Broadcast Beat Magazine 2018 NAB Show Edition - Page 104

many IP-labeled products are simply just SDI solutions with IP bolt-ons that ultimately require additional translation steps and won’t stand the test of time. It’s tough enough for those in the industry to make sense of it all. But imagine customers who must wade through the hype and marketing speak to learn the technology enough to understand the differences. Claims to IP may not be com- pletely accurate. There’s a lot of noise and not much way to filter out truth from exaggeration. Hardware vs software The question of whether hard- ware-centric or software-based IP workflows are right for a new technology landscape shouldn’t be a question. Faster connec- tions made possible by IP are extremely beneficial to content producers. But the real benefit from IP comes from virtualized live production workflows. True IP deployment comes from running software-based func- tions on COTS (commercial off the shelf) routers that support current and future standards. Fundamentally, software-based IP infrastructures leverage the cloud for vital media processing functions. This kind of content production allows elastic function deploy- ment, enabling infrastructures that can flex when and at the pace required without the need to pre-allocate resources in pro- prietary hardware. Evolving business realities Today’s viewers are extreme- ly well connected and content is available on more screens than ever before. Providers and broadcasters must operate in the same way, with infrastruc- tures that are flexible and can meet d emand peaks in ways that are cost effective and scal- able. At the same time, other market conditions add even more pres- sure. In live sports, rights con- tracts – essentially what can be broadcast, when and for how long – can dictate the kind of infrastructures and workflows that will be most advantageous. These realities make it difficult for any one vendor, especially in these still-early days of IP, to have all the answers. So, the natural trend is for facilities pro- viders to outsource and create partnerships to create the best end-to-end live IP solutions that meet needs of content produc- ers, rights holders and broad- casters. And traditional broadcast pro- viders are getting some compe- tition in what has always been an insular industry. Cloud pro- viders are stepping up to the challenge, answering new ser- vice demands for enterprises. They’ve already made the step to IP and beyond by deploying network function virtualization (NFV). While it’s not the video business, it could be a relatively easy leap to apply the technol- ogy. It’s a simpler transition and more natural extension for facil- ity houses and cloud providers. 4K and beyond There has been some talk within the industry that IP isn’t ready for 4K. This simply isn’t true. 104 • Broadcast Beat Magazine • As early as last summer end- to-end native IP delivered the low latency required for a 4K remote sports production of a high-profile soccer match at UEFA EURO 2016. For this production, a native IP platform performed all func- tions in real-time software with the requisite ultra-low latency and frame-accurate “clean” switching, and SMPTE 2022-7 hitless protection using diversi- fied signal paths for both the program and preview feeds. The team at the IBC in Paris had access to all cameras at the sta- dium in Bordeux some 500km away using a remote multiview feed in HD or 4K and a control system. The 4K/VC-2 HQ mez- zanine compression solution provided visual lossless quality at 4:1 compression rates. For this application, media func- tion virtualization (MFV), which embraces the network function virtualization of the telecom- munications industry and soft- ware defined networking (SDN) of the data center world were at the heart of the workflow. This is just one successful test of IP for 4K. The most challeng- ing hurdle to more widespread adoption is not the technol- ogy but the mindsets that must change. The misconception around IP and 4K might be due to the fact that native 4K requires 12.5 gigabits per second. Generally 10 gigabit transport structures are used so compression is needed, which isn’t the most elegant solution. But it’s very achievable, and when you look down the road, the picture is even rosier. With 25 gigabit