Building on our coverage of IPMX to date, we see that this push to create a standard for IP for the ProAV market has been growing in momentum. With activity now in AIMS, AMWA, VSF and SMPTE, it’s important to bring together the thinking and have a central strategy which is why the JT-NM have released a roadmap. This has started by defining what is meant by ProAV: “The market for audiovisual (AV) communication equipment used in professional, industrial, commercial, and retail environments as a means to communicate with people.” As is noted by today’s panel, this is a wide definition and helps us understand why this is such a different proposition compared to the related ST 2110 and NMOS work for the broadcast market. There are lots of silos in the Pro AV space with many solutions being developed to cater to just one or two. This makes requirements capture difficult and has led to the fragmentation seen to date and partly why strong manufactures tend to be the ones pushing the market in a certain direction in contrast to the broadcast market where strong, early adopters set the direction for vendors.
The roadmap itself sets the aims of IPMX, of instance that is secure from the start, it will scale and integrate with 2110/AMWA broadcast installations and be able to be a software only solution. Phase 1 of the roadmap identifies existing standards and specifications which underpin the three IPMX tenents of security, Media, Control. Identified are NMOS IS-10 for access authentication and encryption, relevant 2110 standards, NMOS IS-04,-05, -07 and capabilities to use EDIDs. Phase 2 then adds HDCP support, support for ProAV audio formats, enhanced control such as for audio mapping (IS-08), legacy camera control via RS-232 etc. and then phase 3 will bring in media compression for WAN links, error correction techniques and closed captioning & subtitling. For control, it will add USB HID and a training and certification scheme will be launched.
The panel concludes discussing how IPMX is very much at home with live production which, of course, should help it dovetail well into the broadcast space. IPMX is seen by the panel to simplify the implementation of a 2110-like infrastructure which should allow easier and quicker installations than 2110 which are seen as larger, higher risk projects. IPMX could, it’s suggested, be used as an initial step into IP for broadcasters who seek to understand what they need to do organizationally and technically to adopt IP ahead of perhaps developing 2110 systems. But the technology is seen as going both ways allowing broadcasters to more readily adopt compressed workflows (whether JPEG XS or otherwise) and allow Pro AV players to bring uncompressed workflows more easily into their productions for those that would benefit.
“The AV over IP market has really matured [giving us] great quality, low latency and the kind of stability and features that customers are looking for,” says Andrew Starks from Macnica Technology. If that’s the case, why do we need another standard by the name of IPMX? Intended to open up the AV-over-IP market and provide customers with a better deal, Andrew takes us through the motivations of AIMS, AMWA, VSF, SMPTE and the other organisations involved.
IPMX is a set of open standards and specifications which seek to bring a technology platform to the Pro AV industry on which all vendors can interoperate and innovate. Built on SMPTE’s ST 2110 suite of standards and the accompanying NMOS APIs from AMWA, IPMX adds essential capabilities such as HDMI, HDCP and USB support to create a complete and reliable foundation for AV events and installations.
Whilst there are a number of successful AV initiatives such as SDVoE, these are typically alliances built around a single-vendor hardware solution which is available to vendors in the alliance. This provides interoperability within that ecosystem but, explains Andrew, it prevents wider interoperability between vendors of different alliances. It also makes it hard to any vendor to innovate in the core feature set since that’s delivered from the single source relegating innovation to ‘plumbing’. For the vendors, at best, this means they have to contend with multiple, incompatible product lines and complicated support. Overall this results in a bad end user experience as they operate multiple islands which can have conflicting network requirements, i.e. 10GbE vs 1GbE.
IPMX can be implemented in software as well as hardware using compressed or uncompressed video with a focus on fully featured discovery as this has been identified as being as important as the ability to carry video. Timing has been made flexible such that it can operate with or without PTP which is one of a number of ways that it’s anticipated IPMX will be able to merge in with ST 2110 infrastructures.
Andrew finishes off his talk with a look at the tech stack of IPMX with layer 2 options from 1 to 100GbE connections supported on which RTP and PTP run. SMPTE’s ST 2110 standards feature heavily alongside a new standard for HDCP in 2110, a VSF spec for FEC and new specifications from AMWA for asynchronous control traffic like EDID, Serial, CEC, USB etc. Finally, there are the main APIs such as IS-04, -05 etc. as well as the application layer which uses OAuth2 for authenticating and has an RDS server for discovery. Lastly, there is a look at the JT-NM roadmap to see how the IPMX work will continue to advance throughout this year.
IPMX promises a ‘plug and play’ out-of-the-box experience, but with uncompressed SMPTE ST 2110 video and audio underneath. Given many tier 1 broadcasters have invested months or years implementing ST 2110. So how can IPMX deliver on its promise to the Pro-AV market?
Andrew Starks from Macnica presents this talk explaining how NMOS will fit into IPMX. Key to enabling a minimal config environment is the added mandatory specifications and standards within IPMX. For instance, while you can build an ST 2110 system without NMOS, that’s not an option for IPMX. The focus is on consistency and interoperability. Optional parts of IPMX cover HDCP carriage, USB, RS232 and IPV6. Many of the things often used within Pro-AV but may not be appropriate for low-cost, small use-cases.
Andrew gives an overview of IS-04 and IS-05 which allow for discovery and control of devices. He then looks at EDID and USB carriage and finishes by discussing why AMWA is choosing to use open specifications rather than creating standards.
Director of Product Management,
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