With developments in cloud and IP only set to continue to enhance broadcasting, it’s an exciting time to be in the industry.
By Alex Beach, Head of Media and Broadcast at ST Engineering iDirect.
The broadcast media are often seen as reliable, particularly during crises. During the Covid-19 pandemic, millions turned to broadcast as a source of trusted, quality media, capable of keeping people updated in real time. In fact, the average time spent on news and movie channels in the Middle East rose by 30% during the first period of the pandemic and Ramadan.
While consumers look to broadcast for reliability in their news, behind the scenes it has become increasingly important for broadcasters to meet the demands of their viewers and share important real-time events with the best image quality, low latency and buffering with a global audience over the internet. This is no small feat. In our globalised world, breaking news is no longer restricted to the walls of the studio and often requires a presence in remote or unstable locations.
Fortunately, satellite technology and advances in IP and cloud are enabling broadcasters to work more efficiently than ever before to bring breaking news and other programming to viewers, from contribution to distribution.
In the middle of the action
War zones, regions affected by climate change, and natural or man-made disasters are just some of the locations that news crews have reported from in recent years, and remote production – with the capability to collaborate with an entire geographically dispersed team – has become a necessity. Remote production, or the remote integration model (REMI), allows live content to be captured from a remote location and managed from a master control room. Cloud computing has transformed the process, allowing sound or video editors working from home to process files from the cloud.
The result is a production crew that can work from anywhere and still collaborate effectively with the rest of their team, provided they have access to the cloud. Cloud access has become such a powerful enabler of productivity that the demand for satellite connectivity as part of a blended all-IP solution is soaring, especially in remote areas.
Advances in satellite and IP
The pandemic helped accelerate remote production capability, as studios sought innovative ways to continue delivering important and newsworthy content directly to the end user. This influx of activity and increased demand could have created network congestion, but those taking advantage of emerging and innovative satellite technology were able to avoid this.
Over time, satellite capabilities have evolved from large remote production trucks to cellular bonding techniques, with two or more cellular connections combined to provide greater bandwidth for uploads and downloads. This enables video and audio streaming, live broadcasting and other data-intensive applications, to ultimately achieve higher levels of reliability and quality of service.
Production crews can now look to blended all-IP networks to enable their work in the field and unrivalled access to the cloud. By blending all available IP networks, teams can lessen the risk of damaging the quality of the transmission associated with cellular bonding by using satellites when IP terrestrial networks are not up to scratch. Easy access to the cloud is also assured. Again, this facilitates teams to work from anywhere, simply sending their footage back for editing at a central location.
With developments in cloud and IP only set to continue to enhance broadcasting, it’s an exciting time to be in the industry. Every day, broadcasters are bringing quality content to the largest possible subscriber base with high reliability.