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2018 NAB Show: Innovation accelerates broadcast industry’s growth amid IT/IP disruptions

The media industry will be seeing more IP integration in coming years


Early this month, 2018 NAB Show opened its doors to delegates worldwide with the continuity of last year’s theme, “The M.E.T. (media entertainment technology) Effect”, marking the ongoing convergence between traditional broadcast workflows and emerging IT technologies that is largely brought forward by the rise of IP.

Following the announcement of the approval of the first standards within the SMPTE ST 2110 specification at IBC 2017, many vendors have voiced support for this new specification by integrating it within their solutions. Particularly at the IP Showcase, members of the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) demonstrated IP interoperability between many different vendors’ equipment, which were based on SMPTE ST 2110, and highlighted the benefits that IP is capable of offering inside a broadcast control room.

Within the past few years, IP has already sustained its impact and defined the role it has to play in shaping the future of broadcasting.

However, SDI will not go away. In fact, there was an increasing focus in 12G-SDI at 2018 NAB Show, which would enable media companies to manage 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) workflows without requiring an overhaul change of equipment in their existing infrastructure.

While IP and 12G-SDI may seem to put broadcasters at a crossroad, hybrid will perhaps be the most appropriate approach for broadcasters at this stage to explore the new workflows they could achieve in the IP domain, while still working on SDI technologies which they have been familiar with for decades.

Apart from IP and 12G-SDI, high dynamic range (HDR) was another technology that will directly benefit audiences as it enhances the overall viewing experience. Several vendors that APB spoke to at the show floor pointed out that 2018 will be the year where the potential of HDR is truly unleased, due to a large number of sports events taking place, or have already taken place.

For instance, at the recently concluded 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, produced the tournament in 4K/UHD HDR. And at the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup this June, FIFA, the football’s governing body, has also confirmed that all 64 matches of the tournament will be produced in 4K/UHD HDR.

In this rapidly changing media landscape, broadcasters increasingly have to manage the disruption that digitisation has brought to traditional workflows. In moving forward, embracing change will be a key survival aspect in today’s broadcast ecosystem.

More importantly, broadcasters have to constantly innovate to differentiate itself from competitors, because innovation will be the key differentiator for broadcasters to garner new viewers while retaining current ones in today’s competitive media landscape.

Josephine Tan is the news editor of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting (APB), which, for the past 35 years, has been monitoring the trends and technologies impacting the broadcast and media industry.


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