IP – Are We There Yet?

February 2019

IP networks are increasingly seen as the future for end-to-end broadcasting. Although computers and networks have been used in broadcast for a long time, getting the full potential benefit from IP networking means moving away from SDI interconnects, and adopting an architecture built entirely on IP networks.

The SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards is a step towards this common IP mechanism. The standards specify the carriage, synchronisation, and description of separate essence streams for real-time operation throughout the broadcast chain. Products based around IP infrastructure are already available: at the IBC and NAB shows last year, more than 60 vendors participated in the IP Showcase according to SMPTE. dB Broadcast expects that ST 2110 will be the industry standard within the next 3 to 5 years.

Obvious advantages of an IP network system are the reduction in cabling and connections required. But the real prize comes from a full ‘IP-first’ approach, as this allows the flexibility for completely new ways of working, free from the constraints of current technologies. Content, resources, even whole facilities could potentially be assigned dynamically. Some operations can be performed across buildings or even across countries – it may become unnecessary to have an OB van at a sports event, for example.

Facilities may be scaled more easily as requirements change. Of great importance today is the ability to adapt for future formats such as Ultra HD, including 4K, 8K, and high dynamic range (HDR) imaging.

IP is expected in the medium term to become the lowest cost model. This is due to adoption of standard (COTS) hardware, and the ability to deploy generic platforms with a distributed routing core.

However, certain challenges remain, perhaps most fundamentally with the adoption of the new standards, and this is as much an issue for vendors investing in development of their next range of products as for broadcasters looking to commission future facilities. For instance, in audio over IP, AES67 has led the way but it isn’t the same as ST 2110-30. As a result, interoperability has yet to be fully proven.

New sets of skills are required to deliver and support IP infrastructure, requiring special attention to recruitment and training. The ever faster pace of technology change implies that the life cycle of IP systems will be considerably shorter than we’re used to, perhaps three to five years compared with ten or more for traditional technologies. Greater engineering resources can be needed to support delivery of IP. And of course, as with all IT systems, there is a small but definite cyber security risk.

So what has dB Broadcast learned from its experience designing and implementing large IP systems? SDI still has a place. In a recently completed commercial studio installation, the latest iteration of SDI was deployed – capable of handling 12Gbps of data on a single coaxial cable. The decision to stay with SDI was motivated by the wish to utilise existing skills, and to avoid the need for extensive retraining in new techniques. However, with an IP approach, there is no need for a backup SDI Infrastructure, though an SDI emergency cut router is a wise precaution.

Structured wiring works well, but only if it is well planned out in the first place, especially switch port harnessing. Also, MPO-connected fibre cabling is expensive and not as robust as traditional cabling solutions.

Finally, and perhaps most crucially, is the need to build a proof of concept system which can later be used as a test facility, proving interoperability in dynamic testing. As the UK’s leading SI, dB has always used this approach, and the company keeps up to date with all the new technologies to provide its clients with the most up to date and best informed independent advice.

RECENT NEWS

Exhibition Schedule 2024

Exhibition Schedule 2024

It’s exhibition season again, and dB will be at several major shows, eager to meet as many visitors as possible.

At The Media Production & Technology Show at Olympia, London, our team will be on hand to discuss latest industry trends and technologies, as well as catch up on current broadcast projects. We’ll also be debuting dB FLEX, a versatile power solution designed to power Starlink data terminals in the field. This was used in our award winning project for ITV Studios teams on location from Australia to Alaska.

See us there at Stand no. E27 on 15-16 May 2024.

https://www.mediaproductionshow.com/

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Then we’re off to CABSAT at the Sheikh Saeed Halls 1, 2, 3 and Trade Centre Arena, Dubai World Trade Centre. We’ll be looking to show off the new dB FLEX solution to delegates from the Media and Satcomms industry, and we expect lots of interest in our S3 Satsio antenna tracking and positioning systems.

Catch us at Stand No- S2-F20, Shk Saeed Hall 2 on 21 – 23 May 2024.

https://cabsat.com/

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Then in September it’s all back to The Netherlands with our annual attendance at IBC in the RAI, Amsterdam. Once again we’ll be in two places at once, in Hall 1 with our focus on Satcoms showcasing S3 Satsio and dB FLEX, simultaneously also exhibiting in Hall 10 with a focus on broadcast projects and our new APIS Hive software developments.

We’ll be at Stand nos. 1.A07 and 10.A30, 13-16 September 2024.

https://show.ibc.org/%20

Andy Appleyard joins dB Broadcast Board

Andy Appleyard joins dB Broadcast Board

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Andy Appleyard as Director of Projects and key shareholder of the Company.

Andy brings over two decades of industry experience to dB, having been a respected colleague and friend of the company for more than 20 years. His appointment is a strategic move aligned with our broader objectives to diversify our activities and fortify our long-term succession plan.

Andy started his Broadcast and Media career at the BBC, and trained alongside Mike Bryan back in 2000. Progressing through the organisation, Andy played a pivotal role as a Senior Project Manager in the success of the BBC Scotland Pacific Quay project in 2004. In 2008, Andy joined the systems integrator, TSL, as a Senior Project Manager, successfully delivering projects such as Sky News Arabia, QVC Italy, and Channel 4 HD Playout.

Returning to the BBC in 2014 as a Portfolio Manager, Andy led the delivery of BBC Cardiff Central Square, the Corporation’s first venture into AVoIP (ST-2110). Following this success, as an independent consultant, he collaborated with dB Broadcast on the Warner Bros. Discovery AVoIP project for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Since 2022, Andy has been leading a dB team responsible for delivering the strategic advisory role at NRK in Norway, as well as supporting wider business opportunities. His extensive contributions and expertise make him an invaluable addition to the company.

“We are thrilled to welcome Andy to dB Broadcast, and are confident that his wealth of experience and strategic vision will play a key role in propelling the company to new heights”, said David Bird, Managing Director & Founder. “This appointment is a significant milestone in building the perfect team for our continued and long-term success.”

This appointment comes at a pivotal moment for the Broadcast and Media industry as it undergoes significant transformations by embracing new technologies and workflows. The addition of Andy to the dB team is a crucial step towards realising the company’s long-term ambitions and ensuring continued success in a dynamic and evolving industry. Pic shows Andy Appleyard (foreground)

dB Broadcast Supports Expedition and Implements Sustainability Measures

dB Broadcast Supports Expedition and Implements Sustainability Measures

dB Broadcast actively seeks to invest in sustainable technologies, and to promote sustainable business practices. This spans both our own facilities and is a core concern during the design and implementation of systems for our clients.

Over the past year we have worked with an external consultant to review our sustainability approach. This work has delivered an updated company policy, targets, measures and actions to recognise and reduce our environmental impact, and provide transparency through our engagement in the global Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). This builds upon our wider sustainability initiatives which have seen a 100kW solar PV array installed, producing around a quarter of our annual facilities’ energy consumption. Furthermore, our Data Centre utilises an ‘evaporative’ cooling system to reduce our energy use and our carbon footprint.

On top of these initiatives, we are also thrilled to announce that we are sponsoring Mark Wood on his epic Solo 100 expedition in March 2024. Solo 100 begins when Mark will head out into the Arctic for 100 days on a 2000km science-based expedition. His mission is to document climate change in real time, to inspire people to re-connect with the environment and to educate us all on the need for modern day exploration. Expedition Solo 100 is a test of human endurance like no other. No human has ever been alone in the Arctic for so long.

Mark recently wrote to dB’s Founder David Bird to say…

“Hi David, I am just a few weeks away from heading north to a small Inuit settlement along the northwest passage called Resolute Bay – home to Inuit people who are thousands of miles away from the human race in a location that is set in snow and ice. Here I will prepare and train for my 100 days solo expedition across the last remaining sea – an area half the size of Europe with a total population of 300 people and over 25,000 polar bears.
 

The reason is to collate pure ice samples for leading climate research scientists to understand possible contamination. The expedition is being filmed by myself for a major documentary we have been developing over the past six years. Each day I will communicate through a podcast from the edge of the world (flat earth believers don’t get too excited when I write edge!!!) 


This will be my toughest journey over a 20 year career in a freezer, and each day leading to this all I can think about is stepping off the small plane in the Arctic Ocean to be alone for the 100 days. I’m in fear of the journey but this will keep me sharp and focused. 


My thanks go to people who believe in me and my journey – so thank you David and all of you for allowing me to pursue my passion in the name of science. 


 Onwards…”

Each month we plan to post an update on Mark’s expedition, and we hope you will be as excited as we are to follow his courageous journey, and spread the word about his progress and achievements, giving him as much exposure and support as we possibly can.

If you’re eager to know more about Solo 100, please check the website: www.expeditionsolo100.com