Broadcast Industry’s IP-Based Future Defined

Lawo worked with NBC to develop an enhanced version of the IP-networked LCU (Lawo Commentary Unit) for the recent Olympic Winter Games.

Broadcast’s transition to an IP-based streaming model presents a variety of challenges, not least of which is the management of audio loudness and dynamic range, issues that have largely been settled for current distribution methods. Upstream from distribution, in production and post production, getting IP-networked products from disparate brands to fully interoperate has also been challenging.

But by the end of last year, several standards had fallen into place that help define the broadcast industry’s IP-based future.

AES67, which standardized high-performance streaming audio-over-IP (AoIP) interoperability, was published in 2015, and has since been updated. In December 2017, SMPTE published the initial standards within its suite, SMPTE ST 2110, Professional Media Over Managed IP Networks, which adopts AES67 for audio streams.

S300 is a compact control surface that can be combined with the complete portfolio of SSL’s System T control, processing and I/O options.

Less than two months prior to that, the AES published an update to its Audio Guidelines for Over-the-Top Television and Video Streaming (AGOTTVS) recommendations, first published in October 2016.

The guidelines focus on managing the loudness and loudness range of program and interstitial content distributed over-thetop
(OTT) and by online video distributors (OVD) to maintain and improve the sonic integrity and listening experience across multiple
devices.

The group behind AGOTTVS — including Amazon, Apple, BBC, CBS, Dolby, DTS, DTV Audio Group, Fox, Fraunhofer, Google, NBC Universal, Netflix, NHK, PBS, Starz and Qualcomm — will likely next conduct objective and subjective tests of DRC and loudness profiles to ascertain how metadata might be leveraged to more appropriately tailor content to devices and different listening scenarios.

A final piece dropped recently when the ATSC announced that the complete 20-part suite of the ATSC 3.0 next-generation television
standard had won final membership approval. The milestone release of the Next Gen TV (also known as ATSC 3.0) standard marks the end of a five-year effort to set the guidelines for a reimagined TV broadcast system that combines over-the-air and IP-based broadband services.

The Federal Communications Commission had already voted its adoption of the ATSC 3.0 technical standards suite on Nov.
16, 2017. AoIP is encouraging the development of new workflows and capabilities, such as the networking of audio DSP and management resources. SSL’s System T, for instance, is a set of network objects that include processing engines, traditional audio IO devices and control interfaces that can be distributed throughout a facility.

This customized virtual newsroom mixer was developed using Wheatstone’s ScreenBuilder virtual development tools

The Telos Alliance’ Television Systems Group is showcasing its Infinity IP Intercom, a comprehensive AoIP communications solution that converges voice communication and contribution audio on a single IT backbone employing the latest standards-based VoIP and Livewire+ AES67 AoIP transport.

IP has also enabled REMI or at-home production, where mic inputs and IFBs at a venue are managed remotely, sometimes thousands of miles away, from the mixing desk at the plant. Console manufacturers including Calrec, Lawo and Wheatstone have all launched REMI products in recent years.

This year, Wheatstone offers a peek into the future of its AES67-compatible Wheat-Net-IP audio network with a demonstration of ScreenBuilder, a software application that virtualizes the console.

“What if you had your own virtual development platform with the AI to do virtually anything you wanted to do in the studio? And what if you could apply the same concept to hardware? What if your studio console could be as dynamically changeable as any software interface?” asks Wheatstone’s Marketing Communications Director Dee McVicker.

Those questions are answered at this year’s NAB Show.