For years, broadcasters and consumer electronics companies have been promising a brave new world when it comes to TV. In this world, viewers never miss their favourite TV shows.
You can catch every moment of the hottest TV drama, even if you get a phone call from your mother in the middle of the action.
What’s more, they said that it could be possible to begin watching a movie from the comfort of your sofa, and enjoy the rest of it on the train to work the next morning.
And you could even watch a TV show while sharing the experience and chatting with your friends at the same time, even if they are watching on the other side of the world.
Well, what seemed like fantastical hype only a few years ago is now a reality.
Smartphones, laptops, portable media players, tablets and all the new viewing devices that keep springing from the fertile imaginations of technologists all play their part in freeing today’s busy media-savvy viewers from the confines of their living room.
But did you ever wonder just how do these shows manage to seamlessly find their way onto the screens of smartphones, tablets or laptops?
There’s no way around it – this is complex stuff.
Fortunately for broadcasters, SES Platform Services, based in Munich has the know-how and helps over 300 TV and radio channels around the world to do exactly this.
Sophie Lersch, Chief Sales Officer, SES Platform Services, explains: “Multiscreen encoding takes content from a TV channel and converts it into a video signal that is supported by all the relevant video players.”
Sounds easy? It isn’t. “One of the main challenges with this service is the sheer variety of different formats required,” says Lensch.
“We provide a video signal in up to six different parallel streams with different bandwidth profiles, ranging from UMTS or 3G networks to high-bitrate WLAN networks.”
Not only that, but SES’ multiscreen encoding service also has to have the flexibility to reliably support all common video formats, from Adobe, Microsoft and Apple, meaning streams will work on any player on any device.
“The advantage with SES is that we can offer [all of this] as a single supplier. We already provide the uplink signal to the satellite, which means we can use a high bandwidth broadcast signal for multiscreen encoding. Our customers receive the best-quality signal with low latency to their satellite broadcast.”
The days when there was ‘nothing good on TV’ are just a faint memory.
The possibilities for personal choice seem endless. And every year industry events including IFA (Berlin), IBC (Amsterdam) and CES (Las Vegas) unveil the all the very latest devices, apps - and even some ideas that seem plain crazy at first - that further expand viewing options for consumers.
The creativity of technology innovators seems limitless. And it’s a good job too because each year consumers demand more – more content, and more ways to enjoy it.
Welcome to the new brave new world.