IBC2014: Multiscreen, IP & 4K

Now 46-years old, IBC is expected to attract more than 52,000 professionals from 170 countries who will congregate at the RAI centre in Amsterdam for the conference and exhibition.

Delegates will find fourteen exhibition halls, themed by creation, management and delivery, where more than 1,400 international suppliers will display products catering for everything from multiscreen to 4K, from AVB to MPEG-DASH.

New to IBC this year is the launch of a multiplatform-focused event, IBC Content Everywhere, which will run parallel to the main show. Planned as one in a series of global events to be hosted in Dubai and Latin America next year, the first Content Everywhere event will be co-hosted with IBC in Amsterdam and will focus on devices, apps, digital marketing, social media, content personalisation, big data, cloud services and second screens.

IBC’s CEO Mike Crimp explains some of the objectives of the new show: “The key talking points for this new industry are: ‘What business models are going to work in this environment?’; ‘Who shall we align ourselves with?’ and ‘Can I own an audience?’. We want to bring people together to help find answers to these questions. It’s a significant step in the continuing digital revolution for media.”

Crimp adds that the new event is a “big step change” in the development of the popular IBC Zone, The Connected World, which enjoyed its final outing at IBC last year.

Exhibition & Key Themes

‘The End of SDI’ is being hailed by a host of manufacturers this year, with many proclaiming that the technology is already there for broadcasters to build end-to-end transmission, production and distribution chains using IP technologies, extending virtualization out of the data centre and into the field.

Evertz, for example, will be showcasing its 46Tb/s EXE Video/Data Switch Fabric platform at IBC. Evertz says that in 40RU, the EXE can ‘seamlessly switch’ 13,800 video services. It also offers an IPX series with 320Gbps up to 1.2Tb/s switch capacity in compact modular form factor.

The Canadian manufacturer says that both EXE and IPX have been carefully designed to handle the demands of live UltraHD 4K and 8K video, and make the switching of video over Ethernet “as reliable and deterministic as a traditional SDI router.”

Cinegy has been proclaiming ‘the end of SDI’ in its ad campaigns for the past year or more, although its latest campaign for IBC is more intent on displaying how 4K and IP, by way of an ordinary gigabit Ethernet, is already a reality, or, as Jan Weigner, MD and co-founder Cinegy, puts it, “an inevitable combination.”

On its booth this year delegates will be able to see live camera signals converted using Cinegy Encode from HDMI or 4x 3G SDI to IP and then transmitted via LAN to Cinegy Live, Cinegy’s 4K purely software-based vision mixer.

The 4K IP signals as well all other IP signals can be monitored using Cinegy’s Multiviewer software-based monitoring product, while its new Cinegy Air playout software can play pre-recorded 4K files or pass through live streams with dynamic channel branding added to it. All this is running inside virtual machines inside Cinegy’s Private Cloud in its small IBC booth server rack.

Says Weigner: “Cinegy proclaims that 4K production completely in software, using IP end-to-end (apart from the camera, for now) is a reality today and the only flexible and affordable way to do it. Small, mobile production setups will ultimately be just powerful laptops.”

To cater for such mobile live production applications, Dutch company Axon – which celebrates its 20th IBC this year – is even releasing a foldable flight pack with Axon’s Synapse infrastructure. This signal processing product line has also been enhanced with an all-singing, all-dancing up/down/cross converter (GXG400).

This year saw the launch of the ‘new Grass Valley’ as a result of Belden’s investment of more than US$1 billion in the broadcast market over the past two years, including the acquisitions, and subsequent merger, of Miranda and Grass Valley.

According to Marco Lopez, president, Grass Valley, the firm will use IBC as the first European platform from which to showcase a number of new solutions that draw from both GV and Miranda’s shared knowledge. Products include GV’s new input/output cards for broadcasters looking to make the transition from SDI to IP infrastructures. The cards, designed for the NVISION 8500 hybrid router series, claim to convert and package real-time, uncompressed, baseband video to fit a single IP stream and support frame accurate switching for use in live production environments.

Another company using IBC as the platform to launch its European debut after a high profile acquisition is Imagine, following its transformation from Harris Broadcast earlier this year, and the acquisition of Digital Rapids.

According toImagine Communications CEO Charlie Vogt, there will be plenty of products on show for broadcasters mindful that they are in the transitional process on a journey to a future defined by IP.

Imagine products making their IBC debut include the MultiService SDN – a software-defined networking framework, which aims to simplify the network architecture of media companies operating in hybrid baseband and IP environments. This is achieved, according to Imagine, by enabling the video bit flow to be software-mapped, creating a fully virtualised network fabric for deploying advanced services.

The Conference

Over 300 influential industry leaders are set to speak at IBC2014’s conference line-up. Among our choice picks is the IABM’s session on 12 September, ‘What Future for Broadcast technology?’. This breakfast meet highlights the current state of play for manufacturers: Hardware suppliers are having to seriously consider embracing software and service orientated business models, while large industry leading suppliers are restructuring and finding themselves part of the M&A frenzy in preparation for a new era.

The session then aims to provide objective data and analysis from IABM research, and a panel debate where speakers include Imagine’s Charlie Vogt, Grass Valley’s Marco Lopez and IABM’s director general Peter White.

Another session that taps into many of the themes touched upon in this preview, is ‘The Death of SDI’ (12 September) which explores the promise of complete IP-based production. What will be the drivers and the business cases? Representatives from Sony, Fox, the BBC and SDVI all put across their case.

For a more sideways glance at TV technology, the universe and, well, everything, the broadcaster, rock star and particle physics professor, Brian Cox, is keynoting at the Sunday conference,whileMatt Brittin, president of Google Europe, headlines the 12 September conference line-up. Brittin spells out the search engine’s vision for the future: Will the IP giant’s wearable Google Glass technology revolutionalise the way we consume media? There’s only one place to visit this September to find out.