NAB 2016: IP for production is finally a reality

Each year, people try to characterize the main trend of the National Association of Broadcaster convention with a theme. This year, I hears of lot of people saying “this is the year of the drones”. Truth, there was a lot of drones (too many suppliers actually, we’ll see in a few years how many are left), but it has been the case for a couple of years already.

Year of VR? A lot of virtual and augmented reality demonstration also, but it is still not really mainstream. Technology demonstration, things that are promising but not ready for prime time yet.

No, this year, what we finally saw is vendors delivering on key production gears supporting IP. It is still early, but at least, we can now build a basic setup without requiring baseband. It may not be less expensive or simpler than baseband for every type of setup yet, but it possible.

Grass Valley and Sony both claim they have camera supporting IP and ethernet (although, it seems that it is the interface box that has the port, not the camera itself, but I’ll accept that since you need to power the camera anyway…). Routers and production switchers are also available with IP inputs as well as monitor walls. There are some pure IP audio offerings as well, notably from Calrac. I did not have time to verify that graphics processors and character generators are available, but that seems to a bit limited still at this time.

IP in post have been possible for a while now but it was still not a reality for production. With the progresses shown at NAB this year, it is now possible. It will change the way we are building systems and open up all new possibilities. It will still be sometimes before the industry understand and embrace the new possibilities, but the point of no return has been reached. This is the most significant milestone of this NAB.

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