The entertainment and media industry is experiencing massive disruption and rapid evolution. Vendors are on their toes as they keep pace with a rapidly evolving ecosystem and ensure that there is seamless delivery across all channels.

The media and entertainment ecosystem is facing multiple technology transitions, each with wide-ranging implications for the overall health and competitive standing of their organizations. The key to success for broadcasters today is to invest wisely in tools that provide flexibility and a growth path that ensures they will be future-ready.

Technology transitions are hardly new to media professionals. Running parallel to the history of the broadcast industry is a contiguous series of technology advances. But never before have all segments of the media and entertainment industry been required to deal with so many simultaneous technology changeovers, some bringing unprecedented degrees of disruption. Each of these technology transitions will impact, to some degree, nearly all broadcasters and other media companies in 2016-17. Their successful adoption over the next several years is critical to media companies that hope to keep pace with a rapidly evolving ecosystem.

Transition from SDI to IP. One of the most compelling trends is the migration of professional broadcast environments from traditional SDI-based operations and proprietary hardware models to an all-IP infrastructure. Increased agility, technology future-proofing, reduction of OpEx, and leveraging the sizeable economies of scale of the IT industry are often cited as major motivations for moving operations to IP.

The positive news is that the industry has reached a consensus on the need to inject unprecedented agility into existing video production, playout, and distribution operations to meet future demands and expand monetization opportunities. This provides a strong indication that while realizing cost efficiencies and better conditioning infrastructures for future, technology upgrades are important incentives for moving operations to IP; many media and entertainment companies recognize new monetization opportunities as the primary objective of moving to more agile infrastructures.

Playout automation. Broadcasters have been shifting their focus to highly advanced playout automation and channel-in-a-box solutions, considering the increase in the number of private channels. These solutions ease operational complexities, improve channel presentation, and reduce cost of ownership.

Playout automation offers outstanding IP/SDI format flexibility and scalability for future-readiness, along with end-to-end workflow tools for greater process automation and lower OpEx.

HD to UHD. The transition from HD to ultra-HD (UHD) seems like the most pedestrian of all the technology transitions confronting media professionals. The major complication is that the move to UHD (and HEVC) is gated by a number of variables. UHD is ready for prime time now or in the next six months. While UHD is now showing up only in live broadcasts, the higher-resolution format has been used extensively in cinematic settings for more than a year. Companies are offering 4K, production solutions in all major product categories that help broadcasters and media companies produce 4K how to tell better stories that capture viewers, and keep them glued to the action.

For the foreseeable future, every year will be a transition year of some sort. After all, digital technology is all about change and disruption.

How will media companies navigate these impactful and simultaneous technology evolutions? How far are they in their journeys toward a more flexible, agile, and higher-performing infrastructure?

At BroadcasAsia2016, Singapore, the editorial team from Broadcast & CableSat met industry stalwarts from the broadcast industry.