Asia-Pacific Broadcasting (APB) August 2016 • Volume 33, Issue 7 - Page 20

20 MANAGEMENT August 2016 Taking the next step in the IP transition BY JOSEPHINE TAN IP is emerging as the base technology to link multiple distributed systems and to provide a platform for the integration of a multi-vendor environment. IP could also turn out to be the cheapest and most efficient technology for broadcasters who can no longer delay the inevitability of planning for the adoption of IP, suggested Heinz Herrmann, Group CEO of Magna Systems and Engineering. Put in place a clear migration path to IP by first appreciating what encompasses the entire IP value chain, Herrmann advised. He told APB: “IP is not just a way to reach consumers via over-thetop (OTT), or just playout over the Internet. The entire IP value chain will include areas such as production, post production, multiplexing and more.” ❝There will be a risk involved in migrating to IP until [delivery] standards are ratified and gain in maturity.❞ — Heinz Herrmann, Group CEO, Magna Systems and Engineering IP can be an attractive proposition because it provides cost advantages and simplifies distribution workflows, for instance, by simplifying interconnectivity via an IP switch. However, there are a number of challenges to overcome before the transition to IP can be a successful one, Herrmann acknowledged . These include latency issues and the ratification of IP delivery standards, he said, adding: “While IP is mature, the delivery standards for IP in broadcast are not quite so. There will be a risk involved in migrating to IP until standards are ratified and gain in maturity. “ The broadcast industr y is adopting SMPTE 2022-6, and now SMPTE 2022-7, as the standards for IP delivery. Magna is already working with the leading vendors and early adopters of SMPTE 20226 to provide a smooth migration Apantec lights up 4K/Ultra HD displays for European football fiesta At the recently concluded 2016 U E FA E u ro p e a n C h a m p i o n ship (Euro 2016) held in France, Apantec’s Micro-4K-DP 4K/Ultra The International Broadcast Centre (IBC) used NEC 4K/UHD monitors, coupled with Apantec’s Micro-4K-DP DisplayPort converter, to view 4K/UHD 4:2:2 feeds. HD (UHD) to DisplayPort converter was chosen by the Euro International Broadcast Centre (IBC) to support the viewing of 4K/UHD 4:2:2 feeds. The IBC received all venue signals and distributed them out to broadcast partners for global transmission. Receiving uncompressed 4K/UHD feeds via fibre from the main venue stadiums, the IBC faced the challenge of viewing 4K/UHD 4:2:2 feeds on 4K/UHD monitors in full RGB 4:4:4, 10 bits at 50Hz. To overcome this challenge, NEC 4K/UHD monitors supporting the DisplayPort 1.2 SST interface were deployed, alongside the Micro-4K-DP. One Micro-4K-DP was used to drive a NEC 98-inch 4K/UHD monitor in the IBC main lobby, while another was utilised with a NEC 65-inch 4K/UHD monitor in a control room for quality control and monitoring of signal feeds. According to Apantec, the Micro-4K-DP is a cost-effective alternative to high-end monitors directly accepting 4x 3G-SDI 4K/ UHD signals, and allows largersized monitors to be used, without any compromise to quality. It is also designed to provide an affordable plug-and-play solution for viewing 4K/UHD content on monitors that use DisplayPort 1.2 (DP 1.2), which is capable of displaying 4K/UHD resolution up to 4096x2160, RGB 10 bits, at 50/60Hz. from hardware to software-based compression, without incurring the cost of a ‘forklift upgrade’.” As with any technology transition, risks are inherent and perhaps unavoidable. Software-based systems, in the interim, will continue to experience teething problems with latency and scalability, said Herrmann, who recommended that broadcasters continue to deploy gateway hardware as they transition from baseband to IP. This approach, he added, will aid broadcasters to manage any latency issues more efficienctly while continuing to seek the cost benefits that will justify the transition to IP. “Some broadcasters are very late adopters of technologies that have been around for quite some time. Of course, this is easier said than done because there are existing investments that need to be leveraged and protected.” He cited the transition from analogue to digital, which provided a “major cost advantage” because the transmission of digital technology is much more efficient and provided a lower cost point to operate from. Until comparable cost benefits can be realised, the transition to IP will not happen instantaneously; some broadcasters might favour a full-IP, full-software approach, while others are likely to adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude. Do not rush to migrate to IP without mapping out a clear migration path, Herrmann reiterated. In equal measure, dismissing the adoption of IP in its entirety is no longer an option. “It is only a matter of time, when broadcasters realise the full benefits of IP, and only when they find the right price points, will we begin to see them migrate straight to IP,” he concluded. EuropaCorp streamlines media production workflows with Aspera Faspex Founded by French filmmaker Luc Besson, EuropaCorp produces and distributes English- and French-language feature films, including blockbuster franchises such as the Taken trilogy and the Transporter series. In order to collaborate and exchange large files between its Paris headquarters, a satellite office in Los Angeles, and external vendors and film directors around the world, EuropaCorp is utilising Aspera Faspex. Aspera’s high-speed file transfer technology simplifies and accelerates the transfer of visual effects (VFX) materials, digital cinema packages (DCPs), trailers and other large media files and metadata on a daily basis, shortening end-to-end production schedules and improving collaboration between globally dispersed creative teams. For instance, EuropaCorp is now able to send a DCP file (100GB or more) from Paris to Los Angeles in two hours with Aspera Faspex. Agnès Berger Sébenne, head of post production at EuropaCorp, explained: “When we set out to find a transfer solution that could meet our requirements for speed and security, there were no comparable options. No one else can do what Aspera does — other options simply are not good enough.” Hong Kong Jockey Club gallops ahead with IHSE’s KVM switching system In order to support race and sports event broadcasting at its new Sha Tin racecourse broadcast centre, the Hong Kong Jockey Club has installed an IHSE Draco tera KVM matrix switch system. The installation allows all broadcast and data servers, and presentation computers, located in the first floor central equipment room, to be connected to workstations, edit suites and control desks in the broadcast studios and other areas throughout the building. IHSE’s Draco tera switch delivers latency- and artefact-free video and audio, enabling the centre to keep punters and enthusiasts abreast of racing events and deliver live feeds to broadcast transmission networks in the region. A 160-port Draco tera switch provides access from the studios and other locations to the central equipment room over singlemode fibre laid throughout the building. XV (eXtreme Velocity) KVM extender units were also selected to provide the “best possible image quality” and futureproofing. The Draco tera KVM switch is also supporting an essential feature for live horse ra cing broadcast services, according to IHSE. The redundant capability and backup of the Draco tera, combined with its hot-swap component ability, provides the confidence that equipment can be maintained and replaced without disruption to live broadcasts, IHSE explained. Patrick Wong, engineer at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said: “The Draco tera switch delivers instant connection to computers and a good operator experience, with no latency in signal transmission. This is a pre-requisite for live events, which cannot tolerate delays of any kind. “From the engineering viewpoint, features such as dual fibre The Hong Kong Jockey Club has recently installed an IHSE Draco tera KVM matrix switch system at its new Sha Tin racecourse broadcast centre. ports, redundant power supply and SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) capability offer flexible and effective ways to create systems with total reliability and zero downtime, and which can send system alerts when necessary.”