News Production & Post

Interop standards falling short

20 September 2007

Apple Computer, broadcaster NRK Norway, cable network conglomerate Turner Broadcasting System, and systems integrator National TeleConsultants (NTC) examined the wide-ranging impact of IT-based production systems at IBC as part of the Content Production Theme Day, writes Chris Forrester. Standards, they concluded, are essential.

All examined IT from a different perspective; all agreed that IT integration delivers significant benefits to the modern broadcast and production facility. The session was moderated by NTC managing partner Chuck Phelan. “Our plants are being built out of Ethernet cables today, but standards are still essential,” stated Bill Hudson, director of Business and Market Development, Professional Applications, Apple Computer. “EBU, AMWA, and SMPTE are all needed to ensure interoperability.

“Change is nothing new,” Hudson added. “The latest change is the consumer electronics ‘wild card’, which makes consumers their own programme directors.” Hudson elaborated, explaining that YouTube grew by 270% last year and had 51 million unique visitors in June alone. IT provides both the means of producing for such a non-traditional audience, and – most importantly – reaching them as well.

Clyde Smith, senior VP of global broadcast technology and standards for the Turner Broadcasting System, outlined the benefits of the MXF mastering format and how file-based repurposing provides enormous efficiencies and cost-savings, and makes playout more efficient among the many networks Turner operates. He concluded with a reminder of the important contributions being made by the Advanced Media Workflow Association (, which is holding an Awareness Event in London, 14-16 November.

NRK director of Technology Arild Hellgren provided an update of the Norwegian national broadcaster’s IT-intensive transition to an all-file-based workflow scheme. “Broadcast equipment is no longer proprietary solutions on digital islands,” Hellgren noted. “This project will provide all departments and regional offices with a coherent digital infrastructure. “We are halfway through the project thus far,” he concluded.

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