“SMPTE’s ST2110 standard is the most important development to advance broadcast television since John Logie Baird went head to head with EMI-Marconi at the 1936 BBC trials in Alexandra Palace,” claimed Tony Orme.
The research engineer, industry commentator and RTS Thames Valley Chair was talking to a packed audience at a joint event in mid-March held by the RTS centre and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers in Reading.
For engineers the standard is exciting, argued Orme, but for programme-makers and creatives, the results of this work could mean the opening up of new ways of working and possibilities previously undreamt of in the production world.
Orme took the audience on a journey from the days of analogue television to modern internet-streamed video and audio.
The death of synchronous digital interface (SDI) – the method of distributing video and audio in broadcast stations throughout the world – has been widely predicted over the past 10 years. But only recently, with the uptake of internet protocol (IP), is this now a reality.
IP is taking the broadcast industry by storm as infrastructure manufacturers plough huge amounts of money into research and development to improve data speeds, reliability and latency.
SMPTE’s ST2110 is the formal specification that will allow IP to work efficiently in television by separating the underlying hardware from the video, audio and metadata of the programming.
“Flexibility and scalability are the true reasons for moving to IP. Do not think you can go to a high street computer shop or even a professional IT supplier and buy the type of infrastructure required to make an IP system work in a broadcast facility,” said Orme.
“We will certainly ride on the back of IT innovation, but our gains are flexibility and scalability, not just saving money,” he added, before revealing examples of how IP is already benefiting broadcasters.