What is the SMPTE ST 2110 Suite of Standards?

The SMPTE ST 2110 Professional Media Over Managed IP Networks suite of standards is a major contributing factor in the movement toward one common internet protocol (IP)-based mechanism for the professional media industries.* The foundation for SMPTE ST 2110 standards is Video Services Forum (VSF) Technical Recommendation for Transport of Uncompressed Elementary Stream Media Over IP (TR-03), which VFS agreed to make available to SMPTE as a contribution toward the new suite of standards. The SMPTE ST 2110 standards suite specifies the carriage, synchronization, and description of separate elementary essence streams over IP for real-time production, playout, and other professional media applications.

When will SMPTE publish the ST 2110 standards suite?

The SMPTE ST 2110 standards suite is multipart, with the essential parts technically stable right now. The following is the current status of documents included in the suite, as of September 2017**:

  • SMPTE ST 2110-10/-20/-30 — addressing system concerns and uncompressed video and audio streams — are now approved standards. The press release can be found here.
  • SMPTE ST 2110-40 — concerning metadata such as captions, subtitles, active format description, time codes, dynamic range, and more — is presently undergoing final committee draft ballot and is anticipated to be published before the end of 2017 or early in 2018.  
  • SMPTE ST 2110-21 — specifying traffic shaping and delivery timing of uncompressed video — is presently in the comment resolution phase of the final committee draft text. The SMPTE standards committee is now resolving final comments before conducting the final ballot (draft publication) to bring ST 2110-21 to standard status. This document is anticipated to be published before the end of 2017 or early in 2018.

Additional portions of the standards suite, such as support for compressed audio and video, will follow a similar process and will likely be published in time for the 2018 NAB Show.

What will adoption of the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards mean for the industry?

The impact goes beyond just replacing serial digital interface (SDI) with IP to the concept of having the flexibility to come up with a whole new set of applications based on, and leveraged off, information technology (IT) protocols and infrastructure. 

The advantages of shifting to IP are comparable to those achieved when the industry moved from physical tapes to virtual files for content storage. Files were not treated as if they were just virtual tapes; rather, all the benefits of software and virtualized access have come to be realized with new workflows and functionality offered.

Another advantage is that intra-facility traffic now can be all-IP. Thus, rather than requiring two separate sets of switches — SDI switches for professional media and IP/Ethernet switches for general data — facilities can rely on one common data center infrastructure. Most operators will continue to separate traffic by priority; however, the newer switches do have the intelligence to prioritize real-time media streams.

Are there products on the market now that will support SMPTE ST 2110 standards?

Yes, products do exist. The SMPTE ST 2110 Drafting Group includes representatives from many different manufacturers, and at the 2017 NAB Show, more than 40 vendors participated in the IP Showcase, which demonstrated interoperability based on the final draft standards. At IBC2017, more than 60 vendors are participating in another IP Showcase and demonstrating SMPTE ST 2110 standards interoperability and solutions based on the suite. 

While the industry can roll it forward and start manufacturing equipment, a fully interoperable system will require additional areas to be addressed, tying up the standards suite. 

Nevertheless, the SMPTE ST 2110 standards are already being embraced by the industry. In a survey conducted by the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), 70% of AIMS members indicated that they will be offering equipment and solutions implementing the SMPTE ST 2110 standards in 2017.

What is unique about how the ST 2110 standards suite handles ancillary data?

ST 2110 standards make it possible to separately route and break away ancillary data, as well as the audio and video. This change promises to simplify the process of adding metadata such as captions, subtitles, Teletext, and time codes, as well as tasks such as the processing of multiple audio languages and types.

All elements can be routed separately and brought together again at the endpoint. With ST 2110 standards, each component flow — audio, video, metadata —is synchronized to each other while remaining independent streams.

How about Ultra HD, including 4K, 8K, and high-dynamic-range (HDR) imaging? Do SMPTE ST 2110 standards account for new and emerging formats?

Yes! SMPTE ST 2110 standards are video-format-agnostic and therefore support Ultra HD, HDR, and other new and emerging formats. 

Does SMPTE have a virtual course on ST 2110?

SMPTE’s Internetworking, Routing & Switching Programs courses, as well as The Essentials of IP Transport for Broadcasters, help to provide a solid foundation in networking. A dedicated course on SMPTE ST 2110 is currently in development.

Learn more by viewing SMPTE's recent IBC Session

You may also view our SMPTE Standards Update webcast on SMPTE ST 2110:

* Professional media applications may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Film/Broadcast/OTT production and postproduction
  • Theme parks (show control, image, and sound)
  • Live event production, such as concert production and sport venues (show control, image, sound, video displays, and pyrotechnics)
  • Museums (large audio/video displays)
  • Digital advertising (such as in Times Square)
  • Digital (internet) release production and postproduction
  • Media research 
  • Contribution
  • Primary distribution
  • Playout

** Timelines are estimated and subject to change without notice.