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Trade Bodies Set The Agenda For A Hot Technology Year, Pt I

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Not in a room with two years to talk: Users demand quick results. Continuing from our front page feature, George Jarrett looks at some of the technology imperatives set to materialise in the coming year...

We start with AMWA because it has produced a clever initiative in the context of establishing the Holy Grail combo of IP standard/open source. Another body to rise sharply in significance is the DPP.

AMWA's Incubator wins instant and wide support
One of the great boosts to our network-based future is the AMWA Networked Media Incubator Project (NMI). It is part of vibrant development scene with SMPTE 2022-6, JT-NM, and VST TR-03.

Since its launch at IBC in tandem with the EBU/VSF/SMPTE report Reference Media V1.0, some 26 manufacturers and five broadcasters have signed up to the concept of delivering interoperability across IP infrastructures, and 15 of these are new AMWA members attracted by the incubator.

AMWA executive director Brad Gilmer said: "The focus of the NMI project is on bootstrapping early implementations of the recommendations of the JT-NM Reference Architecture V1.0. Specifically, the participating companies are working to bring initial implementations of three critical frameworks to a face-to-face workshop (January 11). The frameworks are timing, identity, and discovery and registration, with the goal of achieving interoperability in these key areas.

"The goal of the workshop is to provide an environment where early implementers of the JT-NM RA can work together to achieve interoperability in those key areas," he added. "We have created a lab environment where vendors feel comfortable to bring initial implementations. The goal is not so much to achieve perfect interoperability at this point as much as it is to allow developers to sit down together and work, in real-time, to make early implementations interoperate. Of course, the longer-term goal is that the developers take what they learn at the workshop and integrate this into shipping products."

How does the impact of the NMI carry over to AMWA's membership of the DPP and its partnerships with the EBU and SMPTE? Gilmer said: "The effort reflects the current state of the industry. We are not at a point where people can spend two years in a room talking about how things should work: we need to get to interoperable systems working in an IP-based environment very soon. Users are demanding this, and AMWA is sponsoring this event in order to help us all get to working, interoperable products as soon as possible.

"This work is, perhaps not directly related to the work of the DPP, however DPP members, along with EBU members all are working through the transition from a traditional SDI-based environment to a networked media environment, and the AMWA seeks to aid our members through this activity," he added.

The BBC is leading the development work on the NMI, together with Ericsson, Sony, EVS, SAM, Cinegy, Telestream, Dalet, and six other manufacturers. BBC R&D is responsible for the reference implementations for the work via its own IP Studio project.

Other AMWA news concerns the extension of AS-11 to the Nordic broadcasters. "The work on AS-11 International is important because it builds on key lessons learned during the development of AS-11 DPP. We have specifically structured this work to use specification building blocks that can be composed to meet the needs of particular regions," said Gilmer.

"International has been developed while also taking into account the needs of the Australians and New Zealanders, and also, to some extent the requirements of North American Broadcasters as well. The work has a lot of potential."

At IBC, the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) announced a partnership with the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) for the adoption of an AS-11 based common file delivery standard.

Standards of trust drive the DPP
The DPP, now a powerful and complimentary presence alongside AMWA, the EBU and SMPTE, has come up with a mighty impressive roadmap for 2016 that offers four new publications and six technology projects. One of these, creating a mastering format for TV, will match with efforts in this area by the EBU.

In line with Howard Lukk's comment about the many standards lost in orbit, the DPP plans a 'standards of trust' research survey covering protocols, standards and policies to define what remains viable for digital services. DPP MD Mark Harrison said: "On the issue of junking things, there will be different calls in different situations."

The DPP's file delivery standard for UHD content is almost complete, along with one for delivering HD commercials. This will require an update to the much-thumbed Producer's Guide to File Delivery publication, which came about for AS-11.

On the exchange front the DPP is soon to launch its news initiative, common protocols for metadata derived from the field. This will be followed in summer by a work-stream for international distributors.

The publications all hit key areas for 2016 – the 10 Things you need to know about Live IP production/object based production; a guide to the exploitation of location workflows; a major look at the production tools and technologies required for the Internet age; and, a report on the fast and reliable connectivity required in production and post.

"We really appreciate that an organisation like the DPP is just trying to apply a less technical look at what we all do, and try and define what we can regard as being in common use and what actually are the edge cases," said Harrison. "And what is near and far away."

This article is continued here in Part Two.

It can also be read at BFV online.

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