Technology Is Driving Change in Media & Entertainment

May 12, 2014

The past several weeks encompassed three of the industry’s most important  gatherings that brought together the top technologists and content creators in the media and entertainment worlds.  The first was the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) Technology in Cinema Summit, immediately followed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show and finally the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) Cable Show in Los Angeles.   Two major themes  encompassed these events.  First was an overall focus on increasing the quality of content throughout the entire content workflow, from acquisition through consumer consumption, using the most advanced technologies.  Second was a continuing blending of IT and Internet technologies with media and entertainment systems.

On the quality front, there has been a lot of continuing talk about 4K and Ultra-High-Definition since the Consumer Electronics Show in January.  Industry technologists have since then taken things quite a bit further, with not only a focus on higher resolution, but with an equal focus on increasing the dynamic range (think brighter whites and darker blacks), expanding the color palette and increasing the frame rate.  All of these technical approaches combined lead to significant advances in the tools available to creators and to noticeably enhanced experiences for viewers across cinema, television and mobile viewing environments.

On the IT and Internet side, the rapid advances in these technology segments are now being broadly applied to content creation, distribution and consumption across all aspects of the media and entertainment industry in ways that are driving rapid advances, better content and lower costs.

So why are these trends important?  Technology is being leveraged to create the highest quality content ever made, while also providing the broadest array of distribution and consumption platforms in history on which people can legally find and experience that content where and when they want it.  Digital processing advances now enhance every workflow step from the camera to the end-user display, supporting higher resolution, higher frame-rates, higher dynamic range and more realistic color.  High-speed networking now supports the rapid, secure and consistent movement of increasingly large and high-quality media content files.  Low-cost storage allows for cloud-based access from a growing range of consumption and display devices.

Continuing rapid advances in digital content processing, IT, Internet and cloud technologies are allowing content creators and distributors to work more closely and effectively together to provide consumers an ever-increasing array of options.  By continuing to follow Moore’s Law, all of this is happening with accelerating rates of change, an increasing scope of consumer-friendly services and lower costs. What an exciting time for the media and entertainment industry.