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IHS Markit analysts covering IBC 2018 provide key takeaways

26 September 2018 IHS Markit Technology Expert

At the recently concluded IBC 2018 in Amsterdam, discussion and debate focused on key concerns facing the media landscape today: the changing ecosystem, the path forward for the industry, and the role of new technologies like Blockchain.

Below is a summary of key takeaways from IHS Markit analysts covering the event, often billed as the world's most influential media, entertainment, and technology show.

A longer Market Insight analysis on IBC 2018 is also available, at technology.ihs.com.

For Merrick Kingston, IHS Markit associate director for digital media and video technology, this year's conference served to affirm at least three of the more significant developments occurring today: that public shareholders are taking a backseat to private capital in what is shaping up to be a year of private equity; that analytics-related investments show little signs of abating; and that the services model is on the brink of reshaping the nature of pay-TV technology spending.

Meanwhile, hardware obsolescence is a problem that TV solution vendors can now credibly address, said Samuel McLaughlin, IHS Markit senior research analyst for service provider technology. That is because set-top manufacturers and middleware vendors now offer a host of solutions that allow operators to prolong obsolescence and delay the capital-intensive process of mass-box replacement.

For their part, set-top vendors have taken warmly to Google's Android TV, which has quickly become the platform of choice for much of the pay-TV industry, according to Paul Erickson, IHS Markit senior research analyst for service provider technology. Two other notable developments in the TV space: voice control in pay-TV continues to advance; and set-top box form factors, in their ongoing evolution, are expected to merge with that of soundbars and smart speakers.

As for ultra-high-definition (UHD) televisions, only a minimal presence could be detected at IBC for 8K TV sets, the next frontier being touted by TV manufacturers for television viewing.

The negligible attention paid to 8K at IBC was completely in contrast to the much greater interest lavished on the technology at IFA Berlin, noted Paul Gray, IHS Markit research and analysis director for TV and consumer electronics. At the event, considered the world's leading trade show on consumer electronics and home appliances, brands that showed off 8K included Samsung, LG, Sony, and Sharp.

The challenge with 8K, Gray said, is the lack of both content and supporting infrastructure. And even though an 8K satellite service launches in Japan in December this year as the country prepares to host the Olympics in 2020, there are no plans for now from broadcasters in any other country to launch 8K services.

Also at IFA, emphasis was strong on OLED, and brands with OLED lines hardly showed any of their LCD products, Gray remarked. Nonetheless, LCD continues to rule the market. In Western Europe, for example, LCD accounts for 96% of all TV shipments and 86% of total revenue, according to IHS Markit research.

Overall, the consumer electronics industry has followed a classical push strategy on its 4K products for the last four years, said Maria Rua Aguete, executive director for media, service providers, and platforms. For consumers, however, the value proposition in watching UHD content has been weak, supported by streaming services alone like Netflix and Amazon, along with some satellite channels.

In cinema, immersion technologies like 3D, HDR, and 4D seating are gaining traction, said David Hancock, IHS Markit director for film and cinema, although holograms and virtual reality are not realistic prospects yet for the movie auditorium. The transition in the industry to the standard SMPTE DCP is going well, he added, but the standards vs. innovation issue remains a subject of divisive debate in the cinema sector.

IHS Markit Technology Expert
Posted 26 September 2018

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