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How Media Moves: Considering the Complexities of Video over IP

There was a lot of discussion about video over IP (VoIP) at this year’s NAB Show. So much so that some confusion was generated in the process for more than a few customers I spoke to. We all know that IP stands for Internet protocol, and that IP is the backbone for how the Internet and most any network delivers data. However, in our industry, most people think of video over IP as either:

  1. Live video “signals” being pushed over Ethernet as a replacement for baseband SDI, or
  2. File-based media that has been created or captured and is then transferred between systems, over a network, as individual frames, clips or programs.

Pushing live video signals around via Ethernet is still a new concept for many, while file-based workflows are pretty much the norm for acquisition and all media workflows that follow. I mention this only because I think we owe it to ourselves to clarify which of the two we’re talking about when we mention video over IP, as they are quite different.

For file-based workflows, many content creators and owners continue to be inundated by the sheer volume and complexity of video media files that must be processed. There’s never enough storage, and due to the variety of formats and resolutions, the media management process can stretch resources to the breaking point. Companies struggle to find a way to best utilize available resources, whether they are human or computer-based.

I’m sure we agree that humans and computers should each stick to what they do best. Computers are great at performing mundane repetitive tasks, but they need to have a clear set of instructions. Humans are great at creating those instructions, creating templates and work orders, and doing final QC.

Until fairly recently, it could be argued that software- and hardware-based systems were underutilized when it came to shouldering the burden of these complex file-based workflows. Systems and processes were siloed and disconnected, and it required too much human intervention to keep the media pipeline flowing.

Paul Turner

Thankfully, that’s all in the past now. Modern file-based cameras now record rich metadata, which in turn allows automated systems to make intelligent decisions about how to handle the media. Enterprise video platforms like Telestream Vantage can fully automate processes from ingest all the way to the delivery of multiformat assets with little to no human intervention required. Files can be ingested automatically, and video editors can seamlessly add content knowing that it will end up in the right place and in the right formats for distribution.

Since its beginnings, Telestream has been a pioneer of file-based video over IP workflows, solving the challenges of moving, transforming and exchanging multiformat media across standard IT networks. We’ve helped transition media companies from simple transcoding and process islands to fully automated and consolidated file-based media factories. Thankfully, it’s now easier than ever to tame the file-based beast, and even generate new revenue opportunities for your media.

To find out more, check out our white paper, “The Essentials of Video Transcoding: Enabling Acquisition, Interoperability, and Distribution in Digital Media,” at  

Paul Turner is vice president of enterprise product management at Telestream.