Over the last 12 months there’s been a new industry buzz word kicking around: “virtualization”. But what is “virtualization” and what does it mean for broadcasters and content owners?
The shift from SDI to IP means that traditional MAM, automation, playout and storage workflows have been redefined so that broadcasters can be a lot more flexible about how they shoot, edit and distribute their content. This, coupled with cloud infrastructure, means that metadata, monitoring tools and workflows have moved human interaction away from physical machines, and the media away from local hardware, and into a virtualized environment.
We’ve been inching towards virtualization for years with weather presentation green screens and digital graphical overlays, and efforts to automate workflows and standardise delivery/transmission methods. Innovations in IP technology have reached the point that they can support the speed and quality of service requirements of broadcast media.
For example, most of the media in today’s cinema blockbusters are generated in IP toolsets and delivered as digital files to theatres. Moving to an all IP infrastructure supports Studio-Video-Over-IP (SVIP) and can virtualize every aspect of the broadcast chain, from simulated studios for on-air personnel, to computer-generated channel creation for special events.
As we know, the cloud has a huge role to play in the virtualized TV world. When everything is digitized in virtual systems, broadcasters will be generating a massive amount of data, especially as more consumers demand UHD media (4K and 8K). Cloud storage is a natural way to extend storage capacity and build deep archives. These new workflows will allow the high-speed launch of new channels, which is a major advantage for fast monetization through advertiser support. Many of the future applications and their monetization will require broadcasters to take advantage of the IP infrastructure to enable them to participate.
So how do they prepare? There are multiple steps that can be undertaken to ready an existing plant for a virtualized future. Ensure that the linear channel play-out systems, the media asset management and workflow systems and other tools in the SDI system are “ready” for IP and virtualization. Move production to a system that can be virtualized, like the Adobe Premiere CC or Adobe Anywhere system. Investigate the cost of hardware and labour to over-build the SDI plant with IP infrastructure (switches, etc.)
At NAB 2017 Tedial launched a new concept in storage virtualisation systems, AST, which was awarded the IABM’s Game Changer Award 2017 in the Storage category.
By Jay Batista, General Manager US Operations, Tedial