Team Spirit: the winning strategy to stay ahead of the game

Team Spirit: the winning strategy to stay ahead of the game

By Thomas Wrede, VP, New Technology & Standards Media Platforms, SES Video

Half of the World Cup is already behind us, and millions of viewers across the globe are able to enjoy the matches thanks to the power of satellite broadcasting. Leading broadcasters such as Canal+ (through BeIN SPORTS), Sky Deutschland, Canal Digitaal, and Oi are offering a more immersive viewing experience to football fans by delivering the tournament in 4K Ultra HD. Other players, like the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, are even taking it to the next level by transmitting the matches in 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range).

For the technology enthusiast that I am, this is truly exciting when knowing that just four years ago, Ultra HD was barely there: for the previous World Cup, three matches were made available in UHD to a selection of broadcasters as part of a trial - which, just like many other Ultra HD broadcast tests, were essential in the roll-out of the new TV technology.

Quite some advancement in only four years’ time! This is all due to something that is not so different from what brings football players to victory: team spirit. Just like football players on the field need to team up, work in synchronisation, and exchange, in order to keep the ball running and face the hurdles that stand between them and their goals, so do the industry players in the video field. This team spirit has greatly contributed to the successful and fast-paced roll-out of Ultra HD: as industry partners have worked together on various trials and demo channels, exchanged during conferences and workshops, pushed to sort out the standards, the many elements of the Ultra HD ecosystem have fallen into place, from camera to living-room – the content production, the standards, the delivery mode, the reception equipment. With the number of living rooms equipped with Ultra HD reaching critical mass and leading broadcasters taking the UHD leap, the new technology is only set to continue gaining momentum, and the World Cup is certainly a key driver of that growth. In fact the number of UHD channels worldwide is expected to increase fivefold to almost 1,000 channels by 2026.

And of course Ultra HD is just one example. Last month we hosted our Industry Days conference, which is all about cultivating the team spirit in our industry. For the past 10 years, we have gathered industry partners from the video and data worlds to foster this essential collaboration approach – this idea that we are all part of an ecosystem, with challenges and opportunities, and that by working together we can transform those challenges and opportunities into success stories. We have witnessed an acceleration of changes in the last decade in the communications industry, be it for video or connectivity, with the arrival of mobile devices, new satellite technologies, software, applications, video services, and more. The Industry Days event is a token of one thing that has not changed at SES: our commitment to invest in complete value chains and develop ecosystems. This commitment allows us to go the extra mile and to constantly help our customers navigate through those many changes, and seize the opportunities that arise from this evolution.

In the same vein, our fifth Ultra HD Conference took place two weeks ago, gathering industry experts to exchange about the new TV technology and get the various perspectives of the Ultra HD ecosystem – the perfect opportunity to take a deep dive into Ultra HD and discuss how it’s evolving: the demand, the hurdles, the successes, the new features, and more.  

“In unity there is strength” – this motto doesn’t apply to sports only. One player alone, no matter how talented, can only keep the ball rolling for so long on his own. Together, we can be more agile in our ever-changing world, continue to step up our game, and outdo ourselves. Together, we can make the best out of each other’s strength to deliver the best connectivity and entertainment experiences across the globe.