Video over IP Protocols: Deciphering the Alphabet Soup

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Media & Entertainment transition to IP: full steam ahead

There has been an explosion of OTT services over the past 10-15 years, with millions of households cutting the cord and getting their content over the Internet instead of from traditional cable or DTH satellite. More recently, cloud services have enabled a more efficient means of processing content. Content providers and distributors alike no longer need to build capital-expensive data centers; they can launch new services easily and quickly; resource elasticity allows processing of asset libraries of all sizes in short time windows and redundancy is provided by default. So many advantages that make operations easier.

But there are so many video-over-IP protocols

Both trends leverage the ubiquitous availability of the Internet and its underlying infrastructure and core network protocol: IP. Yet, to accommodate the many use cases of carrying video over the Internet (contribution feeds, primary distribution, distribution to end users, remote editing, etc.) a plethora of protocols have been developed. Some are proprietary, others open source, some fully standardized and others still in draft specification form. This leads to a confusing alphabet soup of protocols as shown below:

Navigating through this sea of protocols can be a daunting task for media and entertainment professionals that need to make the transition to IP. This transition can be at the production head-end, for primary B2B distribution to their traditional customers or launching new D2C services. Each of these acronyms represents detailed technical specifications that are tens and even hundreds of pages long. Where do you even start? How can you use your time efficiently while also making sure that you come up with the optimum solution for your specific needs?

Use the ATEME White Paper to decipher the alphabet soup

To help you decipher the other acronyms in this alphabet soup, ATEME has put together an easy-to-read whitepaper which provides high-level overviews of the more popular protocols and identifies the use cases where each of them brings the most value. A short history and chronology of the development of video over IP protocols provides the required context and background to help you understand why there are so many protocols to begin with, which ones are now obsolete, and which ones are still at the bleeding edge. The white paper ends with a recap and key takeaways to help serve as a future reference. URLs to most of those thick and voluminous technical specifications are listed at the end to provide you with a single point of departure for further reading.

The engineers at ATEME have implemented most of these protocols within our products. We aim to provide our customers with the widest range of choices and capabilities and help them make decisions that are optimal for their specific requirements.