Recently we attended Broadcast Solutions’ ‘Broadcast Innovation’ event in association with SVG Europe. We participated in a couple of panels, one being ‘A New Era of Connectivity: Producing 4K/UHD using IP and 12G-SDI’.
Moderated by David Davies, managing editor, SVG Europe, the panel was made up of a cross section of industry manufacturers including Thomas Riedel (Riedel Communications) and Simon Reed (Evertz). As part of the theme ‘a new era of connectivity’, we discussed the role that both IP as well as 12G-SDI play in the market today with the first all-IP and 12G-SDI OB trucks beginning to hit the road now.
Essentially the discussions focused on the need to understand the complexities in play within the market and ultimately, as SAM is doing, supporting customers with both 12G-SDI as well as IP deployments to ensure that their requirements are met. Essentially, strategic technology decisions are being made on a case-by-case basis, taking on board existing network architectures and broadcaster business models. As a result, the market is going to have a number of technologies deployed and will continue to be fragmented for the time being.
For newer technologies to be successful like IP, operations should be no more difficult than they are today and key diagnostic toolsets need to be built-in to core product in order to be able to manage the same expected level of customer SLAs today. However, critically people do need to be willing to embrace change and to run with it.
Ultimately, it’s all about there being customer choice. At SAM we’ve taken the approach of detaching the physical connectivity from the tools themselves. For each of our product groups, whether it’s production switchers, multiviewers or modular processing products – the focus is very much on making the feature sets “best-in- class”. Specifically around IP connectivity, from what we’ve experienced to date, IP solutions become more attractive commercially for broadcasters when you go above a typical matrix/flow size of 576x576.
The question of ‘to compress or not to compress?’. Compression is unlikely to win the day as it comes at a price – encoder/decoder licensing, system latency, interoperability. There is, however, a clear business case for compression to address the requirements for remote production, where bandwidth is a premium. Once again it’s about the specific use cases.
Finally, a general issue for any technology adoption is knowledge transfer and training, and this is no different with IP. It was very evident in the findings from our Global IP Barometer study. SAM’s view is that it’s an industry wide concern. We have a responsibility to support our customers to re-skill and to ensure their success. With Timeline Television’s 4K HDR IP OB Truck, SAM was proactively involved in all stages of the build not just because the project had a very tight timeline (four to six weeks) but because it’s such new technology. SAM worked in partnership with Timeline to ensure not only that the truck was delivered on time but that it meets both their technical and operational expectations.