Television is dead, long live television


Ephraim Barrett TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online

After decades of operating within the same fundamental model, the walls around our world - what was the broadcast world, or "vertical", in marketing terms - are crumbling. NAB 2016 clearly showed this and IBC 2016 took it one step further: momentum is strengthening as we push towards an IP future. The TVB2020 conference earlier this year also reflected this. Chris Exelby, Chairman of the UK Regional Council of the IABM, wrote an excellent piece in a recent newsletter, highlighting the "perfect storm", as he terms it, of "financial, technical and structural" changes. He added, "The move to IP heralds a fundamental change in the infrastructure and opens the doors to new suppliers from the IT sector." And that is really the nub of the issue.

It's important at this point that we distinguish between content production/playout and distribution. As we all know, in markets around the world - though at massively varying speeds and penetration - viewers can now increasingly select how they want to watch what they want to watch courtesy of internet-delivered content. This has led to a very fractured market where maintaining or growing an audience is a massive challenge for broadcasters; for viewers finding the right services and therefore content is challenging and potentially expensive. We're dealing with hybrid world for sure, but the shift continues.

NAB and IBC both clearly showed that what has been a drip-drip effect is now, while not a torrent, the start of a paradigm shift on the content production and playout sides. As has been noted by many others, SDI isn't dead but if you aren't now truly preparing for this IP-based future across relevant products then ignorance won't be bliss.

We're moving into a hybrid world of threat and opportunity. As Exelby highlighted, there are some areas where physical product dominates that are threatened. The technical boss of a TV station is now looking at a combination of technologies, rather than filling up racks with hardware, based on what kind of channels they are playing out. Now you can rent hardware in the cloud and remove that cost from your CAPEX, though each business case has its nuances.

Let's look more specifically at the area in which we work: control and monitoring of third-party technologies using PC-based software. Our technology works in on-air environments, providing both manual and, more recently, automated control and media management via user-defined soft panels.

When it comes to virtualised playout technologies, the same issues surround control as in the physical world: operators have to be able to press a button on a screen and know that it will do precisely what they want, immediately. Users still need to make things happen in a time-critical universe. At this point, software designers are having to focus on getting the main functionality of their product correct, not on wider issues like control.

Looking at media management, the same issue appears whatever the protocol: ensuring that very precise media for secondary events is where it should be, when it should be. Our experience shows that there's a gap between what an overarching MAM system takes care of and what automation/scheduling does. For either to handle secondary events - now and next, for example - across multiple channels generally requires bespoke work that costs or simply isn't possible. From our perspective, it doesn't matter whether we're talking to a SDI branding device or an IP playout encoder with that capability. It doesn't matter whether it's virtual or physical.

We now here the word "orchestration" used when asking how do you automate? What do you automate? How do you manually intervene? How do you control all of this? This is in reference to this new hybrid SDI/IP world. The answer is more of the same based on our ongoing work with encoding companies.

Of course this transition won't happen overnight. What we're seeing is broadcasters and playout providers trying this technology in a limited ways, working through the bugs with vendors and seeing what really works for them. This will take time but the process is accelerating at a rate faster than anyone anticipated. There will still be the requirement to be able to control this technology in the same way that there's a requirement to control traditional broadcast kit: operators need to have one screen to control it all. As software designers, we have to be able to abstract the operator interface and be able to replace the hardware or software it's controlling underneath without operators really knowing.

We visited a broadcaster recently who was operating a thematic sports channel using a Mac, a Blackmagic card and ultimately Harmonic's Spectrum¢ ChannelPort¢ CiaB technology. This included manual control functionality via Harmonic's Polaris Live, which is integrated with Rascular's Helm. The interface the broadcaster was using before Polaris Live was from an IT company: it wasn't a broadcast interface as it wasn't a broadcast company. The software was littered with dropdown menus and dialogue boxes. This is no good for an operator whatever way you are playing out. Control has to be immediate.

As broadcast manufacturers, we need to stake a claim on this new world, broadening our reach and capabilities while still using our key skills. By embracing IP, our world will now continue to be opened up to companies from other IT-based sectors. At the same time, there may well be other sectors where professional video technologies will be able to play more easily: there's threat and opportunity all around. Television is dead: long live television.


Tags: iss119 | rascular | mam | Ephraim Barrett
Contributing Author Ephraim Barrett

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Rascular Technology at IBC 2015

    Rascular Technology at IBC 2015

  • RASCULAR HELM at NAB 2015

    RASCULAR HELM at NAB 2015

  • Metus MAM and Ingest at IBC 2013

    Metus MAM and Ingest at IBC 2013

  • Cloud Media Management with Medway from Marquis Broadcast at IBC 2017

    Cloud Media Management with Medway from Marquis Broadcast at IBC 2017

  • Hybrid Cloud Media Aggregation from Cantemo at NAB 2017

    Hybrid Cloud Media Aggregation from Cantemo at NAB 2017

  • Workflow Solutions from Pronology at NAB 2017

    Workflow Solutions from Pronology at NAB 2017

  • Object Based Storage Solutions from Object Matrix at NAB 2017

    Object Based Storage Solutions from Object Matrix at NAB 2017

  • Media Asset Management Software from Blue Lucy at NAB 2017

    Media Asset Management Software from Blue Lucy at NAB 2017

  • Mediaflex UMS Platform from TMD at NAB 2017

    Mediaflex UMS Platform from TMD at NAB 2017

  • New CEO and news update from TMD at NAB 2017

    New CEO and news update from TMD at NAB 2017

  • Prime Focus Technologies at IBC 2016

    Prime Focus Technologies at IBC 2016

  • Blue Lucy at IBC 2015

    Blue Lucy at IBC 2015

  • ERA - Cloud Services - at BVE 2015

    ERA - Cloud Services - at BVE 2015

  • EditShare at BVE 2015

    EditShare at BVE 2015

  • NETIA at BVE 2015

    NETIA at BVE 2015

  • Dalet at IBC 2014

    Dalet at IBC 2014

  • Tedial at IBC 2014

    Tedial at IBC 2014

  • Pronology at IBC 2014

    Pronology at IBC 2014

  • TMD summarises their work this year at IBC 2014

    TMD summarises their work this year at IBC 2014

  • Metus at IBC 2014

    Metus at IBC 2014

  • Metus at NAB 2014

    Metus at NAB 2014

  • Dalet at NAB 2014

    Dalet at NAB 2014

  • Nexidias Drew Lanham on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Nexidias Drew Lanham on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • EditShare on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    EditShare on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Primestream on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Primestream on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Dalet at IBC 2013

    Dalet at IBC 2013

  • Cinegy: Multiviewer at NAB 2013

    Cinegy: Multiviewer at NAB 2013

  • Dalet at NAB 2013

    Dalet at NAB 2013

  • TMD at NAB 2013: MediaFlex Reporting Module

    TMD at NAB 2013: MediaFlex Reporting Module

  • TMD at NAB 2013: MediaFlex Systems

    TMD at NAB 2013: MediaFlex Systems

  • TMD at NAB 2013: Content Intelligence

    TMD at NAB 2013: Content Intelligence

  • Editshare at NAB 2012

    Editshare at NAB 2012

  • Dalet at NAB 2012

    Dalet at NAB 2012

  • Broadway Systems at NAB 2012

    Broadway Systems at NAB 2012

  • VIZRT at BVE 2012

    VIZRT at BVE 2012

  • PlayBox Technology at BVE North 2011

    PlayBox Technology at BVE North 2011

  • Netia at IBC2011

    Netia at IBC2011

  • Globecast at IBC2011

    Globecast at IBC2011

  • IPV at IBC2011

    IPV at IBC2011


Related Shows
  • Precision control of broadcast, streaming and A/V devices with Rascular Technology

    Precision control of broadcast, streaming and A/V devices with Rascular Technology


Articles
How to successfully buy AV and Broadcast Equipment at Auction
Dan Main

Perhaps you wouldn't expect an auctioneer to tell you this - but yes, there are risks to buying equipment at auction; just probably not the risks that you think.

So what are the real risks to buying at auction, and how can they be managed?

Tags: auction | tips | buying at an auction | fraud | auction risks | Dan Main
Contributing Author Dan Main Click to read
AJA Video Systems - Ki Pro GO User Review with Spellbinder Films
Ben Sherriff The Ki Pro GO is a portable multi-channel H.264 recorder offering up to 4-channels of simultaneous HD and SD recording to off the shelf USB drives with redundant recording capabilities. Our friend Ben Sherriff tales a look
Tags: AJA | ki pro go | dit | h.264 | recorder | live events | usb recording | 10bit | Ben Sherriff
Contributing Author Ben Sherriff Click to read
In Ear Monitors Help The Cast And Crew of Americas Got Talent Cope With Covid19 Restrictions
KitPlus Capturing performances for television is a stressful business, especially if the programme is being filmed live. You want everything to be perfect but you are also aware that many things can go wrong, even with the best laid plans.
Tags: bubblebee | inear | sidekick | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read
ERA IaaS at University of Salford
KitPlus The University of Salford (UoS) is widely recognised in both academic and professional circles as a leading educational establishment in acoustics and media production. In 2011 the University moved its television and radio courses from its main campus just outside Salford city centre into the Orange Tower on the main piazza of MediaCityUK (MCUK).

This purpose-built hub for broadcasters, facility houses and production companies was created when redevelopment of the old Salford Quays docks area began in 2007. UoS was among the first institutions to consider moving to MCUK, along with the BBC, which had already committed to transfer many of its departments from London.

Tags: era | salford university | university of salford | seagate | mcuk | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read
ITN using Densitron Intelligent Display System across multiple news programmes
KitPlus Impressed by the system’s flexibility, ITN has gradually rolled-out the IDS solution for display and control applications across ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 news output
Tags: ids | densitron | itn | newsroom | display | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read