NAB Special Report: It's here, it's happening
This was the NAB show when 4K became a reality and the industry started decided to roll up its sleeves and make the IP switch, observes Rainer Kampe, CTO at German systems integrator Broadcast Solutions GmbH
For Broadcast Solutions, being a hardware independent system integrator and acting on a global scale, NAB is, for many other business members, the most important show, besides IBC. This year our company visited the NAB Show in order grab the latest news on technology but also to meet our suppliers and customers. Although the company did not have a its own booth, we set up shop at our partner’s booth at slomo.tv to have a base for our activities.
Of course the topics everyone is (still) talking about at NAB is the transition to IP, 4K and HDR, as well as hard/software and how to cope with a future that demands both cost savings and streamlined productions.
In my mind, to make the transition to IP as smooth as possible, it’s clear that there’s a need for standards that most members in the industry can adhere to. In order to be part of this process Broadcast Solutions signed a membership contract with the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS).
AIMS, which had its NAB debut this year as a trade organisation, promotes the adoption, standardisation, development and refinement of open protocols for media over IP. The association focuses on IP standards in the broadcast industry that have been developed using a collaborative, non-proprietary approach, such as SMPTE 2022-6, VSF TR-03 and VSF TR-04.
For us, it is of paramount importance to offer future-proof solutions to our customers. Promoting open standards in accordance with major broadcast organisations such as SMPTE, VSF or AES, we are very much looking forward to contributing to the goals of AIMS for the benefit of all members in the broadcast business. In the light of our projects, in which we integrate hardware and technology of various manufacturers, interconnectivity and seamless collaboration is very important to delivering successful and working solutions to our customers.
4K is already here
To say that 4K is on the rise is a bit of an understatement - it is already here. Nearly all important camera manufacturers at NAB presented 4K / 8K or HDR camera models, such as GrassValley’s LDX 86N or Sony’s HDC-4800. With several new products on the signal processing and the production side as well, a complete 4K production workflow can be achieved easily. Being a specialist in building OB Vans, we already presented a 4K OB Van at last year’s IBC Show and are currently working on several OBs that are fully 4K capable.
The full 4K slow-motion and replay server by slomo.tv caught our interest. With the Red Arrow, the company introduced a server to the market that offers four channels recording, four channels search and two channels playback with six 4K physical video ports – all in 4K 50p in a single 2RU enclosure. This outmatches every existing slow-motion solution on the market and we look forward to offering this game-changer to our customers.
To make the transition to IP as smooth as possible, it’s clear there’s a need for standards that most members in the industry can adhere to
Fundamental technology shift
The move to IP, including the use of COTS computing hardware, we think is a fundamental technology shift and a lot of manufacturers are trying to develop solutions working on an IP-basis thus meeting the requirements of the broadcasters. For us, production solutions that are IP-ready or can be utilised in remote productions are common in our daily work. We think that the shift to IP will be a slow process, and some of the major manufacturers will address this shift by developing solutions that work in an IP environment as well as connect with legacy SDI equipment.
For instance Riedel now offers its media distribution network devices, MicroN and MediorNet in combination with the MetroN core router to serve as a decentralised matrix which includes clean video switching and non-blocking broadcast. The MicroN units feature MADI connections, and all I/O in the network include synchronisation, embedding and de-embedding options. Multi-viewing capabilities, SMPTE2022-6 support, video format conversion are on the roadmap.
The same approach is followed by Lawo, which offers an IP core routing environment that is on the one hand in accordance with open standards mentioned above, offers clean switching, works with an SDN and sophisticated control solutions and on the other hand uses a special hardware approach to ensure interconnectivity to legacy equipment. Other solutions might include systems like Imagine Communications’ Platinum IP3 router. The IP3 is being used by NEP in the recent upgrade to its fleet in order to path the way to 4K and IP, since the routers work in hybrid SDI-IP environments.
It will be interesting to see how these new products and developments will be adopted by the broadcasters. Later this year at IBC2016 we think recent efforts in standardisation will be more visible to the industry. In Amsterdam we will present complete projects that incorporate all these different technological approaches to offer future-proof solutions to our customers.
Read the digital edition of "Looking back at NAB", our complete analysis of NAB 2016 here.