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The Adoption of IP and the Increasing Importance of Broadcast Control Solutions

As IP networks gain a foothold within broadcasting, broadcast control systems are becoming more complex by necessity. Futuresource Consulting’s Adam Cox, Senior Analyst – Imaging & Professional Video explores the broadcast landscape and the rise to prominence of broadcast control solutions in IP environments.

Although IP within broadcast is maturing with every passing month, the complexity of networks is extremely problematic, particularly to an industry only just coming to terms with the technology.

Feedback suggests that to set up an IP network takes twice as long, and therefore costs twice as much, as the set-up of a traditional SDI network. When one of the selling points of IP is the potential reduction in costs, this is a serious issue.

Broadcast control systems have long been used with SDI infrastructures (with devices connected via a separate IP network), but control systems come in to their own when the transport of video around facilities with IP is required. Broadcast control solutions can slash the time required to configure IP networks for the first time or in between different productions and are increasingly becoming essential.

Solutions can broadly fall into one of two categories; what Futuresource has labelled as ‘single vendor’ solutions, historically designed to control a manufacturer’s own hardware; and ‘vendor agnostic’ solutions, produced by third party manufacturers and designed to sit on networks that consist of equipment from multiple vendors.

In the early days of experimentation with IP in production workflows, end users were more likely to opt for ‘single vendor’ control systems, reflecting the worries about interoperability between products of different vendors and the limited integration skillsets available in the industry.

Experience with IP in broadcast is growing, however, and now, wherever a multi-manufacturer workflow is being installed, it is becoming far more likely that a ‘vendor agnostic’ control solution will be used. As confidence levels increase, so too does the willingness to step out of a single manufacturer's ecosystem in order to build a network with ‘best of breed’ equipment. That's not to say that the more traditional brands cannot provide integration with other vendors' equipment, it’s just that they often haven't been designed with this as a primary function. Plus, crucially, the end users often don’t perceive them as being the best option for multi-manufacturer integration. We expect a vendor push to take place over the next few years, educating end users about the integration potential of ‘single vendor’ solutions in order to address this perception.

With more being demanded of broadcast control solutions, their complexity is increasing. New facilities are also being built and the OB market is thriving. This groundswell of opportunity is being fuelled by a rise in IP and hybrid IP/SDI control solutions, culminating in a broadcast control market value of more than $103 million in 2023, up from $88 million in 2018.

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Adam Cox

About the author

Adam Cox

Adam Cox is Senior Analyst at Futuresource Consulting and is responsible for researching and reporting on technology trends across the imaging, pro video and collaboration market categories.

Adam is also heavily involved in work looking at end users, service providers across the corporate markets and in addition to this, works on tracking and examining the collaboration, wireless presentation and conferencing equipment sales channels.

Adam joined Futuresource in 2006 working on broad range of market tracking, analytical and strategic pro broadcast AV Projects. He soon went onto lead the broadcast equipment team covering the full broadcast production chain from acquisition to content delivery. Adam holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Film and Television Studies.

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