Television is still a niche industry, but nonetheless, one of the most powerful story telling mediums in existence. Whether reporting news events, delivering educational seminars, or product reviews, television still outperforms all other mediums in terms of its ability to communicate to mass audiences.
Timing accuracy has been a fundamental component of broadcast infrastructures for as long as we’ve transmitted television pictures and sound. The time invariant nature of frame sampling still requires us to provide timing references with sub microsecond accuracy.
The complexity of modern OTT and VOD distribution has increased massively in recent years. The adoption of internet streaming gives viewers unparalleled freedom to consume their favorite live and pre-recorded media when they want, where they want, and how they want. But these opportunities have also presented content owners with unfortunate challenges, typically piracy and overcoming illegal content copying.
IP and COTS infrastructure designs are giving us the opportunity to think about broadcast systems in an entirely different manner. Although broadcast engineers have been designing studio facilities to be flexible from the earliest days of television, the addition of IP and COTS takes this to a new level allowing us to continually reallocate infrastructure components to make the best use of expensive resource.
Technical advances in regionalization and personalization for Ad insertion are helping broadcasters leverage revenues from OTT and VOD. Improved granularity in distribution facilitates refined targeting of advertising giving broadcasters and advertisers unprecedented access to discerning viewers.
Program delivery to mobile devices and smart televisions has fueled the growth for internet delivery. But one of the challenges broadcasters and media content providers face is that the internet was never originally designed to stream large amounts of video and audio with virtually no dropout or latency.
Monitoring has always been the engineers’ best friend as it turns apparent chaos into order and helps us understand what is going on deep inside a system to deliver high-quality pictures and sound. As OTT continues to play a more prominent role, the need to monitor internet distribution systems is becoming increasingly compelling.
For many years broadcasters have been working with static systems that are difficult to change and upgrade. Although we have video and audio routing, the often-tangled mess of jackfield patch-cords is testament to how flexible broadcast systems really need to be to meet the demands of modern program making.