Video: IPMX for Broadcast Installations?

IPMX, the new ProAV IP challenger spec, is taking shape promising to tame SMPTE’s ST 2110 standards, make PTP useable and extend AMWA into managing HDCP. Is this a tall order and can it actually deliver? Taking us through the ins and out is Jean Lapierre from Matrox.

With or without IPMX, ProAV is moving to IP whether with SDVoE, ZeeVee or something else. There are a number of competing technologies, but we hear from Jean that IPMX is the only software-defined one. This is important because if you don’t require a chip to be an IPMX product and participate in ProAV workflows, then anything can support IPMX such as PCs, Laptops and mobile phones.



IPMX based on RTP, ST 2110, ST 2059 PTP and AMWA specifications IS-04, IS-05, IS-08 (audio channel mapping), IS-11 for EDID handling as well as NMOS security and best practice guidance. This seems like a lot, but to cover media transfer, registration, control, security and interfacing with display screens, this is the range of tech needed.

Compared to SMPTE ST 2110, the PTP profile is easier to deploy and produces less traffic, explains Jean, and IPMX even works without PTP which support for asynchronous signals. Support of HDCO is included along with a lower-latency FEC mode for those that find 2022-7 too costly or impractical to deploy. Lastly, Jean points out that thanks to the in-built support for JPEG XS, IPMX can support UHD workflows within a 1GbE infrastructure.

Jean continues by discussing the compatibility between 2110 and IPMX. In principle IPMX and 2110 senders and receivers are interchangeable. Jean goes into more detail, but the example would be that IPMX is managing the HDCP encryption of the source using AMWA NMOS IS-11. IS-11 is, naturally available to be used with any other technology including ST 2110. If it’s adopted, then HDCP-protected material can flow between the two systems.

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Jean Lapierre Jean Lapierre
Senior Director, Advanced Technologies,

Video: NMOS and ST 2110 Pro AV Roadmap

ProAV and Broadcast should be best buddies, but only a relatively few companies sell into both. This is because there are legitimate differences in what we need. That being said, interoperability is a helpful end goal for any industry. Whilst proprietary solutions can help kickstart new technologies and be a positive disruptive force, standardisation is almost always beneficial to the industry in the medium to long term.

Whilst broadcast is happy to live with 4:2:2 colour subsampling in much of its workflow, then deliver in 4:2:0, this is often not an option for ProAV who need to take full 4:4:4 4K at 60fps and throw it on a monitor. Whilst 4:4:4 has, technically been possible over SDI for a while, adoption even in the broadcast market has been small.

There are many opportunities for both industries to learn from each other, but it’s hard to overstate the difference in approach of the SMPTE 2110 and NMOS approach to the problem of media over IP compared to the SDVoE model. The former relies on detailed documentation published publicly for anyone who is willing to buy the standard to implement in any way they see fit be that in software or hardware. The latter specifies a chip which has a documented API that does all of the heavy lifting with no option for self-implementation. The fact that the same chip is used everywhere provides the guarantee of interoperability.

One technology which has bridged the gap between ProAV and broadcast is NDI from Vizrt’s Newtek which uses the same binary software application wherever it’s implemented thus providing, like in SDVoE, the interoperability required. The same is true for SRT although they have just released their first draft for IETF standardisation.

In this talk, PESA CTO Scott Barella examines the many existing standards within ProAV and examines their needs such as HDCP. Whilst HDCP, the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection mechanism, has often been grappled with by broadcasters, it is at least a standard. And it’s a standard that any vendor will have to deal with if they want their equipment to be widely used in the industry. Similarly the requirement for full-frame rate, full-colour UHD is not simply done within many boxes.

The use of PTP within SMPTE’s ST 2110 suite works perfectly in the studio, is arguably not necessary in much of ‘the cloud’ and is widely considered too complex for a ProAV environment. Scott explains that he has thoughts on how to simplify it to make it more practical and taking into account the different use cases.

Secondary interfaces are crucial in much ProAV whereby USB, RS 232 serial and GPI/GPO need to be transported along with the media. And whilst security and encryption are increasingly important for the broadcast industry as it comes to grips with the fact that all broadcasters are vulnerable to hacking attempts, their requirements are not as stringent as the military’s which drives a notable part of the ProAV market. All of these aspects are being considered as part of the ongoing work the Scott is involved with.

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Scott Barella Scott Barella
AIMS co-chair.