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Welcome to the hyperconvergence

Posted on Feb 2, 2022 by FEED Staff

Software-defined platforms have led to a complete rethink for media production – Ross Video Ultrix may be the answer

The turmoil of the past two years has underlined a real desire for efficiency, whether that’s using new compression schemes to reduce the overhead of data travelling across networks,or remote workflows to produce live events. But it’s still vitally important that the quality of the final product remains undiminished. Streamlining systems to remove inefficiencies doesn’t have to reduce standards – quite the opposite. Leaner, more flexible, software-defined production platforms add value, not just to the bottom line. They offer new opportunities, and rapid responses to ever-changing events, that legacy hardware systems may struggle to compete with.

We call this hyperconvergence. It’s a concept at the core of Ross Video’s entire development – and, we believe, crucial for the industry’s future, too. The Ultrix is a prime example. Our routing and AV processing platformwas revolutionary when released in 2016, delivering all the functionality of multiple hardware units inside a single, compact frame. Essentially, we took away racks of traditional infrastructureand collapsed it into a smaller unit, while retaining all the firepower. Thephysical advantage for customers was immediate, even before factoring in the energy cost saved by eliminating bulk hardware.

We’ve since evolved the platform, with Ultrix Acuity – a single-chassis production switcher and router. There’s also Ultrix Carbonite, a new integrated solution that combines the routing and AV processing capabilities of Ultrix with the creative capabilities of the Carbonite switcher. These hyperconverged solutions simplify system design, cabling and equipment installation. Combining the routing platform with the production switcher shrinks the number of inter-rack failure points, reducing maintenance requirements. Ownership cost is significantly less than any similar, hardware-based equivalent, and the return on investment is more obvious.

Ross Video Ultrix

As beneficial as a smaller footprint and less power consumption are, hyperconvergence means more than this. Ultrix is a software-defined solution, and part of its appeal lies in the new features and functions we can supply, without customers having to invest in additional hardware. The software-defined architecture means you simply buy what you need, when you need it, via software license. No critical and potentially costly design decisions have to be made up front.

Leaner, more flexible production sytems add value

The Ultrix is versatile because it is able to provide video and audio routing, clean/quiet switching, MultiViewers, frame synchronisers and UHD gearboxing. It can easily be configured for specific customer workflows via different software licences, with custom-designed dashboard control panels that meet individual requirements perfectly.

This multifaceted approach extends to the very fabric of your system architecture. If you are planning to transition to SMPTE ST 2110, then Ultrix supports migration, while keeping the power and performance required for your facility. If the most efficient workflow solution right now is to maintain SDI, then Ultrix supports this goal, too. Whatever the most efficient workflow for studios, OB vans and flypacks across broadcast, corporate enterprises or houses of worship, the award-winning Ultrix is the ultimate hyperconverged router, MultiViewer, signal processing and production switching platform.

Plans for 2022

More evidence that hyperconvergence is resonating with the market comes from top media systems integrator ES Broadcast. Uniquely, it has added Ultrix to its extensive dry hire catalogue. This is in response to growing demand for infrastructure and rented routing solutions. With customers forging ahead for 2022, ES Broadcast has received increased requests for dry hire solutions, with uncertainties around capital expenditure the major driver.

“With Ultrix, we rent one single product that can sit at various points in the production chain, and in different environments. That’s a powerful proposition,” comments Jonathan Lyth, group CTO of ES Broadcast. “It has been one of our top-performing solutions, because of the flexibility it offers and the breadth of the feature set.”

We’re proud that Ultrix has enjoyed unprecedented levels of customer adoption, but we’ve not stopped there. We’ll be adding new features and functionality to existing and upcoming products. This ensures the system can grow as customer needs evolve. The pandemic has shown us all that a willingness to change, adapt and innovate breeds resilience to future shocks. Another thing is certain: the media and entertainment industry will emerge stronger out of the recent past than ever before.

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This article first featured in the winter 2021/22 issue of FEED magazine

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