60 Seconds with...Dr Andreas Bereczky
Dr Andreas Bereczky is Executive Vice President of Technology and Production at ZDF German Television, a position which he has occupied since 2004. Hungarian born, he has had a long and varied career, first qualifying as a motor electrician and aircraft engineer before forging a career in multimedia and IT after gaining a PhD Degree from the Technical University of Aachen in 1985. He is one of an august panel of speakers at the keynote session ‘The Next Wave of Technology’ on Thursday 12 September at 17:00.
Q: You are speaking in the session titled ‘The Next Wave of Technology’. Briefly, what do you see that wave being comprised of?
A: Of course UHD1 could be one of the most significant waves in next years. But, we should not forget HD in 1080p coding to broadcast. It makes more sense to take the next small step not a big jump. And we should not forget the smaller waves which will change our broadcast landscape in the nearer future like DVB-T2, HEVC and the Companion Screen.
Q: What do you see as being the major change the industry is currently facing: the way that content is made or the way it is being consumed?
A: In Germany, the viewer has not changed their way of watching live television at all. But nowadays our customers have also the possibility to consume our programmes and services not only on the big TV screen. So our task is to produce the content with the right parameters for the right device with the right way of distribution.
Q: How difficult will it be for traditional broadcast as we understand it to thrive and prosper over the next few years?
A: It really isn’t a technical question. It depends on the content and on how attractive our programme will be in the coming years. Our live content especially has the potential to give our viewers a delightful/appealing television experience which on-demand cannot.
Q: Who is leading innovation at the moment. Broadcasters? Vendors? Or is it coming from another direction entirely?
A: The manufactures now jump from one Full-HD-3D-secondscreen-touch-thinnest-biggest device to another. And UHD 4k. That's really great for the consumer who always wants to be the first in the neighbourhood and furthermore has enough money. But we, as a public broadcaster, should be well advised not to be always the leader in this subject. Look at the 3D story.
Q: Your are Executive Vice President of Technology and Production at ZDF. Are there any problems with production that you would still like to see solved?
A: Optimised business processes are one of the key points in the business to improve the measures of speed, service and not to forget the cost. At the moment, we are keeping an eye on the service-oriented architecture (SOA) solutions and how to transfer them effectively to the broadcast world. Furthermore, I have a dream….that in the future all devices from all vendors can be integrated in a given networked infrastructure.
Q: How global is the picture of innovation? Are we ready to genuinely talk about a global industry moving forward at the same pace yet?
A: No. The broadcast world still has most diverse local interests and basic prerequisites. Accordingly, the market players always have to make individual decisions.
Q: Recent data shows that consumer uptake of some new technologies such as Connected TV is smaller and happening slower than previously expected. Is the industry sometimes guilty of technological determinism? Much as with stereo 3D, of just assuming that consumers will want it because we can provide it?
A: 3D with glasses may have its right to exist in cinema on an event basis. But for general TV broadcasting it is no solution as long as you need glasses and as long as production costs are two or three times that of normal HD productions. The BBC just stopped 3D broadcasting, we never started. The television business is developing slower than the IT business. Just think about how long it took to change from 4:3 to 16:9 or analogue to DVB. But when it’s there, it is consistent for a while.
Q: If you had to list one technology that you think will be most disruptive over the course of the next decade, which one would it be and why?
A: The discussions about the digital dividend and the 700MHz band could really point the way for the future of terrestrial television services. Mobile Broadband and Digital Terrestrial Television need to find a way to cooperate in the future.
Q: What emerging technologies are you looking forward to seeing at IBC2013?
A: Content management systems, automated multichannel playout and, of course, 4K / 8K – what else!