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Given those cautionary notes, does that mean that moves to IP-only infrastructures will be more marathon than sprint? 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 fi rst. 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 4K-ready monitor? 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. Final thoughts? 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. ASK OUR EXPERTS POST YOUR QUESTION ONLINE: Search ‘tvbay’ Tel. +44 (0)1635 237 237 Email. questions@tv-bay.com