IPMX’s progress is showing up in many places throughout the industry, including in 15 different stands at ISE 2023, where IPMX-ready products were on display. The level of industry interest and support felt like a milestone for the IPMX community.
As cool as this was to see, it’s within the trade associations and standards organizations that we go from IPMX-ready to a finished, open compatibility standard that people can implement into their products. One of the groups that have been extremely active in the IPMX community is the Video Services Forum (VSF). As evidence of this, we will see two more important milestones take place at two VSF-sponsored events in March.
At the VidTrans conference in Marina Del Rey, California, the IPMX Activity Group will demonstrate the results of their work on VSF Technical Recommendations TR-10-1, IPMX System Timing and Definitions, which is currently available to the public as a draft publication. In the demonstration, multiple implementations of IPMX work together in a mix of software and hardware devices. Multiple receivers and senders are connected to a network and controlled with an AV-over-IP NMOS switching application. Thanks to the work done in TR-10-1, the demonstration will show subframe latency between asynchronous sources and receivers, all without the use of PTP.
Immediately following VidTrans, a group of vendors will reconvene at the NFL’s facility in Los Angeles, where they are hosting IPMX’s first dirty hands event. In the standards community, a dirty hands event is where different manufacturers implementing a standard gather to test interoperability by following a test plan. Failure is expected at these events, which is where the dirty hands come in. Engineers use testing and analysis equipment to understand errors in their implementations, or gaps and ambiguities in the technical recommendations.
Depending upon the results of the dirty hands event, another iteration may take place, eventually resulting in an interoperability testing event, similar, or slightly modified for pro AV, to the JT-NM Tested program used in the broadcast industry. During this final event, manufacturers may not modify their implementations (clean hands only) and every aspect of the standard is tested extensively to ensure smooth operation in the Real World.
During the first IPMX dirty hands event, many of the details in TR 10-1 will be poured over. These tests include timing with and without PTP, as well as new video and audio modes that IPMX must support in both compressed and uncompressed workflows. In addition, the first test of interoperable HDCP over IPMX will take place, including the first time that the new HDCP Key Exchange Protocol (HKEP) will be put through its paces between multiple manufacturers. Finally, all of the new descriptions required by IPMX in both SDP files and NMOS resources are tested to ensure that controller applications can make connections reliably.
A tremendous amount of work needed to happen for a dirty hands event to have been possible, which is what makes this milestone so special. It means that the core documents for IPMX have neared completion and that their quality was enough to inspire multiple manufacturers to invest significant time and money to make implementations from those documents. With the advantage of past experience from the work creating ST 2022 and ST 2110 as a guide, the IPMX Activity Group expects to complete the first phase of the IPMX roadmap by the end of this year.