Broadcasters Constantly Looking for ‘Next Big Thing’

By | September 1, 2011 | Broadcasting, Editor's Note, Telecom

As we come to the end of the summer, we now look forward to September and the latest round of industry events, which come one after another. One of the highlights will undoubtedly be IBC, the major broadcast event held annually in Amsterdam.

The pace of change in the broadcast landscape is unbelievably dynamic right now. Was it really only 20 years ago that we had less than a handful of channels to choose from when watching TV? You can barely pause for breath as every year produces the ‘next big thing’ in broadcasting. It seems not so long ago when it was HDTV and then 3-D TV. Today’s ‘big thing’ could be connected TV or video through mobile consumer devices and iPads. Our demand for video content is insatiable and we are finding more ways in which to watch it.

Chuck Pagano, executive vice president of technology, ESPN, said in a recent interview that 4K television is one of the next big things to look out for in broadcasting. It was one of the first times that term was mentioned in a broadcaster interview, which makes it another development to keep an eye on.

All of this talk surrounding the latest broadcast technologies and new consumer behaviors has a direct impact on the satellite sector. Broadcasting remains the oxygen for a number of satellite companies and a vibrant broadcasting sector more often than not means a vibrant satellite sector. Drivers for bandwidth will only increase as people obsess on the quality of the video experience. The satellite sector will be well represented at the upcoming conferences, which will act as a showcase for technologies that are fundamental to broadcasters’ plans in operating and growing their businesses.

Still, the jury remains out on 3-D TV, with the initial glow of optimism centered around announcements from the likes of ESPN, Discovery and DirecTV, giving way to perhaps a more cautious tone this year in terms of take-up. Tom Cosgrove, 3net president and CEO, however, says he is as bullish as he has ever been about the platform. With the market still very much in its infancy, it will be interesting to see which broadcast innovation will strike a chord with households.

This month, we feature a DTH technical executive roundtable of operators spanning many continents. The discussion focuses on key technical challenges and decisions that these operators are facing during the next two years. Acting as the industry’s most important customers of satellite capacity, these operators share their thoughts on how the latest technologies can help them offer greater choice and flexibility for customers.

While consumers exhibit high demands for new big screen TVs, tablets and smartphones, we are still living in fairly austere times. The pace of change is rapid. Can consumers keep up with the ‘next big thing’ in technology? The more important question could be, do customers want to keep up?

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