With the broadcast industry in transition phase, Olympic Broadcasting Services Chief Technology Officer Sotiris Salamouris must manage the shift to 4K, 8K and IP while ensuring the world doesn’t miss a second of the action.
2018’s Winter Olympic Games from PyeongChang, South Korea is only a few months away. The event presents the challenge of broadcasting from mountainous and snow-covered landscapes, while at the same time managing the build of a 30,000 square meters broadcast centre and establishing how to supply spectacular HDTV, 4K and 8K images.
If that’s not enough then add into the mix the advanced planning for Tokyo’s Summer Games in 2020, where Japan’s public broadcaster NHK has put 8K very high on its agenda.
Overseeing all of this is Olympic Broadcasting Services Chief Technology Officer Sotiris Salamouris
Speaking ahead of his IBC ‘Beyond Live’ sports session, quickly the conversation turns to HDR, 4K and – inevitably – 8K.
IBC2017 Sotiris Salamouris will speak as part of the Beyond Live: New tech pushing the boundaries on Sunday 17 September
“8K is an interesting element. With our long-standing partner NHK, we are also creating an 8K platform from PyeongChang.
“We have worked with NHK in a very strong partnership on 8K since the London games, which means that with London, Sochi, Rio, and now from Korea it will be the fourth Games that we have covered in 8K in some form.
“The 8K productions are advancing and becoming more and more sophisticated. The biggest change for Korea in 8K is the introduction of HDR and the BT 2020 wider colour gamut. It really is the ‘Full Monty’ in terms of 8K.
“The only thing missing if you really want to get to the final frontier is higher frame rates. Our colleagues from NHK are working on this, of course.
“For PyeongChang we also have a quite complex 4K operation. Our 4K coverage comprises two key elements: we will produce 4K but with standard dynamic range availability to satisfy the needs of the majority of our broadcasters. We are also supplying the down-converted 8K to 4K with HDR for those who want it.”
Asked how important 4K could be at Tokyo, Salamouris laughs and says: “Now you want me to be a prophet!
“We are doing everything possible in terms of preparation for the highest-possible quality.
“Our industry has been moving from standard definition to HD, and now to 4K and with 8K in front of us. But I would hope that we also accept that there’s another revolution and that is in IP-based technologies which is happening in parallel, and that includes live capture.
“We have also to be aware that distribution is no longer just to TV sets, but to other devices including OTT delivery.
“I’d like to see these elements coming together and to be seamless for the viewer, and irrelevant. Perhaps by 2022 or 2024 we will no longer be talking of 4K or 8K but instead talking of excellent quality because my device will support it, and then perhaps medium quality because I have not yet bought the latest display, and then a good quality but visible on hand-held devices. We must be able to mix and match the images to suit the devices. We are still in a transition period but moving towards this situation.”
Olympic Broadcasting Services
Region: United Kingdom
Salamouris CTO of Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) and of the Olympic Channel. He leads the Engineering and Technical Operations of OBS as Host Broadcaster of the Olympic Games, managing the planning group responsible for the design & delivery of all the technical facilities and services of the host broadcasting operations for the Olympic Games and other select broadcast activities.
As the Chief Technology Officer of the Olympic Channel he also oversees the technical strategies for the creation and digital delivery of the Olympic Channel content to its current and future presentation outlets.