Special Reports

What’s is store for 2017 – ‘KVM will play a critical role’ – Dan Holland

As broadcasters migrate to computer servers, Dan Holland, marketing manager of IHSE USA,
LLC tells Vinita Bhatia why it is more practical to integrate KVM for better workflow management

Which top three trends will drive the industry this year?
Firstly, high dynamic range (HDR) and high frame rates (HFR) will have a big influence on the production and media and entertainment markets, while better compression and IP-based distribution products will be key features demanded by broadcasters. Secondly, UHD-1 (4K) has more options available now and many manufacturers are introducing support for full 4:4:4 at 60 frames per second. Beyond that, 120 fps is already making headway among early adopters. Thirdly, with higher bandwidth, broadcasters are looking at fibre-optic solutions and moving away from coax cable. The three main transmission methods will be fibre, Cat-X, and wireless.

Which technologies will become mainstays in 2017?
Because key display and source-equipment manufacturers are providing for higher resolutions, transport schemes such as USB Type-C will start market penetration in 2017. HDMI and DisplayPort continue to dominate the high-end commercial markets. Meanwhile, SDI for 12 Gbps and SMPTE ST-2110 for SDI transports are expected to see some market adoption starting late in 2017 as broadcasters and post production facilities plan their hybrid transition of existing plant infrastructures and the need to migrate to an all-IP-based plant.

Which products and solutions will aid broadcast facilities and post-production studios in streamlining workflows?
During the analogue-to-digital transition period, broadcasters were looking for ways to retain value from existing products using conversion and scaling technologies. Fast-forward to today, and you see the same thing happening but for HD digital to UHD digital. We are seeing products such as up/down/cross-converters for HD to 4K, serial digital to IP, and standard dynamic range to high dynamic range, along with efficient compression technologies to support 4K.
Also, as broadcasters migrate from baseband equipment to computer servers, it becomes more practical to integrate KVM for workflow management. From ingest to postproduction to distribution, KVM will continue to play an important role.

Coming to KVM technology, how can broadcasters ensure that the solutions offer them remote access to source, editing and content control devices?
To ensure the best return on investment given the factors you mentioned, users should consider three key elements when looking for a professional-grade KVM system. It must allow for valuable and sensitive hardware to be secured in areas that can be managed and controlled. The KVM systems need to allow for cleaner work areas to reduce noise, desk clutter, and heat. Its matrix systems must be easy to configure so that users can access multiple computers through a single keyboard.
In addition, they should look for these important features:
• Hot pluggable
• Keyboard and mouse emulation when using dissimilar computer systems
• Non-proprietary cables and connectors
• On-screen display (OSD) capabilities
• Video quality
• Low or zero latency in mouse movement and video refresh

Will OTT and streaming gain better acceptance this year?
IP, OTT, and streaming are already widely adopted in the post-production and broadcast markets. They are, however, plagued by quality of service and reliability issues that have kept them from becoming more dominant in the professional markets. Although major content providers have welcomed IP, OTT, and streaming technologies in relation to secondary services, whether they embrace those technologies for mainstream IP or streaming will depend on the confidence level of their advertisers.

Currently, when it comes to IP adoption, broadcasters are worried about interoperability issues. Do you think it will get ironed out this year?
Although IP has been around for many years, it was never intended to meet the high-quality, low-latency transmission requirements of high-definition TV. Several standards bodies are working on methods to overcome the issues inherent in IP-based solutions, but right now we’re operating
in the Wild Wild West, with each technology proponent predicting it can outperform the others.
In the meantime, latency, quality, resolution, and security issues still play a major role in KVM purchasing decisions. IP-based KVM is a practical solution for smaller facilities or other places where quality is not as critical, but professional broadcasters and production studios still see the importance of non-IP-based studios when it comes to ultra-high-quality and latency-free workflows.

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