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Dwell TV Establishes New Aesthetic Commonplace at Olympic Video games

Live TV Establishes New Aesthetic Standard at Olympic Games

The 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games have come to a close . As athletes celebrate their wins and ponder over their losses , the technicians that produced this event in all its socially distanced glory , also have something to celebrate . This year ’ s Tokyo Olympics was a triumph in live tv production . By combining 4K , HDR , and Dolby Atmos sound , NBCUniversal created immersive and compelling stories out of a live broadcast .

While few people managed to see the broadcast of the Tokyo Olympic Games in all its visual and audible glory , NBCUniversal 8217 ; s experiment bore hearty fruit . While still in an early experimental phase , technologies that have been a staple of modern cinema and television , are now making their way to broadcast . Remember the question everyone kept asking a few years ago ? 8220 ; Who needs 4K ? Everything is broadcast in HD ! 8221 ; Well , the answer is here .

ATSC 3 . 0 – A new standard for Live TV

Before we dive into NBC 8217 ; s broadcast experiment , let 8217 ; s chat about standards . The A dvanced T elevision S ystem C ommittee , or ATSC, is an industry group that determines what technologies are and can be used for broadcasters across the nation . Back in 2009 , they did this with the ATSC 1 . 0 Standard . This moved televisions over from an analog signal to digital . This allowed for compressed video and additional data , giving us 1920 215 ; 1080 HD resolution and digital closed captioning .

In 2017 , we first saw glimpses of ATSC 3 . 0. Initially rolled out in South Korea , this new standard is spreading like wildfire . By packing more data into the signal , the bit rate has almost tripled over ATSC 1 . 0.

When paired with modern video codecs such as H . 265 and MPEG – H , what used to be only available on streaming platforms , can now be broadcast by TV stations . Even 8K resolutions are possible with this new standard , as well as frame rates up to 120fps . Hold on, I think I hear Ang Lee trying to break down my door.

Billy Lynn ’ s Long Halftime Walk was shot in 4k and 120fps . Image Credit : IndieWire

While the latter may seem another decade or so away , there were a few providers that carried NBC 8217 ; s coverage at 4K in Dolby Vision with Dolby Atmos sound . Notably , Comcast Xfinity on its Xfinity X1 platform . While YouTube TV carries 4K in most regions , it does not always have Dolby Atmos sound . fuboTV , Altice , and Verizon Fios also carry high – resolution signals in several regions . Unfortunately , there is no consistency and it is difficult to suss out where to get the entire picture and sound package .

The 2020 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games

So what 8217 ; s all the fuss about NBC 8217 ; s broadcast of the games this year ? Well , imagine all those technologies that have been perfected for cinema and television — HDR, Dolby Atmos sound , and 4K resolution . Now implement them into a live broadcast at 30 fps .

Swimming events have vibrant crisp splashes while creating contrast with the dark water of the pool . Skin tones are more vibrant and pronounced . Clouds in the sky , which were always lacking in HD resolution , now pop out in the image . Viewers can see tiny golf balls stand out against the green grass , as well as fast – moving volleyballs over the sand .
Camera Operators at 2021 Tokyo Olympics . Image Credit : The Columbian

During the opening ceremony , the utilization of Dolby Atmos sound allowed the NBC 8217 ; s technicians to place the source of live music where they saw fit within the soundscape . No longer is the sound of the broadcast escaping your television . It is not an immersive wave that comes from all sides .

Given the circumstances at the games , such as limited crowds at the events , technicians took further steps to elevate the soundscape of the broadcast . The starting gun popped from the back , putting viewers in the athlete 8217 ; s shoes . Competitors could be heard mid – event . Balls , rackets , and whatever objects are used have a texture and presence in the soundscape .

The immersion of cinema has officially left the movie theater .

The present and the future

While NBC is making strides to embrace ATSC 3 . 0, there are still plenty of hurdles to overcome . The technology of the high – end consumer market is still too fragmented to utilize the combination used for the Olympic Games . While HDR may look stunning on some televisions , other brands can have little effect on the image .

The lack of a universal standard that all manufacturers adhere to , cripples any chance at a quick turnover . On top of that , HDR must be utilized with other display tech , such as wide color gamut , local dimming , or miniLED . But as long as manufacturers continue to throw around PR buzz words and proprietary technologies , the consumer is left waiting .

Source / further reading : tvtech

What do you take into consideration NBC 8217 ; s utilization of 4K , HDR , and Dolby Atmos of their broadcast ? Did you get an opportunity to see it ? Let us know within the feedback !

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