How are SMPTE 2110 and AES67 Standards Changing Broadcast Media and Why Should you Care?
By Jim Kuzman on May 21, 2018 10:43:00 AM
5 Takeaways to Share with your Team
A particularly hot topic right now is the recently approved SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards for “professional Media over Managed IP Networks.” The ST 2110 standards suite specifies the carriage, synchronization and description of separate video, audio and data streams over professional IP networks in real time for live production, play-out and other professional media applications.
In fact, ST 2110 represents a more significant change than those words might suggest in that ST 2110 opens up the possibility of a whole new set of applications, workflows, system scalability and functionality. For instance, the standard re-separates digital audio from video, providing separate signal paths for each. This allows easier manipulation and processing of the audio file such as a connecting different audio tracks (i.e. embedded and independent) with a video for a broadcast news segment. Another example of the benefits of separate audio can be found when translating closed-captioned material. The stream is sent over IP to a cloud-based service for translation and the translated caption and audio stream(s) sent back for multi-language program integration.
ST 2110 allows audio processing to be done using less equipment because files do not have to be de-embedded and then re-embedded, which is the case with the older baseband SDI format. And rather than wrestling with cable management issues, which can quickly become a headache, a single Ethernet connection can support hundreds of uncompressed audio signals. Even on a single link, audio traffic can be mixed with other data transmissions because modern Ethernet's priority mechanism assures audio packets have first call on the link's bandwidth. A studio audio delivery system can use this capability to download an audio file from a server, for example, while simultaneously playing another audio file live.
Another major factor in workflow efficiency afforded by ST 2110 is improved interoperability. An open, standards-based environment gives users the ability to completely network all the way out to the very edge of their systems, using products from a variety of standards-compliant manufacturers. That’s significant because it’s not possible for one brand to offer every single item. Even a juggernaut such as the Telos Alliance—who has a deep penetration of products in their catalog—doesn’t make monitor speakers or certain other endpoint type items that might be accessible through an open standard.
AES67 is the audio standard adopted under ST 2110 and it defines a set of audio interoperability capabilities at the transport layer, using standard IT equipment. Telos Alliance’s Livewire+ AES67 is completely AES67 compliant but it goes beyond AES67’s audio interoperability to add GPIO Control, advertising/discovery and program associated data (PAD). This is important because these capabilities are vital in an AoIP environment – functions like device start/stop, monitor mutes, on-air tallies, the ability to control peripherals from the console, the ability to know when an audio source is live and ready for air, the ability for playout systems to control fader on/off functions and more. Those are functions that AES67 alone doesn’t provide for, but Livewire+ AES67 does.
ST 2110 and AES67 are also impacting studio design best practices and Livewire+ AES67 offers a revolutionary change in how studios can be built. With Livewire+ AES67, a single Ethernet cable carries real-time uncompressed digital audio, device control messages, program associated data, and even routine network traffic. An entire facility can be wired in hours, instead of weeks. Even more efficiency is realized through these faster installations because baseband to AoIP interfaces, such as Telos Alliance xNodes, can be conveniently placed near the equipment they serve. And expanding or modifying your system is simple thanks to the inherent scalability and modularity of Livewire+ AES67.
And let’s not forget quality -- a Livewire+ AES67 network is a controlled, high-speed environment, with no risk of audio drop-outs from network problems and plenty of bandwidth for many channels of 24-bit 48kHz PCM audio. Telos Alliance AES xNodes deliver 138dB of dynamic range, with less than 0.0002% THD. Even analog xNodes have 100dB dynamic range, < 0.005% THD, and headroom to +24dBu.
So, to recap, SMPTE 2110 and AES67 standards are changing and improving the broadcast environment in terms of audio processing, workflow efficiency, interoperability, studio design and audio quality. No wonder it’s such a hot topic of conversation around the studio.
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