SINGAPORE – While IP has been debated extensively across the broadcast industry for several years, it had been largely regarded as an “experimental technology”.
This, however, is changing, suggested Mark Moore, vice-president, international sales, Dejero. “We, as consumers and communicators, now expect access to high-speed connections whenever and wherever we are,” he told APB. “For the media and entertainment industries, [the transition to IP] means that we can connect cameras and sound over blended networks, including cellular, Wi-Fi and portable satellite connections to provide live content to ever-demanding viewers from virtually anywhere.”
For this to be effective, it is important that broadcasters can integrate systems from multiple vendors, Moore added. Manufacturers who are serious about IP should advocate open standards, so as to “really take advantage of the many possibilities that exist across an all-IP ecosystem”.
But as with all emerging technologies, IP can only show its true worth when it enables users to work smarter, faster or more cost-effectively. The signs, nevertheless, are generally encouraging, as Moore explained: “There are more and more proof-of-concepts being published across the industry and this in, itself, has built confidence.
“However, we’ve seen hesitation in the areas of signal processing and core infrastructure. Some broadcasters, especially those with deep pockets, are still concerned about the cost of an all-IP infrastructure.”
In this case, a hybrid SDI/IP that allows broadcasters to transition to IP at a pace that best suits them might be the best solution, Moore concluded.
The IP transition is drawing similarities to the transition from analogue to SDI, suggested Denis Pare, vice-president of sales, Embronix. “Then, there were a couple of standards available to convert signals and everybody wanted to test every piece of equipment. With IP, we are seeing this again,” he elaborated.
Pare also pointed out that IP control switchers, which perform different functions compared to a traditional router, are currently available only in limited numbers. It will be three to five years before there is a peak in IP deployments, or when there is a decrease in the gateways required, as much as an increase in native-IP equipment, Pare predicted. At the moment, expect to see islands of IP being deployed, although “big IP projects” involving major rebuilds are already happening, he added, while urging broadcasters to start planning for their transition to IP today.
“Interoperability between manufactures is already quite good and with SMPTE ST 2110, you don’t need the embedders and de-embedders required for SDI anymore,” Pare said. “IP needs less cabling and can be cheaper in the long term. And for those looking to go 4K/Ultra HD (UHD), IP just makes more sense.”
Both Pare and Moore will be discussing and providing more insights into IP at a special seminar to be held in Singapore this November 6. Titled Professional media over IP: Building a future-proof media facility, the seminar is jointly organised by APB and systems integrator Ideal Systems, and will also feature keynote speaker Michel Proulx, former CTO of Miranda Technologies, who will provide some useful tips on how you can build a future-proof media facility that supports professional media over IP.
Also speaking at the seminar will be Wang Yin, assistant VP, broadcast engineering, Mediacorp, who will share the role IP is playing in the new Mediacorp Campus.