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65. Of Codec Connection Protocols       by Dave Immer   7/2/15

Now, I know. This is one of those titles that cause eyes to glaze over. But the subject becomes more exciting considering how it impacts the users of ISDN & IP codecs.

For ISDN, the community of users consisting of voice actors, recording studios, and post production facilities rely on codec standards to be useful and cost effective to their clients. In this group there is great benefit to have a general interoperability among competitors. Manufacturers of ISDN codecs have addressed this demand over time and so an MPEG II (MP2) codec from one company is likely going to be compatible with an MPEG II codec from another.

But IP codecs are still evolving and manufacturers are less motivated to offer cross-brand connection protocols.  This is because, except for Source-Connect and ipDTL, the IP codec landscape is dominated by broadcasters who are not so concerned with compatibility outside their own group of reporters and studios. Still, most IP hardware codecs are capable of connecting with other brands.

There exists an EBU project group called N/ACIP β€œto work in close cooperation with manufacturers to develop an interoperability standard for audio contribution over IP.” Progress seems to be slow-going, especially with companies whose main customers are broadcasters who buy multiples of the same unit for their fleet of users.

This creates a push-back to the notion that interoperability is important. From a manufacturer’s perspective proprietary connection protocols create a reason to stick with one brand only – theirs. And why not? The connections are largely effortless, and the results are good.

Stay tuned for more exciting reports on codec connection protocols.

-Dave