SMPTE Details Keynotes and Program for Entertainment Technology in the Connected Age

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Thu, 04/07/2016 - 13:09 -- Nick Dager

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers revealed further details today about the Entertainment Technology in the Connected Age conference keynote addresses by Roy Taylor, corporate vice president of Advanced Micro Devices and Ron Sanders, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment Distribution. Scheduled for June 27-28 at the Heritage Theatre in Campbell, California, and subtitled The Race Is On, ETCA 2016 will explore the impact of emerging technologies on the delivery of a compelling connected entertainment experience.

"This year's keynote presenters illustrate ETCA's focus on bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and Hollywood, and on integrating the evolution of technical, creative, and business innovations to pave the way toward provision of ever-better entertainment experiences," said Pat Griffis, SMPTE education vice president and ETCA 2016 program committee chair. "Conference sessions will examine the impact of connectivity, bandwidth, and technology advances on content creation and delivery, whether the consumer is at home, at the cinema, or even in their car.”

Drawing on his experience at AMD, a leading supplier of silicon technology for virtual reality, Taylor will present VR and the Race to Real on the first day of the ETCA conference. He will describe how VR is progressing as a storytelling tool and discuss how performance gains in central processing unit speeds as well as specialized architecture improvements for VR are yielding better quality and more creative options. Taylor will consider how long it will be before VR truly approximates reality, by discussing key trends, expectations, bottlenecks, and breakthroughs influencing the progress of this immersive format.

Taylor's keynote will be followed by the session VR Storytelling in a Connected World. While acknowledging the radical increase in computing power required for VR, as well as the necessary improvements for associated sound and display technology, this session examines what makes VR such an exciting proposition for even traditional entertainment companies. The panel will include VR experts from YouTube, Facebook, Warner Bros., and the MxR Studio at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.

Sanders will deliver his address, The Future of Home Entertainment in a Connected World: A Warner Bros. Perspective, on the second day of ETCA. Drawing on lessons learned while leading Warner Bros. global transactional home entertainment businesses, which includes video, digital, and games, Sanders will speak to the many opportunities for delivering content over a variety of platforms that fit with consumers ever-changing lifestyles. He will also describe the challenges associated with the emerging and rapidly changing formats in this business sector.

The subsequent session, Solving Complexities in Connected Distribution, will be moderated by SMPTE's past president, Wendy Aylsworth, formerly of Warner Bros. and now CEO of Walden Pond. With top execs from Deluxe Media, Universal Studios, and Samsung Electronics America, Aylsworth will pick up on the challenges outlined by Sanders. The panel will explore current thinking on how to overcome the remaining obstacles to developing a connected marketplace.

"Although streaming media outlets have become part of the mainstream and the idea of anywhere, anytime access to content has become a reality, we have a long way to go in realizing the full potential of the connected marketplace," said Aylsworth. "ETCA provides an excellent opportunity to understand what industry leaders see as critical next steps for content delivery."

Two of the other sessions on the ETCA program schedule will focus on a new target for connected content: the automobile. During Entertainment on the Road: The Connected Car, panelists will include the CTO of General Motors' Global Experience/Connected Car Division and the CTO and director of motorsports at Andretti Autosport. These C-level original equipment manufacturer executives will discuss how they are reconciling the fail-fast California culture with the typical development cycle of the automotive industry and discuss what it will take to stay ahead both in establishing connections with audiences and in delivering the connected car technology they demand.

During Next Generation Audio (NGA): Connected From Cinema to Couch to Car, moderator Sunil Bharitkar of HP Labs will be joined by experts from Linear Acoustics, Amazon, Dolby, Qualcomm, and Warner Bros. to discuss new audio formats designed to enhance the subjective experience. The group will look at how the object-audio technology introduced in cinema and broadcast is being adopted for next-gen streaming experiences, as well as at how new content-creation tools are being deployed to produce, mix, and transport these audio signals through production to the consumer in cinemas, at home, and beyond.

Online registration and further information about the full program schedule are online at