[SR Talks] ⑦ Interview with a Digital TV Expert at Samsung R&D Institute Poland

Q: Please briefly introduce yourself, the Visual Display Team in Samsung R&D Institute Poland, and the kind of work that goes on there. What projects are you working on?

My name is Pavel Vassilovski, Head of the Visual Display Team (VD Team) at Samsung R&D Institute Poland (SRPOL). SRPOL was established in 2000, and our first research scope was related to digital TV solutions for the consumer market in Europe. It was a time when the demand for digital TV broadcast solutions was rapidly growing and replacing legacy analog technology. This was how our research journey began.

Today, the VD Team is responsible for developing solutions and components utilized in Samsung products worldwide. The most important and valuable projects are the development and deployment of the newest technology standards related to digital TV broadcast and interactivity, such as the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) 3.0 and Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV). We commit significant effort to low latency multimedia platform solutions based on Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) and Web Assembly technologies and devote ourselves to delivering a high-quality Video and Game Streaming experience. Last but not least is the high-performance Broadcast software stack, which provides consumers with smooth and quick response time and enables a variety of features such as the Game Bar, Multi View, Advertisement Services, etc.
Our team supports Samsung Electronics CSR commitments by carrying out important research activities related to accessibility features, which improve the user experience for those who are hearing and visually impaired. We have recently commercialized the results of our research by deploying a Sign Language Avatar for the Korean and North American markets.
Our expert level of competencies within technology domains such as WebRTC, WebAssembly, and Chromium is also worth mentioning. The new architecture enhancing platform capabilities and optimizing maintenance costs of the Web Media solutions is just one example of it.

Q: Please tell me about the importance of your field of research or technology.

Our research focuses on delivering maximum satisfaction to consumers by exploring major technology triggers. Current technology triggers within the domain of consumer TV products can be grouped into bigger screens, new content sources and features, content distribution, and interactive TV broadcasts. Each of these enables the next level of user experience and increases consumer expectation for the product. Quick reactions to emerging trends are the secret sauce to leading the market.

A bigger screen naturally creates the opportunity to follow several events without compromising video quality. We have to provide middleware platform capabilities, which enable an advanced Multi View experience for Samsung customers. The popularity of this feature is constantly growing, and it has evolved from a premium feature to a must-have basic function.
Cloud gaming is an emerging content source for our customers. Samsung enabled this feature on new TV models a few months ago. Low latency, stability, and picture quality together with the available game titles will be pivotal to creating a joyful experience. Having a rich gaming experience on TV is not only available from the Cloud but also when a gaming console is connected to the TV. This is through the Game Bar application, which has been available since 2021 and is quite popular among gamers.
The time of the average user just turning on the TV and zapping through channels is gone for good. The bar for user experience and content availability is much higher these days. This is what brings Interactive TV to the picture. The technology defined by HbbTV is already quite mature, while ATSC 3.0 is now rising in the North American market. Interactive TV provides new ways for consumers to enjoy their beloved content or access different information services. Interactivity also enables service and content operators to provide a wider range of content that is better tailored to individual user preferences. It also generates new business models by using targeted advertisements. Our strategy is to constantly deliver the newest technology to a wider range of customers. New features and services are not only limited to the newest models. This commitment requires the smooth and user-friendly deployment of new software releases. For over a decade, our platform team devotes research power to providing the most effective algorithms and making the process truly transparent for the end user.

Q: Can you tell us about the main achievement and most rewarding moment in your research?

There have been many exciting moments during our 20-year–long research journey.
This includes, for example, preparing the required technology and solutions to make an analog switch-off in Europe possible, participating in the Smart TV revolution, being a leader in interactive TV by pioneering the market, or receiving an extraordinary award such as the Emmy Engineering Award 2019.

I would like to highlight several project achievements and results that I believe show our team spirit.
A couple of years ago, we redesigned the way the Broadcast software stack worked. This new architecture was something that had been in the works for a while but was always postponed because of the risk of commercialization. As a team constantly searching for challenges, we decided to tackle that problem and successfully commercialized it, even though the production cycle was heavily disturbed by the COVID-19 situation. The new architecture brought to our customers improved premium quality video-on-demand (VOD) experience across the entire TV lineup. I feel proud to work with such brave people who know how to take a risk and are examples of a can-do attitude.

Another rewarding moment was launching the Gaming Service this year. It was really challenging to provide the expected low latency and stability across the full spectrum of TV products and achieve the desired experience regardless of the hardware limitations. They truly deserve applause. “Chapeau bas!” Here at Samsung, no one is an island. All achievements, glory moments, and unforgettable memories are the result of the global team spirit in Visual Display.

Researchers of the Visual Display Team

Researchers of the Visual Display Team

Q: What is your vision for the future, and what goal would you want to achieve?

As I already mentioned, content distribution technology is one of the technology triggers on our radar. Currently, content is delivered to the TV using terrestrial, cable, and satellite infrastructure. Internet Protocol (IP) streaming is also another approach. What we would like to focus on is exploring future broadcasting technologies defined by standards such as Digital Video Broadcasting Internet (DVB-I) and 5G.
A couple of years ago, most experts were predicting that VOD and Over-The-Top (OTT) services would replace completely linear TV. The trends, however, do not support this prediction. We believe that interactive TV features will bring the desired technology platform. Our role is to fully explore the technology in the area of visual display and provide solutions enabling new business models and opportunities. Our team is focusing on delivering target advertisement solutions for the European and North American markets.

For our team, Samsung CSR is also a very important value. We are constantly working to provide the best services to everyone. In regard to this, together with the sales office of the Samsung Electronics Poland (SEPOL), we started a task force to improve the overall TV experience for visually impaired people. We have completed a research study, demonstrated our proof of concept to an organization that supports visually impaired people, and received comments. The proposed solution exceeded the expectations. We are looking forward to commercializing it as a global function on Samsung products.