Broadcasters, like those in many other industries, are under pressure to do more for less, both in terms of capital and human resources. IP’s ascendancy into the transport of professional-quality content continues primarily because IP networks are more flexible and cost-effective than systems built with traditional broadcast technology.
IP networks can carry any kind of content – video, audio or data – which makes it very versatile. IP is everywhere now, which means broadcasters can link any and all locations together, at any time. What’s more, IP connections are flexible, making them ideally suited to today’s live environment where set up and tear down of services on demand is required to meet constantly changing needs. And IP’s huge ecosystem means that IP solutions are available to meet virtually any conceivable broadcast requirement, with more solutions emerging all the time.
Most importantly, in addition to IP’s cost effectiveness when compared to dedicated links that are often underused and therefore costly, IP-based links can be set up when and where needed, carrying any type of content, making them very attractive to broadcasters.
Now, IP is increasingly being used to transport high-quality content in realtime between locations as part of the production process (IP contribution). Using IP for contribution requires an overlay of technology to overcome its inherent limitations. These challenges include variations in latency, the level of reliability (broadcasters can’t afford to lose a single frame of video), and the management of IP networks, which seems so much more complex than traditional baseband networks.
The good news is that these limitations have now been overcome, and specialists like Nevion are making IP fit for broadcasting. Consider the case of one of the UK’s largest commercial television networks looking to update its contribution network between 12 main locations and nearly 30 regional facilities.
With a goal of improving its distribution of quality content and achieving cost efficiencies, it implemented a solution based on an existing next-generation core network connected to the broadcaster sites by 10Gigabit Ethernet links, backed by Nevion’s video compression, transport and monitoring solutions.
VideoIPath, Nevion’s media network management system, puts the broadcaster in control of its contribution network. As a result, the broadcaster can now share SD and HD-SDI video signals safely and in realtime between any of their locations, with latencies of just a few milliseconds — compared to about 600ms with their previous system. Most importantly, with VideoIPath, non-specialist broadcast operators can set up connections between any locations virtually instantly, without expert help.
For this and other broadcasters like it, the ability to set up connections between locations on demand combined with resilience and very low latency has the potential to revolutionize production workflows. Virtually any remote location can become an extension of in-studio or on-campus production, and expertise can be tapped into wherever it’s needed.
This is exciting news for broadcasters as they seek to evolve in the face of tough competition. Not only flexible, bandwidth efficient and less costly, IP is ideal for broadcasting’s future, which is sure to include second screens and expanded realtime services