A disruptive shift in technology, instigates equal amounts of both, excitement and apprehension. The new ‘it-word,’ IP (Internet Protocol), is a set of rules, which govern the format of the data transmitted over the internet. IP allows providers to do a lot of things, with room for tweaking. This ranslates into a better-viewing experience for consumers. Sending live feeds over IP through the cloud to studio talent, remote live production can be made easier, allowing production teams to deliver commentary on events happening anywhere in the world - while lowering production costs and enabling broader scalability and distribution.
The shift in consumer pattern in terms of availability and accessibility, calls for the accommodation of IP in day-to-day operations. Having an IP-based back end for production and transmission, depletes the requirement of multiple layers of conversion.
Designing an IP facility needs a more-open technological approach to the traditional IT-networking, accompanied with an acceptance to changing the basic building blocks of the network infrastructure. To comprehend what it takes to design, build and operate an IP-based facility, an understanding of how IP is different from conventional SDI implementations, is necessary. According to Pavel Potuzak, CEO, Aveco, standardisation has made it easier for Aveco it execute work. Knowing that products from different manufacturers will work together as expected is the key, he explained. Moving to an IP infrastructure with a standardised system, makes design and commissioning of the set-up, an undemanding experience. Consumers get to savour better content, by virtue of media companies being able to spin up channels in a matter of days, thanks to IP workflows. It also means broadcasters can add pop-up channels as and when the need arises.
Integrating IP into an existing setup, is subjective to the specific needs and requirements of the organisation. “Are there multiple studios that shift from show-to-show? Do they do this back-to-back? How are those salvos handled? There’s no one right answer, because there’s no one template for how technologies should or can be used,” explained Potuzak.
When it comes to costs of execution, IP might not be the cheapest or easiest to operate, as compared to SDI, but it is certainly easier to wire. “The question is, how will IP affect the bottom line of what needs to be done? Also, building on the need to ensure that an organisation is not beholden to any one manufacturer’s way of doing things, is the trend for IP-based greenfield facilities to be multi-vendor-based, so that the best of what is available in the market can be used and made to work together,” added Potuzak.
For ETV Bharat, an Indian news broadcast channel, Aveco combined automated news production and playout to 24 studios and 24 full time news channels. It provided live and on-demand viewership over multiple devices, commonly including mobile phones and tablets. The company automated the live production, recording, and playout of these 24 mobile TV channels, and provided workflow automation to optimise on-the-go version production. Together with other TV technology partners serving ETV Bharat, a new world-standard in mobile news production and distribution was achieved. IP is expected to make production easier, not so much from an operator point-of-view (as it should be transparent as to whether SDI or IP is being used), but from an operations/logistics point of view. The ability that IP gives organisations is what is driving its implementation. “While this is typically being utilised by larger national and multinational organisations now, we will see the same ‘trickle down’ that the industry experienced with SDI,” concluded Potuzak.
WHAT’S TO COME?
The constant augmentations and enhancements have continued to add value to the existing IP know-how, making it far more diversely applicable as compared to its history. We live in an era of digital disruption, which has led to the metamorphosis in the way content is consumed. IP spells accessibility, less friction, scalability; targeting consumption and segmentation. At broadcast or studio facilities, internet is more commonly called network. Applying IP technology typically involves facility infrastructure changes associated with studio/live media-production, and their content-chain processes.