MAD Perspectives Blog

 Finally, IP Everywhere at NAB2015

Peggy Dau - Monday, April 20, 2015

Finally. Yes, the traditional broadcast vendors have finally accepted that the broadcast industry is accepting and adopting IP (internet protocol) networking as a means to collaborate, create, manage and distribute content. Grass Valley promoted "The Path to IP", while Imagine Communications (the former Harris Broadcast) has gone full steam ahead with cloud solutions for workflow and playout.  Others, such as EVS, has been incorporating IP networking capabilities into its solutions for at least 4 years.

I've always been concerned about the slow transition to IP, but I come from a background in high tech, where IT and IP are pervasive. Broadcast has had the challenge of migrating existing infrastructure, overcoming transmission concerns, and doubts about the reliability of IP. However, as is often the case, the needs of the consumer have forced the industry to see the value that IP can provide. 

Multichannel consumption is here to stay. Whether it is TV Everywhere or OTT, consumers are viewing content live or on-demand on their TVs, tablets and smartphones. Perhaps the delay in TV Everywhere (the ability to access and view your cable providers content anywhere on any device) is due to the doubts about IP networking. But that's just one piece of the value chain.

IP networks have been used for the distribution of TV content to the consumer home for almost 10 years. Digital workflows enabling the creation of video content have been mainstream for at least 5 years. Yet the adoption of IP networks for broadcast workflows has been limited. The argument is that IP cannot compete with SDI for live broadcasts. However, the transition is finally underway.

The big announcement at NAB2015 came from Imagine Communications. Their announcement with Disney/ABC Television Group about Disney's WATCH services, enabled by Imagine's cloud-based workflow and playout solutions is the industry game changer. When a industry heavyweight such as Disney, makes this kind of move, the rest of the industry is sure to pay attention. And, eventually, make similar transitions.

Without IP networks, this cloud based solution is not possible. Without IP, delivery of non-linear programming is not possible. Without IP, delivery to smartphones, tablets and connected TVs is not possible. Without IP, the aggregation of performance and usage data is more difficult. Without IP, the broadcast industry cannot innovate to fulfill the demands of its audience.

So, yes, I say FINALLY. It's about time IP is embraced by the broadcast industry! IP is more than networking, it's about infinite possibility.

What's your perspective?