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Top solutions at NAB 2023nScreenMedia

There was plenty of innovation and novelty on show at NAB 2023. Here are some of the top solutions I saw at the trade show.

AI at NAB part 1: Automatic show scripting and production

AI was a big theme at NAB 2023 and nowhere more present than at Veritone. I met with the company’s Sean King, SVP, GM of Commercial Enterprise, and Seth Greenberg, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer. They told me how the company is using AI to enrich video metadata. They encourage video makers to give them everything, including what ends up on the cutting room floor, because it is all monetizable in the digital world.

However, what shocked me was how AI could participate in creating shows. Mr. King explained that ChatGPT illustrates how AI can compose well-written and researched responses to questions. You can use the same approach to compose a show about, say, comics from the 80s. With a deep library of video clips annotated with AI-enhanced metadata, the AI can select clips and string them together into a show. In this way, the AI can produce 20 or so versions of the show, and a human can then review them and pick the best one to take forward.

Improving the movie experience

I talked with Pixelworks’ Aaron Dew, Senior Director, Ecosystem Marketing. The company makes a motion-grading product called TrueCut which allows filmmakers to control the judder and blur in their movies (you can learn lots more about this technology in my interview with Richard Miller, EVP of Technology at Pixelworks.) To demonstrate, he showed me a video shot in 4K on a Samsung phone. Though the picture was crisp and clear, the judder was horrible. By adjusting the shutter angle to introduce some blurring and reducing – though not eliminating – the judder, he gave the video a movie-like quality.

The technology is already making inroads in the up echelons of Hollywood. He told me James Cameron used TrueCut on three of his latest in-theater movie projects.

Scaling the delivery of live events

One of the most intractable problems in streaming is coping with massive live audiences. It stresses the delivery network, forces broadband providers to overbuild their networks to handle the peaks, and streamers to over-provision their streaming server capacity. The answer to this scale issue is a simple concept called multicast, the Internet’s equivalent of broadcast. With multicast, one stream is watched by many people rather than each getting an individual stream.

Implementing multicast is anything but simple. Xavier Leclercq, Head of Business Development at Broadpeak, says his company’s multicast solution has proven itself in several broadband networks, including Telecom Italia. The solution was launched to carry the telco’s video service but has now been opened to third parties. DAZN is taking advantage of it to allow its live sports service to scale the delivery of soccer to sport-hungry Telecom Italia broadband customers. Mr. Leclercq says the solution saves as much as 90% of the CDN capacity normally required to deliver live sports.

AI at NAB part 2: Metadata enhancement at scale and cheap!

I have already talked about one metadata enhancement solution leveraging AI. But I want to mention another. Frederic Petitpont, CTO of Newsbridge, told me that the Mix T1 solution had been optimized for the news. Aside from the usual voice recognition duties, the AI processes video to recognize objects such as faces and landmarks. With the enhanced metadata created by the AI, a producer can use natural speech and ask a question like “Show me Barak Obama playing basketball at the Whitehouse.” The enriched metadata allows the system to identify all the relevant videos and the exact places in the videos where President Obama is playing basketball at the Whitehouse.

As impressive as the solution is, its cost and processing power are more impressive. Mr. Petitpont says it costs $5 per hour of processed video (versus $90 from Google) and can process 500 hours per minute.

More to come

I have omitted one of my favorite things at the show from the list above. The Reward TV service comes from Replay, Bitcentral, and Theta Labs. The service is built on Web 3.0 technologies and rewards viewers as they watch TV. However, I will dive deeper into the service in the next week or two, so please check back for more.

I saw many other things of interest at NAB 2023 from companies like iMax, Brightcove, 3PlayMedia, Accedo, and others. Watch for more coverage of the companies and their products and services in the coming weeks and months.


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