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IP Craig Newbury Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Wohler Technologies. 1. What has been the broadcast industry’s feeling about the move to an all IP workflow? Transitioning from conventional signal transport to an all-IP environment in broadcast or content production operations seems to be a matter of “when” rather than “if,” as it brings a great number of advantages with it. IP is touted as offering numerous benefits, including lowered capital and installation costs, large weight reductions of mobile production vehicles, and use of easily replaceable and upgradable off-the-shelf “generic” equipment from the computer network sector. However, a shift to any new technology or business model is almost always accompanied by a certain amount of anxiety or even discomfort. There seems to be a great deal of apprehension and uncertainty about IP, and possibly even more than in the 1990s when we began to get serious about transitioning from analog to digital technology. Some of the same arguments voiced then are being heard now: the inability to simply troubleshoot signal flows (plugging headphones or video monitors into patch panels), putting all of one’s eggs in one basket (muxing audio with video), and operational uncertainty surrounding the new technology (difficulties in monitoring levels and a difference in the methods used to speedily identify and restore failed equipment or signal paths). Some of this trepidation could stem from the very nature of IP — no more direct “point A-to-point-B” signal pathing, unpredictable latencies, software-driven transport systems, radically new troubleshooting techniques and — especially in the audio realm — a lack of consensus or standardization about the best way to achieve IP connectivity. This need not be the case, as with careful planning and 54 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 115 JULY 2016 embodiment of technologies available it is possible to enjoy the best of both worlds. 2. Is IP mature enough of a technology to support a broadcast workflow? While broadcasters may harbor some concerns about IP, it’s important to note that there is really nothing new or untried about the concept of moving packets of data containing built-in addressing information, or datagrams, from multiple sources to multiple destinations through a common network. IP came into being more than 40 years ago and is the mainstay of the Internet. If such technology didn’t work well and offer a high level of reliability, the Internet would never have gained acceptance. 3. What are some of the benefits of IP? IP brings with it many very real and tangible benefits. One is the use of low-cost and lightweight “CAT” data cable instead of conventional coaxial and shielded twisted-pair cabling. This can greatly reduce fixed facility construction costs, and in the case of a large mobile production truck, substantially reduce curb weight, increasing allowable payloads and potentially reducing operating costs over the life of the vehicle. Another advantage is the substitution of off-the-shelf IP data switches for massive and expensive conventional audio and video routing systems leading to cost savings. An IP switching system and infrastructure is totally agnostic when it comes to signal format. An SDI router with SD inputs would balk when confronted with HD video or discrete AES/ EBU audio signals, but this is not the case with IP. SD, HD, 3G and UHD packets are all accommodated as well as different audio “flavors” (mono, stereo, 5.1, 9.1, etc.) in varying sampling rates. Even in such a limited IP