This article has been written in collaboration with Asier Anitua Valluerca, LATAM Engineering Manager at Telefónica Servicios Audiovisuales
There are several current trends in these environments, ranging from the use of traditional systems to the Channel in a Box, which may or may not be connected to a larger system, and it is something that virtually no brand has dared miss out on. There are a great many CiB on the market. This is something very sought after recently, and there is quite an offering out there, but if we focus on a complex play out, there are not as many players. The same happens with Media Asset Management, which used to be a simple filing and recovery system but has turned into something much more complex.
Seeing what is happening in latest events and forums in our sector, we could begin with no other element than IP. Is there already a broadcast demand for this technology? The answer is yes, but above all for testing purposes, not for mass use. Making a play out in a full IP environment leaving SDI behind is something that we are not going to see for at least 5 years’. Communications are not yet ready -or tested- to do away with the fears in such a sensitive area. Having said this, the equipment we should be acquiring now does need to have this capacity built-in, or this should be the orientation, anyway. The clients seeking these systems are very interested in creating channels in the shortest possible time, almost instantaneously. This is a perfect field for cloud technology, but unfortunately it has not fully matured yet either. The intermediate step companies are turning to seems very clear: virtualisation. This technology permits setting up a channel in a brief period of time and with a couple of mouse clicks, and here is where the CiB play their magic. They have everything that most channels might need. They are installed on the CPD, which is still a private cloud, and the content will travel down a local network -preferably over fibre optics- in such a way that it will be more cost effective to work on a cloud like Amazon, Azure, etc., which implies very high communication costs.
Virtualisation is the very first step towards working on the cloud and, in this respect, the most suitable platform is VMware, which is very popular and is becoming a standard within the Media sector. This is why it is paramount that the equipment is a combination, with an SDI option (the more variants it has, the better) and IP to be able to work in both worlds. This coexistence must happen interchangeably, without differentiation, because this situation will last a couple of years still. It is also convenient to work with the necessary IP-SDI converters and vice versa, which permit this reality. Once we have migrated to this virtualised platform with the necessary CiB, we will be able to install all the CPD on an external cloud -communications permitting- where they will oversee the maintenance and other operations, gaining in efficiency. The option available nowadays is private virtualisation. There is no doubt about it. In 5 years’ time, the cloud will have gained more ground.
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