By Charles Stucki
The notion of combining enterprise-grade routing with broadcast television isn’t a new one, especially at a National Association of Broadcasters convention. Like everything else, the intersections between Internet Protocol-based technologies and just about everything — video included — have been building momentum for the last several years.
But! This year is different, and milestone-grade, if you ask us. Why? At this year’s NAB, Cisco and Snell, a long-time leader in broadcast television infrastructure, will demonstrate what we believe to be a first-ever integration of real-time, IP-based signaling — from production to the viewing screen.
In essence, the demonstration makes it possible for broadcasters to use off-the-shelf, enterprise-class IP routers to distribute video — in the same way they now ship SDI (serial digital interface) signals through the television ecosystem. If we were to anthropromorphize the analogy, we’re making the world of IP “look like home” to an SDI signal, without any proprietary inclusions.
Here’s what you’ll see, if you’re in Vegas for NAB: Various live and stored video sources, coming from modules within Snell’s booth, including VC-2 and AVCi IP streams, as well as uncompressed, JPEG-encoded streams from our Digital Content Manager (DCM), feeding into a router that hits multiple destinations. The voila: A single-button router control panel for cross-configuration across destinations, native or IP.
Here’s how my colleague, Robert Rowe, Managing Director of Live TV for Snell, puts it: “This is a way for broadcasters to transition to IP distribution, while keeping in place the workflows and operations already in place — it’s fast, and it’s clean.”
The demonstration aims to show that it’s entirely possible to do fast, clean, professional grade routing of production video — whether the input streams are uncompressed or compressed with VC-2, JPEG or AVC.
This is definitely easier to see than explain, so if you’re here in Vegas for NAB, come see us! Snell is at Booth N1820 and Cisco is at N9332.