​SMPTE 2110 Paves Way For IP Investment

SMPTE’s publication of the first documents in the standard ST 2110 for professional media over managed networks goes beyond merely replacing serial digital interface (SDI) with IP to giving broadcasters the flexibility to devise a whole new set of applications based on, and leveraged off, IT protocols and infrastructure.

Still in the process of ratification is the portion of the standard concerning metadata such as captions, subtitles, active format description, time codes, dynamic range, and more. This is undergoing final committee draft ballot and is anticipated to be published early in the new year.

Ratified to date are specifications for transporting uncompressed video and audio streams and those which specify traffic shaping and delivery timing of uncompressed video.

Additional parts of the suite, such as support for compressed audio and video, will follow a similar process and will likely be published in time for NAB at end of April.

The new standards are essential to working with media over IP networks in real-time, and they are fundamental to the industry's migration to all-IP operations.

According to lobbying group AIMS, the SDI-to-IP bridging support provided by SMPTE ST 2110, means broadcasters can take an incremental approach by building new islands of IP operations while continuing to rely on legacy equipment elsewhere. Alternatively, they can start out by building IP-based facilities as replacements to the resources they’ve allocated for redundancy, which they can switch to for primary operations once they’re satisfied everything works as expected. And when they find themselves in greenfield situations with no existing SDI facilities, they can build all-IP infrastructures from scratch.

AIMS’ guidance begins with the factors that must be taken into account when implementing IP-based production in the simplest standalone studios and self-contained production trucks. It outlines a plan for more complex situations where productions are executed across multiple locations in a LAN-linked campus environment. The additional complexity of designing an IP topology where multiple facilities are linked over distances of 2 km or more is also clarified.

For example, even in cases where a broadcaster has already committed to installing SDI-based UHD equipment, use of IP gateways to consolidate the quad-interface outputs for delivery over IP connections within that facility is well advised.

Two solutions which permit migration from legacy to IP are Grass Valley's latest K-Frame X switcher and Quantum's new Xcellis Scale-out NAS platform. Ross Video’s production switchers Carbonite and Acuity also deliver AIMS-compliant support for SMPTE ST 2110 and ST 2022-6.

The addition of native IP support for Acuity, the company's most powerful production switcher, and Carbonite Black, a popular mid-size production switcher mean both products will seamlessly interface to standards-based SMPTE ST 2110 and ST 2022-6 infrastructures, making them ideal for customers planning COTS-based AIMS-compliant IP facilities.

Nigel Spratling, Director of Production Switchers and Video Servers, Ross says are able to mix and match IP and SDI interfaces, so each switcher may be used to connect directly to legacy SDI equipment as required, making it ideal for hybrid installations.

The AIMS agenda does not end with SMPTE ST 2110. The latest objective provides a common means of identifying and registering devices across all workflows and locations based on the Network Media Open Specifications (NMOS) IS-04 developed by the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA).

It’s important to recognize that, no matter where a broadcaster is in its decision to move to IP, the industry has achieved consensus on a foundation to interoperability. This should allow broadcasters to move forward with implementation of IP-based production at whatever pace suits their needs.

SMPTE has organised a series of virtual seminars to educate users about IP live production. The first, introduces the principles and structure of IP addressing and the fundamentals of Ethernet concepts, media, and operations. It will, for example, describe router hardware and how switching operates in a small to medium-sized network. Another course will, among other things, explain how to choose and configure codecs across a range of business applications and to elect appropriate image and audio sync methods during mixing and switching as well as perform basic troubleshooting and determine resolutions to common network related workflow issues.

A third course, targeting engineers, provides the knowledge needed to help an organization make the most of SMPTE ST 2110.

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