Broadcast Beat Magazine 2017 IBC Show - Page 40

Is IMF important for the Modern Broadcaster? By Jay Batista, general manager, nORTH aMERICAN OPERATION, Tedial The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers’ (SMPTE) Interoperable Master Format (IMF) specifications are gaining traction in the US, and are being considered as core specifications for interoperability around the globe. The Digital Production Partnership (DPP) in the UK, and the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) have launched a campaign to deter- mine which business requirements will drive the enhancement of the IMF specifications, and sup- port the widest number of broadcasters. So, what is IMF and why should it matter to broadcasters? IMF is the latest effort to build a real-world speci- fication that allows media files to be circulated between producers, distributors, broadcasters, and direct-to-consumer suppliers whether they are theaters, Video-on-Demand (VOD), IP stream- ing or Over-the-Top (OTT) services. And that formatted media file arrives as a fully useful asset for all recipients. The first attempt was the SMPTE Master Exchange Format, or MXF, a very detailed and extensive specification designed by smart, forward-thinking individuals. Its application is found everywhere in the industry and is espe- cially common as a file wrapper to standardize for delivery and publication. Yet, the MXF specifica- tion was broad and encompassing, allowing for too many different versions and vendor product variations. Standing on the shoulders of MXF, the new IMF specification constrains the original MXF designs— it limits the possible variations to support a much smaller number of compliant files, and the less number of compliant files increases the prospects 40 • Broadcast Beat Magazine •