ATSC 3.0, OTT, New Mac Tech, and Subscriptions

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ATSC 3.0, OTT, New Mac Tech, and Subscriptions

Michael Kammes, Director of Technology for Key Code Media, previews 2018 from his perspective in larger media organizations and workflows.  He also covers news on the emerging ATSC 3.0 standards, new Apple tech, and how the industry is not going to stop moving towards subscription based software plans.


Larry Jordan:  In his current role as the director of technology at Key Code Media, Michael Kammes consults in the latest in technology and best practices into the digital media and communications space.  He’s also the executive producer and host of Five Things.  Hello Michael.  Welcome back.

Michael Kammes:  Hi Larry, good to talk to you again.

Larry Jordan:  Michael, last week we took a look back at key trends and things that surprised you in 2017.  So how do you see things playing out in 2018?  What do you see as the future?

Michael Kammes:  Well, I think consumers are going to have a really good year and the reason I bring that up is if you like acronyms like I do, you’ve probably been following SMPTE and ATSC 3.0 and now that that is becoming the law of the land as much as SMPTE can be a law, I think we’re going to see a lot of facilities moving over to ATSC 3.0 which means as consumers there’s going to be a lot more ways to consume broadcasting cable media.

Larry Jordan:  Translate that into English.  What is ATSC 3.0?

Michael Kammes:  ATSC 3.0 is, for lack of a better marketing term, a revolution in terms of how media can be broadcast and consumed.  Instead of just being over the airwaves, or being a cable provider, you’ll now be able to view a majority of the same media on almost any mobile device, over the air and via your wifi signal.  So it makes the content that’s been generated by the broadcast networks more easily accessible with better metadata, so it allows you to actually experience the media a little bit deeper.

Larry Jordan:  So it’s a standard to allow broadcast networks and stations to send their media out over the web?

Michael Kammes: Over the web yes.  More IP based, yes.

Larry Jordan:  The problem that broadcasters are in, and you know this even better than I do, is the budgets have cratered and they just don’t have the wealth they had for upgrades the way they did even ten years ago.  The cash just isn’t there.  So I think they’re hurting to be able to make this kind of conversion.

Michael Kammes:  I completely agree.  I think also when it was still SD, you weren’t upgrading for five or seven years.  You were upgrading and it was going to last for 15 or 20 years, because decks were decks, and tubes were tubes, and aside from a part here and there, you could use the same gear for over a decade.  Unfortunately, that’s just not the current landscape with disposable technology.  Heck, our furniture is disposable right, it’s all Ikea?  We buy Blackmagic gear, it’s disposable and the same thing is for broadcasters who were buying gear that unfortunately will be based on computers which will be out of date in several years.  So unfortunately, a lot of broadcasters haven’t moved to that paradigm of having to update more frequently.

Larry Jordan:  OK.  So we’ve got that to look forward to which means more program choices for consumers.  What else are you looking forward to?

Michael Kammes:  Well I think the rest of us who are, I don’t want to say Apple fan boys, but who like the Mac ecosystem, even with all its restrictions, I think are going to enjoy this year.  Obviously the iMac Pro just started shipping a few weeks ago.  The new Mac Pro should be shipping at some point this year, we don’t know if that’s going to be January 30th or December 30th, but we’ll get more of the Apple sauce.  I think what you’re also going to see is Apple with High Sierra has been dipping into the external GPU realm and although it’s very rudimentary right now, and there’s a lot of restrictions and hiccups, I think we’re going to see performance just shoot through the roof as third party manufacturers create more external GPUs that are NLE tools, and are encoding tools and graphics tools, can start using that.  So I think from a performance standpoint, we’re going to see a huge boost on that end.

Michael Kammes: I think for those of us who enjoy Netflix you’re going to see a lot of tools this upcoming year.  They’re going to be Netflix friendly and when I say that, I mean creating the media that Netflix wants, which is an IMF wrapper which is kind of like a glorified zip file with some enhanced metadata.  And I think you’re going to see a lot of affordable software solutions to create this, so it’s not just for the big folks, it’s now for the average creators, who want to create media for Netflix.

Michael Kammes:  I think what you’re also going to see is a lot of software companies continuing to jump on the subscription bandwagon.  Kind of like what Adobe did, which is you’re going to pay per month, you’re going to be renting the software instead of owning it.  I know a lot of folks don’t like that, they want to buy it and own it.  Unfortunately in the business realm, it makes more sense to have predictable income every quarter, every month, so I think you’re going to see more manufacturers who make software move to that model, I think much to the chagrin of folks in the industry.

Michael Kammes:  As we also talked about a few weeks ago regarding VR, I think we’re going to continue to see the decline of VR in terms of working with it for long form cinematic pieces.  I think we’re going to see it for more experiential, so we’re talking marketing and real estate and that sort of thing.  But I think we’re going to see more investment in the AR realm, the augmented reality realm, to aid people in the business sector as opposed to being a complete entertainment experience.

Larry Jordan:  You just got yourself invited back to about 12 different programs to talk about all this stuff.

Michael Kammes:  That’s my whole plan Larry.

Larry Jordan:  Aside from VR, do you think there’s any technology that’s going to slowly fade away in 2018?  Or maybe not fade away but become much less important?

Michael Kammes:  Pause.  Let me think that through because I was thinking about that earlier and I couldn’t think of anything besides VR that was really going to take a big hit this year.

Larry Jordan:  Michael, that’s some fascinating stuff to think about.  You got any more thoughts before we wrap up?

Michael Kammes:  Here’s one, and I have to preface this with this is not NDA, this is just the way I see things, is that Adobe I think is poised to really make a push into the remote editing paradigm.  At a consumer level.  Right now, Avid does it, but you need to have deep pockets.  I think Adobe already has storage in the cloud to some extent for smaller files.  I think they already have team projects and now with the late 2017 release of Shared Projects, I foresee at some point Adobe charging users more and allowing you to store your video media in the cloud which will then be distributed amongst multiple servers around the country so you can remote edit with video in the cloud.  I think that only makes sense.  I think the only thing that Adobe needs is an asset management system on top of it, but that’s what I kind of see in the tea leaves.  Again, I’m not revealing any NDA information, that’s just the writing on the wall as far as I see it.

Larry Jordan:  I think there’s going to be a push toward remote editing, but until we solve the whole internet bandwidth issue it’s going to not function because if I’m uploading two or three terabytes of data a day, there isn’t a pipe fast enough to be able to support that.

Michael Kammes:  I’d agree with that.  I think there’s probably going to be two paradigms.  I think there’s going to be you create the proxies on your own and you upload it to an Adobe shared folder, and you’re editing those low res proxies.  Or perhaps you’re leveraging Amazon S3 and their elastic transcoder, and if you have those fat pipes, you’re uploading the high res, and then letting the elastic transcoder generate those proxies for the end user in the cloud.  But you’re right, it really depends on how fat your pipe is up to the series of interconnected tubes.

Larry Jordan:  Michael, some fascinating things to think about.  Where can people go on the web to learn what you’re doing and thinking?

Michael Kammes:  Two places, you can track down my namesake,, or

Larry Jordan:  That second is the number  Michael Kammes is executive producer and host of Five Things, and Michael, as always, thanks for joining us.

Michael Kammes:  Happy new year, thanks a lot Larry.

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