Satish Aggarwal – The Broadcast Technocrat Par Excellence


Satish Aggarwal – The Broadcast Technocrat Par Excellence

Satish Aggarwal, the name evokes a lot of respect in the industry for his stellar contributions. Ever smiling and unflappable, Satish Aggarwal, Managing Director of Visual Technologies & President of the AIBMDA (All India Broadcast Manufacturers Distributors Association) has been in the industry for close to three decades. He shares the experience of his professional journey and career highlights in an exclusive interview to Broadcast & Film.

Q1. You have been in the broadcast industry for close to three decades and represents some of the leading broadcast brands. How do you look at your journey over the three decades?

Yes we have been working in this Industry for close to three decades, Visual Technologies India Pvt Ltd came into existence in 1996. We are representing Panasonic since then on an exclusive basis for the Indian broadcast market. Later we added many other brands to our portfolio like Ross Video, Azden, Libec, AVT, Riedel, Hitachi, Canare ... etc. Today we have a partnership with more than 40 leading brands in the field of Content Production and Post-production for TV, Film industry, Satellite and Terrestrial broadcasting and OTT/Web TV Channel. We are serving the industry as a system integrator and providing technology and systems to the Television news channels, TV Studios, TV & Film entertainment Industry, Education, AV Industry, Enterprise solution and high-end security solutions.

I am fully satisfied and feel proud of the fact that we have successfully served the industry and the country for close to three decades.

Q2. How has the transition of the Indian broadcast industry been over the years? And how do you see the future of Indian broadcasting in the next 5 years?

Television Content Production and Broadcasting Technologies are evolving ever since its inception. Rapid development was seen after the adaptation and application of the digital technology. Digital technology brought the cost of equipment within the reach of the entrepreneurs, thereby accelerating the expansion of the broadcast industry which otherwise was mostly restricted to the Government broadcaster / Public Service Broadcasters. Digital technology has made possible commercial viability of High Definition Television technology. Rapid rollout of HDTV (1080/50i/60i) started about 10-12 years ago and thereafter technological development in this field never looked back. We have seen announcements of a new technology or concept, almost every year at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. We have also witnessed the rollout of the progressive HDTV, 1080/50p/60p, 3D TV technology, 4K technology and now 8K Technology, coupled with Non Linear Editing, NLE, Server based recording, shifting from tape to tapeless recording media to Solid State Memory Media, Server Based Recording and Playback, induction of a lot many production and transmission codecs, OTT, fusion with IT industry etc. Digitalisation also brought a major change in the graphics, virtual technology also which has benefited the Film and Signage industry too.
From last few years, the most talked technology is 4K / Ultra High Definition Technology, UHD, with High Dynamic Ratio, HDR and High Frame Rate, HFR. Besides these technologies other technologies which are drawing attentions of the broadcasters are as follows :

  1. Mostly with NHK efforts 8K/UHDII technology with immersive sound, this year we seen many 8K Cameras and Camcorders displayed by major manufacturers in Trade Shows.
  2. Web TV Channels, linear and OTT, use of the social media for broadcasting.
  3. Media over IP/ Uncompressed SDI over IP which was going on from last so many years, seem to be getting worldwide popularity and acceptance in the form of SMPTE 2110.
  4. Audio over IP
  5. AI, artificial intelligence coupled with machine learning.
  6. Efforts for developing New Inter Operable format IMF, Interoperable Master Format by SMPTE, for the easy exchange of media content on all platforms which includes TV, Cinema, Social Media, and Cloud based media services etc.
  7. Development and acceptability of highly efficient Audio/Video codecs
  8. For the transmission & broadcasting ATSC 3.0 & 5G technologies are evolving and drawing the industry’s attention. 5G technology is being looked as a replacement of “C” band satellite broadcasting.
  9. e- Sports, with possibility of remote sports production and auto production.

All the above is the gist of happenings on the technology front, but when we come to the ground realities in our country, not more than 15-18% of the TV channels are broadcasting HD TV. Most of the TV Channels are still broadcasting in SD TV format.
Almost all the Camera manufacturers have stopped manufacturing SD TV Cameras/camcorders since long and have now shifted their focus from HD Cameras to 4K Cameras. Most of the TV channels, though they have HD Cameras in their TV Studios and field, but are still using the same in the SD TV mode only. Camera manufacturers are bringing newer models in 4K and 8K UHD domain.
Industry is getting ready for a big jump from SD TV to UHD TV in the near future. Upcoming Olympic Games scheduled to be held in Tokyo in 2020 likely to accelerate these phenomena.

Q3. Tell us something about the prestigious projects undertaken by VTI recently?

Last year was a comparatively a very busy year for VTI, we have completed more than thirty projects in the field of Television Broadcasting, Production & Satcom (RF), Education, High End Security Solutions and Enterprise.
Some of the Important Projects are as follows:

  1. Supply of Nine Digital Satellite News Gathering Vans, DSNG Vans to Doordarshan on turnkey basis. This state- of-the- art Vans were fabricated on Ashok Leyland Chassis in 1+1 Configuration. Vans were also equipped with a small live production facility also for the live field broadcast capabilities.
  2. Two Earth Stations for unlinking multiple TV Channels to Satellite for Doordarshan at two locations in Delhi.
  3. ETV BHARAT PROJECT - The most prestigious ETV Bharat TV set at Ramoji Film City Hyderabad. Project involved setting of twenty-four linear TV channels on OTT/Web platform. Project is for the 24 TV (linear) channels on OTT platform with worldwide availability by using an App known as “One Nation –One App” through CDN service provider. Work involved setting up of twenty-four TV studios, equipped with NRCS, Production and Playout facility with automation. It is equipped with the Products from Panasonic, Ross Video, Harmonic, Octopus, Vizrt, Adobe and many more partners. Unique attraction of the setup is three supporting streams for each channel carrying live feeds from the field, total seventy-two live streams. Entire installation, configuring and commissioning work was completed in a record time of four months by the VTI team with support of the partners.
  4. Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, SRFTI Kolkata TV Studios. VTI completed the entire work of setting Studio and flyway kits for sports field coverage. Flyway kit was designed in such a way as to make it deployable in the field for sports coverages and as well in the SRFTI facility at Kolkata.
  5. Dolby 7.2 Audio Mixing Studio facility at State University for Performing and Visual Art at Rohtak, Haryana. It was a Dolby certified unique project of its own kind in the North India.
  6. Interrogation, Control Room facility for the Jharkhand Police at Ranchi. It was an interesting and small project of its own kind.

Q4. How is the broadcast business in India? And how is the system integration business in India? Is VTI looking at the markets other than India?

India is vibrant county of multiple cultures and languages, therefore I see a bright future for this industry in India which is having more than 800 TV Channels at present. With the upcoming technology advancement, I foresee a bright future for the Industry.
We are gearing up to spread our wings and looking beyond India also. Let’s see how it turns out.

Q5. Which are other segments that VTI is targeting apart from the broadcast industry?

Visual Technologies India Pvt. Ltd. which is working and established in the country from last more than Twenty - Two years in the field of TV Production, Broadcasting & Satellite Communication & RF, spreads itself in the other verticals of the similar fields of Education & AV Industry, High End Security Solutions, and Solutions for the Enterprise & Corporates.

Q6. Tell us about the AIBMDA and the role of AIBMDA in the Indian broadcast industry.

The All India Broadcast Manufacturers and Distributors Association, AIBMDA, is the voice of the Broadcast Equipment and Broadcast Software Industry in India.
Established under Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956, the objectives of the association are as follow:

  1. Take up issues affecting the growth of the Broadcast Equipment and Broadcast Software Industry with Government and other regulatory authorities.
  2. Find ways of resolving problems faced by the industry from time to time through discussion with its members.
  3. Monitor developments in the broadcast sector and share it with its members on a continuous basis.
  4. Encourage and promote technological innovation among engineers and scientists working in the broadcast sector through financial and other help.
  5. Apprise engineers and other broadcast professionals of the latest developments in the broadcasting sector through a concerted program of conferences, seminars, exhibitions and road shows.