​Pebble Beach Systems Assesses IP Rollout

No one wants to build an SDI-based infrastructure if they can help it. But expectations are high, and broadcasters are not willing to compromise on existing workflows and practices. Miroslav Jeras, head of software architecture at Pebble Beach Systems shares his views of IP rollout heading into IBC2018.

What is your assessment of the status of IP rollout worldwide?

Pebble Beach Systems: Let’s talk about what’s new in uncompressed IP. Worldwide, rollout of this is still very much in its infancy, but it’s clear that interest continues to grow. There have been some SMPTE 2022-6 based installations replacing SDI and even fewer of the new SMPTE 2110 based installations. We are emerging from a period of initial, high-level exploratory discussions with a number of broadcasters, to one in which detailed requirements and challenges are now being actively investigated. The core protocols for IP video workflows are certainly there in 2110, but it’s the next level of detail, largely based on feedback from early adopters, that will further inform the standards bodies and help us continue to advance IP workflows.

Can you point to ground breaking uses of IP – in either the creation, management or delivery of content?

Bloomberg Television in London certainly comes to mind as a state of the art IP-based facility. Their requirements are unique amongst broadcasters in that management and control can shift geographic location at any time, depending on where stock markets are currently active. Bloomberg wanted to have little to no SDI infrastructure, knowing that IP is the future. They were one of the first IP-based customers who transitioned in a real environment where they have a concrete need to meet an on-air deadline. Pebble’s automation system orchestrates not only playout but ingest workflows as well. A key requirement was that anything that was on incoming feeds had to be available and sub-clipped ready for playout within 30 seconds. Channel playout over IP originates from Pebble’s software-defined integrated channel devices, while the web-based dashboard enables operators to monitor, control, and manage the automation easily from a simple browser interface.

What are customers demanding from your company in terms of IP?

Customers are demanding a managed, seamless migration to IP with little to no risk. They are also occasionally asking for us to develop to standards that have not yet been published. So, it’s clear that no one wants to build an SDI-based infrastructure if they can help it. Expectations are high, and broadcasters are not willing to compromise on existing workflows and practices. They expect an IP infrastructure to have the same capabilities as SDI even though certain aspects, such as AES audio over IP (SMPTE 2110-31), are still to be finalised as of the time of writing.

How are you responding to this demand?

Pebble has developed a hybrid approach that allows organisations to transition to IP at a pace that suits their unique requirements. Broadcasters don’t want to schedule a hard cut-over date and hope for the best. They want time to test their infrastructure, running legacy systems in parallel when possible, so that risk is completely mitigated. For example, our Dolphin Integrated Channel device can have both IP and SDI outputs, enabling customers to switch over to IP when they are ready with their existing hardware.

What IP-based tools, products, services etc can exhibition visitors expect to see from you at IBC2018?

Pebble Beach Systems will again be demonstrating playout solutions at the IP Showcase at IBC in rooms E106 and E107, sponsored by AES, AMWA, AIMS, EBU, SMPTE and VSF. Most importantly, the stand will have its own “IP Playout Pod” featuring multiple vendors (including Arista, Embrionix, AJA, Vizrt, Tektronix and Newtek) that drills down in detail into IP playout solutions. It’s more important than ever to see these solutions working together, not just talk about them. To that end, we invite people to come and discuss the state of IP technologies as they relate to their playout requirements.

Let us know what you think…

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