aQ Broadcast’s video-pipeline can be implemented with different software modules in order to suit a host of modern broadcast workflows. (larger version of the diagram available here)
Everyone should have the freedom to work how they wish to, and in a way that supports their broadcast workflows in the most efficient way possible. It seems like a fairly simple maxim, but in truth the solutions offered by some of the industry’s leading broadcast vendors aren’t always as flexible and (re)configurable as they might appear on first acquaintance.
Here at aQ Broadcast we have always been mindful of the fact that broadcasters’ requirements change – sometimes very significantly – over time. Take the implications of moving from SD to HD and now to 4K, or the incorporation of HDR into broadcast workflows. All these and other changes have obliged technical personnel to think carefully about, and budget for, substantial alterations to their production infrastructures.
As a vendor we have always felt that offering a modular approach wherever possible affords our customers the most effective – and cost-efficient – way of keeping pace with the times. Take the example of our aVS transmission server, which remains a popular choice for broadcasters around the world. Developed with a focus on flexibility, the server uses aQ Broadcast’s standard firmware and can be run in v-pipe (video-pipeline) mode, allowing it to be configured precisely to any given broadcaster’s specific station playout requirements.
To this end a v-pipe implementation comprises a wide range of flexible software modules/processors that can be assembled in any combination. Hence, a single v-pipe unit could operate variously as a simple video server, a simple transmission server, a dedicated monitoring server, a ‘studio in a box’, a ‘channel in a box’, a stream encoder and/or decoder, or a dedicated multi-viewer, amongst many other possible functions. Each configuration is determined by the broadcaster and the requirements they stipulate for their workflows – taking account of what they need today, and in many cases what they will require in a year or five years’ time.
Now it’s not true to say that all broadcasters want or require that level of flexibility – in some more straightforward operations, it can be perfectly sufficient to configure a system to comply with one set workflow and have it serve perfectly well for many years. But it’s much more common these days to find broadcasters who do need to regularly update their workflows, and to this end we have continued to develop video-pipeline modules – to the extent that there are now 30-plus available processors, covering everything from straightforward input to output processes, to powerful video and audio mixing functionality.
With broadcasters obliged to support an increasing number of video platforms and services, ease of (re)configuration is going to be highly prized. The ability to chop and change processing modules with aVS means it’s very much a solution for ‘the now’ and will doubtless ensure that its popularity with broadcasters worldwide continues to grow.