The “IP Transition” is officially stepping deeper into the video ecosystem


On deck: Content production/distribution. 

Accordingly or otherwise, and since our last Top 10, the recent NAB Show (held April 24-27 in Las Vegas, with 103,000 attendees) showed all signs of ascendency, as the remaining (and thus sustaining) gathering place for All Things Video. That definitively included the over-the-top (OTT), drone, and Internet of Things sectors. 

Amazon, HuluPlus, Netflix, YouTube -- all the major OTT players were there, in jam-packed sessions, and decked-out booths. Netflix hosted a huge, “bring all your friends” party. From their (collective) perspective, IP is a given -- after all, not one of them would even exist without it. That makes OTT providers “broadband natives,” and anyone who wants to be more like them (which is everybody) is tricking out their IP situation.

For the traditional NAB crowd, the shift actually started a few years ago, with the move from “SDI” (Serial Digital Interface) to IP -- a plumbing/cabling change, and a notable first step. This year, the IP drumbeat was altogether unmistakable, and it’s moving “backwards” (if the couch/eyeballs are the end point that is) towards camera and capture. 

Broadcast and content-side technologists walking the floor, were checking out what it might take “to cloud” their remote events -- not unlike how NBC Universal backhauled the Olympic Games over a CDN (content distribution network) from Rio to the east coast, where post production and graphics overlays and additional treatments were applied, before going live, on-air. 

Traditional broadcasters were and are lit up around “ATSC 3.0,” variously described as “where broadcast meets broadband” and “next generation television.” (See trend #3 for more on this subject.)

Traditional suppliers and equipment vendors talked a lot at NAB 2017 about their collective work to interoperate, partner, and otherwise find plausible ways to re-plumb their gear with APIs and IP connectivity mechanisms. Their reasoning: Legacy protocols are no longer as useful as they used to be. The extra stuff a camera can capture, beyond video and sound (think metadata galore) is best handled with IP-based mechanisms. Plus, their customers aren’t kidding about how they’ll only buy from those oriented toward frenemy-grade collaboration, and open-sourced wares.

Context: The IP transition already happened (or is well in the throes of happening), in three industry segments: 1) The one we used to call “cable,” 2) Satellite (to a lesser extent, but still happening), and 3) those “broadband-native” OTT providers. Together, they paved the way, found the wrinkles, and kicked away a lot of the obstacles related to delivering video to Internet-connected devices. 

So, for the world of IP to take this next step, deeper, toward camera, is both anticipated and almost predictable, in terms of trajectory. After all, there’s a reason it’s called a transition. ​