SMPTE Podcast: the IP Showcase at NAB 2018 #1

In this podcast Mike Cronk of AIMS, Willem Vermost of EBU, and Wes Simpson of VSF talk about the IP Showcase at NAB 2018. The conversation spans IP networking, ST2110, use cases for IP media networks, and how to harness IP networking and ST2110 to the advantage of content creators and for the viewer.

The panellists start out describing their favorite aspects of IP-based media networking.

Wes Vermost explains how proper operation of an IP-based media network is all based on timing. So, just like a traditional studio had a whole timing network built to support it, an IP based system also has a timing network. However, instead of a separate overlay network, it uses IEEE 1588, also known as Precision Time Protocol for real-time synchronization of video and audio.

For Willem Vermost a strong point is that over 50 companies are involved with open standards. This is what customers do want. They want to mix and match the things that they want to use in their own setup.

Mike Cronk went on to describe why there is so much interest, in professional media, over managed IP networks?

“I think there's a number of benefits that it brings. First of all, there's scalability. There's the ability to run any format through that IP network very easily. It provides a highway to virtualization and other functions that can really help the broadcaster and enable more of a cloud environment down the road.”

The panel go on to cite real world use cases, specifically UHD trucks where IP offer weight and space saving over SDI systems. With signals and control in a common infrastructure, there is no longer the need for separate islands of technology. What is more, you can simply use the same infrastructure over and over again, regardless of what you're trying to deliver.

The conversation moves on to SMPTE ST 2110 and the role that standards play in bringing these innovations to the market. ST 2110 took a lot of effort, but in the long run it has proven to be a flexible, expandable standard that handles uncompressed media. 

What About the Viewers?

The panellists move on to talk about how do these innovations benefit consumers, as well as the industry? With consumers wanting more content wherever they can, the job of a content creator is to fulfill that need of the consumer That requires flexibility and personalized content. That requires a system that's agile, that can handle any format. Without IP you can't automate processes and handle all the formats.

Wes Simpson points out how currently in the U.S. there are over 400 scripted television programs in active production. Without some of this technology, you wouldn't be able to afford to do that. You wouldn't have the distribution channels, you wouldn't have the production facilities, you wouldn't have all of the different things that are working together to give consumers more choice.

Finally the panellists discuss what should be done to harness 2110 and IP.

Wes Simpson started, “for me, one of the key things is that you have to be open to learning new things. People are coming at this market, this suite of technology, from pretty much two different backgrounds. We have people that have been heavily invested in video technology for the past 20 or 30 years in their career, and we have people that have been invested in information technology and IP networking for a number of years. You know, dozens or whatever. Both of those groups need to learn new things. People that have a traditional broadcast background need to learn more about information technology and how IP networks work. People who are in IP networking need to understand that video isn't just another payload, it's probably the most demanding signal that you can put on an IP network today. Hundreds and hundreds of megabits or gigabits worth of traffic in a single stream that has to be very carefully managed through a network.”

Wes Simpson continued: “together, both those groups need to learn the new technologies. They need to understand the subtleties of how those different types of signals can impact the network, how the network can impact the signals, and they have to learn these new standards that are literally just being published today. We're having brand new things coming out on a monthly or even weekly basis.”

Mike Cronk believes technologists should start small but learn. Get your hands dirty, if you will, start to use it. And then, as you do that you begin to see the benefits.

Willem Vermost concludes “we say well, if you do something, start small. Start with a multidisciplinary team, people open to learn from each other. “


The IP Showcase started at NAB 2017, and is sponsored by AIMS, AES, EBU, IABM, SMPTE, and VSF.

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