​Is IP Ready For Primetime? Ericsson has a view

Leading into IBC, it’s clear that IP live production dominates discussion. To give the debate some context we’ve assembled a panel of experts who will share their viewpoints on the adoption of IP. Here is Steve Plunkett, CTO at Ericsson Broadcast & Media Services.

To what extent are vendors of cloud and IP production technology truly matching the exacting demands of current baseband video and SDI?

SP: There is a lot of good work underway across the vendor community. I think it is fair to say that this very much a work in progress and there is generally a lot more to do before we can say that we have a vibrant multivendor interoperable ecosystem of production grade cloud and IP infrastructure.

To what extent is the move to 4K production bound up in the migration to IP?

SP:In practical terms there is a relationship between the two. The increased bandwidth requirements of 4K production means choosing between the relatively clunky use of 3G-SDI bundles, looking towards higher bandwidth SDI (12G-SDI or above) implementations or moving to high bandwidth Ethernet technologies. Most organisations seem to be using 3G-SDI bundling as a stop gap approach while planning and evaluating the Ethernet options for the future. That seems a sensible approach.

What are the minimal IP technology requirements to move 4K video from camera to playout in a live environment?

SP:There are short term and long term answers to this question. The short term approach is to emulate the SDI production environment over specialised IP infrastructure – statically configured, over-provisioned, IP over Ethernet paths that carry encapsulated SDI. The longer term answer is to actually embrace and use IP and internet technologies to build more flexible, dynamically provisioned infrastructure (and media packages). Yes it is possible to do this today but it means making compromises in terms of vendor choice, interoperability and architectural flexibility.

Is the move to IP hampered by proprietary technologies?

SP: It’s a mixed bag. The proprietary implementations prove the technical viability of IP as a transport medium. They are providing real world experience that in turn feeds into a general body of knowledge of professional media over IP and they offer short term solutions to organisations who need to implement now. However, they are not viable as a long term solution. Our industry needs scale to reduce costs and that will not be achieved with closed vendor specific solutions. Buyers know the benefits of interoperability and standardisation so will demand it as we move forward.

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