Imagine watching a soccer game or a rock concert on television and being able to pick your preferred angle or image, revisit the same moment, such as a goal, from hundreds of different angles, and focus on your favorite guitarist or center forward with the help not just of the professional cameras covering the event but also the devices of the thousands of fans attending – all in ultra-high definition (UHD).
The Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH) and its spin-off, the Athens-listed telecom and pay-TV provider Forthnet, have, along with the BBC, Queen Mary University in London and a number of other entities in Europe, formed a consortium that has undertaken the development of a novel system integrating the images captured on bystanders’ devices in live TV coverage of major public events.
The project, named Cognitus, forms part of the European Commission-funded Horizon 2020 innovation program and was officially presented on Friday at the FORTH headquarters in Iraklio ahead of the beginning of its three-year research period on January 1.
At a time when social networks are proliferating, “we are working toward bidirectional broadcasting of large-scale events,” explained the head of the Cognitus consortium, Marta Mrak, the lead research and development engineer at the BBC’s R&D department in London. The supplementary content will likely be available via tablets, cell phones or even smart TV sets.
Research will focus on a multitude of parameters, ranging from technical to ethical issues, as FORTH researcher Giorgos Marghetis and Forthnet’s senior manager for innovation Yiannis Markopoulos explained, adding that there are huge challenges ahead. Consortium partners also include French hardware maker Pace, the New University of Lisbon and German video innovation firm Vitec.
“We proudly continue to be the first to offer Greek consumers new services that improve domestic entertainment and communication,” said Panos Papadopoulos, the CEO of Forthnet, which owns and operates Greece’s leading pay-TV platform, Nova.
The presentation of Cognitus formed part of Forthnet’s Innovation Day at Iraklio, marking the company’s 20 years of operation in its birthplace, a hotbed for technological research and innovation in Greece.