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Making the Move to Video over IP: Collision or evolution?

One of the more interesting aspects of the video industry’s transition to using IP-based networks is the “collision of the two worlds of video engineering and networking engineering,” as Tektronix CTO Paul Robinson writes in an article that recently published in TVTechnology.

What does Paul mean when he talks about a collision and why is it important?

Video over IP involves removing proven SDI-based broadcast equipment and replacing it with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) computing and networking platforms from the IT industry. It’s a collision indeed, especially when you consider that SDI has delivered solid reliability for more than twenty years and is well understood by broadcast engineers. No wonder not everyone is happy about having make such a move.

But the flexibility and economic benefits gained from tapping into the massive IT ecosystem are impossible to ignore. Those benefits plus the need for more bandwidth to handle Ultra HD/4K streams (not to mention High Dynamic Rage (HDR), Wide Color Gamut (WCG) and, in the future, 8K) make the move to higher bandwidth IP infrastructures all but inevitable. The collision is coming, and for a growing number of broadcasters, it’s already here.

This means that the video and IT sides of the business must do more than just talk about working together – they actually have to work together. It’s easy to say that the burden falls on video engineers to meet new technical and skills challenges, and indeed there will be a major learning curve. But the IT side faces a big learning curve as well. Unlike normal IT operations where a few missed packets are not a big deal and can simply be re-sent, glitches in high bit rate video streams must be avoided at all times.

For us at Tektronix, we’ve seen this collision coming for several years. That’s why our new PRISM IP/SDI media analysis solution is designed to foster collaboration between video and IT experts and allow them to jointly troubleshoot root causes of problems. Paul’s article offers great insight into how this process works and I encourage everyone in the broadcast industry considering this transition to give it a read. With the right tools, instead of a collision, maybe your transition to video over IP can be a smooth and natural evolution. What are your thoughts?

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