Networking is increasingly important throughout the broadcast chain. This webcast picks out the fundamentals that underpin SMPTE ST 2110 and that help deliver video streaming services. We’ll piece them together and explain how they work, leaving you with more confidence in talking about and working with technologies such as multicast video and HTTP Live Streaming (HLS).
Is the industry successfully delivering what we need with SMPTE’s ST 2110 suite of standards? What are the benefits of IP and how can we tackle the difficulties?
In this panel from Broadcast Solutions’ Innovation Day, we hear from 5 vendors understanding their perspectives and plans for the future. Claus Pfeifer from Sony say they have now 60 sites up and running in IP. Lawo’s Phil Myers follows up saying “People know they have to go IP, it’s a matter of when they go IP.”
Whilst this is a positive start, the panel moves on to talking briefly about difficulties implementing SMPTE ST 2110. Jan Eveleens from Riedel points out many of the issues will go as we are waiting for technology to catch up regarding CPUs and bandwidth. We no longer have the same processing issues we used to for audio. Similarly with video, technology will improve and remove many of the challenges. Phil Myers feels that cloud implementation issues are not a large problem at the moment as he sees a move to bring equipment into private clouds rather than public. This way they are doing ‘remote production for buildings’.
After each vendor outlined their future plans for IP, Zoltan highlighted that IP allows NDI to co-exist with ST 2110. Many may want to use 2110 for high end sports, for others NDI fits well. Then panel felt that a concerning area of IP is the worry of how to fix problems. The knowledge level is different from country to country. So vendors not only need to work on education about IP, both for NDI and 2110, but they need to do this in a focussed way for the different markets.
As the panel comes towards the end, Claus feels that the industry started to talk too early about pure technology. “Did not discuss enough about the business benefits.” he explains such as remote production and more efficient use of equipment – avoiding ‘sleeping Capex’. Installing IP makes a lot of sense for large-scale systems. Recently broadcasters have been working at a scale requiring much more than 1024 squared routers roughly where SDI routers top out. But also, these large systems tend to have a life of over 10 years. Faced with SDI development, particularly in routers, is slowing down or stopping, for these long-lived systems it makes much more sense to use IP.
Moving video production to IP has been ongoing for over 5 years using both SMPTE ST 2022-6 and now ST-2110 but we’re still in the ‘Early Adopter’ phase, explains the Willem Vermost speaking at SMPTE 2019. Willem is the EBU topic lead for the transition to IP-based studios and he is tracking the upcoming projects with public broadcasters.
Willem talks about what’s motivating these Early Adopters. In general, he explains, they have a building move project and they are faced, as CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) was, with being the last to install an extensive SDI infrastructure – and be stuck with that for 7, 10 or more years to come – or the to be one of the first to use IP. Increasingly, they can’t justify the SDI workflow and IP, for all its risks and uncertainties, is the way forward.
CBC/Radio Canada needs to be ‘on air’ in 2020 so they put in a place a risk mitigation plan to test all the equipment before putting it in. Willem outlines what this test plan looks like and what it covers: AES67, ST 2110-40,-7, -30-, -20, EBU r148 security etc. Testing was also brought up by the BBC’s Mark Patrick when he discussed his work in bring in the BBC’s Cardiff Square building on-air. They found that automated testing was key in project delivery so that testing was quick and consistent to ensure that software/firmware patches were correctly accepted into the project.
Willem talks us through the EBU’s famous Technology Pyramid which shows to what extent each of the technologies on which media-over-IP requires has been defined and adopted by the industry. It shows that while the media aspect has been successfully deployed, there is a lot to do in, for example, security.
Difficulties arose due to different interpretations of standards. To aid in diagnosis of such issues, the LIST project has created a 2110 analysis tool and other related tools. This is created within the EBU and Willem highlights some key parts of what it does. He then shows how that connects in with the automated test programs and explains the underlying structure of how the software is built.
The talk finishes with mention of the JT-NM test plan, a summary and questions lead by Arista’s Gerard Phillips.
The Broadcast Knowledge exists to help individuals up-skill whatever your starting point. Videos like this are far too rare giving an introduction to a large number of topics. For those starting out or who need to revise a topic, this really hits the mark particularly as there are many new topics.
John Mailhot takes the lead on SMPTE 2110 explaining that it’s built on separate media (essence) flows. He covers how synchronisation is maintained and also gives an overview of the many parts of the SMPTE ST 2110 suite. He talks in more detail about the audio and metadata parts of the standard suite.
Eric Gsell discusses digital archiving and the considerations which come with deciding what formats to use. He explains colour space, the CIE model and the colour spaces we use such as 709, 2100 and P3 before turning to file formats. With the advent of HDR video and displays which can show bright video, Eric takes some time to explain why this could represent a problem for visual health as we don’t fully understand how the displays and the eye interact with this type of material. He finishes off by explaining the different ways of measuring the light output of displays and their standardisation.
Yvonne Thomas talks about the cloud starting by explaining the different between platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and similar cloud terms. As cloud migrations are forecast to grow significantly, Yvonne looks at the drivers behind this and the benefits that it can bring when used in the right way. Using the cloud, Yvonne shows, can be an opportunity for improving workflows and adding more feedback and iterative refinement into your products and infrastructure.
Looking at video deployments in the cloud, Yvonne introduces video codecs AV1 and VVC both, in their own way, successors to HEVC/h.265 as well as the two transport protocols SRT and RIST which exist to reliably send video with low latency over lossy networks such as the internet. To learn more about these protocols, check out this popular talk on RIST by Merrick Ackermans and this SRT Overview.
Rounding off the primer is Linda Gedemer from Source Sound VR who introduces immersive audio, measuring sound output (SPL) from speakers and looking at the interesting problem of forward speakers in cinemas. The have long been behind the screen which has meant the screens have to be perforated to let the sound through which interferes with the sound itself. Now that cinema screens are changing to be solid screens, not completely dissimilar to large outdoor video displays, the speakers are having to move but now with them out of the line of sight, how can we keep the sound in the right place for the audience?
This video is a great summary of many of the key challenges in the industry and works well for beginners and those who just need to keep up.