Internet protocol-based technology has been the future of broadcasting for years but in some areas, especially live video production SDI still dominates. IP-based technology advancements may change that in near future.
The recent research “Focus Forward 2016 Technology Trends Report” by Imagine Communications highlighted SDI to IP transition as one of the major technology trend.
A fact that is often overlooked by most of the media companies is that currently most of them have already moved some of their operations to an IP-based environment. An incorporation of a file-based operation into their workflow as asset management or editing is a technical step towards the all-IP workflow.
According to the report the key drivers for the SDI to IP transition are increased agility of the IT infrastructure, technology future-proofing, operational costs reduction and economies of scale.
The more agile infrastructure means an introduction to new services and sources of revenue (monetization).
Technology future-proofing means a more simple and straightforward upgrading to new codecs, standards or other technology enhancements so in some way video format independence.
However every technology shift has its pain-points.
The major concerns to broadcasters are the expense of infrastructure upgrade, the operational disruptions and security issues.
So it is not surprisingly that some media professionals follow the Hybrid path- a hybrid SDI-IP facilities.
It is important to highlight that for nearly 41 % of the respondents the transition to an all-IP infrastructure is planned for the next 2-5 years.
As a proof to that story one of our biggest customers decided to leave the SDI path.
PBTEU has successfully completed a migration from HD-SDI to IP- based H.264 HD workflow.
We successfully replaced the SDI infrastructure- 7 HD playout servers plus one redundancy change-over (backup) server.
Our playout server platform via its Multi Parallel Output (MPO) technology allows IP streams with different codecs (MPEG2, H.264), resolutions (HD, SD) and transports (UDP, RTP) to be outputted simultaneously.
Each playout server has the capability to produce 3 running simultaneously outputs: Main out- HD H.264 TS; SD Mpeg2 downscaling stream and 3rd HD-SDI out for internal monitoring and ingest.
Main technology differentiator is the server capability to ingest the HD material simultaneously during playout. This main goal is achieved by strictly selected and certified hardware powerful enough to handle so many parallel tasks.
At the center of the playout workflow is a NAS where are stored all media assets for each one playout server. By the implementation of a transfer manager, SafeBox, all media assets are transferred fully automatic according predefined rules.
Once expired SafeBox deletes the expired media assets from the storage ensuring automatic operation without manual operation.
Every playout server is constantly monitored by our Multi Back Manager application.
Thus in case of playout server failure the operation has been immediately recovered by a spare backup server.
In order to switch from Master IP stream out to Backup IP out we implement our special IP router tool called UDP Matrix Switcher to properly route streams with redundant master/slave topology configuration.
Redundant automated change-over allows playlists, logo and media assets from central storage to be transferred to a spare backup server without any manual interference.
Stream outputs provide high quality picture and give possibility to remove the expensive hardware H.264/Mpeg2 encoders from the workflow.
As a final result significant cost savings are realized to the production head-end.
SDI vs. IP: The fight is on
Focus Forward 2016 Technology Trends Report” by Imagine Communications