Posts Tagged ‘EBU’

JT-NM Publishes Networked Media Reference Architecture v1.0

broadcast industry technology trends | Posted by Joe Zaller
Sep 04 2015

This is an important announcement for anyone interested in the future of media technology, interoperability of next-generation media facilities, and the evolution of media workflows as the broadcast industry transitions to IP-based operations.

 

JT-NM publishes its Networked Media Reference Architecture V1.0

 

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The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineering (SMPTE) and the Video Services Forum (VSF) have announced the release of the JT-

SMPTE_LogoNM Reference Architecture (RA) v1.0 document; a collection of models, best practices, and frameworks intended to facilitate interoperability in networked media systems.

 

The JT-NM Reference Architecture V1.0 can be downloaded here

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In this first version, the RA focuses on three foundational frameworks.  The foundational frameworks provide our industry with a common, interoperable approach to how devices and services are uniquely identified, discovered and how their capabilities are registered.  The RA also provides a timing model supporting PTP and SMPTE 2059 Standards. These frameworks are building blocks that will enable networked media to deliver new workflow possibilities.

The Joint-Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM) was formed in the context of the transition from purpose-built broadcast infrastructure to standard computing, storage and network infrastructure. JT-NM was set up to foster discussion among subject-matter experts, and to drive the development of an interoperable network-based infrastructure for live media production, encompassing file-based workflows. It brings together broadcasters, manufacturers, standards bodies and trade associations.

 

At the IBC in Amsterdam, JT-NM will be discussed in various forums:

  • Friday September 11 at 17:00 to 17:30 at the EBU Technology In Action Theater

 

  • September 12 at 10:00 to 10:30 at the EBU Theatre 10.F20 – How the JT-NM RA will enable new operational scenarios

 

  • Saturday September 12 at 15:00 – 17:30 in the IBC conference (Emerald room): The Media Factory of the Future – Produced in association with the EBU – where Richard Friedel from Fox will talk about the JT-NM work

 

  • September 13 at 14:00 to 16:00,  JT-NM open meeting on the RA v1.0 to solicit input for future activities of the JT-NM (Seats are limited, RSVP to jt-nm-info@videoservicesforum.org)

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Related Content:

Download page for JT-NM Reference Architecture V1.0

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009-2015. All Rights Reserved.

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Arista Networks Files for $200 Million IPO

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, Broadcast technology vendor financials, SEC Filings | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 02 2014

IP switching vendor Arista Network has filed for an IPO and plans to raise as much as $200m.

The company has garnered a great deal of attention from leading broadcast technologists because one of its products enables frame-accurate switching of uncompressed HD-SDI video over IP (SMPTE 2022-6).

Arista, whose core customers are high-speed financial traders and cloud computing firms, had revenue of $361.2m in 2013, up 87% versus the previous year, and its net income doubled to $42.5m.

Based on these results, it’s clear that the company is aiming for data center and financial clients rather than the much smaller broadcast routing switcher market.

Nevertheless, Arista has made friends in high places in the broadcast world.

At the annual SMPTE technical conference in October 2013, Artista founder Andy Bechtolsheim co-presented a paper with Thomas Edwards, VP of Engineering & Development at FOX NE&O called “Video Processing in an FPGA-enabled Ethernet Switch,” which described how Fox has tested Arista’s product in its lab.  Although Bechtolsheim was careful to note that the demonstration was a proof-of-concept rather than a product, Edwards said that Arista products showed great promise, by performing extremely well and not dropping a single packet.

At the time of the 2013 SMPTE conference, Edwards said “FOX NE&O believes that professional media networking is the future of the broadcast plant, including the networked transport of our uncompressed high-definition live video streams. We believe that converging our video streams onto the Ethernet infrastructure will provide enhanced agility and flexibility to our business, and also it may potentially bring savings by allowing us to purchase more COTS hardware and thus benefit from economies of scale. The broadcast industry is at a very early point in this technological transition, so FOX NE&O greatly values Arista Networks’ contribution to this proof-of-concept to help test out some of the basic video processing requirements of professional media networks.”

Fox is not the only proponent of moving towards a truly IP-based infrastructure, governed by software defined networking (SDN). Indeed this shift may be one of the biggest technology trends over the next 5+ years, and bring major changes to the industry as a result.

Last month Eric Wolf, VP Technology Strategy at PBS told the audience at the HPA Technology Retreat that his company’s new disaster recovery center that’s based completely on virtualized IT systems, along with “little bits” of traditional broadcast gear.  Although this new facility is not yet based on SDN or cloud enabled, it’s the first step on the path.  DR is a great test facility so it’s a positive step along the way, “but as we look at our next big playout system, the big question on the table is whether we can go all IP for all the routing in the plant and the suspicion is that we can.”

Speaking at the same event, Fox NE&O EVP and GM Richard Friedel said IP is “well along the way towards becoming real. We do have IP-based routers in our plant today, and IP technology is just going to proliferate.  If you walk into any of our equipment rooms at the moment, there is almost no classic broadcast vendor anymore. Instead you’ll see rows of Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Cisco. We’re really in an all-IP world now. We’ve got huge virtualization farms already and this is coming. In five years no one will build a plant of our size that’s not based on IP concepts.”

But it’s not just IT companies who are pushing software defined networking.  Traditional broadcast vendors are also embracing SDN and applying it to the broadcast infrastructure.

Last week Imagine Communications (formerly Harris Broadcast) introduced MultiService SDN, which the company says is “a SDN framework that creates a fully virtualized network fabric for deploying advanced services, and enables the video bit flow to be software-mapped, simplifying the network architecture of media companies operating in hybrid environments with both baseband and IP workflows.”

Another notable example of this trend include a Silicon Valley start-up called SDVI, led by Omneon co-founder Larry Kaplan, who said last year that the focus of his new company is to bring SDN technology to the broadcast industry.

Belgium-based SDNsquare, whose CEO and co-founder, Lieven Vermale, is the former Director of Technology and Innovation at the European Broadcasting Union, is another start-up operating in this area.

One important group in the transition to IP-based broadcasting is the EBU-SMPTE-VSF Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM), a cross-industry group of broadcasters and technology vendors working to define the future of the all-IP broadcast facility. You can download December 2013 JT-NM whitepaper here.

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Related Content:

Arista Networks S1 (IPO) Filing — March 31 2014

Press Release: Imagine Communications Introduces Software-Defined Networking and Workflows

EBU/SMPTE/VSF Joint Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM) Gap Analysis Report, December 2013

VSF, EBU, and SMPTE Create Joint Task Force to Define Future of Networked Media for Professional Applications

Press Release: Arista Networks and Fox NE&O Debut Network Integrated IP-Video Processing Proof of Concept

Software Defined Networking – Coming Soon to a Broadcaster Near You?

VSF, EBU, and SMPTE Create Joint Task Force to Define Future of Networked Media for Professional Applications

TVTechnology Article: Larry Kaplan, Omneon Co-founder Launches Media Software Company

SDNsquare

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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Software Defined Networking – Coming Soon to a Broadcaster Near You?

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Jul 09 2013

In a recent article, titled As Software Takes Over, Network Gear Could Be in Jeopardy, Barron’s columnist Tiernan Ray describes how “software defined networking” (SDN) may enable software-based systems to cannibalize the market for traditional hardware-based network switches sold by companies like Cisco, Juniper, and Alcatel-Lucent.

Although the article focuses on how SDN might impact major IT networking vendors, Ray could have just as easily been writing about broadcast technology.

Take for example, the first two paragraphs:

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“A decade ago, I asked a venture capitalist in computer networking if dedicated network gear would ever be replaced by software running on a standard computer. My hypothesis was that as general-purpose computers became more powerful, they could absorb functions that previously required specialized computer hardware, the way many functions can be performed on PCs today that once required mainframes. The venture capitalist assured me it would never happen, for a variety of reasons, even if it became technologically possible.

“Fast forward 10 years, and the computer networking world is abuzz with talk of “software-defined networking”— software that can perform the same functions as dedicated hardware, but instead runs on an Intel-based server.”

 

Ten years ago much of the broadcast industry was dominated by bespoke hardware, and it would have been hard for many to imagine that these products could be replaced by software running on generic IT hardware.

But this is exactly what happened as the broadcast industry transitioned to file-based workflows. Video servers replaced tape machines, graphics & branding became increasingly software-based, software-based transcoding became ubiquitous, and traditional master control functionality slowly began to be replaced by integrated playout (channel-in-a-box) systems.

Although the broadcast market has undoubtedly seen tremendous change during this time, it’s likely that we are still in the early innings of the true “ITification” of the industry.  So what’s next?

To get an idea of what the future might hold for broadcast, one only has to look at the of the (significantly larger) IT industry, where investor Marc Andreessen famously wrote that “software is eating the world.”

The IT industry has gone through massive changes – with SDN being one of the latest – driven by new technology; the availability of on-demand cloud-based computing power; low power, high performance semiconductors; falling memory prices;  end-user mobility; and customer demand for greater efficiency, automated operations, and better analytics.

Sound familiar?

The same “external forces” that have changed the IT industry are also impacting the broadcast and media technology business.   If/when these changes take hold in the broadcast industry, there will be significant ramifications for both end-users (broadcasters and media companies) and technology vendors.

The TV business has changed dramatically over the past ten years, particularly on the distribution side. While it’s easy to focus on consumer-oriented statistic such as the amount of video being consumed on phones and tablets, and the consumer’s desire to have an anytime, anywhere media experience; these trends often don’t directly impact most broadcast technology vendors.  They do however impact the customers of technology vendors (broadcasters and media companies), who are making plans today that will let them take advantage of new technologies, and as a result radically change the landscape of the industry.

It remains to be seen how radical these changes will be.  However, another look at the IT industry again provides a glimpse of what might be in store.

Writing in Barron’s, Ray describes some of the implications for traditional IT switching hardware:

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“A more prosaic battle is playing out, as Cisco and others are already cannibalizing the network switches they have long sold, providing what are called “virtual” switches that are just software programs that run on a server.

“A network switch or router is a specialized computer with specially developed chips that perform calculations to determine how to direct bits of data between computers. As complex as they are, some of those calculations can now be efficiently performed in software running on Intel processors.

“The virtual switch movement is already having an impact on network equipment, shaking up the rankings of who’s top dog in individual categories of switching.”

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According to Gartner analyst Joe Skorupa, who follows the IT industry, this means “an entire class of switching equipment may go away.”

Could this also happen in broadcast?  Time will tell, but a number of vendors are already working on solutions to make this a reality.

Ray goes on to highlight another major force that has impacted the IT networking industry, Amazon’s Amazon Web Services (AWS), which delivers virtually unlimited computing powers that can be “elastically provisioned” on an as-needed basis.

According to Gartner’s Skorupa, AWS has major implications for makers of hardware-based networking gear.

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“Amazon Web Services can become a buyer of tremendous power, and one thing it may do is buy a lot more networking software than hardware, they opine.

“The immediate result, says Skorupa, is that switch software should cost less than hardware boxes, which means lower revenue for networking vendors.”

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Could the same thing happen in the broadcast technology space?

If so what are the implications for both end-users and technology vendors?

Major broadcaster and media companies realize they can gain tremendous efficiency advantages by leveraging advances in the IT industry. Therefore many of these organizations are taking a hard look at how to integrate some of these new IT technologies into their operations.

Some have gone as far as saying their ultimate goal is a “virtualized broadcast infrastructure with in-line processing.”  In other words, they foresee a future where the broadcast infrastructure is housed in an IT data center, and the operations done today primarily by hardware boxes are carried out by software that plugs in to the IT core.  And by the way, broadcasters probably won’t be building this facility.  Instead, they’ll rent computing power on an as-needed basis from AWS or some other cloud-based service provider.

Sound far-fetched? That’s what the venture capitalist told Barron’s Tiernan Ray ten years ago about the software replacing network switches IT industry.

Today there is evidence that the broadcast industry is already moving in this direction. For example, all 29 Hearst stations are using Signiant’s a cloud-based advertising spot delivery, Vizrt and NVidia are collaborating to virtualize broadcast graphics using Nvidia’s grid technology, and at NAB 2013 Fox announced that it intends to move master control to the cloud in collaboration with Snell.

So perhaps it’s inevitable that, like the rest of the world, the broadcast industry will also be “eaten by software.” When this happens, it will be important that software applications are both fit for purpose, and interoperable.  Fortunately, work is being done today that will hopefully ensure interoperability between next generation broadcast systems and applications.

The Video Services Forum (VSF), along with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and SMPTE, have brought together a group of leading broadcasters, media companies, and technology vendors and created a Joint Task Force on Networked Media.

The VSF Task Force — which is being led by Richard Friedel, EVP & GM, Fox NE&O and VSF President, VSF executive director Brad Gilmer, Hans Hoffman of the EBU, and Peter Symes of SMPTE — is not a standards setting body. Its vision is to enable new business opportunities through the exchange of professional media across networks, taking advantage of the benefits of IT-based technology at an affordable price.  The Task Force, working in an open participatory environment, will map out a strategy for developing a packet-based network infrastructure for the professional media industry by bringing together manufacturers, broadcasters and industry organizations (standards bodies and trade associations) with the objective to create, store, transfer and stream professional media.  Anyone who wants to join this important initiative should contact Bob Ruhl at the VSF.

The VSF Task Force is moving quickly in order to ensure that a common framework, focused on interoperability, is established before hundreds new products, which might otherwise be incompatible, are introduced in the coming months and years by both established vendors and newcomers.

These firms believe they have significant opportunities to leverage advanced IT technologies, including SDN, into their broadcast-oriented product lines. As a result, it’s likely we’ll see an entirely new category of products and services being introduced over the next few years.

A notable example of this is a Silicon Valley start-up called SDVI, led by Omneon co-founder Larry Kaplan, who said earlier this year that the focus of his new company is to bring SDN technology to the broadcast industry.

Details of SDVI (which is a member of the VSF Task Force) are opaque at this point, but Kaplan (who occasionally blogs about SDVI here), told TV Technology magazine that his new company will “take advantage of advances in IT technology and cloud-based services within the broadcast infrastructure to improve workflow and operational efficiencies,” and launch its first products at IBC 2013.

Although Kaplan new firm and others are already moving quickly to bring SDN technology to the broadcast industry, there is still confusion about the technology and what it means for both vendors and end-users.

Indeed there is even confusion in the IT networking world according to Juniper Networks, whose website says “SDN is the talk of the networking world. But as popular as it’s been lately, it’s still shrouded in misconception.”

In an attempt to demystify the topic, Juniper has created an SDN white paper, which can be downloaded here.

Documents such as this are worth reading since SDN may very well be coming soon to a broadcaster near you.

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Related Content:

Barron’s Article: As Software Takes Over, Network Gear Could Be in Jeopardy

VSF, EBU, and SMPTE Create Joint Task Force to Define Future of Networked Media for Professional Applications

The Video Services Forum

SDVI company blog

TV Technology: Larry Kaplan, Omneon Co-founder Launches Media Software Company

TV News Check: Hearst Goes To The Cloud For Ad Delivery

TV News Check: Fox TV Network Putting Master Control In The Cloud

Marc Andreessen: Why Software Is Eating The World (via WSJ)

Wikipedia: Software Defined Networking

Juniper Networks Whitepaper: Decoding Software Defined Networking – SDN Information and Strategy

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© Devoncroft Partners 2009 – 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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IBC 2011 Trends: Cloud, Channel-in-a-Box, 3D

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Sep 30 2011

Note: This article was originally published last week by TVNewsCheck

Technology vendors at IBC answered the broadcasters’ call for efficiency in a variety of ways, including “cloud” oriented product offerings, highly integrated IT-based systems for broadcast playout, and the introduction of new versions of existing systems that are smaller and less featured, but more affordable to broadcasters with limited budgets.

Also on display at the annual tech show, which wrapped up a six-day run in Amsterdam last week and drew more than 50,000 professionals, were technologies aimed at making 3D production more affordable and compatible with standard 2D operations.

Many vendors were touting the advantages of deploying some type of cloud-based or service-oriented architecture (SOA) applications such as capturing, producing, processing and distributing video and audio as digital files.

Cloud services are drawing attention because broadcasters are being challenged to support an ever-increasing number of distribution platforms. The breadth and rapidly changing nature of the multi-screen environment makes it difficult for even large broadcasters to deploy the appropriate hardware and software solutions in an affordable and timely manner. Thus, broadcasters are now increasingly willing to contemplate outsourcing some of these functions to cloud-based technologies and services.

Many vendors at IBC demonstrated technologies to address some of the fundamental concerns that broadcasters have about cloud-based architectures, notably content security, access to content, collaboration, bandwidth and workflow continuity.

Avid, Chyron, Grass Valley, Panasonic, Sony, Quantel and Vizrt showed their own methods for deploying “media-friendly” SOAs that provide a common interface and pre-authorized access to a wide variety of production tools from every staff member’s desktop.

In addition, the Advanced Media Workflow Association, the European Broadcasting Union and SMPTE came together to develop a standard for configuring an SOA that would allow each manufacturer’s equipment to talk to each other. The effort stems from the vendors’ realization that — due to R&D cost efficiencies — their next-generation products will be predominantly software based and operate best in this type of networked environment.

SOAs also help broadcasters produce and distribute content much more efficiently and allow staff to collaborate even though they may be in separate locations.

Many of these IT-centric concepts are not new ideas, but are now becoming attractive to the video production and broadcasting communities, looking to do more with the same resources. Industry connectivity to Internet protocol (IP) infrastructures has matured and newer consumer-industry file transfer technologies — like IP, HDMI and Apple/Intel’s Thunderbolt — offer benefits for broadcasters that were not apparent before.

Another significant hub of IT-oriented activity at the IBC was in the area of IT-based playout or, as it is more commonly known, channel in a box. These systems offer the promise of dramatically reducing the cost of broadcast playout by enabling users to migrate to off-the-shelf IT hardware running software that integrates, automates and replaces much of the traditional broadcast master control infrastructure.

Technology in this area had matured significantly over the past 6-12 months, and is now are under serious consideration by a number of large and small broadcasters around the world. Miranda Technologies, which became the de facto leader in this emerging field when it acquired the OmniBus Systems’ iTX platform last year, showed the latest advances in its IT-based playout offerings.

Other notable players in this space include traditional broadcast suppliers such as Snell and Evertz, as well as smaller specialized players like Playbox and VSN. Significantly, other large technology vendors are rumored to be readying competing systems that will be introduced in time for the annual NAB Show in April 2012.

In addition to the increasing drive for increased efficiencies, many IBC attendees were gearing up for the high-profile sporting and political events of 2012. In some cases, that means 3D. While the technology has yet to even be considered by local broadcasters in the U.S., a variety of live sports production companies across Europe are already producing events like soccer and rugby in 3D or are anticipating that they will by the time of the Olympics in London.

The games will be the first in 3D, with many events, including the opening and closing ceremonies, produced in the format. Panasonic will be supplying large quantities of 3D cameras and other gear.

Avatar director and 3D pioneer James Cameron put in appearances at several places at the IBC, promoting his new company, The Cameron/Pace Group, and urging industry professionals to pursue and help develop new tools for producing 2D and 3D content simultaneously.

According to Cameron, it’s the only way to stimulate the market to develop much-need original 3D content, and, in turn, spur 3D TV set sales. Previously, the cost of producing 3D has been prohibitive for everyone but a fortunate few who are being sponsored by TV set manufacturers.

“We’re on a relentless path to grow the 3D business,” said Cameron, at the Grass Valley IBC press conference. “We’ve been in the 3D game for 12 years now. We are so excited about what’s happening right now [with 3D] but it’s a little bit daunting staying ahead of the rapid rate of technology change, so we have to have powerful alliances with people that are major players in broadcast who will be able to fulfill this future and supply the kind of quality 3D that people enjoy.”

At the same press conference, Cameron’s partner (and equally influential 3D pioneer) Vince Pace said, “It’s so critical to the industry that we integrate the solutions and come up with a very clean and determined business plan that makes sense to the industry to increase the amount of 3D productions. So, this business of saying we have fewer cameras or we don’t tell the whole story is going to go away.”

IBC attendance was up slightly this year (4%, according to the IBC, to 50,462), again signaling that broadcasters are spending money — on hardware and T&E. Unlike last year, there were several representatives of all the major U.S. TV networks.

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AMWA and EBU Announce Roadmap for Interoperable Media Services

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast industry trends, broadcast technology market research | Posted by Joe Zaller
Sep 20 2010

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and The Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA) announced today that the two organizations successfully held a round table session around SOA and the Framework for Interoperable Media Services (FIMS).  During these sessions users were invited to highlight the market needs for a FIMS solution.

During the round table FIMS announced the a 2-phase roadmap for developing specifications.

Phase 1 will consist of a common service definition format, after the high level architecture and framework described in the request for technology is first refined. This framework will cover all system and management requirements (service management, awareness and communication, content and time awareness, security, framework extension). The framework will be built upon IBM (SOA based Media Services Framework) and Sony (Media SOA Framework) proposals with the valued experience of service developers and users from Amberfin, BBC and Cinegy. The project will also address container issues seeking maximum compatibility with AAF and MXF.

Phase 2 will subsequently investigate the possibility of defining common services using the framework developed in phase 1. All respondents have already suggested key services.

AMWA’s Brad Gilmer said that the need for this work is obvious because “media companies are being asked to deliver more programs to more platforms while operating under a very restricted economic environment. They care about the FIMS work because it provides a standardized framework within which they can design and implement facilities which meet their needs now, but also allow them to more easily adapt to the future. File-based facilities are the way of the future, and FIMS is at its core.”

You can read the full EBU / AMWA press release here.

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