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How All the Benefits of IP-based Production are Can Be More Fully Utilized

November 7, 2022

In the October issue of the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, author Gerard Phillips focuses on systemizing ST 2110 and simplifying IP-based production. He examines some of the technologies and working practices that are used by many mainstream IP adopters like enterprises and cloud providers, and outlines a route for improving the systemization of SMPTE ST 2110 production environments. 

A move to IP using “Commercial Off-the-Shelf” or COTS network devices, while tempting, needs to consider that merely utilizing IP switches with higher interface speeds could reduce the advantages of moving to an IP platform. A systemized transition to an IP-based platform, however, can maximize improvements in end-point scale, format agnosticism, flexibility, and ease of integration, while they lead to faster network creation, easier facility updates and changes, and greater visibility of the benefits that accrue with such technology. 

The technologies have now matured to the extent that there are many more native IP devices available, the need for IP gateways has lessened, and the concept of an “IP router wrapped in SDI” is rapidly fading. With the ever-growing numbers of native IP devices such as multi-viewers, vision mixers, format converters, and associated devices, there is also a similar growth in the levels of connectivity to external IP networks. The ST 2110 standards suite is still evolving and growing, but already there is widespread deployment of the standardized control layers associated with these transport standards. 

The latest “Technology Pyramid for Media Nodes” from the European Broadcast Union (EBU) is detailed in the article. It shows the minimum user requirements to build and manage an IP-based media facility using open standards and specifications including Media Transport, Time and Sync, Operational Control, Configuration and Monitoring, and Security. In moving to an IP-only system architecture, many of the areas of the pyramid are identical to that of any other enterprise network.

The largest public cloud providers together are a strong driver of the IP/IT industry, as they have demonstrated their ability to support scale, provide resilience, and reduce operating costs. The adoption of many of the other characteristics with which “big IT” operates includes:

  • Standards-based interoperability
  • Embracing and leveraging standard IT tools and infrastructure services
  • Simple, repeatable, and templated designs
  • Automation at all lifecycle stages
  • High levels of monitoring and visibility 

These principles are very much applicable in the area of media and entertainment content production and distribution as well. In particular, automation at all lifecycle stages in a “network as code” fashion accepts that the network will always be changing. It allows for even large-scale changes to be made with minimal risk within a planned, controlled, and managed environment. 

In conclusion, Phillips says, to achieve any sort of fast-paced progress, it becomes necessary to build on the work of others, with no fear of adopting the working practices and tools of “cloud titans” and large enterprises. Unless there is an embrace of what might seem to be “non-M&E” methodologies, there is the risk of losing sight of the rewards of flexibility, agility, simplicity, and workflow transformations. 

Many M&E IP adopters are afraid to make changes to a working infrastructure that carries their most valuable assets. Outage costs are high, and any change is to be avoided if at all possible. 

However, there is an inherent danger in not making routine changes to such a system, especially upgrades. Such a “hands off” philosophy can create something of a panic situation when changes absolutely have to be, as there will have been no planning or routine drills con- ducted to ensure that proper procedures are followed.

For all the details of the author’s recommendations for systemizing ST 2110 IP-based production, read the complete article in this month’s SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal.<link to article>

Keywords:

#IP Media #SMPTE #Media Infrastructure #ST 2110 #Gerard Phillips #COTS #IP based media

Tag(s): ST 2110 , News , #IP systems

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