The rapid and constant technological evolution that the industry is experiencing today, makes the channels and producers require a balance between technical needs, the taste of engineers for having the latest developments and financial viability from the administrative side.
This is one of the discussions that are constantly being lived on Caracol TV, one of the two private open signal channels that operate in Colombia. Johana Rueda Mora, Technical Manager of the Channel, said in an interview with TVyVideo + Radio that internally they try to be up to the demands of the viewers, taking into account that they are an open signal channel. Today they broadcast in HD, which is the limit that can be reached with Colombia's current digital TV transmission standard.
"Technological evolution benefits TV because you can create content in a much faster way with better quality. But the constant change affects mainly economic level, because they require much larger investments in a short period. Today the life of the teams in an editing room is three years. The hardware in three years does not support the latest version of the software with which you want to do something, "he said.
Another aspect that has changed the technological evolution is the linking of work areas that were previously separated. Today, directors and photographers, who do not have a very technical concept, demand the kind of technology they want to use in their production. That's why in Caracol they work hand in hand with the conceptual theme to make a decision as a company about the look they want in the productions, and that's how the brand is chosen. Today they have a specific brand with which all the productions develop.
IP and 4K
Viewers perceive the evolution of technology much more slowly than they do in channels. And although the transmission of 4K is not a reality that can be seen in the near future in Colombia, Canal customers abroad are demanding a higher quality. Therefore, the challenge they point to in 2018 is to produce some of their productions in uncompressed 4K.
In this sense, Johana Rueda Mora recalled a recurring situation. They have old productions recorded in standard that are broadcast and people keep watching them, while they have had other productions with the best quality and people do not see them. "It is very subjective and difficult to understand. Although the penetration of state-of-the-art television sets is high and that makes them demand higher quality ".
This year the challenge for the 80 engineers that support the entire operation of the Canal is the World Cup, contest for which they sell more large TVs and viewers want to see images with higher quality. The task is to provide a signal with the best quality, because sports and, especially football, is one of the issues that generates more passions in Colombia.
To acquire new technology, Canal Caracol developed a project methodology. There is always a leader who must present to an engineering committee the analysis of the different brands according to the need they have. Depending on the impact and the value of the project, some simple purchases are made by the person in charge of the area. When they are large and complex projects, concept tests are carried out, for which the brands allow to test the equipment.
According to its technical director, in Caracol TV they prefer to buy new equipment and systems abroad and directly import. Some products look for them in the national market, after doing a cost analysis.
Among the new projects planned by the Canal from technology, is increasing storage capacity and content availability. It is one of the biggest needs today, because content is becoming heavier and internal users need to have it as quickly as possible.
"We are still investigating IP issues, we feel that we have not yet reached a full definition of the standard and we are afraid to go for a brand that stays very fast," concluded Johana Rueda Mora.