Phasing Into IP Broadcast? Don’t Get Locked Out

One issue that tech managers need to consider when making the transition to IP broadcast is vendor lock-in, according to Nestor Amaya, president of Coveloz. “Vendor lock-in can be a real challenge, and that’s partly because, even with SMPTE ST2110, it’s one thing to have a standard, it’s another thing to guarantee that different implementations of that same standard will be compatible,” he said. “But that’s just the transport; 2110 doesn’t at all touch on: how do I debug my network? And how do I control those boxes? Until we have standards for those things, it’s going to be really, really hard to buy equipment from different vendors. It requires the end customer to really work closely with their suppliers to make sure [their equipment] can work together.”

Tech managers must also weigh the differences between the current standards available, notes Mark Hilton, vice president of live production at Grass Valley. SMPTE ST2110 is one way to go, but there’s also SMPTE 2022-6. “2022-6 has some advantages in that it feels more like SDI because you’ve got audio and the metadata embedded with the signal, but it has some disadvantages as well—you lose some of the flexibility that maybe you’d like to have,” he said. He also points to TR-04, which he describes as a middle ground: “[It’s] 2022-6, but audio is separate it AES67. There’s a suite of options, and I think for customers it’s important to talk to people who have experience doing this to understand what you’re getting and to have a clear plan for how you want to migrate.”