Integrating formats and standards into a cohesive broadcast workflow

Because broadcasters today are operating in a multi-format environment, format converters are playing an increasing role in helping to overcome workflow challenges

A singular approach to broadcasting is simply not an option anymore — broadcasters today need to create specific content to meet the specific needs of certain segments of audiences; this, in turn, needs to be distributed over multiple platforms and devices.

The challenge does not stop there. Broadcasters today, are tasked with handling an evolving range of production and distribution formats and standards, says Robert Stacy, general manager, APAC, AJA Video Systems. He tells APB: “Depending on the audience and markets they serve, they may need to shoot and deliver in 4K/Ultra HD (UHD), HD and/or SD and even high dynamic range (HDR), which is why conversion solutions have become so crucial to live production pipelines.”

Traditionally, format converters were designed to help solve the transition from SD to HD, and vice versa. Today, however, it is critical for broadcasters and media organisations to be able to handle multiple formats, often running simultaneous SD and HD, or HD and 4K/UHD services, Jeremy Courtney, head of media processing Grass Valley, points out.

And as content services become more multi-faceted, format converters are also solving a host of new challenges, he adds. “Today, format converters remain an important tool in the broadcaster’s tool kit, handling 4K/UHD up/down-conversion, HDR conversion — including up-mapping from standard dyamic range (SDR) to HDR, down-mapping from HDR to SDR and cross-mapping from one HDR format to another.

“Format converters are also central to bridging the gap between SDI and IP,” says Courtney.

A good multi-format converter can be compared to a swiss army knife, suggests Bruno Bauprey, product manager at Analogue Way. “It must support any signal delivered by any source and convert it to match the workflow requirements. This implies that the multi-format converter has versatile input/output connectors and high-quality processing.”

The full story is available in the APB November 2018 issue.

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