Televisão Independente (TVI) of Portugal is upgrading its Satellite News Gathering (SNG) vehicles with ATEME’s H.264/MPEG-4 capable contribution encoding system to establish a future proof platform for covering sporting and other outside events in HD. TVI has started by upgrading one of its SNG vehicles to ATEME’s CM4101/DR8400 broadcast contribution encoder/decoder pair in order to provide HD coverage of football matches for worldwide distribution by the European Broadcast Union(EBU/Eurovision) satellite services. TVI is encoding the video in MPEG-2 HD 4:2:2 today but the ATEME solution supports the state of the art H.264/MPEG-4 HD 4:2:2 10-bit encoding scheme as the broadcast industry migrates to that over the next few years. This will happen because MPEG-4 4:2:2 10-bit enables broadcasters, pay TV operators, and content owners, to maintain the highest quality throughout the production and contribution process, avoiding artifacts such as color bleeding and smearing that can have a significant impact on the consumer’s viewing experience in the case of HD content.
“The availability of MPEG-2 HD 4:2:2, H264 HD 4:2:2 and the possibility of upgrading to use 10-bit resolution, were key factors in our decision to select ATEME,” said TVI’s Chief Technology Officer José A. Nabais. TVI also evaluated other compression vendors but another key factor was ATEME’s excellent performance in terms of image quality at low bit rates, Nabais added.
TVI’s decision also reflects ATEME’s growing status as a market leader in the emerging H.264/MPEG-4 10-bit contribution arena, which requires products that are robust and easy to deploy, with the highest quality of field support. “Their commercial approach was good, the technical support during the tests was important and the equipment performs well in the field,” said Nabais.
TVI’s deployment also highlights ATEME’s growing profile across Portugal and Spain, and the success of its marketing campaign there led by Alvino Cordeiro, the company’s sales manager for Southern Europe. TVI is part of the larger Spanish media group Promotora de Informaciones S.A (PRISA), which also owns other TV channels that have taken note of the ATEME deployment. “At some point the whole broadcasting industry will move wholesale to H.264/MPEG-4 4:2:2 10-bit for contribution, and we believe we are best placed to exploit that movement as it occurs,” said Alvino. “Our platform is already being adopted by major broadcasters and operators not just in Europe but around the world.”
H.264/MPEG-4 4:2:2 bit encoding itself is already being adopted at increasing rate, driven by the growth in HD content, which places greater demands on the whole video production, contribution and delivery cycle because of its higher resolution. Indeed TVI has just begun its own transition. “This will be an ongoing project,” said Nabais. “We already have some transmissions in MPEG-4.”
With the 1080p version of HD becoming accepted as the prevailing standard in many countries at double the resolution of the alternative 720p or 1080i, and 3D programming emerging to raise the bar higher still, broadcasters and operators will have reduced tolerance for legacy MPEG-2 contribution systems that are more likely to introduce artifacts during encoding and decoding cycles. “Most new deployments, like TVI’s, are ready for H.264/MPEG-4 4:2:2 10-bit even though they are not using it widely yet,” said Alvino. “Now that most operators and broadcasters have already decided they will install future proof encoding systems, they are focusing on choosing the best vendor for support and product quality. That is why ATEME is in such a strong position with a solution designed for H.264/MPEG-4 4:2:2 10-bit from the ground up.”
Televisão Independente (TVI http://http://www.tvi.iol.pt/index.html ) has been Portugal’s most highly watched TV channel since 2005, because of its wide range of high quality content from reality shows and soaps to news and sporting events. TVI is owned by Media Capital, in turn part of the Spanish Promotora de Informaciones, S.A (Prisa) group, which owns newspapers, magazines and radio stations as well as other TV channels.
ATEME (www.ateme.com) is a world-leading provider of H.264/MPEG-4 video compression solutions. ATEME’s award winning technology supports both SD and HD content, deployed across any platform – from mobile to Ultra HD. ATEME provides broadcasters, pay TV operators, telcos, and content owners with unmatched compression quality and bandwidth efficiency.