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OPINION: Too much money floating around

IP as the replacement for Serial Digital Interface is accompanied by a heavy marketing push, says Pavel Potuzak, managing director, Aveco

People used to be admired for what they knew and what they were able to do. Nowadays, the most admired people are those who can raise maximum subsidies or investments.

Governments print money. Loans have negative interest rates and investors throw money at risky opportunities. Stock indexes rise with no logic. It is not economics anymore. The relationship between value and cost is disappearing.

You can see it in our industry, too. Companies provide their goods and services for prices with no bottom, and new products and standards come at a fast pace. Also, there is a big fight in the market area of frequencies, and for the new fuel of the industry – personal information.

On a technical note, the intensive search for the Next Big Thing brought us IP as the replacement for SDI. As usual, the trend is accompanied by a heavy marketing push. We’ve all heard about the inevitable end of SDI.

I feel like some of us have already found it challenging to keep pace with all the new trends in this hyped up atmosphere and tend to accept new technology without much technical thinking. I’ve heard opinions like ‘I love IP as it allows me to stay in a compressed domain.’

Really? Even logo insertion or passing the stream to a distribution network means getting to baseband and encoding again. With SDI, the distribution encoder is a well reputed quality device. With the ‘All IP/IT’ solutions the encoding is done by a small piece of software inside a PC that also does the playout, signal switching and all other things. And I am not yet talking about long latency, lack of synchronisation concepts, reliability, security and other IP shortcomings.

Please do not take this as my argument against IP. Aveco studies the SDI to IP transition, evaluate the optimum use of it, interfacing to various products with IP I/O and test prototypes of our future products that use IP. However, we want to defend ourselves and our customers against hard marketing pushes.

There is a common understanding that the IT/IP solutions reduce cost. Is it true? Not necessarily. When choosing a new solution for your facility, do not think about purchase price. Think about total cost of ownership for several years of operation.

And do not forget about evaluating quality. Do you operate on the internet? Then the ‘in-a-box’ or cloud solutions are probably the right choice. Are you a well recognised broadcaster? Then the quality of your services is one of the key differentiators and must be one of the criteria when choosing equipment.

We are assisting our customers to optimise the Aveco news production and playout solutions as well as the connected technologies to meet the technical expectations as well as budget, to maximise revenues and minimise operating cost.

Yes, it is important to keep our heads in the sky. But please stay firmly on the ground. And enjoy IBC.