Streaming Ahead: Broadcasters Enhance Creative Workflows and Content Production With NVIDIA Technologies

by Sepi Motamedi

Content creation and workflows are increasing in complexity. New platforms for consumption are emerging. And more teams are integrating generative AI into their production pipelines.

Together, this means professionals and studios in the broadcast industry need technologies that can help push their workflows beyond what traditional infrastructure can offer.

To take advantage of the latest innovations, broadcasters must shift from linear workflows bound by fixed-function devices to flexible and hybrid software-defined systems that can enable the future of livestreaming with AI and ultra-low-latency broadcast pipelines.

NVIDIA is delivering technologies that bring flexibility and scalability to the broadcast market, easing their adoption of and transition to the latest standards.

IP-Based Platform for the Next Era of Broadcast

The future of broadcast is software-defined, with media applications running on commercial off-the-shelf hardware from anywhere, whether on premises, in the cloud or at the edge.

To realize this future, NVIDIA developed Holoscan for Media, an internet protocol (IP)-based platform architecture for building and deploying media applications.

Neutral, flexible and hybrid, Holoscan for Media is built on industry standards and APIs, including SMPTE ST 2110, AMWA NMOS, RIST, SRT and NDI. Using Holoscan for Media, broadcasters and solution providers can use the latest IT and provisioning technologies and provide a modern, container-based approach to development, orchestration and delivery.

The platform integrates with open-source and ubiquitous technologies, breaking from the proprietary, inflexible nature of serial digital interface (SDI)- and field-programmable gate array (FPGA)-based systems — meaning no lock-ins. It allows users to capitalize on common controls and unified infrastructure layers, while enabling fine-grain allocation of resources independent of use case. This optimizes costs, lowers power and cooling requirements and improves resource management.

Holoscan for Media also opens the door to all of NVIDIA’s application frameworks and software development kits — such as for recommenders, computer vision and conversational AI — allowing them to be readily incorporated into vendor applications and production pipelines. It brings the latest capabilities in content creation and distribution, including generative AI, without additional infrastructure investment.

NVIDIA Holoscan for Media is now available in early access, providing the transformational aspects of generative AI with the more traditional workflows of real-time content creation.

From SDI to IP: Easing the Transition to SMPTE ST 2110

The transition from SDI to IP infrastructure comes with challenges. Broadcasters with limited networking knowledge may find deployment and setup to be complicated.

Using networking infrastructure to provide synchronized, real-time video delivery solutions also involves complex specifications, including SMPTE ST 2110. These specifications don’t apply in typical standard IT infrastructures, so they can be challenging to comply with. ​

But the benefits of the transition are countless, including real-time video pipeline availability over the network, direct connection to AI and 3D workloads, and infrastructure that allows easy scalability to higher resolution and frames per second.

To take advantage of the benefits of IP, broadcasters and application vendors are turning to the NVIDIA Rivermax SDK.

Rivermax is the key to SMPTE ST 2110 adoption. SMPTE ST 2110 is the de facto uncompressed video production standard that mandates traffic in fixed bitrates, controlling packet bursts to ensure a smooth delivery of every pixel, and carrying out the scheduling and interoperability of the network pieces through AMWA Network Media Open Specifications (NMOS).

NVIDIA Rivermax runs on NVIDIA ConnectX SmartNICs or BlueField DPUs. It has a natively integrated PTP time service through DOCA-Firefly, a natively integrated NMOS and hardware-enabled SMPTE ST 2110-21 specification compliance.

Rivermax is available today in solutions from NVIDIA partners, as well as to license for building media-streaming applications.

Accelerating Media Transports and Route to AI

In addition to SMPTE ST 2110, the broadcast industry has adopted various IP protocols for different use cases, including UDP, MPEG-TS, RTMP, SRT, RIST, NDI, HLS and MPEG-DASH.

The NVIDIA DeepStream SDK supports all of the broadcast transport protocols and facilitates processing through an optimized GPU pipeline. DeepStream is a complete streaming analytics toolkit based on GStreamer for AI-based multi-sensor processing, video, audio and image understanding. It’s also pre-integrated with Rivermax and NMOS.

Using DeepStream, developers can create processing pipelines that incorporate neural networks and other complex processing tasks such as tracking, video encoding/decoding and video rendering using simple API constructs and Python, C or C++.

In addition, DeepStream offers NVIDIA Composer, a graphical user interface application that enables creating AI application pipelines through an easy-to-use UI. It makes media application development low-code and turbocharged for AI, reducing both design complexity and time to market.

The Easy Button for SMPTE ST 2110 Content

The transition to SMPTE ST 2110 is simplified further with the introduction of NVIDIA RivermaxDisplay, software that turns any PC into an SMPTE ST 2110-compliant source with NMOS support.

The application offers new opportunities for broadcasters looking to enhance storytelling by pulling in Windows content, such as weather forecasts, social feeds and online maps.

Because RivermaxDisplay is an NMOS-compatible sender, it allows any PC to turn into a source for Holoscan for Media, bringing even greater flexibility to broadcasters.

RivermaxDisplay has an easy-to-navigate UI, provides accurate, hardware-based Precision Time Protocol (PTP) and outputs in any video resolution, frame rate or color space. It represents a shift away from existing dedicated hardware appliances that only allow for a single video output along with fixed video resolution and color space.

RivermaxDisplay beta is available in early access.

Learn More

The future of broadcast is determined by technology, audiences and the ‌people who consider broadcasting their craft. Lifting the constraints of traditional infrastructure by transitioning to a true, software-defined framework will be critical for engaging audiences and advancing the art of live production.

Learn more about NVIDIA solutions for professional broadcasting.