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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 17, 2013

ATEME Breaks New Ground at Roland Garros

By Rich Steeves, TMCnet Managing Editor

The French Open at Roland Garros is one of the jewels in the crown of the tennis world. As the one Grand Slam event played on clay, it is unique and always entertaining. Millions of people around the world tune in to see the action, but this year, tennis fans had a new and different way to see the competition in beautiful 4K. ATEME, a global solution provider of advanced video compression for the broadcast and telecom industries, spearheaded this effort, the first of its kind. I recently spoke with Benoit Fouchard, chief strategy officer at ATEME, about this initiative and more.

This represented the first full 4K coverage of a live event, with multiple cameras designed for television. The coverage was uploaded and streamed over Eutelsat (News - Alert) and broadcast on an experimental 4K channel in Europe. One key feature of this broadcast was that it could be seen in any number of formats – via over-the-top or IPTV (News - Alert), or over-the-air or cable delivery formats. The ATEME technology allowed the streaming video to be converted to the appropriate format for each delivery model.

Fouchard mentioned that ATEME was part of this first end-to-end HEVC chain, starting with HD production at Roland Garros, through TITAN transcoding. Since HEVC is a progressive play (not at its best when interlaced), it is transcoded into two streams, one for editing and one for DASH (which, with its lower bitrate, is better for OTT solutions). The broadcasts went over the Internet and over the Orange (News - Alert) network, ending up on TV screens throughout France.

He feels that networks are ready for HEVC, though set top boxes are not necessarily prepared. This should help with the coming wave of 4K proliferation, most TV set manufacturers will embed HEVC at 4K resolution. Set top boxes may no longer rule what goes over the networks, as cable modems can support 4K bit rates and feed into new TV sets. As the new wave of tablets comes into being, HEVC will be a no brainer there as well. There are still some scars left from MPEG4, Fouchard said, but people will realize there is no point in compromise and expect the best from HEVC.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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