Cloud computing can reduce costs

Substantial cuts in the cost of video production and contribution will follow the advent of cloud-based computing models exploiting commodity components for processing and moving high-resolution content. This is the view of Tim Sheppard, Cisco's European head of video infrastructure solutions, who believes this will also create new opportunities for smaller content production companies that previously could not afford their own systems for editing and contribution.

The cloud computing model delivers IT services more as a utility, gaining economies of scale through use of shared infrastructure both for processing and communication of data, and is already being deployed by some operators for video distribution, especially for over-the-top (OTT) services.

“We now see opportunities for service providers to offer cloud-based services for contribution and production as well, based around standard data centre technology,” Sheppard said. “This will lead to very significant improvements in throughput and efficiency.”

It will also encourage wider participation in content production, particularly in the case of the emerging market for 3DTV, which will for the foreseeable future be a niche field requiring additional bandwidth and equipment that only large companies could afford to own.

“If somebody wants to create a 3-D short program or movie, the amount of rendering needed is huge,” Sheppard said. “So for that kind of application, it would be desirable for production companies to use external equipment. These are still early days, but we see that as a trend.”

Sheppard also anticipated growing use of light compression at the video contribution stage, with JPEG 2000 and legacy MPEG-2 codecs predominant in the near term but growing use of MPEG-4 now that it is available in reliable, high-performance 10-bit profile versions.