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TECHNOLOGIES You can have your OTT & IP it, too. Peter Blatchford Sales and marketing director, Starfish Technologies. You no longer need to build a Tower of Babylon to get content on air. It has taken a long time, for a variety of reasons, but the rising tide of pushing mainstream content over IP is now commonplace. everyone moves forward until the next issue arrives, which it has historically done with a fairly predictable degree of regularity. Looking back a few years, some manufacturers, who were early to recognise the advantages, were keen to implement IP based interconnectivity, even though some of their customers remained, and are still, somewhat reluctant to implement IP-based infrastructures. That’s understandable as, in the early days, there were still some unanswered questions in terms of reliability and interoperability. The good news, the very good news, is that those concerns have be addressed and systems have been implemented and proven. Building infrastructure video systems that operate over IP is relatively, inexpensive, and doable - right now. And there has never been a greater demand for content, or a better time to create it to feed the multi-platform masses with OTT delivery. Decisions on full implementation aside, the technology is ready, reliable, and available, so if anybody does want to jump in they can be certain that the technology works and it can integrate efficiently. You can mix and match technologies from multiple manufacturers, an issue that had given many potential adopters trepidations in the past. When it comes to moving ‘uncompressed’ video over IP, I reckon AIMS, the Alliance for IP Media Solutions, just about has it covered. However, moving compressed video is different. There are several groups discussing and promoting standards, which, frankly, isn’t helping all that much at the moment. But, let’s be honest, that’s the way progress in our industry has usually transpired. Factions emerge, then split, wagons get circled, and everything becomes more difficult than it has to be for a year or so. Eventually, a certain point of view or proven technology wins out and 54 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 120 December 2016 With respect to the products within these systems, ironically, the benefits of software- based architectures are still associated with hardware. What I mean by that is that hardware - but a lot less of it - enables a broadcaster or playout facility to build a system based on generic IT hardware and run any number of software-based applications on that similar hardware, and that has massive benefits in terms of reliability, flexibility, and cost. Around these products you can install an IP-based infrastructure and all but eliminate the need for clunky hardware that required a huge amount of expertise and an equal amount of racks and cabling. Starfish has, in the past, built systems exactly like that that ended up being works of art, which is just as well as they could now be consigned to a museum. What I’m saying is, you no longer need to build a Tower of Babylon to get content on air with an IP infrastructure. As a side note, we’re increasingly being asked to supply IT hardware as well as our TS Splicer and other transport stream processing software. This makes a lot of sense for both parties, and we tend to favour HP servers for