All aboard the SMPTE ST 2110 express...

Trade show season is back on track (keeping everything crossed) and that means that the industry is looking ahead to the “Next Big Thing”. Remote working will certainly be a huge topic, as it has been over the past 18 months, but what else can we expect to hear at NAB and IBC later this year?

With an industry as broad as ours, there are many “Big Things” so we’ll focus on just one key topic. Although not new, SMPTE ST 2110 is starting to gain a lot of traction. So, what is it exactly and how does it benefit media companies? ST 2110 are a suite of standards, which in the most basic terms, enable uncompressed audio, video and ancillary data to be delivered over IP.  In other words, instead of using coaxial cable with SDI in it, you use fiber or copper with IP packets to carry the same data, which means that instead of getting an SDI router, you get a packet switch. This makes adding metadata including captions, subtitles, Teletext and time codes, as well as tasks such as processing multiple audio languages and types, much easier. It also allows the audio, video and metadata to be synchronized while remaining as independent streams. Clever stuff eh!

ST 2110 actually started with ST 2022-6; it had the same idea - take an SDI signal and send it over IP. ST-2022-6 operated just like an SDI coax cable, one flow had video, audio and ancillary data, all combined with one-to-one mapping, all neatly multiplexed together. But the networking guys said, “wait a minute, networks can multiplex stuff too, if you can separate the audio, video and ancillary data flows, the network can switch each element individually for you”.  That is how ST 2110 came about and that’s the way most media companies are now going.

At Cobalt Digital, we have a number of ST 2110 solutions coupled with existing processing modules. We have a couple of little throw-down gateways (2110 to SDI and SDI to 2110), a very flexible D/A with 2110 options, and a high-end video processing card. But we’re not stopping there. At NAB 2021, Cobalt will unveil a new series of products with 25G interfaces for 4K support. If you’re doing this in SDI today, we guarantee by the end of the year you can be doing it in IP.

Stay tuned and visit us (in person or virtually) at NAB!