Summit declares global goals for future of broadcasting

Television broadcasting executives, technologists and engineers gathered in China have agreed that a global approach to the future of terrestrial TV broadcasting is the ideal method to avoid competing standards, overlap, and inefficient deployment of new services.

At 11:11 a.m. local time on 11/11/11, more than 200 delegates to the Future of Broadcast Television Summit in Shanghai officially expressed unified support for a joint declaration signed by technical executives from 13 broadcast organisations from around the world that calls for global cooperation to define new requirements, unify various standards, and promote sharing of technologies to benefit developed and under-developed countries and conserve resources.

A common theme throughout the summit was that broadcasting – defined as the transmission of information to an unlimited number of listeners and viewers – is the most spectrum-efficient means for wireless delivery of popular real-time and file-based content. The signatories of the declaration believe that the broadcasting and TV industries will continue to evolve and play a critical role in bringing both information and entertainment to everyone.

The Summit noted that while television has prospered, it has not been possible for the world to take full advantage of the convenience and economies of scale of a single broadcast standard. Even in the digital age, splintering of different standards and methods of broadcast TV transmission makes it difficult to share information and entertainment globally.

As a result of the Future of Broadcast Television (FoBTV) Summit, supporters for the declaration agreed to three major initiatives:

1. Define the requirements of future terrestrial broadcast systems.

“The collaboration between broadcast and Internet content will play a vital role in providing attractive services. The broadcast industry is committed to developing necessary technologies to create and deliver new media and information services by taking advantage of future broadcast systems. We also know the critical role played by broadcasting in times of emergency,” notes the declaration.

2. Explore unified terrestrial broadcast standards.

“We aim to promote cooperation among broadcasters, communications companies and manufacturers of broadcast equipment and all types of receiving devices. We seek to maximise proper and efficient use of spectrum resources, as well as exchanges and cooperation between communication systems and broadcasting on both a technological and business level,” says the declaration.

3. Promote global technology sharing

“A future broadcast ecosystem, with collaboration between different areas and among broadcasters, research institutes, and industries, will foster new broadcast technological innovation. We commit to the elimination of broadcasting technological gaps. We realise that advances in broadcasting technologies should benefit both developed and developing countries,” the declaration states.

“Today, technological innovation may be able to break down many of the long-standing barriers that have prevented common systems,” according to the joint declaration announced today.

“This would enable us to remove the gaps between the different television signal formats and transmission systems used around the world. Digitisation has opened the door for a broadcasting renaissance.”

“We need to explore new ways of cooperation, seek the progressive unification of standards, and realise technology sharing so that the efficiency and convenience enabled by digitisation will be realised – not reduced by system fragmentation. The 21st Century is an era of integration of broadcasting, Internet, and communications, all of which have evolved in parallel. Consumers are calling for more convenient and user-friendly services. The development of digital technology opens the possibility of cooperation among all the different networks and transmission systems,” the joint declaration states.

The complete declaration was signed by technical executives of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC), Communications Research Center (CRC), Digital Video Broadcast Project (DVB), European Broadcast Union (EBU), Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), Globo TV Network, IEEE Broadcast Technology Society, National Association of Broadcasters, National Engineering Research Center of Digital TV of China, NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories, Public Broadcasting Service and the Brazilian Society of Television Engineers (SET).

“The conclusion of the Future of Broadcast Television Summit brings into focus the very real needs that broadcasters face as future technologies are primed for over-the-air transmission. It makes sense to work together – to conserve scarce resources, to speed new developments to the market and to take advantages of economies of scale wherever possible,” said ATSC President Mark Richer, co-chair of the summit. “The true benefit of this week’s conference will be seen and felt by viewers throughout the world, as the signatory organisations and others work together for the greater good.

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