Implementing an IP workflow


John Smith -new TV-Bay Magazine
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The eventual move to incorporate IP into your infrastructures is an inevitability. However, with justified concerns about interoperability and uncertainty about which vendors are best placed to help organisations achieve their IP media networking and content delivery goals, is it any wonder there is hesitation about moving forward? Broadcasters very wisely, don't want the pain without the gain!

Despite this, we are finding customers are becoming increasingly keen to see how they can capitalise on the benefits of flexibility, cost savings and new revenue streams that introducing an IP infrastructure can offer. Content owners are needing to maximise the value of their intellectual property and are selling it on - one US broadcaster has anticipated re-transmission revenues increasing by 65% within the next year. At the other end of the scale, even humble sports clubs are now taking their own channels in-house to reduce costs and monetise their content. These sorts of organisations are looking to cultivate and engage with 'super fans' and sell them something relevant and they are also asking how a move to IP can help them achieve that.

At Media Links, we use the phrase 'media without limits' and this really sums up what the move to IP can do for broadcasters and content owners. Put simply: IP-based systems enable the transport of media signals, Video, Audio and Data at rates that match the requirements and capacity of the network locally and globally. This means live and pre-recorded video, audio plus data can be transported to any location, regardless if it's down the hall or across the world, dramatically increasing system flexibility.

But wait, I hear you say: "What about latency?" Media Links' solutions address this issue. The basic need is for information to be synchronised in the right order, to the right device, on time, with no packet loss and in a format, everyone can understand. This is achieved by taking advantage of the increased quality and consistency of signal in video, audio codecs using low latency delivery across WAN and the LAN network infrastructures, all using a standards-based approach. In this way, a unified IP switched infrastructure transports streams and files simultaneously with our IP video router switcher ensuring the incoming signals are handled correctly, efficiently and stably. The encoding process enables lower bit rates where required, while also maintaining image quality and reducing the amount of bandwidth consumed across the network. Broadcasters can avoid the investment and associated installation and management costs of multiple signal routing systems usually needed to switch various types of compressed and uncompressed audio.

Yet it is the development of applications and potential to generate new revenue opportunities that is really beginning to drive change.

While prime-time ratings decline, the programming content which continues to attract significant audience figures is live events, particularly sports. Even social media giant, Facebook, has signed deals to acquire rights to stream some football matches, recognising this kind of content is key to its growing video business.

However, for broadcasters, currently shipping equipment, OB trucks and staff to remote venues means producing live content is costly. Remote production over IP now offers the potential to reduce costs by bringing production back to the facility or even to the truck that stays in the garage! The term "leave your truck at home" may be a real benefit for some. Cost reduction could result in more niche live sporting events potentially being covered, appealing to new audiences, nurturing those 'super fans' and attracting new advertisers which is an exciting prospect.

Live remote production over IP is achieved through the implementation of Media Links' IP gateways which work by allowing 3G/HD/SD-SDI and 4K broadcast signals to be encoded into an IP data stream. Sync is ensured over multiple points on the network using PTP Timing. This time coding means broadcasters can achieve signal transport and clean switching over both local and, most importantly, wide area networks.

Hitless protection can be enabled for any of the signals transported as two identical output streams are routed over separate paths to a single destination, where any errors on one stream are avoided by immediately switching to the other buffered stream, preventing packet loss. This model has been used to provide live content contribution for the Sochi Winter games and World Cup soccer, experiencing 100% uptime and we are now adding hitless data, as data is becoming increasing important for the production process.

At IBC this year, we are excited to introduce our new MDP3020 integrated video switching and transport media gateway which will be on-show for the first time. It is so small it fits into a standard briefcase and can be carried in an overhead locker as hand luggage! This means connectivity can be achieved economically over long distances without the associated shipping costs of heavier equipment. One broadcaster indicated to us they anticipate offsetting the entire cost of the investment in the new equipment against the shipping costs of the kit they have been using!

All IP systems need monitoring and configuration, so our product agnostic NetGazer network management and control system provides a view of the whole network environment, every box and parameter to optimize multi-media service performance and distribution. NetGazer will also be on show, so if you are interested in gaining from IP come and talk to us at IBC 2017.


Tags: iss126 | medialinks | ip | mdp3020 | gateway | John Smith -new
Contributing Author John Smith -new

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