Artificial Intelligence changing the face of broadcast TV production

posted on Monday, 8th April 2019 by Steve May

4K  Broadcast  AI 

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Artificial Intelligence and machine learning technologies will transform the broadcast industry, says market analyst Futuresource. AI is allowing broadcasters to reduce bit rates without significantly impacting video quality, particularly at live events, as well as usher in a new era of advanced sound and closed captioning.

“Machine learning is beginning to impact on the video market, unlocking a range of opportunities for the industry,” says Simon Forrest, Principal Technology Analyst. “One of the most notable, but perhaps lesser-known areas are video encoding technology. Machine learning techniques allow encoders to optimise video encode parameters on a scene-by-scene basis. Meanwhile, the results are fed back into the system to enhance future video encoding; this feedback loop ensures machine learning applies better encode parameters in subsequent sessions.”

The result, he explains, is optimum compression for a given scene. “This leads to significant cost savings in network bandwidth and delivery, and the more efficiently a broadcaster or OTT service provider uses bandwidth, the more profit becomes available to them.”

Machine learning techniques are also improving accessibility, when it comes to closed captioning and subtitles. “Using algorithms that have been guided through massive language datasets, speech can be translated into text in real time and automatically applied to broadcast assets. In addition, AI can also be engineered to loosely identify the context of the speech.” Future iterations may use intonation and inflexion to further improve accuracy rates, he says.

AI is also transforming the way production companies assemble showreels and show highlights. “Companies like Aspera are already employing machine learning techniques to automatically search video for specific content, both audio and visual,” says Forrest. “Once indexed, portions of the video can be stitched together to produce highlights which are made available to programme editors. For example, goals during a football game may be found by identifying video sequences where the goalmouth is present in the scene and the crowd is cheering.”

These new technologies also hint at evolutionary changes that will impact consumer AV equipment.

“AI is still a nascent technology. Machine learning and AI have been limited to running on servers within the cloud. This is beginning to change, with semiconductor vendors now building neural network accelerators into silicon chips,” says Forrest. “This will allow elements of AI to run on consumer electronics devices, and it will be possible to identify users locally, either vocally through voice fingerprint or visually via camera. No data needs to leave the device itself. Companies like Synaptics are already developing the next generation of set-top boxes chips, capable of AI at the edge. The future is already beginning to reveal itself.”

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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