Somu Patil is vice-president, sales, Asia, Grass Valley.

IP opens up a whole new world of OB

BY SOMU PATIL

Broadcasters and media organisations are under enormous pressure to ensure their business is able to remain competitive while being agile enough to quickly develop and deploy new services to meet evolving trends.

The market penetration of 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) is a prime example. With 40% of consumers set to own a 4K/UHD TV by 2022 (Futuresource Consulting), the global market for these high-resolution TV sets is forecast to be worth US$380.9 billion by 2025 (Grand View Research) with Asia-Pacific and North America expected to account for the largest market share. To meet this rising consumer demand, broadcasters are looking to produce and deliver more 4K/UHD coverage — especially for premium sports and live events. For outside broadcast (OB) companies, this means upgrading their fleets to support a wide range of live 4K/UHD productions, and future-proofing them to meet changing viewer demands.

As growing market confidence for IP continues to rise, evidenced by more investments pouring into the emerging technology, it is increasingly lying at the heart of an OB strategy to achieve this. IP-based infrastructures and workflows provide the flexibility to simultaneously support multi-format live productions, handling both 4K/UHD and HD feeds — and even high dynamic range (HDR) when needed. They also deliver the scalability to meet the needs of a wide range of productions — from a small-scale event to a large, complex multi-camera premium sports production with virtual reality (VR). IP–based OB can deliver all the benefits of a fixed IP studio set-up but with the added flexibility to be deployed in any location, and with vastly reduced cabling requirements.

As the market leader for IP solutions, OB companies consistently turn to Grass Valley to leverage the power of IP and, ultimately, help them meet their clients’ expectations. Shanghai Media Tech (SMT) turned to Grass Valley to outfit its OB vans and electronic field production (EFP) systems with a fully comprehensive, total 4K/UHD IP solution and HDR support to make 4K/UHD HDR live production capability available in China for the first time. This IP infrastructure has been providing the SMT production team with the flexibility to work with uncompressed signals for the best quality output, contributing to the advancement of the media company’s business needs with greater agility to respond to future market demands.

IP-enabled OB is all about leveraging greater flexibility, efficiency and scalability. IP delivers the ability to customise a set-up to meet the specific needs of a particular project, and then very quickly re-configure to meet the needs of an entirely different production the next day.

As OB companies need to be more flexible and cater to a variety of OB requirements, leveraging the full potential of IP is something we will see them do more of.

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