and newly appointed chair of the DPP, described the organisation’s progress towards a unified file-based structure for UK broadcasting as a “rather happy rollercoaster ride”. He said that 1 October 2014 would be when British broadcasters “could really say they are making the move to file-based delivery”.
The set date, Harrison outlined, would be an end point for ITV and Channel 4, which will be “ramping up” for full implementation over the coming year. He added that the BBC, which recently discontinued its DMI (Digital Media Initiative) project for tapeless operation, had “a bit of catching up to do” and would use 1 October 2014 as a starting point but with file-based delivery as its preferred means.
Among other broadcasters, Harrison said BT Sport was already using the new techniques and technology due to its recent launch into the market, while Sky was “on the way”.
The DPP also announced the publication of a new report on the possible impact of cloud technology, The Coming Storm?, which can be downloaded at www.digitalproductionpartnership.co.uk/downloads/reports.