1080p set-top boxes now emerging

HDTV talk about the shift to 1080p, and the role of the set-top box industry in readying for ‘true’ HDTV and ‘full’ 3D. The panel said that 1080p “pushed the bar up to a very high level” but that solutions were now increasingly available.

Wojciech Doganowski, Vice President & General Manager at ADB’s IPTV Business Unit, said it was vital that consumers were presented with seamless transition from SD broadcasts to HD transmissions, and vice-versa.

“You cannot have high quality 1080p video, or even 1080i video, and then clunky standard definition, old style user interfaces or fast forward that is jumping [from frame to frame]. This is not the experience that people are looking for. So we have, thanks to our software experience, we have actually made a lot of effort there to improve this experience.”

Doganowski said one element was hugely important. “I mentioned the fast forward or rewind process - we have managed to make it smooth so you can fast forward 2x, 4x or more and it is smooth just like you’re watching normal television and we’re even able to decode the audio at higher speeds so you can actually watch your match in half the time and you can still listen to the comments.”

He explained that slowing video down was a harder task. “This is more tricky because you don’t have enough content to decode it at a slower rate, but we have managed that as well and it’s amazing to say, football fans, to be able to slow down all the slow motion say 4x slower and analyse a move, asking was it a foul, or their fault or not!

“This is, I think, expected because once you have high definition, high quality video, you want to have a high definition, high quality experience with that. Then also it’s leading to the user interface because, as I said, if you have high definition video you need to have high definition user interface, then we’ll be talking about 3D later and then there are requirements for the 3D user interface because we don’t want to have 3D video and then a flat user interface. You have your glasses already so you expect things to be in three dimensions.”