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February 2014

The Stagebox Camera Back, developed by BBC R&D, allows the entire production process to go IP

TVBEurope 17 The Workflow

on the way to an all-IP broadcast world.” “AVB has promise, but due to the fact that it requires switches, network cards, etc, to understand, it will have a hard time finding adoption unless some giant like Intel or Apple pushes it,” states Weigner. “The various SMPTE 2022 standards work on standard Ethernet but are missing a trick on supported codecs or even stipulate uncompressed. In the age of HEVC that is unrealistic. DVB or simple transport streams with any choice of codecs inside sounds like the winner to me and this is what we put our money on while keeping our options open to where the market is going.” AVB is very restrictive in defining how to build a compliant network and in how streams and resources are reserved. “This reduces the efficiency and scalability of the infrastructure. And it leaves the calculations and provisioning up to the end user, an almost impossible task in an environment with a lot of flexibility and many variable processes,” adds Vermaele. “In terms of Clock

synchronisation AVB is a restricted subset on the more general IEEE 1588, where it requires that every device in the network is compatible with the proposed protocol.” This restricts it to an AVB-compliant switch, which disqualifies 99% of current switches. He feels that AVB places too many restrictions on network design to make it a practical SDI replacement.

strives to make up for network inadequacies, are still relevant. However, IT teams have perfectly good protocols already in place and with the massive increase in network backbone capacity, many of the issues the broadcast standards are trying to address are no longer relevant.” As far as QoS is concerned,

IEEE 802.1 (for such things as Time Sensitive Networking) is another standard for a controlled IP environment, while other techniques (such as the proprietary protocols developed for TVU Grid) can optimise live video transmissions over uncontrolled public internet.

“there is no such thing as a standard IP/Ethernet switch. Which leads to the situation that mixing different types of network switches will always lead to non-guaranteed, lower or even uncontrolled/variable QoS,” says Vermaele. He maintains that the best response is to use Software Defined Network applications to deliver the end-to-end QoS needed for an SDI or live video

point-to-point connection. 4K will provide a natural point for broadcasters to transition to a more flexible interface,” agrees Shen. Research is underway to create

a version of SDI that can carry UHD, “but it will be pushing the boundaries, cable length will definitely be a challenge and it will remain a very limited, circuit-switched, uni-directional, very industry-specific interface with a minimal cost erosion curve,” adds Eveleens. However, Ethernet is moving

towards 1Tbps in the next decade. “That is much more than SDI will ever be able to offer,” he adds. “With Ethernet technology becoming cheaper and faster every day and with the AVB

“In order to transport AVB mapped content over IP networks, converters from AVB to IP are necessary, which represents a huge disadvantage on the way to an all-IP broadcast world”

There is also Stagebox, created by the BBC, to bring IP to the camera and, “where possible, staying in IP throughout the workflow, using standard network infrastructure, transport protocols and native codecs, to best make use of what is already available,” explains Scott-South. “AVB, which uses 10Gbps links to most closely replicate the characteristics of SDI, and SMPTE 2022, which

network replacement, but this will currently only work with certain 10/40Gbps IP switches.

Beyond HD Is the move to 4K the ideal junction to move to IP-based technology for shifting these large amounts of data around? “SDI will be able to handle

UHD. However, SDI remains a one way, single-purpose, and

see IP networks happily carry 4K feeds and much more,” predicts Shepperd. Cinegy demoed 4K over IP at IBC2013. “Our products can do that out of the box, today. 4K is the defining point in time where SDI failed to deliver and IP did — and does,” says Weigner. “We need a solution that can cope with future developments in formats and with variable resource requirements,” says Vermaele. By introducing IP now, with a controlled QoS, he believes the SDN concept and the availability of 10/40 (and coming 100) Gbps IP/Ethernet switches, will allow format- independent video networks. “I do not believe that SDI is

Thomas Heinzer, Nevion

standards in place, it is almost a no-brainer to make the step from SDI to IT networks now.” Adder’s KVM products use

standard 1Gb IP networks to carry lossless 2560x1600 resolutions at 60fps alongside audio, USB and RS232. “With 10Gb networks becoming commonplace, and 100Gb networks already beginning to appear, the mantra ‘never bet against bandwidth’ will

dead, but beyond HD perhaps it is time to consider fibre rather than cable,” states Scott-South. “4K 60fps, which is surely the minimum acceptable specification for UHDTV, already requires 12Gbps bandwidth down a single link, and all indications are that we will move quickly to higher frame rates and resolutions. Semtech, is already looking to 8K 120fps deep colour, requiring 48Gbps speed and is working with SMPTE to standardise that in SDI.”

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