The rise of IP Broadcasting

Net Insight’s solution for broadcasting video over IP

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Broadcast over IP

Broadcasting has always been the subject of remarkable innovation. In any given decade of its history you will find three or four new technologies that have shaped the way programmes are produced and delivered. The 2020s are certainly no exception, with UHD, HDR and AR (Augmented Reality) now having a fundamental impact on broadcasters and other content creators. Nonetheless, if you had to select one technology above all that has changed production, you would probably opt for broadcast video over IP.

It is not difficult to see why IP broadcasting has achieved impressive traction across our industry, and in such a relatively short time-frame, too. First and foremost, it means that you are no longer confined to the SDI matrix philosophy of old. In an era when flexibility of production is of paramount importance, broadcast video over IP means heralds unprecedented versatility in terms of network transportation and connectivity. 

For example, consider a project that requires you to set up an additional feed or stream in super-quick time. In the legacy SDI world, that would be a time-consuming and potentially complex process. With IP broadcast and IP broadcasting that is consigned to the past as broadcast technicians and engineers are able to reconfigure infrastructures quickly and easily to accommodate changing needs. 

Nimbra - Media over IP solutions overview | Net Insight

This is proving to be especially beneficial for remote production, whereby an increasing number of outside broadcast tasks are handled back at the broadcast over IP center. The flexibility afforded by IP broadcasting has also been underlined during the pandemic when circumstances determined that a lot of production tasks had to take place at home or other remote locations. Thanks to effective IP-based synchronization using PTP, this kind of remote or distributed production can be undertaken effectively and efficiently.

IP Broadcasting

Viewed in this context, it is not surprising that broadcast video over IP is already having a transformative effect on the way that content is made and delivered – especially with regard to the production of sports and news. It is in these fields, in particular, that the flexibility provided by IP is highly prized.

When news stories can develop unexpectedly and lead to all kinds of additional material being generated, such as on-the-spot interviews, then the ability to manage outside broadcasts over IP more fluidly is clearly going to be very welcome.

Similarly, the more traditional, ‘fixed’ elements of covering a major sports event or tournament can be cast aside for a more responsive approach in which production infrastructures can be reconfigured ‘on the fly’. These are the kind of ‘value adds’ that become significantly less challenging when you migrate to IP broadcasting.

ip broadcasting

Broadcast video over IP

For example, picture a scenario involving an expansive production from a sports stadium. The event in question is a major football championship match. The ‘fan zone’ is unexpectedly lively and dynamic, and there is a desire to undertake more interviews with fans during the run-up to the match. Broadcast video over IP means that capturing and adding these additional feeds to the production is greatly simplified.

But for what might be a minimum of effort, you have the opportunity to greatly enhance the main programming – and also provide content for additional platforms and outlets. As anyone involved in live TV will confirm, the need to generate extra material – ideally at no or very little further cost – is one of the great challenges of the era!

There is no doubt, then, about the accelerating momentum behind IP broadcasting. However, it’s important to note that there is no obligation to make ‘the jump’ in one move. For example, there is now plenty of interest in a technique, SDI over IP, that involves SDI video and audio being deconstructed into different streams and sent over an IP Broadcast network as individual packets. When the data arrives at its destination, it’s reassembled and aligned using PTP. 

Net Insight’s IP Broadcasting Solutions

Indeed, a definition for the uncompressed transport of 3G HD-SDI over IP is included in the SMPTE ST 2110 standards suite for IP-based media. Looking ahead, the transition to full uncompressed video over IP is set to be accomplished via the widespread availability of 10G and 25G Ethernet switches.

In acknowledgement of the fact that broadcasters and content creators are moving in different ways – and at different speeds – towards IP broadcasting, Net Insight has developed the Nimbra solutions to address a wide variety of requirements. However, underlying all these solutions is a commitment to enabling ultra-reliable broadcast grade long-distance media networking across any infrastructure.

Designed to support flexible network configuration and management, as well as enable changes in video compression and bandwidth requirements, the Nimbra range is now widely deployed across broadcast over IP and other production environments worldwide.

Net Insight solutions can facilitate lossless content transfer across all stages of the media value chain, working with everything from uncompressed video down to J2K and MPEG video compression. Detailed outlines of the four main products in the Nimbra family can be found here, but here is a brief introduction:

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Nimbra 400: This solution supports a wide range of video and transport technologies. The combination of native support for both AVC and HEVC video encoding & decoding, compressed video over IP and ASI, and a flexible approach to IP broadcast-networking enables Nimbra to ensure lossless media transport over unmanaged internet links. 

Nimbra 600 / 680: The Nimbra 600 series (including Nimbra 680, 688 and 640) is a highly reliable video and audio processing, monitoring, and IP transmission platform. It offers support for any underlying network, including IP, wavelength systems and dark fiber.

Nimbra 1000: This product series is designed for all-IP services and all-IP networks, guaranteeing quality and agility for live media events.

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