By Barry Eitel

The transition to high-definition broadcasting began in 1998 and, almost 20 years later, is still wrapping up in some areas of the United States. However, another broadcasting transition, this time to an internet protocol (IP)–based infrastructure, is rapidly taking place and is likely to finish in a fraction of the time HD required.

The transition is already causing huge impacts across all sectors of the media and entertainment industries, especially in terms of technical equipment, cybersecurity and personnel. Since everything is now wireless and there are no longer private, closed broadcast sources, broadcasting engineers are becoming IT professionals and vice versa.

Investments in Technology

Most broadcasters are shifting from serial digital interface (SDI) to IP, and nearly 80 percent of broadcasters say the transition is a once-in-a-generation shift that is more intense than the shift to HD or from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4.

The force driving much of the change to IP is 4K broadcasting, which most industry insiders believe will be how we view all videos in the next few years. The changes are already happening: The 2016 Summer Olympics were broadcast in 4K by NBC, for example. Although right now the number of 4K televisions consumers own is small, a report released in July by Grand View Research forecasted that the global 4K TV market will reach $380.9 billion by 2025.

Of course, there are already an array of 4K laptops, adding another huge market for 4K video content.

At the TV2020 conference, Mark Lazarus, the chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports, NBC Universal, will give the keynote address in a conversation moderated by Harry Jessell, the editor and co-publisher of NewsCheckMedia, LLC.

Investments in Security

A rise in cybersecurity concerns has occurred right alongside the rise of IP. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, ransomware attacks, malware and vulnerabilities with vendor systems are all issues the broadcast industry faces, especially in light of several high-profile cyberattacks.

Experts at the TV2020 conference will share their knowledge regarding how today’s broadcasters are securing their IP technology.

For example, there are often common-sense solutions to thwarting hackers, such as isolating production networks and general office computer networks; these boundaries can help prevent malware opened by a single employee from taking down a whole media organization.

Investments in Staff

The shift in technology is creating a huge shift in the makeup of a media company’s staff. SDI and IP have vastly different workflow models, and today’s broadcast engineers need a whole different suite of skills than what was required just a few years ago.

A company’s staff now must be able to work much more with software than hardware, especially as more and more data is being stored in the cloud. Automated systems, including programmatic advertising, are growing every year. Employees will have to grasp internet delivery systems, including content delivery networks (CDNs) and delivery protocols, for the distribution of content to the endpoint consumer.

Sessions on data collection, automation, ATSC 3.0, OTT systems and other digital opportunities are being offered at the TV2020 conference. These sessions were programmed so attendees can better understand the opportunities and challenges involved with migrating to IP. Attendees will also have a better understanding of what sort of engineering and other staff needs will be necessary to stay competitive. 



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