Hi AC.... author here... and ouch!
My main motivation for writing this paper (or article or whatever it is) is that I was fully aware that most people were thinking along the lines of circuit-switched TV production moving in a packet (and frame)-switched direction - the problem was that there was very little written about it, and what it would mean for the industry. Perhaps this sort of commentary isn't appropriate for SMPTE - it's certainly up for debate. But I wanted to write about it, and having written it, I submitted it to SMPTE on the off-chance they'd be interested. I felt that they wouldn't be interested for exactly the reasons you mention. Turns out, they were.
Yes, there's no new scientific or engineering knowledge in the paper. But I wanted to start the conversation. Multicamera production is a specific niche of the broadcast industry that packet-switiching technology hasn't yet penetrated. I did a lot of searching of trade publications and saw very little discussion of what this transition would mean and challenges it would pose. I don't personally have a lot of research resources at my disposal other than Google - and that was good enough to obtain the back-of-the-envelope figures you see in the paper. At least I cited my sources to allow them to be criticised. And I want criticisim such as yours. In an absence of publicly-available of information about the future of where the industry is going, I felt my paper would fill a gap. Judging by many of the comments here on Slashdot, despite it's failings it has succeeded in informing a wider audience about the issues that this transition will face.
I do take issue with your argument that laser transceivers are not interchangable with video routers. The entire point of the paper is that Ethernet switches will replace video routers (and other anciallary TV equipment such as CCUs). We will plug our cameras and vision mixers into Ethernet switches and will not need video routers. So a comparison of their relative costs is entirely appropriate - it's a direct replacement of one technology with another. Ethernet equipment follows a steep price curve because it is a commodity product. Broadcast TV equipment is not a commodity product and is not subject to nearly as steep a price curve - meaning that in 2015 Ethernet equipment will be much cheaper than today but TV equipment will not be. Yes the predicted figures are rubbery - I don't have access to proper price modelling and market research - that stuff isn't available for free. But I wanted to crunch the numbers in a way that would more show the relative orders of magnitude in play and general trends. I think the comparisons are good enough to get people thinking serously now about developing live-production systems that connect directly to Ethernet, eliminating baseband transmission entirely. Can you go out and buy such a system today? No. So it's not a solved problem.
I would be absolutely delighted if someone read my paper, recognised it's failings and decided they could do much better. I'd like the quality of discussion to be much higher. I want to see more written about this and there to be fierce debate. Debate is already beginning about acceptable levels of latency in a live-switched production facility. Despite your assertion that these discussions are a waste of time, I assure you there are those in the industry with differing opinions as to what constitutes an acceptable level of latency. Perhaps this is where more scientific research is needed - and I would like to do some trials on this at my workplace. Also - is resource reservation really going to work? Elsewhere in the comments on this page there are those with doubts about this. Is Audio Video Bridging the right technology, is it really needed, or are more standard QoS measures sufficient? Cisco and Xilinx are addressing these issues but they are being trialled in distribution and contribution environments - point-to-multipoint or point-to-point situations. What about the massively-multipoint-to-multipoint environment that is a live TV production facility (where latency and synchronisation are extremely important)? What are the engineering challenges in building an entirely Ethernet-based Vision Mixer? I covered a lot of ground in the paper but didn't delve into a lot of detail - I more wanted to get people thinking. These things may be obvious to some segments of the industry but there's precious little discussion in the live-production area - we're a very circuit-centric bunch so the packet-switched message needs to be delivered with a simple blunt instrument sometimes.
Most of the papers presented at SMPTE and other conferences (and articles in trade publications) are product-focussed. They aren't open sales pitches but they almost always are mentioning products or services that are or soon will be on sale. This is quite OK, but I still would like to see more papers that are more general in nature, that discuss standards and technology in a more general way. Writing papers is not my day job (obviously) but I do feel I have something to contribute occasionally.
Yes, Ethernet switches frames. Conflating Ethernet and IP and TCP does makes me look a bit stupid in front of an IT engineering audience. Yes, "packet-switching" should really only be used to refer to what's going on at Layer 3. I absolutely do not pretend to be an IT engineer - my background is circuit-switched TV, which doesn't have the tradition of deep abstraction the way Computer Science has. My networking knowledge is self-taught and I know more about it than most of my peers - which is more than enough to do my job. But I appreciate being called out on my terminology flubs and resolve to do better next time. :)