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Given those cautionary notes, does
that mean that moves to IP-only
infrastructures will be more marathon
It will be a more measured transition
than some would have you think.
Once people get comfortable with
IP technology and capabilities, a
calmer, more considered approach
to its implementation will be the most
direct route to sustained success.
The point is that IP is a transition, not
an overnight sensation. While some
are ready to make the transition now,
others feel the time frame will be at
least fi ve years or more. For most, IP is
already a part of their ecosystem. The
key is to ensure you are not too far
ahead of, or too far behind, the curve.
One of our values as a manufacturer is
that we help our customers to clearly
identify aspects of their facility where
they can confi dently start their IP
transition at a pace that is realistic for
them. So even though it’s a transition,
does IP win over baseband
video in the end?
Baseband will be around for a
considerable time to come. However,
there are simply too many potential
benefi ts with IP-based contribution,
distribution and workfl ow not to go
down that route. However, certain
aspects of technology such as
switches, routers, gateway devices
and multipart VoIP standards still
need to evolve. Traditional broadcast
engineers – and IT specialists – need
to fully understand what can be done
before some implementation decisions
can be taken.
IP doesn’t “win” because it delivers
one signal in one IP channel. It wins
because it enables you to move a lot
of signals through one pipe, which in
turn means that a lot more revenue
accumulates at the other end.
IP is also incredibly fl exible, which is
where I think some fi nd the decision-
making about its implementation a bit
daunting. It really depends on what you want to
do. There are those who want to keep
46 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 84 DECEMBER 2013
things simple, i.e, “I have one network and I want to throw everything in that
network. Not just production, but my data traffi c, too.” That means you have to
think about facility design in a certain way, but it’s an example of a facility that
can more readily take advantage of IP simply because it’s, well, simple.
You could infer from that that only small facilities are currently able to implement
IP-based production, and there’s some truth in that. However, it’s just that
smaller organizations, or islands within a larger institution, are usually more
nimble in their ability to implement aspects of IP that are most useful, and cost
effective, for their highly defi ned production requirements.
So, if 4K UHDTV is the real deal, will IP accelerate
the transition to that format?
The short answer is a provisional yes, but let’s address the technical challenges
Technically, one of the advantages of IP is that it will make it much easier to
address bandwidth questions. It’s exactly like the transition we went through
from SD to HD - but with a different enabler.
Miranda is committed to 4K. We already have a full 4K production chain
available. We’ve been working with Sony, Telegenics and Euro Media France
on their respective 4K initiatives and have been involved in demonstrations with
routers, downconverters and other products in those areas.
The practical challenges of 4K are two-fold, and are generally more emotive than
technical. Let’s not forget that almost everyone has already purchased a digital television.
A major factor in the take-up of HD was that consumers could fi nally remove
the behemoths that were taking up substantial portions of their living room and
replace them with an ultra-thin 16x9 monitor. HD images were unquestionably
a revelation. 4K – and eventually 8K – blows HD as we know it out of the water
on a large screen, but will the people who will eventually pay for UHDTV images
really feel the margin of improvement is worth yet another investment in a
The second, and I believe equally important, issue is there is not currently a
legislative initiative anywhere in the world to move to 4K. There were mandates
to go digital, which of course begat HD, but without a driving force behind a
move to 4K - apart from again selling “even better pictures” – the sense of
urgency is missing.
Don’t get me wrong. Both IP transport and 4K are already fi rmly on track,
particularly as IP will likely enable the fi rst 4K delivery services to the home,
but we need to be fairly circumspect in the near term about whether their
implementation will happen at the same speed as the transition from SD to HD.
I fi nd it very interesting that a number of players in the marketplace are looking
at both IP transport and 4K as an island rather than a full-plant transition, both
of which make good sense, at least at this stage of the game. The key to
understand how this might play out is to accept that there’s not a one-size-fi ts-
all approach to a transition like this. No content provider or broadcaster is faced
with the very same challenge as the next. The winners will be those who have
the foresight to investigate, contemplate and deploy at the right time for them …
not when rumour and speculation kick in.
Suppliers like Miranda are standing by to help them determine what
that right time is.
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