That’s Entertainment: The Shift to 4K Starts With Mellanox

Our Interconnected Planet

Malcom X once said, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth..” Media is now much more than movies.It is also television, news, online internet, social media, sports…and all have the power to entertain, educate, enthrall and entrance. Modern day media can change the course of history, impact elections, shed light on news and matters of interest. Streaming news can warn of impending disaster, thus saving lives. It can teach us, it can touch us, it can make us care and it can inform.

Media is also big business and enrich the video experience and Mellanox’s IP-based technologies bring the audience and content closer together.

The media and entertainment (M&E) industry in the U.S. alone is a $703 billion market, a complex network of businesses that produce and distribute motion pictures, television programs and commercials along with streaming content, music and audio recordings, broadcast, radio, book publishing, and video games, and more. The U.S. M&E market, representing fully a third of the worldwide industry, is expected to top $804 billion by 2021. And the remaining worldwide M&E markets will grow largely at a similar pace.

As the industry continues to grow, M&E professionals and customers – pretty much most of us – are scrambling to deal with ultra-high definition (UHD) video at 4K and 8K resolutions which is but one element of Ultra High Definition media. There are technology considerations for higher frame rates, higher visual depths, wider color gamut and high dynamic range, etc. 4K cinema video has almost 4.3 more pixels than standard HD TV (4K TV video is slightly lower, having only 4x more pixels than HD TV). While initial capture and final broadcast use compression, many of the editing, rendering, and special effects steps used to create our favorite TV shows and movies require dealing with uncompressed video streams, often in real-time. These uncompressed 4K streams cannot fit in an 8Gb or 10Gb pipe, and sometimes even exceed what even a 16Gb FC can do. This has influenced many media production customers to opt for 40/50/100 Gb/s networking, with an accompanying need for fast storage to match.

The industry is now looking at a new approach to the three decade old technology, with something that meets immediate challenge such as 4K/ UHD, while also enabling rapid adoption of additional new technologies. IP-based network that powers today’s data center and cloud is being considered as the suitable alternative to the existing proprietary SDI routers, coaxial cables and BNC connectors. Leading broadcasting companies such as BBC, FOX and NBC are realizing that migrating to an IP-based infrastructure will empower broadcasters to innovate in all the areas of content creation and distribution, multi-platform support and future video formats.  The move to next-gen IP based broadcast world is inevitable – thanks to the inefficient proprietary SDI fabric. This is even more evident with companies like BBC, FOX and NBC embracing their infrastructure using IP network. Mellanox’s end-to-end efficient broadcast network solutions is radically changing the economics of broadcast applications including live sports coverage, production studios, data transport, content distribution and storage applications for broadcast professionals.


For live broadcasting, content distribution and post production alike, Mellanox’s leading IP-based technologies enrich the video experience by bringing the audience and content closer together. In addition, the SMTPE standard 2110 was established, giving a technology path and as part of helping to accelerate the migration to IP. The Professional Media Over Managed IP Networks, SMPTE ST2110, is a new standards suite that specifies the carriage, synchronization, and description of separate elementary essence streams over professional internet protocol (IP) networks in real-time for the purposes of live production, playout, and other professional media applications. The move from HD to 4K/UHD, 8K & HDR not only illustrates the necessity for absolute bandwidth, but also shows the inability of the current proprietary technology (SDI) & traditional Fibre Channel storage to deliver what customers crave, a more realistic entertainment experience. Driven by their need to have the underlying hardware innovate at their speed, the media & entertainment industry is now transitioning to a converged Ethernet fabric for both their applications and the storage, with an open standard that has been powering datacenters for decades while allowing innovation at a level never before realized.

Over the next few months, we will be delving into the solutions, technologies, innovations and customers who are driving the M&E industry forward. From 4K coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics to what happens with an award winning film Company outgrows its technology and how the first electronic gaming company in Turkey, is providing games of chance and sports betting games through multiple web.We’ll be taking Our Interconnected Planet on another journey into the world of entertainment. Come join us and learn more about the technology and solutions behind the glitz and glamour that make showbiz so compelling to billions of viewers around the globe.

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About Julie M. Dibene

Julieanne DiBene is the Senior Director of Marketing Communications at Mellanox. Prior to this, she was the Director of Marketing Communications with Micrel Inc., a semiconductor manufacturer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from San Jose State University.

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