Having completed three years, the Group elected a new bureau with Dr Fares Lubbadeh elected as Chairman for the Arab TV & Beyond Group, Samir Assiri of Saudi Broadcasting Authority as first Vice-Chair and Dhaker Baccouch, CEO of Tunisian Broadcasting Corporation (ONT), as second Vice-Chair.
The 15th annual meeting of the Arab HDTV and Beyond Group took place at the Novotel World Trade Centre, Dubai on May 18, 2022, under the patronage of Eng. Abdelrahim Suleiman, Director General of the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU).
The meeting was presided by Hasan R. Sayed Hasan, Chairman of the ‘Arab HDTV and Beyond Group’, with the Group’s Vice-Chair Dr Fares Lubbadeh. More than 70 industry professionals representing Arab national and private broadcasters, regional and international systems integrators, manufacturers, and service providers attended the meeting.
In his opening address, Hasan R. Sayed Hasan, Chairman, Arab HDTV Group/ Managing Director, Master Media, updated attendees on the status and growth statistics of HDTV and Ultra HDTV in the Arab World and globally. He also presented figures about the HD Satellite channels’ growth in the Arab world, categorising channels in terms of orbital position, FTA vs. encrypted, by genre, origin and language.
Since its beginnings in the region in 2009, HDTV channels on regional satellites have grown to 476 unique channels at the end of March 2022, Hasan reported. On the global level, ultra-HD services, both linear and VOD, are growing relatively slowly, with a total number of 234 commercial services (both linear and OTT) globally in May 2022. Five of these services are in 8K (with no growth for the last 2 years).
Bassil Zoubi, Director of Technology and Development from the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) briefed the group about the outcome of the Arab Media Congress which was held in Tunisia in October 2021. He discussed digital media, multi-platform production and distribution, OTT services as well as regulatory and legal issues. In addition, Zoubi updated the Group about the latest developments on the MENOS and ASBU cloud platforms. He also briefed the attendees about ASBU’s observations with regard to UltraHD & HDR.
Sebastian Manemann, VP of Product and Cloud Solutions at Quortex looked at the most efficient way to use public clouds for video streaming. In his presentation, he described the concept of ‘Just-in-Time’ cloud video streaming methodology, which offers better utilisation of the infrastructure, contextualised content generation, the ability to use spot instances, and dynamic configurations.
Ignacio Revuelto Rosello, Product Marketing Manager at Imagine Communications was up next and explored how to leverage the cloud to address the challenges of origination and monetisation of Converged TV. Rosello started by describing how TV has evolved from linear TV to converged TV, wherein both models there are content owners and viewers, while the content processing and delivery methodologies have changed, but are always complex. He described how cloud services can be leveraged to improve efficiencies, to make maximum benefit out of the existing technical and human resources, and have the flexibility to adapt to every change as fast as possible.
Steve Russell, Chief Product Officer of Red Bee Media presented three case studies of “Convergence” which can mean different things to different people. The first example was the deployment of ‘TV5 Monde Plus’ as a global broadcast-grade streaming service. The second one is ‘together TV’, which is bringing a broadcast service into a free-to-use streaming service. The third was ‘Sportstribal’, a ‘FAST’ channel, the sports’ first broadcast-grade streaming service.
Yusuf Buti, Head of Technology & Engineering at twofour54 showcased two videos: one showing how visual effects in film production was made in the early 1900s, and another showing how advanced technologies are being implemented in visual effects today. He then went on to discuss how broadcast engineering has evolved and the need for modern broadcast engineers to have multiple skills and play the role of the interpreter between the creative and production teams and the technology providers. Buti also described the ‘old’ school of technology architecture, the ‘new’ school, and what the ‘future’ school will look like.
Craig Newbury, Head of Sales EMEA & LATAM at Lawo addressed the complex issue of implementing hybrid IP/ baseband video infrastructures and the technological challenges faced, describing the important role of ‘Broadcast Control System’. The recommendations could be summarised by the essential need for broad compatibility with third-party devices, provision of hybrid capabilities, the mandatory synchronised control across all devices of an infrastructure, the importance of network control for full transparency of flows, and preferably a single orchestration layer solution or closest possible integration with other solutions.
In her presentation, Helene Chabran, General Manager of Kinetiq described the video monitoring technologies of Fingerprinting & Watermarking and video verification. She also demonstrated social and digital media tracking tools, and other products and services provided by Kinetiq, with a focus on news organisations.
Following up on his colleague’s presentation, John-Pierre Verhagen, VP of Video Engineering at Kinetiq described in more technical detail how fingerprinting and watermarking services and technology infrastructures are set up, and a case study about a cloud-based media tracking implementation.
Dr Fares Lubbadeh, Vice-Chair, Arab HDTV & Beyond Group/ DG, Spacetech TV Engineering spoke about the importance of Radio and its need to evolve with both broadcast and the internet complementing each other. Dr Lubbadeh presented the various radio digital broadcasting methods DAB, DAB+, DRM, DRM30, DRM+, and HD radio with the benefits and limitations of each one of them.
During the last discussion session, the attendees discussed the scope of the group’s activities and whether they should extend the scope of the group to include radio and other media-related IT/ Telcom technologies. A special committee was recommended to address this and make recommendations about the expansion of the Group’s scope of activities.
As per the Group Bylaws, elections of the group bureau were held after a term of three years. Dr Fares Lubbadeh was elected as a new Chairman of the Arab TV & Beyond Group with Samir Assiri, Consultant at the Saudi Broadcasting Authority, as first Vice-Chair and Dhaker Baccouch, CEO of the Tunisian Broadcasting Corporation (ONT), as second Vice-Chair. The members have also renewed for Dr Riyadh Kamal Najm as Honorary Chairman of the Group.