Transitioning to IP is at the top of broadcasters’ must-do lists with remote collaboration and conquering broadcast latency presenting other top challenges, according to systems integrators, OB providers, network operators and broadcasters themselves.
Data from the Broadcast IP Transformation Report conducted last winter for encoding specialist and SRT evangelist Haivision, reveals that budget squeezes are hampering some plans to migrate to IP and cloud technology, even while the business benefits of doing so are well understood.
Nonetheless, nearly three quarters (71%) of broadcasting pros said the pandemic had accelerated their organization’s transition to IP. Most have already embarked on transforming at least part of their video production workflow to IP-based technology.
A related finding is that the internet is becoming the most common way to transport live video for broadcast contribution, with 82% of respondents selecting this option. Almost a third of respondents are also using bonded cellular though this has decreased slightly from last year, perhaps as a result of 5G rollout.
Although dedicated fiber, satellite links, and managed networks (MPLS) remain important, these technologies are often being replaced by internet streaming, the survey indicates. In some cases, satellite links are reserved for primary contribution feeds with the internet used for secondary feeds. Increasingly, however, internet and cloud-based video routing are completely replacing satellite and fiber as broadcasters look for greater flexibility and cost efficiencies.
The pandemic has certainly accelerated the need for broadcast contribution, especially over IP. This is further confirmed by the most cited workflow application, live video contribution (deployed by 66% of respondents) and by the second on the list, remote production (39% of respondents).
Although remote production and live video contribution workflows often overlap, these latest findings signal a significant shift in how broadcasters are producing live content.
“The original REMI or at-home live production models were designed in order to send less personnel and equipment to the field and instead concentrate talent and production resources at a central location,” explains Haivision. “Although the field contribution component is still relevant, production is no longer centralized as production staff, editors, directors, operators, and on-screen talent remain at home yet still need to be able to collaborate in real-time.”
The drive towards low latency is constant and the ability for broadcasters to reduce glass-to-glass latency is clearly still a key concern, reflected in this survey. Many factors contribute to latency including the network speed and type as well as the choice of protocols and output formats. But with more broadcasters relying on video streaming to support remote collaboration, latency between video production elements also need to be kept as low as possible.
One other finding: 5G remained on the top of the list of technologies that will impact broadcasting within the next 5 years, according to 64% of respondents, though this is perhaps a little longer than proponents of the mobile standard might have imagined a couple of years ago. It could be that 5G rollout and 5G exploration for professional media has been forced to take a back seat this past 16 months.
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