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Weighing investment in IP and 4K

IP is a gradual transition so, protecting existing workflow and capital equipment is essential says Said Bacho, SVP EMEA, Grass Valley.

At IBC2014, most conversations were dominated by the latest developments in two technology areas – 4K capture and IP infrastructure. One year later, as we head to IBC2015, much progress has been made and attendees will be anxious to see the newest solutions from leading suppliers.

For broadcasters looking to improve the quality of their viewers’ experience, adding 4K content is the obvious next step, which places a priority on getting 4K cameras and other 4K-capable workflow tools out into the field.

To meet market demand, several 4K-capable cameras have been introduced recently, but not many operations are ready to migrate fully to 4K.
High-end live productions require support for multiple camera formats, including 4K as well as existing 1.5G or 3G HD formats.

That’s not likely to change in the immediate future, so cameras that offer this flexibility will continue to lead the market as businesses determine the best applications for 4K during the shift.

As an example, the LDX 86 Universe is an all-new 4K camera from Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, offering multiformat (HD/3G/4K) and multispeed (1X/3X/6X) content acquisition with outstanding image performance, excellent light sensitivity and the ability to use standard HD lenses.

Generating this high-quality, visually rich 4K content also requires advanced infrastructure to handle the larger file sizes and more complex management and transmission.

In other words, broadcasters must weigh the investment not only in cameras, but also switchers, replay servers, multiviewers, routers and signal processing, and determine when the time is right to adopt 4K capability.

With the increase in realtime and on-demand multiplatform delivery and high-quality live programming, broadcasters are investigating the transition from SDI to IP-based networks and workflows.

In simple terms, IP technology for broadcasters is about integrating the two largest open standards in the world, Ethernet and Internet Protocol, into an environment that desperately needs more speed and more capacity.

IP is a gradual transition—a migration. So, protecting existing workflow and capital equipment is essential for many because the cost of new equipment and changes in workflows may be prohibitive.

One such entry approach is to harness the power of IP while using SDN (software-defined networking) control and COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) switches in a familiar, broadcast-centric environment.

By doing this, the routing of IP video and audio will appear the same as routing serial digital interface (SDI) to an operator, providing transparent control.

As an example, Grass Valley offers GV Convergent SDN, which targets customers who want to make use of IP alongside SDI or as an entrance into IP networking for video and audio signals.

Overall, technical advances in video production and broadcast are changing the way content is captured and delivered. Broadcasters are exploring innovations that bring higher-quality content, automation, improved efficiency and more versatility to the process.

With so many innovative solutions coming on the scene and so much cutting-edge technology still in development, IBC2015 promises to be an exciting event.