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IBC '16: Imagine Communications Says IP-Based Production is Ready for Primetime
A well-architected IP-based production facility can provide the same robustness, reliability, and performance as SDI-based infrastructures, says Imagine Communications CEO Charlie Vogt

IP-based production facilities are ready for primetime, according to Imagine Communications' CEO Charlie Vogt. At IBC he also declared that doubts and confusion over the interoperability of equipment that have plagued the industry’s tentative steps toward IP to date are a thing of the past.

"The reality is that we have reached a tipping point in the maturation of COTS-based platforms and virtualized environments as suitable hosts for all media operations," said Vogt. "There is no longer any doubt that a well-architected IP-based production facility is able to provide the same robustness, reliability, and performance as traditional SDI-based infrastructures."

He added, "Uncertainty over the interoperability of IP-based equipment, for example, is nearly an artifact of the past."

The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), an industry trade association dedicated to the promotion of media-over-IP solutions co-founded by Imagine Communications in December 2015, has attracted nearly 50 members. Broadcast equipment trade body the IABM is among the latest signatories to AIMS.

"The soaring popularity of the organisation indicates that IP-based equipment is well on its way to providing media companies with the same assurances of multivendor compatibility that SDI has provided for the past couple of decades," said Vogt.  "There are no longer any reasons to delay modernisation of media facilities. The issues that were causing media companies to hesitate or delay investments as recently as a year ago have been resolved — or are well on their way to being resolved."

 Imagine Communications has chosen "The Future of TV, Now" as its IBC theme to reflect this.

"Over the past three years the media industry has come full circle on the transition of operations to a new technology foundation based on next-generation architectures that leverage IP, virtualization, the cloud and other attributes of the IT industry," reiterated Vogt. "In that short timeframe, we have gone from rigorous debate, to experimentation, and are now entering a phase marked by active adoption.

"Even though broadcasters have understood the need for a more agile and versatile technology foundation to accommodate evolving customer requirements for the past few years, many media companies have been slow to take action due to concerns about making false starts or squandering investments."

Imagine’s IBC product news includes the addition of adaptive bitrate (ABR) transcoding to the software-based transcoder Selenio One which the company introduced at NAB in April.

The latest release of the product supports HEVC/H.265 and AVC/H.264 encoding in both ABR and linear transcoding formats "at extremely high densities", with benefits of "significant" space and power savings. The first release of the product is capable of supporting up to 180 HD ABR or 360 HD linear channels per 4-RU server.

Also announced: The SelenioFlex file media processing solution now offers users the option of compressing using the JPEG2000 codec from Czech developer Comprimato.

"The key advantage of a software-defined architecture is the ability to drop in the functionality you require," said Brick Eksten, Imagine's chief product officer. "Not every user will need JPEG2000 encoding and transcoding, but for those who do we can now offer Comprimato’s software codec as an optional plug-in."