A large number of television viewers have remained loyal to the traditional panel-on-the-wall display screens. However, we have seen many viewers migrating to other devices. Young generation particularly, now routinely accesses music, short video clips, and even full-length programs on tablets, laptops, and mobile phones. Even their parents are seeing the benefits provided by these platforms and the flexibility of the new services offered.

Television itself supplemented rather than ousted radio, just as radio supplemented rather than ousted the printed media such as books and newspapers. Magnetic tape, for example, is still a popular medium for long-term offline archiving.

The past year has seen continuing fast-paced progress right across the broadcast media business. Increasing attention has centered on higher video definition and wider dynamic range, as well as the relative merits of SDI versus IP. The relative balance of equipment in the apparatus rooms of modern television stations has swung from around
80 percent dedicated broadcast kits and 20 percent IT servers to the exact opposite. Until quite recently, engineers would spend a significant amount of their time locked in the CAR, configuring devices during the course of a system build, all fighting over space. Now the bulk of that activity is performed from their desks by simply remote-accessing into the system. This brings the advantage of reducing the number of installation technicians required on site. It also allows post-installation technical support to be provided much faster. Within minutes of an issue being flagged, an engineer can be diagnosing an issue and providing a fix. 4K UHD has moved from aspiration to must-have in the minds of many content owners and broadcasters and it is the system integrators who have stepped in and implemented such systems. A key element of the role as a systems integrator is to support customers with new delivery options, and to ensure they can operate as efficiently as possible in an industry which demands high productivity as well as creativity.

System design should include service design. The term tech support can conjure up some not-so-flattering images of sun-shy geeks speaking their own kind of binary languagebut when a system crashes in the middle of a document you have spent hours on, their support is invaluable, says Roger Henderson, CEO, TSL Systems. Upgrade this to a broadcast system crashing when the latest expensive high-end drama is in full flow broadcasting to millions, and the value of a good support network increases exponentially. This is why any organization involved in creating and distributing content must look at service provision as an integrated part of any infrastructure project. The good news is that outsourcing technical support services can actually save money – on staffing, training, and technology upgrades, but perhaps more importantly, on keeping the organization running smoothly.

In the broadcast sector, there is already a shortage of experienced broadcast engineers, and while of course they are valuable assets, they are expensive to retain. The industry moves ever more quickly and technical staff need to be retrained constantly on the latest equipment and technology, whether it be transitioning from baseband to file-based workflows, SDTV to HDTV, or now 4K/UHD resolution, not to mention weathering a barrage of new compression formats.

Working with a systems integration partner means that fully trained staff, who is kept up to date with the latest skillsets required, is guaranteed. The risk is on the partner, not the end user, to maintain training levels; the end user does not have to cover all the ancillary expenses that come with employing people; and it means that non-traditional broadcast companies do not have to worry about an area that is not core to their business.

Industry Speak
Providing Innovative Solutions to All Sectors

"Ideal Broadcasting is a broadcast, audio visual, and media systems integrator providing innovative solutions to all sectors, including broadcasting, telecom, government, education, and enterprise.

During the last year, Ideal has undertaken some major projects – for players such as Naaptol, Star TV, Tata Sky, Bloomberg, and ESPN, some of which were expansion of existing systems, and others new deployments. These were centered around studios, playout facilities, and communications networks."

Mala Mathur
Director,
Ideal Broadcasting India Pvt. Ltd.

Ideal_System_Integration

A technical partner will also ensure the equipment remains current and interoperable. Evolution of software is the key – application software and operating platforms are continuously updated. A service partner that understands the entire workflow, and that has a database of warranty information, part codes, wiring diagrams, and a host of back-room details, will know when to update each part of the workflow to keep the system working seamlessly, and keep the broadcaster on-air during an upgrade.

As the broadcast sector faces the transition from SDI to IP – certainly one of the industry's most dramatic transformations – it is more important than ever to have a trusted partner with a broad view of the possibilities. This is going to be a major challenge over the next few years; broadcasters need to protect their existing investments, but they are seeing that IP systems will bring benefits that could make the transition worthwhile. How and when are the key questions. A service partner can help broadcast a client's plan and execute a suitable migration path from baseband through to IP, whether that be a hybrid solution or a gradual transition, with ongoing support throughout.

But it is not just traditional broadcasters that can benefit from broadcast technology service providers. As costs continue to fall and technology is more ubiquitous, anyone can be a broadcaster. More and more financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and sports clubs and arenas are installing their own production facilities in order to create content for internal communication and to expand their visibility to their customer base on social media, websites, and other outlets.

Once again these organizations can avail themselves of a broadcast expert to ensure they get the most from their system, advising on the most cost-effective production solutions depending on how often it is going to be used, what kind of content will be produced, what level of picture and audio quality is needed, and which platforms it needs to reach.

Engaging the services of a trusted technology partner is not a nice-to-have – it is a pragmatic choice for any kind of broadcaster. By outsourcing these services, customers gain invaluable expertise, cost-effective system integration and support, and the peace of mind that comes from having a smooth-running operation.

The future of broadcast systems integration, like the future of broadcasting itself, continues to look bright!

Kinkon Nath
Industry Speak
SI – Inseparable of Industry

System integration (SI) is a process of integrating different components from different vendors to make a complete single system or workflow. All the components are made to work together in a seamless manner to facilitate the smooth running of the complete workflow.

In the broadcast industry, SI is a term used to describe the integration of audio/video workflow like TV or radio channels, production houses, web channels, digitization, etc. System integration is totally engineering work, where there is mixture of proper coordination, workflow design, and creativity in terms of making maximum utility of the components.

SRSG_System_Integration

In a TV channel, the major components are cameras, switchers, routers, video servers, automation, graphics, compression, and RF. During design of a workflow, it is necessary to take a few points into account like file format, signal standard, nature of TV channel like news or entertainment, the number of bureau offices, how many hours of storage, how many news bulletins, etc. According to the basic information, the complete workflow design is done and accordingly the brands are selected. The major brands are Sony, Panasonic, Snell, GVG, Harris, Harmonic, Aveco, Evertz, Vizrt, and many more. For earth station setup, a few pieces of information are required like number of channels, signal standard, MPEG2 or MPEG4, bandwidth, etc. Major brands are Harmonic, Ericsson, Xicom, Comtech, CPI, and many more. In earlier days, SI in India was a bit of a challenge as there were no local products and support. So SI companies used to import all products and even manpower from abroad during installation. But now most of the major brands have their offices in India with local support. A few companies in India have even come up with their own broadcast software, which has already captured the Indian market. Some of the regional channels are using Indian cost-effective products. System integration also involves choosing the best product from a number of brands and making the best design as per a particular requirement.

In India, the Media and Entertainment sector is a sunrise sector for the economy with a continuous increase of viewers, whether of traditional TV screens or of Internet TV. With change of technology from big TV screens to small pocket-friendly devices, the system integrator has a major role to play to design the workflow and select proper brands. Now the entire industry is concentrating more on keeping their data safe and secure, and at the same time, allowing users and viewers to access their data from anywhere. As a result, digitization process has now into the picture, and again SI has a role to play. With increase in the number of viewers, advertising revenue is also growing, which is in other way round helping market growth of SI. The new solutions in the market are DTH, OTT, VOD, digitization, IP and 4K workflows, MSO, etc. So SI is expected to remain the largest contributor in the Media and Entertainment industry.

The Government of India has supported Media and Entertainment industry's growth by taking various initiatives such as digitizing the cable distribution sector to attract greater institutional funding. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) is working toward promoting ease of doing business, which will ensure less regulation and facilitate India to become the hub of media and entertainment industry.

In summary, system Integration has always been there from starting of broadcast and M&E industry, and will always be an inseparable part of this industry. Whatever be the evolving technology, SI must be there for proper design of solutions in a cost-effective way.

Kinkon Nath
AGM-Technology,
SRSG