What happened to audio networking


Brad Price TV-Bay Magazine
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It may seem hard to believe, but audio networking has now been with us for over 20 years. In 1996, Peak Audio released CobraNet, the first system that used computer networking of some sort to transport audio.

Looking at that early system, it wasn't easy to see all the benefits that were to come. Yes, you eventually got up to 64 channels on a single Ethernet cable, but simply getting products on the system and establishing connections required significant knowledge and effort. Because CobraNet was originally intended simply to replace an analog snake, it was not up to the task of managing the large numbers of channels and sources required for broadcast. Routing audio required different tools from different manufacturers, and channels had to be manually defined in groups. Getting the technology to coexist with other network functions was challenging, which meant that control systems often required separate networks merely to function. In other words, it was like a lot of technology when it is new: fussy, complicated, and not for the faint of heart.

It's 21 years later, and we all have smartphones that put any computer of 1996 to shame. Unsurprisingly, networked audio has also made the leap from arcane to indispensable. What changed to make it so important and popular?

1 - Everything around networking got better. Networks became dramatically faster. The associated gear became far less expensive and simultaneously more reliable. Standards evolved, tools became more elegant. It was now possible to imagine audio running over networks that could provide incredibly high system channel counts and virtually perfect performance, allowing broadcasters to expand access to a nearly unlimited number of sources.

2 - Audio networks became truly easy to use. Modern audio networking solutions leverage advances in standards to automatically discover devices, self-configure clocking, and provide simple, clear workflows with visual feedback to operators and integrators alike. Just as our phones hide their immense power behind intuitive screens, audio networking now "just works" under the hood. Rather than requiring a technician to change physical connections for an event, broadcast or show, operators could now simply load a preset using ordinary PC software and go.

3 - Audio networks could now scale up to any size. Clients today want to know that the system they choose will be able to expand in both devices and channel count, something that in the past meant prohibitive costs. Modern Gigabit-speed solutions like Dante provide up to 512 bidirectional channels per device and can be extended by simply adding inexpensive switch ports, allowing for systems that support thousands of sources and destinations. Lightweight Ethernet cable can be unobtrusively pre-installed to allow for nearly instantaneous future expansion at a site or studio.

4 - More gear leads to more use which leads to more gear. Any technology that connects things together needs lots of devices to succeed - if there were only a handful of telephones in the world, having one wouldn't very interesting. The right combination of technology, tools and engagement have resulted in a thriving ecosystem of networked audio products using Dante, providing users with over a thousand products from which to choose and build systems today. This creates a win-win for broadcast professionals, giving them the freedom to select gear that matches requirements while ensuring absolute network compatibility.

5 - Computers are now everywhere. The term "computer" no longer simply means a bulky desktop system. Our phones are computers. Our DSPs are computers. Most modern mixers and even power amplifiers now contain computers that do much of the audio "heavy lifting", driving controls and features. In such an environment, computer-style networking makes sense, allowing devices to freely communicate, passing audio, commands, information and warnings to devices that request or require them. This integration streamlines the system, reducing errors and problems commonly encountered when combining non-networked convertors, routers and controllers as broadcasters have had to do in the past.
6 - IT taught us something about management. Modern computer networks are administered to grant users the access they need, while keeping others out. When there is a problem, it can quickly be found and corrected. Most audio installations have no such protection, and may be in environments where users can make potentially destructive changes, requiring hours to track down and solve. By applying IT management techniques to audio networks, installations may now be kept secure and stable, providing the system administrator with notification of any changes or failures - who, what and when. Only a networked, computer-driven system can provide this type of control and peace of mind.

The proliferation and popularity of audio networking isn't due to any single event or change. An accumulation of improvements from within and without the audio industry drove product development and put opportunities within grasp, while at the same time users greatly increased their use and trust in digital technology. Like the modern smartphone, the pieces were just waiting to be assembled into something new and powerful - and that time is now.


Tags: iss125 | audinate | networking | audio | dsp | Brad Price
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Tags: iss129 | batteries | alkaline | ni-mh | li-ion | lithium | Mike Colyer
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Speed in a Changing Media Landscape
Mike Nash We are living in the video era - the staggering statistics on video growth make that abundantly clear. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology 2016–2021, video will make up 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2021, an increase from 73 percent in 2016. To put this in perspective, “it would take an individual more than five million years to watch the amount of video that will be crossing global IP networks each month in 2021.”
Tags: iss129 | hulu | amazon | netflix | signiant | svod | Mike Nash
Submitted by Mike Nash Click to read or download PDF
AoIP in the intercom world
John Sparrow Everyones talking about using AoIP (Audio over IP) in the broadcast world, but what does it mean to the operators actually making the production - the intercom users? And after years of interoperability taking the lowest common format of analogue tie-lines (also known as 4-wires), has intercom today already moved into the digital world by sharing digital audio resources with other types of hardware?
Tags: iss128 | clearcom | clear-com | dante | aes67 | beltpack | isdn | John Sparrow
Submitted by John Sparrow Click to read or download PDF
The Transition to a full end to end IP video solution
Brian Olson Most video professionals will agree that the future is IP. The question is, when and how do they make this transition? With manufacturers just introducing new IP products, many people are observing and waiting. However, the reality is that the move to IP is already rapidly taking place and is more transformational than the move from analogue to digital, SD to HD, or HD to UHD/HDR. IP will change the way that people interact with video, making it more flexible, more accessible, more scalable and will provide more opportunities for content delivery
Tags: iss128 | newtek | ptz | ip | uhd | streamstar | xsplit | vmix | ndi | Brian Olson
Submitted by Brian Olson Click to read or download PDF
Looking back at IBC 2017
Duncan Payne IBC feels like a bit of a dim and damp memory now, but a few over-riding memories do remain however, not least of which was the Arri party to celebrate its 100th year. It was like an old-school manufacturers IBC/NAB party, back when manufacturers had marketing budgets, and lots of sales people. It got IBC off to a great start; thanks Arri.
Tags: iss128 | ibc | arri | red | panasonic | adamantean | sony | eva | nokia | ozo | Duncan Payne
Submitted by Duncan Payne Click to read or download PDF
Supporting broadcast quality control
Alan Wheable With the ever-increasing number of program channels and range of different program distribution formats, the process of ensuring program quality has become a complex one for contribution/capture, production, post production, server ingest and content distribution.
Tags: iss128 | omnitek | wcg | hdr | test and measurement | smpte 2110 | smpte 2022-6 | Alan Wheable
Submitted by Alan Wheable Click to read or download PDF
IP Prompting
Jon Hilton# The potential nirvana of interoperable IT, Telecommunications and Broadcast convergent technology definitely felt a lot closer at this years IBC with the launch of many, many broadcast IP ready devices, workflow and solutions. While the big ticket camera and live production infrastructures dominated the headlines there were a number of smaller but equally important IP workflows that were launched which are fundamental to successful, professional TV production and this includes the often forgotten world of TV Prompting
Tags: iss128 | portaprompt | ip | prompting | ippg | windigi | Jon Hilton#
Submitted by Jon Hilton# Click to read or download PDF
Marjan Television Network - a case study
Ian Muir Internet and Satellite content distribution now allows production companies and broadcasters to send targeted TV programmes and video to widely dispersed audiences all over world, whilst located where theres easy access to the technology, equipment and expertise to produce top quality programmes.
Tags: iss128 | ac ent | lighting | chroma-q | space force | fresnel | quasar | q-led | lumipix | stark400 | Ian Muir
Submitted by Ian Muir Click to read or download PDF
Reunion on Kingsman ensures efficient workflow for sequel
KitPlus Both on and off camera, there are some collaborations that are built to last. Armed with the success of their work on the first film adaptation of the Kingsman comic book (Kingsman: The Secret Service), director Matthew Vaughan reunited with cinematographer George Richmond, DIT Joshua Callis-Smith and colorist Rob Pizzey, to deliver Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the upcoming second installment in the spy comedy series.
Tags: iss128 | kingsman | blackmagic | goldcrest | davinci | arri | dit | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
Growing a news agency from the inside out
Lorna Garrett Growing a new media outlet in todays highly competitive market requires taking a strong look at the new ways media is being consumed. Many of the most successful recent startups are community focused, often finding a niche market that wants to be engaged in a way they perceive themselves. Al-Araby TV is a London-based news and current affairs satellite channel that has set out to do just that for Arab citizens.
Tags: iss128 | gpl | garland | al-araby | teracue | x-player | amino | aminet | icue | Lorna Garrett
Submitted by Lorna Garrett Click to read or download PDF
Managing Talent
Nicole Inanc Presenting for television is a talent that is critically competitive. Budding presenters around the world produce showreels, attend acting schools and fight to be the next Ant and Dec¦ but what is it exactly that makes a successful television presenter? As a wannabe TV presenter myself, I wanted to explore the exact process talent managers follow when finding the next big thing and whether I have exactly what it takes.
Tags: iss128 | portsmouth university | education | bsc | ccitv | Nicole Inanc
Submitted by Nicole Inanc Click to read or download PDF
There is no where to hide from cybercrime
Mark Harrison The media sector is an attractive target for cyber attacks of all kinds from malicious individuals who enjoy disrupting high profile shows, to organised criminals who are attracted by the value of content, to nation states aware that media is a way of conveying or distorting messages.
Tags: iss128 | dpp | cybercrime | microsoft | azure | tinopolis | security | Mark Harrison
Submitted by Mark Harrison Click to read or download PDF
When a lens is more than just a lens
KitPlus Matching shots between different cameras can be tricky at the best of times. But how do you match lens characteristics between a live action shoot and a CGI composition? The CP.3 XD lenses from Zeiss offer an efficient solution to this with their frame accurate meta-data.
Tags: iss128 | zeiss | lenses | lens | prime | cp.3 | cgi | vfx | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
Video Tape recorders cannnot die.
KitPlus This article concentrates on what is often described as the weakest link, namely 1) above i.e. the Playback Decks and what could be another weak link, namely 2) i.e. Tape Cleaning Facilities. I have read several articles recently written in the belief that the playback of magnetic video tape will be all but dead in about 20 years due mainly due to lack of working VTRs this inspires me to do something about it.
Tags: iss128 | rogcon | vtr | achiving | betacam | ravensoburne | dct | ampex | dct700 | umatic | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
The dangers of live streaming without a license
Joseph Adamson The entertainment industry is visual and sound driven. Without these two elements there would be no such a thing as entertainment. Its obvious that there are people who create sound/s and visuals. Copyright laws were created to protect the industry and these artists. Many organisations have been created to look after musician, writers, poets and filmmakers. For example there are a number of bodies especially the MCPS [Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society], which is responsible for collecting royalties and licensing of music on behalf of musicians and music producers.
Tags: iss128 | ail | youtube | streaming | license | Joseph Adamson
Submitted by Joseph Adamson Click to read or download PDF
Leveraging licensed broadcast spectrum assets
John Payne There are several different approaches to transmitting live and file-based content from the field to the studio. Traditional microwave Electronic News Gathering (ENG) provides high bandwidth, high-quality transmission with low latency. Using the secure, dedicated BAS spectrum keeps control in a broadcasters hands. The past few years have seen a shift in video technology toward acceptance, and adoption of IP-based links into ENG workflows.
Tags: iss128 | eng | bas | imt | vislink | imt-vislink | John Payne
Submitted by John Payne Click to read or download PDF