says Ward. Since news is essentially a playlist
of items, video content could also be rendered
on-demand by way of the news menu.
This type of application still leaves the lion’s
share of content “baked in,” but it’s a taste of
OBB’s potential. “All TV will be like this in fu-
ture,” says Ward. “As TV sets gain gesture ca-
pability and force feedback control, it allows
new types of interactivity to be brought into the
The audio element of OBB is more advanced.
Here, each sound is treated as an object to add,
remove, or push to the fore or background for in-
teractivity, to manage bandwidth, processing ca-
pacity, or for playback on lower fidelity devices.
Dolby’s Atmos object-based audio (a version
of its cinema system) is likely to be introduced
to consumers as part of a pay TV operator’s
4K/UHD package. Both BT Sport and Sky, the
broadcasters dueling it out with 4K live services
in the U.K., have commissioned their mobile facility providers to build-in Atmos recording gear.
Sources at these OBB providers suggest that a
switch-on could happen by this time next year.
Initially, a Dolby Atmos production would
allow additional user-selectable commentary
from a neutral or team/fan perspective, different
languages, and a referee’s mic. It would also add
a more “at the stadium” feel to live events with
atmospheres from the PA system and crowd.
BT’s research teams are also exploring the
notion of responsive TV UI for red button interaction on the big screen and targeting 2020
as time for launch.
“Today we tend to send out something optimized for quite a small screen size, and if
you have a larger screen it is then scaled up,”
Brendan Hole, TV and content architect at BT,
told the IBC conference.
“We are asking what happens if the broad-
cast stream is broken into objects so that the
preferences of the user can be taken into ac-
count. You can add or remove stats in a sports
broadcast for example, have viewer selection
of specific feeds. It could automatically take ac-
count of the size and type of screen or it could
take account of the fact I have a device in my
hand so elements, like stats, could be delivered
to mobile instead of on the main screen.”
Others investigating OBB include Eko Stu-
dio ( go2sm.com/eko), formerly known as Inter-
lude’s Treehouse. It offers an online editing suite
that lets users transform linear videos into inter-
active videos so that the viewer can choose the
direction of the video.
New York-based creative developer Brian
Chirls has developed Seriously.js ( go2sm.com/
for complex video effects and compositing in a
web browser. Unlike traditional desktop tools,
Seriously.js aims to render video in real time,
combining the interactivity of the web with the
aesthetic power of cinema. Though Seriously.js
currently requires authors to write code, it is
targeted at artists with beginner-level Java-
Script skills so that the main limitation is cre-
ative ability and knowledge of video rather than
MIT put the groundwork into object-based
media a decade ago. It has since moved on to
holographic video and display, although some
of the same principles apply.
“We are exploring holographic video as a me-
dium for interactive telepresence,” says Bove.
“Holosuite is an object-based system where
we used a range-finding camera like Microsoft
Kinect as a webcam to figure out which pixels
represent a person and which pixels the room
with the ability to live stream content of people
separately from the backgrounds and with full
motion parallax and stereoscopic rendering.”
For content creators, object-based techniques
offer new creative editorial opportunities. The
advantages of shooting in an object-based way is
that media becomes easily reusable, and it can
be remixed to tell new stories or build future
responsive experiences that don’t require any
“Either we need to produce multiple different
versions of the same content which is highly expensive or we capture an object once and work
out how to render it,” says Page. “Ultimately, we
need to change the production methodology.
OBB as an ecosystem has barely begun.”
Adrian Pennington ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a
freelance writer based in London whose articles have appeared
in Financial Times, Broadcast, Futuremedia, and New Media
Age, among many others.
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