BROADCAST TECHNOLOGY TRENDS IN 2021

AI driven experiences, new cloud deployments, super-aggregation are key tech trends in broadcast sector which will be seen in 2021. All of this will result in consumers getting in the driving seat and industry will see great collaboration to create aggregated content and device experiences.

Consumer behaviour saw dramatic changes in 2020 due to the Covid 19 impact. 2021 will see broadcasters gaining an insight on the behaviour pattern of the consumers and preparing a game plan on how to effectively produce traditional content and also increase on-demand services.

Globally VOD and SVOD accelerated, linear TV viewing was limited. 2020 proved a difficult year for content productions and broadcasters found they had lesser resources, budgets and flexibility to adapt than global streaming platform producers. 

Operators are reinventing themselves as content aggregators offering their own linear and VOD assets. And all of them are boosting their capabilities to help consumers discover assets such as podcasts, games, books and related merchandising using a single platform. AI-powered UIs that learn every customer’s likes and dislikes will drive a new generation of ultra-dynamic, highly personalised user experiences.

In 2021 there will be more than one billion smart TVs installed worldwide, as we continue to move towards a world where consumers are more reliant on TV delivered over the internet. Having an installed base of TVs with built-in smart functionality is the new entertainment battleground for vendors. It’s currently being contested by LG with WebOS and Samsung with Tizen, as well as Android TV, which is being adopted by many brands at a low cost, high quality interface, with some degree of customisation and personalisation.  

This has opened up the market for media streamers like Google Chromecast, Amazon Firestick and Apple TV box to improve the user experience. We expect that the installed base of media streamers will increase worldwide to nearly 300 million by 2024. 

Furthermore, the key companies selling media streaming devices are also selling access to an entertainment ecosystem, which aggregates content services, takes payment for media content, and integrates effectively with smart home technology. These platforms, including the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon, have a significant impact on how today’s consumer communicates, shops and enjoys leisure time.  

A TV is therefore no longer a siloed entertainment device and must at least work with these operating systems. The seamless ability to connect with the OS of choice for a consumer is fast becoming an important reason to choose one brand of TV or accessory over another, representing the next frontier of competition.” 

The technology priorities list for leaders in media has included a move to the cloud for some time now, but where that item fell on the list varied widely. Media and technology professionals often found the time to move their infrastructure to the cloud in between their day-to-day responsibilities.  

This year, the pandemic shifted priorities demanding a fast move to the cloud. This means that technology leaders in 2021 will continue to focus on creating efficiencies. Many are looking to what is known as the sharing economy as a means for this needed boost in productivity.  

Challenges for which standards can provide a solution involve cloud and multi-cloud infrastructure. In parallel, microservices-based software architecture for media systems will gain traction. Both developments fuel the possibility of a shared economy and SMPTE and its members are prepared to bring order to these exciting, and at times chaotic, new technology advancements.  

AI/ML is a huge business today with applications on the industrial enterprise sector. The most deployed use of AI/ML is for video analytics to enhance metadata generation and improve what is otherwise a very manual process.  

We’re unlikely to see 8K streaming in 2021. We are still in early adoption of 4K. On a mobile device there’s barely a reason to stream 8K since you can’t tell the difference between that and the image quality of HD let alone 4K signal. Device manufacturers and encoding partners working to build out 8K media.

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