We hear a lot about the “IP revolution” these days, but at ChyronHego we’re viewing it through an IT-centric lens. As our broadcast customers continue to migrate their operations to all-software solutions running on commodity, IT-based technologies, we’re responding in kind – with software-based approaches like our CAMIO Universe for News Production.
Format independence is one of the big advantages of IT-based operations running over IP networks. In the old SDI world, migrating to a new format – from SD to HD or from HD to 4K – meant having to completely upgrade the infrastructure and swap out all cables, routers, and other purpose-built hardware, at great capital and operational expense. IP networks, on the other hand, are basically just a means of transporting data using commodity hardware and are therefore format-agnostic. Going from HD to 4K, for instance, is just a matter of moving more data over the existing infrastructure (of course, we’re not discounting the bandwidth and compression challenges that have to be addressed for this).
Over the long haul, this is great news for broadcasters because it means a flexible and future-proof operation that’s readily adaptable to whatever formats might emerge down the road. Migrating to IP also paves the way to new paradigms, such as virtualization and cloud-based operations, that not only deliver their own significantly lower CAPEX and OPEX but offer promising new revenue-generating opportunities. Imagine having the ability to cover a special event simply by spinning up a “virtual production studio” for a few days. In the old days, broadcasters would have to take a pass on many types of productions because they couldn’t afford to build a specialized brick-and-mortar facility just for a temporary show. But IP now gives broadcasters the flexibility to cover these types of “pop-up” events, meaning they can deliver a broader and richer variety of content to their viewers at a lower cost.
The tremendous progress on IP standardization in the last couple of years, such as the recently adopted SMPTE ST-2110 standards, is another huge factor in helping smooth the IP migration. At ChyronHego, we’re deeply involved in these standards efforts as well as the work of our fellow technology vendors to achieve full IP interoperability between products. It’s only through these interop efforts that we’ll ALL learn the procedures and best practices that will help smooth our customers’ adoption of IP.
So how do we advise our customers to approach the IP migration as smoothly and cost-effectively as possible? First off, education is terribly important. Everyone in the operation needs to get up to speed and comfortable with the new technologies. As a vendor, we’re also doing our part to be a trusted advisor and help our customers understand the ins and outs of IP. And second, we advise customers not to do a big-bang migration all at once but to start with a low-risk area like a small production facility or control room. That gives you a place to experiment with the technology and then, when you’re ready and the budget allows, expand it out to other areas.
Most of all, we caution our customers that it’s not just about swapping out the SDI technologies for an IP infrastructure and then continuing business as usual. The world is changing, and IP will usher in a whole new paradigm for the business of broadcasting. The challenges will be paid off in exciting new opportunities for content delivery, efficiencies, and expanded revenues.
To learn more about our position on IP, 4K, and HDR, download our white paper.