Real picture of a zonkey and a zebra at a zoo.

Science and nature don’t exactly have solid track records when it comes to creating hybrids. Look no further than the liger, wholphin or, my favorite genetically altered species, the zonkey for all the evidence needed to conclude that not all hybrids have a purpose.

In the media industry, we take our hybrids seriously.

That’s because baseband-only operations are running out of steam. Media companies that want to meet the demands of today’s multiplatform, multichannel environment will eventually need to migrate their facilities toward IT and IP technologies.

Solid Credentials

The benefits of IP-based infrastructure are well known and well established. For starters, the cost/performance growth of IP is on a much steeper trajectory than baseband. And then there’s the ability to inject business-transforming agility and cost efficiencies into your operations by moving away from single-purpose, proprietary hardware and distilling functionality into common off-the-shelf (COTS) servers or virtualized computing environments, including the cloud.

In reality, most organizations have already initiated the migration by moving a portion of their media or business processes to IP. Still, the transition of signal processing from baseband to IP remains a major undertaking for most media companies and, with few exceptions, not something that’s going to happen overnight. For most, that means maintaining a mix of baseband and IP infrastructure for the foreseeable future.

And that’s where a purposeful and effective hybrid baseband/IP strategy comes into play. Media companies that successfully navigate their baseband-to-IP journeys will require a hybrid solution that does not introduce complexity, disrupt existing operations or strand existing investments.

Bridging Baseband to IP

As one of the first video infrastructure and workflow management companies to recognize the benefits and difficulties of moving operations to IP, Imagine Communications has worked hard to bring the best qualities of broadband and IP technologies into an integrated solution that’s controlled through a unified management and monitoring system. The end result is disruption-free deliverance to the IP Promised Land — at a comfortable pace and without firing up the forklift.

Cards on the table, the zonkey’s got nothing on us. In fact, in a head-to-head comparison across four categories, our baseband/IP hybrid solution more than earned its stripes.

Functional Objective

Imagine Communications: The primary objective of our baseband-to-IP migration solution is to enable media companies to immediately exploit the agility and cost-efficiency benefits of IP, without a wholesale replacement of their baseband infrastructures. The step-by-step, go-at-your-own-pace migration better positions media companies to respond to changing business requirements in a timely and cost-efficient fashion. As more and more workflow processes move to the IP realm, for instance, media companies will be able to accelerate their pace of innovation and production and quickly capture emerging business opportunities.

In the end, the overriding objective of our baseband/IP hybrid is to provide a seamless route to all-IP operations.

Zonkey: Create a cross-species curiosity that drives up attendance at ethically challenged zoos and animal parks.

Blending of Disparate Characteristics

Imagine Communications: Our hybrid solution delivers the best attributes of IP and baseband, enabling media companies to leverage the agility and cost efficiencies of IT and the performance, quality and familiarity of baseband. It’s the best of both worlds, a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-to scenario that spares engineers and other media professionals from abandoning familiar operations but at the same time incorporates the best of IP – built-in redundancy, resource elasticity – into media processing.

Zonkey: The typical zonkey manifests as a spry looking donkey with striped legs.

Non-disruptive Operations

Imagine Communications: We architected our baseband-to-IP migration solution to deliver complete transparency. All of the complexity of routing media over IP networks is shielded from broadcast engineers by decoupling management and services from underlying transport infrastructure and providing a common command and control interface for both IP and broadband functions. The Imagine Communications Magellan™ SDN Orchestrator presides over both baseband and IP infrastructure elements to provide a non-disruptive, gradual cutover to IP-based technology that supports continued monetization of content without costly operational retooling or the retraining of critical personnel.

Zonkey: Zookeepers and other observers have reported that the zonkey has a less-than-pleasant disposition and is prone to attacking humans.


Imagine Communications: Our baseband/IP hybrid environment is designed to last for the duration of your baseband-to-IP migration journey – a few months to multiple decades.

Zonkey: 15-25 years

Additional information about Imagine Communications’ baseband/IP hybrid solution can be found here.

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portatif of Steve Reynolds


Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is President of Imagine Communications, a global leader in multiscreen video and ad management solutions that broadcasters, networks, video service providers and enterprises around the world rely on to support their mission-critical operations.

Steve brings 25 years of technology leadership in the video industry to Imagine Communications. He has served as the CTO at Imagine Communications and Harris Broadcast, Senior Vice President of Premises Technology at Comcast, Senior Vice President of Technology at OpenTV, and CTO at Intellocity USA.

Steve earned a MS in Computer Engineering from Widener University and BS in Computer Science from West Chester University. As the Chairman of the AIMS Alliance and a member of SMPTE and SCTE, he has participated in numerous standards-making bodies in the cable and digital video industries. Steve also holds over 40 patents relating to digital video, content security, interactive television and digital devices.