ABSTRACT

The LiveIP project is an exploration of the possibilities and opportunities achievable with today’s IP-enabled broadcast technology in a live production environment.

The paper gives an overview of the facts and findings from this hands-on project, in order to share it with the broadcasting community, thereby helping to advance knowledge of the current state of the technology and to identify areas where further work is needed.

The project has shown that it is possible to build and to operate a live & IP production studio based upon open standards in a multivendor environment.

INTRODUCTION

The LiveIP project is a practical exploration of the possibilities and opportunities achievable with today’s IP enabled broadcast technology in a live production environment. It was made possible by building and operating a live TV production studio with state-of- the-art IP-based equipment using available interoperable open standards.

LiveIP is the result of collaboration between Belgium’s Flemish national broadcaster VRT, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and a group of innovative broadcast technology partners including Axon, D&MS, Dwesam, EVS, Genelec, Grass Valley, Lawo, Nevion, Tektronix and Trilogy.

Current SDI-based technology is not flexible enough to adapt to the changes the industry is facing.

Whilst IP is often said to be the technology to support that transformation, there are many questions in the industry about its readiness for live production; can it, in its present state, bring to professional live media, the transformation seen in other areas such as telecoms, or media post production? Should broadcasters begin to move their facilities to IP, or not?

The project tries to provide answers to these questions by examining the different challenges and evaluating possible solutions. It reveals the current state of interoperability between available products from different vendors, as well as the benefits of using IP for live production applications.

This paper gives an overview of the facts and findings from this hands-on project in order to share it with the broadcast community, to advance knowledge of the current state of the technology and to identify areas where further work is needed.

MEDIA BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION

VRT has a live production facility with SDI-based technology; however it needs to become more flexible, scalable and shareable. Moreover, VRT plans to move to a new facility, which should be operational in 2021.

This is an opportunity to embrace the new possibilities in a renewed infrastructure. The LiveIP project should provide support for the decisions needed about the technology that should be used in the new facilities.

Do More with Less

The continuous challenge of having to produce more content with less (i.e., fewer resources) is not new for the broadcasters. “Less” can mean a reduction in staff members but also in budget or time.

However, there is a limit to how far resources can be reduced while the pressure to produce more content grows. So new ways need be found to increase efficiency and effectiveness in production, most notably new technological solutions are needed to automate the processes and enable new and better workflows.

Digital Shift

The digital environment has a clear impact on audiences. They want to be able to consume more media at anytime, anywhere and on any device. This obliges media organisations to provide new formats, and to package their content for different media delivery platforms. This has to be automated and data-driven, both of which characterize IT technology.

Connect & Share

By putting new technology in a real setting, the LiveIP project provides the opportunity not only to evaluate the state of today’s technology, but also to explore new workflow opportunities. The information obtained from this experience is in turn shared with the community of broadcasters and with the industry to accelerate the acquisition of know- how.

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