Executive Predictions for 2018

While 2018 may prove to be more evolutionary than revolutionary, it looks to be a pivotal year in which long-discussed standards deliver on their promised potential and begin having a significant mainstream impact. 

While streaming is ubiquitous for delivering content to consumers, its use within professional content creation workflows has been more limited, as users and equipment vendors awaited the formalization of new technical standards. With the first three standards in the SMPTE ST 2110 suite officially approved in late 2017, professional media will be increasingly transferred over IP throughout the content lifecycle, from acquisition and production to distribution. 

Transporting media via IP allows the total system cost to be effectively reduced, enabling more people than ever before to produce professional-grade content, while also increasing workflow flexibility. As further components of the standards suite are released this year, we foresee that products based on ST 2110 will mature and begin widespread deployments. 

In terms of streaming media delivery, broadening integration of technologies such as HEVC, 4K and HDR will bring exciting viewing experience improvements to users. More and more CPU, GPU and mobile chips are natively supporting 10-bit HEVC encoding and decoding, laying the foundation for the format to gain further popularity, while Apple’s 2017 HEVC support announcement exemplifies its growing mainstream adoption. 

Mature HEVC implementations are delivering on its promise of nearly 50% bitrate savings compared with H.264. Conversely, a little increase in bitrate leads to obvious improvements in picture clarity as perceived by viewers, and combines with HDR to deliver more natural, lifelike images. As more consumers experience these benefits first-hand, demand for these formats will further accelerate. 

At Magewell, we are excited by these developments, and will continue developing practical products that enable users to embrace and take advantage of these technologies quickly, thoroughly and cost-effectively. 

—Nick Ma

CEO and CTO

Nanjing Magewell Electronics Co., Ltd