With more and more formats coming into play, including 4K/Ultra HD and HDR, broadcasters must ensure that the final picture quality delivered to their audiences is of the highest quality. This, in turn, is redefining the role test and measurement (T&M) is playing.
Ensuring key issues like quality, reliability and security along the complete end-to-end workflow chain and across an Internet of Things (IoT)-like set of end-devices will be a prime challenge in future broadcast scenarios, says Hannes Strobel, vice-president, monitoring and headend, Rohde & Schwarz.
Speaking to APB, he adds: “Such an end-to-end service control is key to guarantee user satisfaction and hence to prevent subscriber churn.”
Strobel also recalls a past where the world was “practically one-dimensional”, made up of uniformed and specialised transport technologies and media formats in contribution and distribution environments, respectively. “Consequently, monitoring devices were subjected to the same static requirements, and technical architectures were mostly hardware-oriented.”
Today, the challenges facing broadcasters are multi-dimensional, including asynchronous, packetised signal transport. “The established practice of monitoring a point-to-point connection is being challenged by monitoring in the cloud, where synchronous audio/video signals are split into pieces, packetised and spread over asynchronous data transfer structures,” Strobel explains.
The number and type of signal sources in contribution/playout environments also continue to increase, while operators grapple with the legacy SDI and SDI over IP mixture. “Until the transition to IP-based transport is 100% complete, a mixture of legacy SDI content sources and a set of IP-based source signals like SMPTE 2110 or 2022-6, is to be monitored — preferably in a single device,” Strobel describes.
Other challenges he identifies include the need for the monitoring system to handle not only uncompressed signals, but also mezzanine formats like J2K and TICO, and the growth of a multitude of intelligent end devices. “In distribution environments, the number and type of end-devices is literally exploding, including TV sets, over-the-top (OTT) streaming clients and video-on-demand (VoD) players in set-top boxes (STBs).”
Read the full story in the APB Aug 2018 issue.