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February 2021 volumn 39, issue 2


15 8

All the New TV Smarts from CES 2021

Virtual event still had some surprises By Adrian Pennington


Composing an Infrastructure in the Cloud

Intelligent systems can now make monumental improvements in capabilities By Karl Paulsen


Integrated Production Tools Shine During Pandemic


All-in-one systems more comfortable at home By Susan Ashworth

With Venues Largely Fanless, Sports Audio Evolves

Replicating the fan experience ‘ as best we can’ By Mark R. Smith


Upgrading to UHD in the Age of Coronavirus


Miami’s New World Symphony brings 4K to distance learning via 12G infrastructure By Dan Slentz

tinySA: Finding Interference and Aiming Antennas The latest RF equipment for your field backpack By Doug Lung


One Step Ahead

How are media companies dealing with piracy in the age of COVID? By Dan Meier

To read more industry news and learn more about our events, visit www.tvtech.com.


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editor's note


in the news


eye on tech



equipment guide 26 user reports signal conversion/ closed captioning • • • •

Digital Alert Systems ENCO MultiDyne Blackmagic Design

cellular eng • Comrex

editor's note

An ‘Inflection Point’ for NextGen TV? Our industry has weathered several transitions over the past several decades. In the early part of this century, it was the transition to OTA digital television and HDTV. Twenty years later, we are now in the midst of the latest transition to NextGen TV. While there may be some similarities between the two, the differences are significant enough so that the two transitions are really a case of apples and oranges. Market forces were different, consumers’ expectations were different and perhaps the most significant difference is that the transition to ATSC 3.0 is voluntary with minimal government involvement (mostly revising rules to cut red tape). One thing the two do have in common: the impact of CES, which, along with the NAB Show, are annual markers in assessing industry progress. While this year’s virtual CES was well produced (and among the most attended “virtual industry trade shows” over the past year, per CTA), our inability to see, hear and touch new products up close and personal or network with industry colleagues proves that such industry shows will continue to be a vital element to success in our industry for years to come. During a session on ATSC 3.0 during this year’s CES, CTA researcher Brian Koenig offered an optimistic outlook on the format, adding that as sales from NextGen TV sets from the world’s major TV makers, Samsung, LG and Sony increase, more players will get in. “The dominoes are going to fall very, very quickly because the market is so competitive,” Koenig said, adding that he expects the market for NextGen TV to reach an “inflection point” by the 2023-24 time period, with NextGen TV shipments expected to reach 25 million by the end of 2024. That’s a bullish prediction, particularly when the few sets on the market are high-end 8K sets which only first adopters can afford. More 4K/8K NextGen TV sets were introduced at the 2021 CES from LG and Sony, and SiliconDust’s HDHomeRun 4K box (which at $200 is the only affordable option on the market), which supports NextGen TV, was also shown, along with updates from ONE Media 3.0 and MediaTek on chipset development. One new development was LG's announcement that it is integrating the HDHomeRun app for NextGenTV into its Smart TV OS. But let’s get real: The market for these sets and devices just isn’t there yet. Many broadcasters are doing their part though to create a market. Despite the pandemic, the industry was able to keep pace fairly well with the deployment schedule. By the end of this year, it’s expected that the majority of Americans will have access to NextGen TV. That will go a long way towards reaching that “inflection point.” Tom Butts Content Director tom.butts@futurenet.com Want to learn more? Join us for our two-day ATSC 3.0 Summit, March 25-26, part of our week-long Tech Leadership Series virtual summits! Visit technologyleadershipsummit.com to register.


Tech Leadership Awards 2021 The Tech Leadership Awards celebrate the people and products shaping the future of media technology. Winners will be profiled in magazines and announced at the Technology Leadership Summit on March 24. New this year, the Products of the Year celebrate the best innovations of 2020 across 50 media and entertainment categories. For more information and to nominate your products, visit www.techleadershipawards.com/2021. Deadline: Feb. 19.


February 2021 | www.tvtech.com |


Vol. 39 No. 2 | February 2021 FOLLOW US

www.tvtech.com twitter.com/tvtechnology CONTENT VP/Global Editor-In-Chief Bill Gannon, william.gannon@futurenet.com Content Director Tom Butts, tom.butts@futurenet.com Content Manager Terry Scutt, terry.scutt@futurenet.com Content Producer Michael Balderston, michael.balderston@futurenet.com Contributors Gary Arlen, Susan Ashworth, James Careless, Gary Eskow, Steve Harvey, Craig Johnston, Bob Kovacs and Mark R. Smith Production Manager Heather Tatrow Managing Design Director Nicole Cobban Senior Design Directors Lisa McIntosh and Will Shum ADVERTISING SALES Director of Sales, Media Entertainment & Tech Laura Lubrano, laura.lubrano@futurenet.com SUBSCRIBER CUSTOMER SERVICE To subscribe, change your address, or check on your current account status, go to www.tvtechnology.com and click on About Us, email futureplc@computerfulfillment.com, call 888-266-5828, or write P.O. Box 8692, Lowell, MA 01853. LICENSING/REPRINTS/PERMISSIONS TV Technology is available for licensing. Contact the Licensing team to discuss partnership opportunities. Head of Print Licensing Rachel Shaw licensing@futurenet.com MANAGEMENT Senior Vice President, B2B Rick Stamberger Chief Revenue Officer Mike Peralta Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance Head of Design Rodney Dive FUTURE US, INC. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036

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in the news OPINION

update Here are some of the most recent developments regarding the transition to ATSC 3.0:

Deployments • Columbus, Ohio: WSYX (Sinclair); WCMH-TV (Nexstar); WWHO (Manhan Media); and WTTE (Cunningham Broadcasting) Columbus, Ohio

The FCC’s update of the DTS rules last month expanded the permissible range of single spillover from DTS, which could help broadcasters gain millions of NextGen TV over-the-air viewers. Heartland Video Systems has joined the ATSC as a voting member. The company plans to share its firsthand knowledge about the latest ATSC 3.0 technology and best practices with the committee. During a CES 2021 panel organized by ATSC, panelists said that NextGen TV was reaching an “inflection point” with consumers and predicted NextGen TV shipments are likely to approach 25 million units by the end of 2024. New ATSC 3.0-supported TV models were shown at CES 2021, with all of Sony’s new Bravia line supporting NextGen TV, as well as LG’s 2021 4K and 8K TV models.


February 2021 | www.tvtech.com

A Lasting Effect Or A Passing Fad? Will in-person station workflows return, or has COVID-19 left a permanent mark?


and others working at home or lay along with me for one in the field access to the same moment. The pandemic tools they have on their station is over. Lockdowns, social workstations. It’s also possible to distancing, hand-sanitizimagine production control room ing stations and masks are in the functions transitioning as virtual rearview mirror. equivalents in the cloud. The The question facing TV same can be said for the weather management now is whether to forecasting and graphics tools continue their remote workflows station meteorologists rely upon. or to return to what was normal All of these alternatives to prior to the outbreak. Should Phil Kurz in-person workflows have the reporters, news producers and edpotential to benefit stations in one way or itors once more huddle around each other in another—whether it’s greater efficiency, lower the newsroom and collaborate on stories? Or, costs and in the case of news, higher story should they continue to work remotely? Ditto counts. for master control and traffic, the engineering On the other side of the argument, it’s not department and the business office. hard to see why people will want to return Working in favor of the lasting-effect side to the in-person normal they’ve experienced of the argument is the ongoing rethink of their whole working lives—except for the past long-held beliefs at stations prompted by year. That’s especially true in news where colthe disease. For example, news management laborating closely with colleagues on stories now takes the cloud and virtualized workwas once a given. Much the same could be flows seriously whereas in the past these said for most other station departments. were considered “out-there-on-the-horiIt’s hard to predict which way things will zon” and largely mentally tabled for future break when COVID-19 is finally a memory. consideration. Perhaps what’s most likely is a mix—one It’s conceivable that NRCS systems and in which managers look to blend the best all of their features can and will be virtualaspects of both. l ized and run in the cloud giving reporters


LG debuted its QNED range of MicroLED sets.

All the New

TV Smarts

from CES 2021 Virtual event still had some surprises By Adrian Pennington

LONDON—As stay-at-home orders sent streaming through the roof over the past 12 months, the TV remains the centerpiece for home entertainment. A quarter of all TV viewing in North America is now from streamed services, according to Nielsen. Households also upgraded their TV sets, setting a record for TV shipments in 2020, according to the Consumer Technology Association, which expects steady demand for displays in North America through 2021. An estimated 43 million units shipped this year will be sets over 70-inches and/or those with 8K UHD. TV vendors have had a tough time in recent years as consumers tended to pay more money, more frequently for smartphones. Greater attention from consumers on the value of the main screen and the maturation of a number of technical ingredients, which—combined, make for more immersive viewing experiences—has opened the window for TV makers with CES as ever the perfect place to launch a sales pitch. “The killer app for TV is TV,” is how Madeleine Noland, president of the ATSC, put it during a CES panel session about NextGen TV. ATSC research reveals that home viewers want higher resolution and enhanced audio


February 2021 | www.tvtech.com |

(from built-in 3D speakers to sound bars and 21.1 channels). They also want higher dynamic range, higher frame rates and bigger displays and Filmmaker Mode, a button that sets a film’s color-palette, contrast, aspect ratio and frame rate supposedly as the director envisioned. In fact, they want the whole package to which can now be added “smart interactive personalization.” “What is exciting is the synergy between these consumer desires and today’s TVs, which are bringing these features to life,” she said. It’s been a while getting here. Michael Davies, senior vice president, field and technical for Fox Sports said on the same CES panel, that while visiting Japan last year he was “embarrassed” to admit that Fox was still broadcasting 720p SDR when the Japanese were talking about 8K. “We’ve been living with HDTV for 20 years,” he said. “It’s been a pretty slow roll from there. We had three 8K cameras at Super Bowl LIV but that pales beside the other 120 cameras we had there.”

AI AND UPSCALING CTA predicts 8K TV sales will grow by 300% in 2021 albeit comprising a relatively small 1.7 million units. “Even in 4K there is limited content today,”


acknowledged Grace Nolan, vice president, integrated marketing at Samsung. “It will be a little stretch to get to 8K on a more mainstream level—[but] we won’t get there unless the industry is pushing. It’s encouraging to see 8K games consoles [PS5 and Xbox Series X support 8K gaming] coming out. We will catch up with Japan.” In the meantime, vendors are relying on upscaling technology to make incoming lower-resolution pictures “8K-ish.” “We lean hard on AI and upscaling tech,” said Nolan. “The more data that is input into the TV, the better the processor is able to work to produce a more beautiful upscaled image.” Aside from UHD, HDR and enhanced audio, the other near universal component of TV hardware 2021 is applications for gamers. Larger, brighter screens with higher refresh rates and special gamer-only features as well as tie-ups with cloud gaming vendors should help TV brands shift more gear. Decoding the barrage of branding and acronyms, which go hand in hand with new TV launches is a minefield, and two in particular make for confusion this year: MiniLED and MicroLED. MiniLED could overtake LCD to become the main illumination source for the bulk of consumer electronics, let alone flat panel displays if news of recent developments comes to fruition. Apple is widely-rumored to be using MiniLED panels in its upcoming iPad Pro and MacBook upgrades. By siting tens of thousands of LEDs behind an LCD panel, combined with “dimming zones,” this technology helps deliver more precise differentiation between bright details without the light spilling into surrounding dark areas. Black levels, of course, have a direct impact on accurate color representation in SDR and HDR images but overall brightness levels are superior to those produced by OLEDs. MicroLED, the more expensive solution to manufacture, involves assigning microscopic LED arrays to individual pixels, therefore allowing even greater control over the picture

products brightness. Like OLED, this technology allows true blacks to be shown by switching any pixel off, but unlike OLED, MicroLED can deliver much brighter dynamic range and more impressive contrast. Compared with LCD technology, MicroLED displays offer better contrast, response times and energy efficiency. MicroLEDs form the basis of Sony’s Crystal LED screens, which it is now marketing to film and TV productions wanting to shoot on virtual sets. Hisense launched a massive 300-inch version of its TriChroma laser TV.

SAMSUNG Samsung, the world’s largest TV seller, has made MiniLEDs the backlight system for its range of new NEO QLED TVs. By shrinking the LEDs to a 40th of their traditional size, Samsung is upping both brightness and black levels while allowing for more precision and less bleeding of bright areas into darker spots. The flagship 85-inch Neo QN900 comes with a bezel-less screen similar to the infinity screens of its Galaxy smartphone. It’s less than a centimeter thin too with the speakers embedded behind the screen. No price was given but this could cost north of $10k. An interesting feature is a “game bar,” which enables quick access to settings such as refresh rate and aspect ratio when attached to a PS5 or Xbox Series X. The aspect ratio can be changed from 21:9 to 32:9. It also supports 4K at 120fps, which is another must-have for gamers. Samsung’s CES headline generator though is

Samsung introduced the Neo QN900, which comes with a bezel-less screen similar to the infinity screens of its Galaxy smartphone.


February 2021 | www.tvtech.com |

its new MicroLED TVs, which come in 88-, 99and 110-inches. Reports suggest that the largest one costs $156K and it’s only 4K. Two years ago Samsung was demonstrating this technology in an 8K 150-inch version called “The Wall” and directed at the business-to-business market. These consumer-grade monsters come with a “Multi View” feature that enables the screen to be split into four separate 55-inch pictures. Each of the four sections have their own separate volume control too.

LG The world’s second best-selling TV brand is also introducing MicroLEDs into a range of displays it is calling “QNED.” The “Q” refers to sets’ uses of tiny “quantum dot” crystals to display colors. “N” refers to “nano cell” particles used to absorb unwanted light wavelengths to improve color reproduction and viewing angles; the ‘ED’ refers to “emitting diodes.” LG is packing 30,000 of these tiny LEDs into the back of its largest 86-inch screens to produce a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 when paired with up to nearly 2,500 dimming zones and advanced local dimming technology,” the company claimed. In a video presentation the company said, “The only way for LCDs to get bigger is for details to get more precise—hence ‘Mini-LED.’ Blacks that are deeper and more precise than any other of our LCD TVs.” However, LG’s premium picture quality will still be found in its OLED “Evo” range, which now comes with a new processor. During its press conference, LG said the Evo benefitted from “a new luminous element” that would deliver “punchy images with high clarity, detail and realism.” Gaming is a focus for LG too. It has a new partnership with Google, which will see Google Stadia run on its TVs while Amazon Twitch has earned a prized position on LG’s "magic" remote control. A prototype of a 48-inch OLED capable of bending 1000mm from a conventional


flat screen into a curved display for greater immersion also targeted gamers.

PANASONIC Panasonic majored on OLED and also zeroed in on gamers with its 55-inch and 65inch JZ2000. The model is billed as having low latency and support for HDMI 2.1 variable refresh rates as well as frame rates up to 120fps. An AI processor can automatically detect what you’re watching or playing as well as the ambient light settings of the room you are in and calibrate settings including Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Adaptive for optimal viewing. As an example, Panasonic said it can detect a football game and adjust the picture accordingly to help accentuate things like the grass on the field or how players look. The AI system will also give you a sound setting that feels like you’re in the stadium, Panasonic said. Alongside Dolby Atmos support, the TV comes with side and upward-firing built-in speakers, which create what the company calls 360° Soundscape Pro.

HISENSE Hisense is adding an 8K up-rezzing chip to its flagship ULED TVs later this year and will promote this through its official partnership with the rescheduled Euro 2020 soccer tournament. Bigger news from the Chinese vendor, though, was the unleashing of a massive 300inch version of its TriChroma laser TV. These are laser projectors that use short throw technology to display 4K images on walls but Hisense has added a smart platform—AI cameras to support interaction like online karaoke and fitness and a TV tuner. “Laser TV is the only TV category which experienced growth in China last year,” said CEO Fisher Yu, who added that sales had rocketed 288% outside China in 2020. Since launching the first laser TV in 2014, Samsung, Sony and LG have followed suit with their own ranges. l

remote production

Integrated Production Tools Shine During Pandemic All-in-one systems more comfortable at home By Susan Ashworth

SAN FRANCISCO—Over the past 12 months, as the coronavirus pandemic fulminated around the world, production teams faced shuttered newsrooms, new safety protocols, news team layoffs and shelter-at-home orders. Then, ironically, demand for content skyrocketed as people began to shelter at home. And it quickly became clear that the day-today business of content production had to be rethought. For many media companies, steps like editing, graphics and proxy storage needed to move from on-premise locations and be accessible remotely to myriad staffers in their own homes.

The pandemic forced the content creation industry to figure out how it could respond to that demand, immediately. “The pandemic has transformed things a great deal,” said Damon Hawkins, product manager at Grass Valley. “Customers now want to do a lot more remote working,” he said, as the pandemic forced both technology companies and content creators to fast-track use of remote tools.


Damon Hawkins, Grass Valley product manager

It’s a trend that has long been on the horizon. “The movement towards partial or complete remote production was well underway before the current global health crisis,” said Matt

Allard, senior product marketing manager at Vizrt. “The impact of this emergency has been to significantly hasten the planning and implementation of some types of remote scenarios.”

©2020 TLS Corp. All Rights Reserved. C20/17064




remote production That includes organizations suddenly in lockdown that now needed an immediate solution as well as those that used the pause to rethink how they could deploy production resources. A driving factor in any solution is that there must be an increased level of integrated functionality, according to Allard. “Integrated systems enable a single operator to perform a variety of tasks, or multiple contributors to collaborate across the network remotely.” The upside of increased remote use of integrated systems means new opportunities for creativity and collaboration, without being limited to where staff and equipment resources are located. This has proven true for sports, broadcast news or houses of worship. “Sporting events may not have fans in the stadiums, but production crews developed ways to remotely broadcast and stream out games,” Allard said. “Broadcasters found new ways to remotely present information with technologies such as virtual sets and augmented reality graphics. When people were not able to attend classes or religious services in person, educational and religious organizations brought in integrated production solutions to produce and send out content to homes.”

NETWORK DEMAND Among all else, the year 2020 required the industry to think fast and adapt quickly. “On one hand the pandemic clearly accelerated our users’ desire to move to remote productions, so we spent a lot of time supporting our existing users through the transition,” said Graham Sharp, CEO of Broadcast Pix in Boston. Disparate entities like Saint Luke’s

ausbiz in Sydney Australia used a software-driven setup that included Vizrt’s Viz Verdi, Viz Pilot and Viz Engine systems.

Cathedral in Portland, Maine, livestreamed their worship services with Broadcast Pix equipment while educational broadcasters like GovTV in San Diego utilized the company’s integrated remote production control and streaming to produce coverage of live events remotely. The Broadcast Pix product line features an abstracted architecture such that the control surface and the inputs can be remote from the processing engine and connected by the public internet, Sharp said. “Most of the support we provided was not really on our product, but helping our users set up and connect their networks,” he said. “If there is one thing that this showed, it is that our industry has some work to do to become proficient in networks and network management.”

Broadcast Pix StreamingPix


February 2021 | www.tvtech.com |


COMBINING LIVE AND AUTOMATION Remote working has proven valuable to international outlets as well. The financial news channel ausbiz in Sydney, Australia, built an editorial news service where journalists could download and edit video content without needing a large, on-premise installation requiring expensive studio crews. The goal for ausbiz was to build a channel that caters to super niche audiences through a software-driven solution. Those pieces included Vizrt’s Viz Verdi, part of an automated digital media production system that combines live switching with studio automation, as well as the Viz Pilot newsroom graphics system and Viz Engine compositing and graphics solution. “Even during a lockdown, [the system was used to] combine live production with automation where a single journalist can produce an entire segment from start to finish,” Allard said. Software running on common off-theshelf computer hardware is continuing to upend legacy production systems running on dedicated hardware, said Allard, “that offers content production creators a more agile approach providing faster adoption of new capabilities and stands future-ready as requirements change.” Just as most major business software solutions have become virtualized to run in cloud environments, production software is also trending in the same way. “Besides more flexible access, users benefit from SaaS plans by better matching their needs and implementing a solution for limited time periods, and getting started with low upfront costs,” he said. This shift is indicative of where the industry is headed. Customers are looking for remote workflows, Hawkins said, and moving forward, he thinks more of them

remote production will be embracing the cloud. “Our actual working environment is being driven toward HTML 5 and web-based tool sets,” he said. “Even if workers are coming into the office, they want to work differently.” The use of remote technologies has impacted more than just large media companies. Rush Beesley, founder of RUSHWORKS in Dallas, said the company was quick to respond to the increased demand for its VDESK integrated production system from municipalities, houses of worship and entertainment production venues. The key, according to Beesley, has been a mix of robotic camera control coupled with remote production capability using the company’s LogMeIn remote access software, which enabled adaptation for different types of media. The demand for one-touch-type of productions led the company to upgrade its VDESK software to “make it even more powerful through the implementation of one-touch motion presets that greatly enhance remote production value,” Beesley said. As content creators continue to look for streamlined productions, media tech vendors expect to see demand for systems that allow productions to be manned by a skeleton crew if needed. “We project ... an even broader expansion of remote control capabilities, tightly integrated into ‘hybrid’ production scenarios which feature a mix of on-site attendees and remote participants,” Beesley said. “It’s the natural evolution of technology for a global society coping with requirements to remain physically distanced while accomplishing dayto-day job requirements.”

MAKE IT SIMPLE When the pandemic began in early 2020, companies took extraordinary steps to get customers up and running remotely. Grass Valley, for example, provided free trial licenses of Edius, its video editing software, in the early days of the pandemic. Others, like Broadcast Pix, rolled out dedicated streaming solutions like StreamingPix. “My key takeaway from the year was that our focus on ease of use was correct, but we did not go far enough,” Sharp said. “With everyone working from home and the market for streaming and remote production exploding, I think it showed the industry how complex most solutions are to install and use.” When developing StreamingPix, the company had ease-of-installation and ease-of-use in mind. “We packaged everything required in the box, including market-specific templates and even content to get our users up and running quickly,” Sharp added. Yet even as many media companies embrace remote operations, there will be others who are not ready to jump into the cloud full-time. “Not everyone wants to use the cloud and not everyone has the pockets deep enough for a mega infrastructure [shift],” Hawkins said. The future will undoubtedly be a mixture of both, he said. “The drive is toward the cloud but there is always the need for on-premise hardware.” What we can all agree upon is that a shift is certainly afoot. “We know that the audience has moved from traditional media to now include the internet and other forms of digital distribution,” said Dr. Andrew Cross, president of R&D for the Vizrt Group when he announced the introduction of the company’s new Flexible Access technology philosophy. “This [shift] represents the single greatest challenge that broadcast TV has ever faced in the last 50 years,” he said. “Business models have changed. People are viewing TV that is now being distributed on social media channels and online content portals, and this is a trend that will increasingly grow. “The world of broadcasting has changed so we can’t sit here and assume things are working the same way.” l twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | February 2021


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live performance

The main New World Performance Hall stage is wired for 20 UHD cameras. In this shot, Panasonic UHD PTZ cameras are set up adjacent to the performers.

Upgrading to UHD in the Age of Coronavirus Miami’s New World Symphony brings 4K to distance learning via 12G infrastructure By Dan Slentz

MIAMI—With the need for video production on the increase due to the pandemic, many performance venues around the world have scrambled to upgrade their production systems. At New World Symphony, the past few years brought major upgrades to the large performance hall’s video system to full UHD.   Unlike many other performance halls and public venues, New World Center, home of NWS, was prepared to produce videos under pandemic protocols, including a recent CBS TV special featuring national performers. Based in Miami, the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy (NWS), prepares graduates of music programs for leadership roles in professional orchestras and ensembles. The 33 year-old institution is lead by its co-founder and Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas and Lin and Ted Arison.

lent of a medium-sized TV studio. During the previous year's upgrade to UHD, we designed a setup to bring in some of the portable hall cameras as well as Panasonic UHD PTZ cameras. A small control room was created specifically for the STP, but we could control everything from the main control room if needed.    Since the pandemic greatly increased the need for distance learning, we decided to do a major update to those systems as well. This involved replacing the existing HD system with a new 64x64 12G For-A router, adding another smaller For-A HVS1200 UHD switcher controlled from our IT control room, adding a few additional practice rooms to the system,

plus four much larger practice areas. To bring everything up to New World’s current 12G system standards, more Panasonic UHD cameras were added, bringing our total count of these cameras to 22. We used Panasonic controllers to control the PTZs, with two in the central production control room, one in the STP mini control room, and two in the distance learning control room. Shifting the controller to a different group gives the various controllers the ability to control any camera. The main control area also has full shading control utilizing UHD scopes as well.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE Our design for the STP was part of the original performance hall build but updated by Enlighten Digital of Orlando, when they did the design and integration of the distance learning system. Having worked on our previous performance hall upgrades in 2019, Jaime Gurevich, the lead designer for Enlighten Digital and Rob Ross (Enlighten’s president) provided inaluable assistance.  The total cost of the STP and distance learning upgrades were north of $6 million. We’re still not quite done as the performance hall utilizes 14 Christie Roadie HD30k projectors and our outside projection system use three Christie Roadie 4K35 projectors, but we plan to replace all 17 projectors with RGB laser projectors of equal or higher lumen in 4K this summer. The system was designed to accommodate direct routing of 12G video from our For-A router to each projector, plus utilize DisplayPort over fiber to link our immersive projection system to its server system. In addition, we’re now creating two smaller “living rooms” out in our park using two portable (12- and 9-foot) LED walls. l Dan Slentz is the chief video engineer for NWS.

UPGRADE TO UHD Areas in the NWC that were scheduled to be upgraded prior to the pandemic included the symphony’s “SunTrust Pavilion," a very large performance space used for orchestral rehearsals, and home to our extensive distance learning video system. In the world of TV production, the STP would be the equiva-


February 2021 | www.tvtech.com |

Inside the mini STP control room looking into the SunTrust Pavilion


industry analysis

One Step Ahead How are media companies dealing with piracy in the age of COVID? By Dan Meier

LONDON—An event that may have gone unnoticed last December when the U.S. election was still dominating the news cycle, was the ratification of the “Protecting Lawful Streaming Act,” which makes stealing video streams a felony, to be treated the same as illegally distributing copyrighted TV and movies. And not a moment too soon—Q1 2020 saw a fourfold year-on-year rise in credential stuffing attacks against the media industry, according to a study by Akamai, which reported approximately 100 million malicious login attempts per day.

LOCKING DOWN STREAMS Clearly the pandemic has a role to play, since lockdowns ironically result in more breaches

of streaming security as a result of higher demand. Two months into lockdown last year, Nielsen reported that Americans were streaming twice as much content as in 2019. “Much of that traffic was driven by more people staying at home relying on streaming video for entertainment,” confirms Ian Munford, director of Media Product Marketing at Akamai. “In our '2020 State of the Internet/ Credential Stuffing in the Media Industry' report, we noted a spike in malicious login attempts against European video service providers and broadcasters that coincided with early lockdowns in the region. “While we can’t definitively state that the attempts were directly related to an increased demand for streaming, it’s certainly reasonable to draw at least some level of correlation between the two,” he continued. “Like many others, criminals were isolating at home as

well, and likely had more inclination and time to devote to nefarious activities.” Philip James, partner, privacy and security from D.C.-based law firm Eversheds Sutherland, concurs. “The appetite for entertainment remains high, and despite the pandemic, is supported by ease of access through mobile and tablets,” he said. “In addition, bandwidth and speed of streaming have increased, and on balance, have become proportionately better value.” Add to this today’s trend for film companies to release movies online that would traditionally have been tentpole theatrical events, and the seas of piracy grow even choppier. “The increasing proliferation of high-profile content, which would have ordinarily gone to theatrical release, is particularly attractive and some studios have decided to go straight to online stream rather than await theatrical re-

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industry analysis

Warner Bros’ release of

“Wonder Woman 1984”

SHIELDING CONTENT How then do broadcasters protect their content from the increasing threat of piracy? “Regardless of the scope, authentication and encryption are the keys,” said Wayne Pacena, director of engineering, Texas A&M University, KAMU FM & TV, adding that “the implementation is likely very different based upon the scope or context of what is being protected.” For instance, as sports rights holders up their defense game, pirates respond with equally sophisticated lines of attack. “During one particular sports tournament,

directly onto HBO Max made it the target of 10 percent

of all illegal TV or movie downloads

on the day it came out, according to piracy tracker TorrentFreak.

Warner Bros. Pictures

lease—with the exception of the Bond franchise, of course, which delayed its release of ‘No Time To Die’ twice as a result of the pandemic," James said. “One of the key reasons for awaiting theatrical release is likely to be security concerns around pirate copies of streamed content.” Indeed, Warner Bros’ release of “Wonder Woman 1984” directly onto HBO Max made it the target of 10% of all illegal TV or movie downloads on the day it came out, according to piracy tracker TorrentFreak. Writing in Quartz, Adam Epstein estimates “at least $20 million in lost revenue for the studio—and likely much more in subsequent weeks.” This places film studios in a position TV broadcasters have been in for decades, fending off pirates as tenacious as any foe of Wonder Woman. In 2021 Warner Bros is releasing all of its movies on HBO Max concurrently with their theatrical (and at the moment highly theoretical) release, leaving the company open to digital attacks and, depending on the appetite for the new "Space Jam" movie, losing millions in potential revenue.

Akamai anti-piracy specialists identified attack vectors changing on a daily and even hourly basis,” notes Munford. “It is for this reason that the means of protection against video piracy also needs to change. No longer is it possible to use one technology such as digital rights management or even watermarking as video pirates will find a way to circumnavigate the protection. “Responsible broadcasters are now looking to build protection throughout their value chain and adopting a 'zero trust' posture,” Munford added. “In practice, this means stepping up their investigatory and legal activities but also complementing this work by preventing access to internal production systems, preventing credential abuse, protecting APIs in addition to investing in real-time monitoring and stream revocation technologies.”

Daily Credential Abuse Attempts – Media

Malicious Login Attempts (Millions)

October 2019 – September 2020

300 M

200 M

100 M

0M Oct 19

Nov 19

Dec 19

Jan 20

Feb 20

Mar 20

Total Logins

Apr 20

May 20

Jun 20

Jul 20

Aug 20

Sep 20

Media Logins

According to an Akamai study, there was a steady stream of attacks against the video media industry, ramping up toward the end of Q2 and continuing on through the end of Q3 2020.


February 2021 | www.tvtech.com |


Oct 20

A SEACHANGE IN IP ST 2110—the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers’ standard for video transport over IP—is designed to enable interoperability between different systems when transmitting uncompressed audio and video over an IP network. Pacena emphasizes the difference between this kind of managed private media infrastructure and the public internet, whose “maze of independent interconnected networks… is simply not an appropriate network choice in which to implement SMPTE ST 2110.” By contrast, Pacena recommends a broadcaster’s IP network infrastructure employ a number of security measures or layers of protection, including “physical security, Ethernet switch port security, network (subnet) segmentation, packet filtering, access control, encryption and authentication.” A robust network is crucial to stopping the different forms of piracy increasingly jamming up digital space. Such attacks are now liable to prosecution as felonies, a welcome step for anti-piracy practitioners but far from exhaustive according to Minal Modha, consumer research lead at Ampere Analysis, who noted the continuing threat to live sports. “Sports is a good place to look when considering the battle against piracy,” Modha said. “Sport rights holders have been fighting it for years, have pumped large amounts of resources into it and are still facing big issues in tackling it. Pirates are using more advanced technology to stay ahead of the game and the vast number of streams available means that as soon as one is taken down, another replaces it almost instantly. “With the huge numbers of pirate services available and how lucrative it is, unless the bill results in a large number of prosecutions, I’m not sure it’s going to be a further deterrent,” she added. l

cloudspotter’s journal

Composing an Infrastructure in the Cloud Intelligent systems can now make monumental improvements in capabilities


sers of cloud services access a huge volume of capabilities, processes and opportunities when they open an account and start moving data through the system. These users—whether as businesses, individuals or government—are actively engaging in the continually changing digital transformation. This installment examines updates and concepts in what is referred to as a “composable” infrastructure. Agility is just one of the core reasons for EXPERTISE utilizing the cloud and its infrastructure. Karl Paulsen Other objectives include services that are “friction free,” with control systems that maximize available resources and systems that provide a peak ROI over an infrastructure organized using automated provisioning and intelligent managed resources. Each of these signify basic requirements and rationale for choosing a cloud solution, however, some still wish to have similar functionality in their own managed private datacenter. Infrastructures composed of compute and storage are built upon a foundational network with onramps and offramps between “groundbased” users and a cloud-provider that interleaves on a fabric that glues together those systems, which vacillate between compute and storage. Such an environment is being referred to as a “composable infrastructure,” that is, a fabric of Ethernet-based hardware and innovative software layered in a distributed network that claims no limitations (Fig. 1). Fully integrated datacenter solutions consist of controllers, switches and other hardware steeped in a managed set of software subsystems that respond to the needs and objectives of the consumers. Missing are the traditionally inherent constructs found mainly in on-premises implementations, which serve only the single sets of solutions for which they were conceived to provide. Conventional architectures for datacenters incur specific limitations based on how the topology of the switches and configurations are architected. For example, while it is possible to build a nonblocking fabric, such as in spine-and-leaf, it usually will require dedicating half the bandwidth in the top of rack (TOR) switches to that fabric, which in many designs and applications, is expensive.

PROTOCOLS, BOUNDARIES AND DISTRIBUTION System solutions are generally designed to maximize the usage of the available fabric connections (or links). Those designs then must further model for failure possibilities while mitigating the probability of network loops. Protocol boundaries (L2/L3 boundaries) are used as considerations whereby L2 (Layer 2) traffic is confined for communications to leaf nodes, while using L3 (Layer 3) addressing for inter-rack traffic. Evenly distributing bandwidth across the fabric is a target objective of the L2/L3 boundary. When the datacenter bandwidth cannot be evenly distributed or cannot consume bandwidths uniformly, load balancing will be necessary. Distribution models will be random,

driving the network design to some form of equal cost multipath technology (ECMP). Hot spots become the result of uneven traffic in the network, which is managed using techniques such as OSPF (open shortest path first).

LATENCY VARIATIONS AND WORKLOAD SEGMENTATION Latency is a direct consequence to variations in bandwidth. Latency should be deterministic and will generally be based on a specific workload. In leaf-and-spine, however, these are (generally) not the case. Multistage traffic transport can take on varying paths when considered end-to-end yielding to latency variances of great proportions and unpredictability. Boundaries, which are often determined by the networking topology’s wiring, can be harmful to workloads. A strategy to combat these variations is to use workload segmentation—something that the cloud-solution provider has baked into its own architectures given the variability and the multitude of applications expected (and managed for) in the cloud architecture.

READY-TO-GO REMOTE SOLUTIONS A customizable remote video production ecosystem for broadcast, cinema, and live events. In November 2020, cinematographer David Baillie partnered with Motion Impossible to demonstrate how productions and crew members could effectively social distance on set without compromising stunning, cinematic images, complete with camera movement. Baillie used a combination of ARRI SkyPanels, ALEXA Mini LF camera, and SRH-360 stabilized remote head paired with the Motion Impossible Agito robotic dolly system to show how effective the gear was on action sequences, drama, and even a car commercial. “Combining the ARRI SRH-360 and the Agito gives back to cinematographers much of the creativity and freedom of movement we had before COVID restrictions. In addition, they can often do away with the hassle of laying track. This is a combination I expect the industry to continue using long after we’ve all been vaccinated.” — David Baillie, BAFTA and Emmy-winning cinematographer



cloudspotter’s journal CONTROL PLANE/DATA PLANE Besides the above descriptions of latency, cloud-based bandwidths should be distributed based on workload needs. Bandwidth will be dynamic. Much like the loading required when the compute demand is high, and I/O is low, bandwidth among the compute-serving bare metal devices will be allocated according to the needs of the system. Conceptually this is better managed in a cloud-solution environment than in a firmly structured on-premises datacenter, simply because of cost-tovalue unpredictability. Datacenter topologies will typically utilize a control plane and data plane as their foundations. Often the datacenter’s control plane is tightly controlled. Only a limited set of protocols may be available and are usually not designed to facilitate external, user-defined and dynamic demands—ones that change upon need and are more likely designed for specific operational threads and models. SDN solutions, for “software-defined networking,” are used to address known limitations by decoupling the control plane from the network itself. Implementations of SDN made in early network archi-

In large cloud environments, intelligent routing distributes the pathing among the various connectivity components using composable— that is, capable of being assembled, alterable and then disassembled— networking, that found in fabric management components distributed throughout the cloud. High-performance, advanced fabrics can be found in closed systems to enable high-performance, cluster-based compute architectures. Ethernet- and IP-based networks previously suffered from these capabilities, but no longer. Such new approaches are evolving as cloud-based datacenters take on new foundations to serve the needs of an evolving set of clienteles, workloads and demands.

PERFORMANCE UPSURGES End-user customers, for the most part, are unaware of these accelerating background systems—they just see performance increases once their data gets into the cloud. Cloud providers can charge for the faster, more powerful services. Alternatively, building a new on-prem datacenter is further afforded Fig. 1: Composability in a data infrastructure depicts the relative changes and improvements in performance (time to deliver on the x-axis) and the comparative optimization of applications (y-axis) leading to IaaS in a composable environment.

tectures used fixed assumptions about how and where traffic would flow in that network. Cloud solutions, however, continually manipulate the flows and adjust (using principles of SDN) to mitigate the usually tightly controlled architectures, thus mitigating the fixed “single-lane/ road-like” architectures in a hardwired datacenter environment.

COMPOSABLE FABRIC A relatively new approach to resolving several of the issues described in these previous discussions looks at addressing data plane, control plane and integration plane (i.e., automation-centric) issues holistically and individually—and based upon dynamic workloads. In a composable architecture, the planes will independently evolve and leverage each other dynamically. Here, the data plane takes on the needs of physical connectivity across the network via its topology model. The data plane, through the application of distributed software, handles the functions of packet (data) forwarding—collapsing and routing the entire system to a single building block.


February 2021 | www.tvtech.com |


through similar interconnection solutions that leverage logic-based systems for TOR and rack-to-rack fabric topologies. Logical fabrics can be selectively placed throughout the system, thus utilizing composable software-centric control plane solutions (that is, an automated, self-managing set of software subsystems). New opportunities continue to grow outside the basic SDN controller’s ability to define workloads through server-based APIs or other associate parameters. By employing embedded protocols, equal-cost algorithms let workloads be autonomously managed without requiring the end user to manually manipulate the data services or integration plane. Results are transparent, no workload-awareness capabilities. Keeping the nuts-and-bolts necessities away from the user is a plus. Intelligent systems can now make monumental improvements in capabilities, driving the fluidity and flexibility of the cloud even higher. l Karl Paulsen is chief technology officer at Diversified and a frequent contributor to TV Technology in storage, IP and cloud technologies. Contact Karl at diversifiedus.com.

sports audio

Last year, NFL Films created an audio setup that accentuated broadcasts with crowd noise and reactions, which ESPN, CBS, NBC and Fox Sports all used during 2020 NFL broadcasts.

With Venues Largely Fanless, Sports Audio Evolves Replicating the fan experience ‘as best we can’ By Mark R. Smith

BALTIMORE—As the worldwide COVID-19 shutdown moves towards the one-year mark, Scott Pray recalled what was happening in March 2020 in the sports world, and in particular, sports audio. “Last April, the lead audio representatives of all of the networks were really against doing anything artificial,” said Pray, audio director for ESPN. “We’ve since changed our views. Our goal has always been to bring a good viewing and listening experience to the viewers; that now means they want the broadcast they saw pre-pandemic. “So our approach,” he added, “has been to try to replicate that experience as best we can.” Of late, that’s usually meant accentuating the broadcast with crowd noise and reactions that became complex enough that NFL Films created an audio setup that ESPN, CBS, NBC and Fox Sports used during 2020 NFL broadcasts.

STREAM IT At the start of the pandemic, Pray said that he and his colleagues “initially forgot” that adding crowd sounds meant they were “simply doing their jobs.” “That’s what happened when we were in the ‘NBA bubble’ for 95 days, [working in] the three [smaller than average NBA) arenas” at

the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex just outside of Orlando. Notably, since no fans were on hand, the actual sounds of the game reached the air—including the colorful language. “We went to a five-second delay to deal with that issue, but otherwise we tried not to vary our approach too much,” Pray said. “When we used crowd noise, it was incorporated from each team’s regular arena into the broadcast, as the NFL does.” However, Pray said while the NBA and NFL have both added sound, each league does so in different ways. For the NBA, the home arena sound is delivered into the arena, “but ESPN also takes a second feed to add to the broadcast mix,” he said. That’s different for NFL broadcasts. "In that case, there is a crowd murmur from the stadium feed,” Pray said. “Then the NFL takes a second stream with audio from the home team stadium, which is a separate feed. On ‘Monday Night Football,’ we had our A1 mixer executing commands for the different crowd sounds and adjusting levels for various game action,” such as touchdowns or penalty calls. NFL Films “provided the systems for most playbacks and we accepted it in 5.1 format and mixed it into the MNF broadcast,” said Pray, “but in the NBA bubble, Firehouse Productions provided six teams of two mixers each, one for the home team and one for the

visitor, and would feed the sound to us in 5.1. We also had an in-house disc jockey to enhance our presentation and make it more familiar” for the fans.

AHEAD OF THE GAME The concept of adding crowd noise to a broadcast was initially broached several years ago to Fox Sports by an audio mixer from Southern California, but wasn’t implemented until it suddenly became a need, not an option. The man behind the idea was Fred Vogler, president of Los Angeles-based Sonofans, who finally found his opportunity due to the pandemic. “Given the fanless sporting events, we thought that good crowd audio could enhance productions, so we proceeded with Fred, the NFL and NFL Films, which had also considered this approach,” said Michael Davies, senior vice president, field and tech operations for Fox Sports. Overall, said Davies, “the response has been very positive, so we [previously] added it onsite to our MLB, boxing, soccer and NCAA football coverage, with Sonofans curating various sounds for each sport from our four or five mixing stations.” For the “NFL on Fox,” the balance varies with each situation. “We score a game as you would a new movie with music, which takes special skills. Events on the field need a [man-

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | February 2021


sports audio ual] interpreter to find the correct response,” he said. “That’s taken some getting used to, but folks have gotten very, very good at this.” As for actual crowds, which have been as high as 25% capacity, the fans “can become pretty vocal and make up for the 75% who are missing,” said Davies. “Still, we need to figure out the right balance, because we didn’t want to mow over the real sounds in favor of what’s curated.” Like ESPN, Fox also incorporated the crowd murmur, or “walla” sound effect. “When the ‘walla’ was not as notable as it normally is,” he said, “we filled in the dead spots with the curated sounds.” There are two levels to the mix. “One is from the A1 mixer in the truck, who handles the usual field effects, announcers and music; then we feed the crowd in at very low latency from our L.A. broadcast center so [the mixer] can implement what they deem necessary—such as when a penalty call goes against the home team,” said Davies, adding, “That can be odd, however, if the opposing team has a large number of fans in the seats. That happens fairly often during NCAA football telecasts.”

NEW EVOLUTION Although Davies characterized mixing sounds in the current environment as “complex,” he’s already seen an evolution. “We’re constantly hunting out new sounds and tools in the tool box, so our mixers can get the most authentic reaction,” he said. “There was even some thought of going all virtual with the sound, with a kind of noise floor during the baseball postseason, even to the point of pumping it into the stadium.” And as Pray pointed out, “with no crowd, you

At Sonofans, in Los Angeles, Nick Taylor, home team operator (left); and Diego Rodriquez, away team operator (right), work with audio mixer Michael Sheppard to provide the crowd reactions with claps, cheers and boos and the other sounds fans make during a typical NFL game.

can hear the field effects more [to the degree that it resembles] almost a studio environment,” Davies said, “but while the mic distribution plan didn’t really change, how we mix did. For instance, during the latter games of the World Series and in working with NFL Films, we relied on NFL Films to mic certain players—not so much for people talking, but for the effects.” Sometimes, that hasn’t been necessary. “The one thing we leaned into in the second half of the NFL season was the sound coming off the field,” said Fred Gaudelli, executive producer of “NBC Sunday Night Football.” “Because there’s [virtually] no one in the stadium, those sounds were heard in a way that came through loud and clear. We were hearing things that you would have never, ever heard before.” Mike Francis, vice president of remote engineering for CBS Sports, said that sound accents of a game come not only from the fans and players, but from other influences, too. “The 32 [NFL] venues are all different animals in relation to acoustics, which the crowd can generally equalize,” he said.

Wendel Stevens, A1 mixer for NBC Sports


February 2021 | www.tvtech.com |


With NFL Films providing a home crowd mix for all of the networks, Francis said the balance of mixing the live and artificial crowds “has been educational and challenging, partially because it masks the acoustic issues in a given stadium. That’s hard to handle on an architectural level.” That issue even extends to announcers, who he said “feed off the crowd.” “Early on, we were tentative in how much stadium sound we gave [the talent], but many of them wanted as much as they could get to provide energy for their call,” Francis said. “Each has their own preferences for the decibel level and just how much crowd they want to hear in their headset.” On the technology side, CBS broadcast up to eight NFL games a day, with Calrec the audio console of choice. Microphone acquisition is a combination of the Calrec Hydra II, Dante audio-over-IP “and some good, old-fashioned analog copper, in case something goes wrong,” Francis said. “The technical interfaces are between CBS’s main mixer in its truck and its audio quality control team in its broadcast center in New York, which interacts with the NFL Films crowd mixer to ensure that the audio matches the events on the field,” he added. “They’re able to note the subtleties that come from football intelligence.” What CBS did during the NFL playoffs depended on the venue. “That’s because 15,000 people in Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City may sound like 30,000 in another stadium,” Francis said. And repeating venues in the playoffs is helpful to keep everyone on the same page.” Changes CBS, which is broadcasting Super Bowl LV, made for the postseason included repositioning parabolic mics on the field “due to the expansion of the benches for social distancing, which has made them harder to fit in the right spot; the sounds can be pretty shocking,” said Francis. “It’s audio you might not have heard before.” l

rf technology

tinySA: Finding Interference and Aiming Antennas The latest RF equipment for your field backpack


from China at the Zeenko Store on ong time readers know I like to test AliExpress (aliexpress.com). I ordered compact and, where possible, lowmine from another store I trusted on cost equipment. Recently I found AliExpress and it took a month to another tool to add to my backpack arrive. Half that time was spent when I get back on the road. making it through USPS mail Seven years ago, wanting a spectrum after it arrived in the United analyzer I could throw in my laptop bag, I States. spent around $500 (I don’t remember the exact price) for a 5 GHz spectrum analyzer a bit bigger than a USB flash drive POSSIBLE PROBLEMS from Triarchy. The company is Before you get too still around selling miniature USB excited, this unit, like the spectrum analyzers that can cover first NanoVNA units, has frequencies up to 8.15 GHz. I’m limitations. However, within sure the analyzer and associated its primary frequency span software have improved since I from 0.1 to 350 MHz and even bought my unit. the expanded “high” range Recently we’ve seen the introthat goes to 950 MHz, it is quite duction of a number of innovausable and offers some features tive, low-cost, RF instruments. not present in my older Triarchy EXPERTISE The NanoVNA, which I’ve written analyzer. While it is not much Doug Lung about before, is one of these and bigger than a USB ATSC tuner, it the basic design has been imincludes a rechargeable battery proved to where the performance is now close and a tiny 2.8-inch (diagonal) LCD touchto units costing orders of magnitude more. screen (see photo). It seemed to me that with the right firmThe tinySA low input for frequencies below ware, the NanoVNA could be turned into 350 MHz has filtering and adjustable attenua spectrum analyzer. As far as I know, that ation in 1 dB steps between 0 dB and 31 dB. It hasn’t happened, but I found the tinySA specincludes a built-in level calibrator for this intrum analyzer for around $50! Details can be put and after calibration specified accuracy is found at www.tinysa.org/wiki. ±1 dB. With a resolution bandwidth of 30 kHz, The unit is sometimes available in the U.S. it can detect signals down to –102 dBm. Spurfrom R&L Electronics (randl.com) or direct free dynamic range is 70 dB at that resolution

tinySA size as compared with USB tuner

bandwidth. Frequency accuracy is specified as the selected resolution bandwidth, which can be set to 3, 10, 30, 100, 300 or 600 kHz or set to “auto.” Not bad for $50! I know many, if not most, readers will be interested in how it performs using the “free” high input that covers 240 MHz–950 MHz. The first thing to know is there is no filtering on this input and no internal attenuation. Filters and attenuators can be obtained from RF component manufacturers like Mini Circuits (minicircuits.com) and added externally. While the input impedance of the low input is 50 ohms if 10 dB internal attenua-

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | February 2021


rf technology tion is added, without an external attenuator the impedance of the high input will vary. The high input also does not work with the internal level calibrator, so for calibration an external reference is needed. Since there is 100 MHz of overlap between the low and high inputs, you can use the low input to measure a signal in the overlap band and then switch it to the high input and manually adjust the level calibration to match (at that frequency). Without the filtering, the high input is also subject to images. The firmware includes an option to mask nearby “mirror images.” When using this to look at DTV signals in the UHF TV band I did not find images to be an issue. Fig. 1 shows a screenshot of the FM band as seen at my house. The third signal from the left (90.7 MHz) is coming from Maui, which is 94 miles away with at least one obstruction. The four stronger signals are from a site only 2.4 miles away, with one obstruction. Fig. 2 shows a scan of the UHF TV band. The Channel 36 signal (far right) is from a 213-watt ERP translator 5.5 miles away and line of sight. The tilt is due to roll-off from the Antra ATF-600 LTE filter. The Channel 28 signal is interesting as the K28JV transmitter site is in the opposite direction (in Hilo) and blocked by terrain. None of the other Hilo stations are visible in the plot. Even with the compromises on the high input, the performance isn’t bad. The high input should work fine at UHF for things like tracking down interference to wireless microphones or aiming TV antennas,

Fig. 1: tinySA FM band display

but it is probably a good idea to add a 10 dB attenuator or two to the high input if working in a strong signal environment. I have not had a chance to test the tinySA at a broadcast site such as Mount Wilson. I fear the plastic case will lead to problems even with input attenuators. The tinySA wiki warns about this in its “limitations” section.

AVAILABLE SOFTWARE The 320 x 240 pixel screen will limit measurement resolution but some early software is available for using the tinySA with a PC. The

As always, I welcome comments and questions. Email me at dlung@transmitter.com. If I’m busy I may not respond right away and if the email gets buried too deep I might miss it. If you don’t get a response within a week or so, email me again.

Fig. 2: tinySA UHF TV band display


February 2021 | www.tvtech.com |

page also has a link to a version of tinySA-Saver based on NanoVNA-Saver that will run in Linux or Mac OS. The instructions, however, appear to be written for use with a NanoVNA, not a spectrum analyzer and unfortunately most of the tinySA settings are not available in tinySA-Saver, at least that I could see in the version tested in early January. The tinySA-App for Windows worked quite well and was used to generate the screenshots for Figs. 1 and 2. The app can switch between the low and high modes. There is obviously room for improvement here. In the FAQ section of the wiki the designers indicate more advanced (and expensive) units may be offered if there is enough interest in the $50 unit to justify production. Considering the size and cost of a signal meter for aiming a TV antenna or a larger portable spectrum analyzer, it was an easy decision to spend $50 for a device that not only provides an amplitude indication but also a spectrum display and can fit in my shirt pocket. I wouldn’t mind spending $150 for a unit with wider frequency range, a metal case and perhaps a 4-inch screen. As always, I welcome comments and questions. Email me at dlung@transmitter.com. I try to answer all emails promptly, but if I’m busy and the email gets buried I might miss it. If you don’t get a respond within a week or so, email me again. l


eye on tech | product and services Flexible Access

Premista 19-45mm Lens

Flexible Access is a new subscription model from Vizrt made up of five suites to provide customers with new and simplified ways to adapt their content production software tools, as well as scale up or down based on production needs. The suites being offered by Vizrt include Vizrt Newsroom, Vizrt Extended Reality (XR), Vizrt Production Control, Vizrt Media Workflow and Vizrt Channel Branding. According to Vizrt, they will bill customers “for what they need when they need it,” and has been described by Vizrt as a new way of partnering with customers. z For additional information, contact Vizrt at 212-560-0708 or visit www.vizrt.com.

The Premista 19-45mm T2.9inch lens is a wideangle lens that supports large-format sensors and can deliver high resolution, bokeh and tonal images with HDR. Premista 19-45mm was developed with Fujifilm’s optical technology and offers a constant T-stop of 2.9 across focal lengths; features large-diameter aspherical lens elements; a 13-blade iris design; a unique zooming system for edge-to-edge sharpness; and can reduce distortion across the zoom range. It also supports ZEISS eXtended Data, which can record metadata when shooting to reduce video-editing workloads in post production. z For additional information, contact Fujifilm at 914-789-8100 or visit www.fujifilm.com.

MediaCentral | Stream MediaCentral | Stream is a software-only package that supports IP contribution from anywhere and any device. Users can use it to preview incoming streams, record them and edit media while the recording is ongoing. It also provides support for the RTMP and SRT IP stream protocols. Content streamed as IP through MediaCentral | Stream can be used like other content ingested into Avid production environments, including editing or previewing in MediaCentral or MediaComposer platforms. Remote streams can also be accepted in a variety of formats. z For additional information, contact Avid at 978-640-6789 or visit www.avid.com.

IP Link 3.0 An ATSC 3.0 studio transmitter link (STL) system, the IP Link 3.0 enables broadcasters to upgrade to ATSC 3.0 and carry high-quality IP video data from studio to transmitter over RF links. The IP Link 3.0 uses high-order modulations and forward error correction to provide stations with an RF link that requires minimal bandwidth allocations. When coupled with ATSC 3.0, IP Link 3.0 offers features that include the delivery of public alert and mission-critical video and images to local and regional first responders as well as targeted educational programs. z For additional information, contact Vislink at 908-852-3700 or visit www.vislink.com.


UReady Series Densitron has introduced two new additions to its UReady lineup of control and monitoring products, the 4RU 19-inch Rack Control and Monitoring Surface and the UReady 2RU Control Surface powered by the X86 platform. The 4RU touchscreen model provides a 1920x624 16.9-inch display that can feature multiple video picture monitor and audio level displays side-by-side and can be used as an interactive signal interface. The 2RU touchscreen model display offers 1920x285 pixels and provides wide-angle symmetric viewing for work in control and monitoring environments. z For additional information, contact Densitron at 951-284-7600 or visit www.densitron.com.

Updates to Telestream’s CaptionMaker authoring software are designed to simplify IMF (Interoperable Master Format) file-production and delivery processes for broadcast networks and content distributors. As part of the update, CaptionMaker now supports IMSC 1.1, the latest version of the SMPTE standard for subtitling and captioning, which is required for many global companies producing content, including Netflix. CaptionMaker can be used to author, edit, encode and repurpose video captions and subtitles, which can then be included in Telestream’s Vantage platform when creating primary and supplemental IMF packages. z For additional information, contact Telestream at 530-470-1300 or visit www.telestream.net. twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | February 2021


equipment guide | signal conversion/closed captioning

KADO-CD Taps Digital Alert Systems to Add VIDS to KADO-CD EAS USER REPORT By Chad Giddens Media Director KADO-CD TV40

SHREVEPORT, La.—As the Shreveport affiliate for the Daystar Television network, KADO-CD TV 40 offers family and spiritually oriented programming. We take pride in serving our community, and also recognize the important role local broadcasters play in emergency communications. We view relaying potentially life-saving messages through the U.S. Emergency Alert System (EAS) our sacred duty as a “first informer.” We used to rely on older EAS equipment that was functional but highly outdated and becoming unstable. It was time to upgrade to more reliable EAS and Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) equipment that would be properly secured, fully compliant and up to date. We also needed an SDI-based solution that would be easier to manage and update to meet the FCC’s latest EAS/CAP requirements. Additionally, we needed a better way to display our station ID.

A MODERN SOLUTION To meet these requirements, we have adopted Digital Alert Systems’ DASDEC EAS/CAP encoder/decoder platform working in concert with a ChyTV computer graphics and display solution from DigIT Signage Technologies. DASDEC is a reliable, secure, all-in-one EAS system that can be easily updated to the latest FCC standards as required. The DASDEC and ChyTV unit features seamless SDI and embedded audio capabilities. With other EAS systems, creating


February 2021 | www.tvtech.com |

DASDEC has helped KADO deploy Visually Integrated Display Symbology with their EAS messages.

audio alerts is a manual process that requires de-embedding the audio, connecting to analog, dropping in the EAS alert audio, reconverting to digital and then finally re-embedding the audio. DASDEC handles the entire process, removing points of failure and saving us from having to jump through six different conversion devices. We found the combination of DASDEC and ChyTV gear extremely fast and easy to install and deploy, and both solutions checked off all my boxes for EAS and graphics capabilities. We only encountered one small computer-related issue with the install, and the Digital Alert Systems and ChyTV teams gave twitter.com/tvtechnology

us outstanding support. They not only fixed the issue, but they showed me how it happened, how to test for it and how to fix it if it should ever occur again.

VISUAL DISPLAY OF EAS MESSAGES We’re proud to say that KADO-CD TV40 is the firstever deployment of the Visually Integrated Display Symbology (VIDS) recommended practice developed by the NextGen Video Information Systems Alliance (NVISA), whose members include Digital Alert Systems and DigIT/ ChyTV. VIDS was created with the goal of improving the visual presentation of emergency alerting

information on video displays, with the system guiding the implementation of emergency warning graphic interfaces, including the addition of dynamic elements. When used with Digital Alert Systems’ EAS-Net communications protocol, VIDS displays both a text crawl and symbolic element corresponding with the current alert state. In addition, icons for specific types of alerts can remain after the text has completed its required display cycle. VIDS gives us seamless station ID schedules and also the ability to display clear, highly readable emergency messages that meet all FCC requirements. Even better, we’re able to present the messages in ways that are especially compelling to our local audience. The visual icon representing the alert type helps communicate the information clearly to viewers who may not be able to understand a text-only alert. By collaborating to create a highly effective new EAS protocol, Digital Alert Systems and ChyTV are plotting the future course of emergency alerting. They have sent a strong signal that they are committed to their customers and, by extension, the future of the industry. We could not be more pleased with our choice of these companies to take KADO into the next generation of emergency alerting. l Chad Giddens has worked for Life United, the owner of KADO, for 25 years. He manages all of the audio, video and lighting for the station. He can be contacted at wolmedia@mac.com. For more information, contact Digital Alert Systems at 585-7652254 or visit www.digitalalertsystems.com.

equipment guide | signal conversion/closed captioning

WISH-TV Expands Captioning With ENCO’s enCaption4 USER REPORT By Mike Selby Staff Engineer WISH-TV

INDIANAPOLIS—WISH-TV is a proud affiliate of The CW Network and delivers the latest breaking news under our News 8 brand. Our owner, Circle City Broadcasting, also owns and operates MyNetworkTV affiliate WNDY-TV (“MyINDY-TV 23”), which provides around-the-clock entertainment, sports and local interest programming to central Indiana viewers.

tioning. Our main goal wasn’t necessarily to save money, but more importantly to allow us to caption a larger portion of our content in a more cost-effective manner.

THE EVOLUTION OF CAPTIONING I had looked at automated speech-to-text technologies around eight years ago, but their accuracy wasn’t good enough at the time. Our chief engineer, Glenn Edwards, kept following automated-captioning technology and read a favorable review of ENCO’s enCaption4 system, which would allow us to caption

Since then, we have expanded our use of enCaption4 across both WNDY and WISH. enCaption4’s REST API gives us a lot of flexibility in setting up our captioning operations exactly the way we want them and controlling enCaption4 through our own custom software. Our IT developer created an application that runs on a Raspberry Pi platform and enables us to easily start and stop the captioning process. Our homebrew software also uses GPIOs on the Raspberry Pi to trigger the switching of our AJA KUMO router to the desired SDI source for our enCaption4 system, and to connect enCaption4 to the appropriate downstream caption encoder. In this manner, we can use our single enCaption4 system on our choice of the WISH, WNDY or control room signals.


With the enCaption 4 platform, WISH-TV was able to bring captioning in-house.

Until recently, all of our closed captioning was done by human transcribers through a closed-caption service company that would dial in to our caption encoders. The huge amount of local news content we produce— up to 12 hours per day—required a lot of dial-ins. With the rates charged by such services, our captioning costs were very high. We wanted to find a better way of doing our closed cap-

more of our programs for less money than we were paying for dial-in captioning. So we requested a demo unit for a trial. It worked right out of the box and we were impressed with its accuracy. The first program we used enCaption4 on was the locally produced TV version of nationally syndicated radio show “The Bob & Tom Show,” which started airing on WNDY in October.

In addition to its cost efficiency, enCaption4 has also benefited our stations by allowing us to quickly respond to unexpected, last-minute captioning requests. When our newsroom notifies engineering that they have a breaking news special they need captioned, we can just click a button to start captioning and another to stop it when the report is done. It’s a very fast and easy process, and we can get captioning on-air right away without needing to make arrangements with an external service. enCaption4 has enabled us to expand our closed captioning to nearly everything we do. Having a machine that can handle all of our captioning needs is like a dream come true. I’m impressed with how far the technology has come over the years, specifically enCaption4. We had long hoped

that someone would offer speechto-text capabilities that work accurately enough for our on-air needs, so we could just hit a button and have it work. ENCO has done that with enCaption4. l Mike Selby is staff engineer at WISH-TV. He can be contacted at mike.selby@wishtv.com. For more information, visit www.enco.com or contact Sam Bortz at ENCO Systems in Michigan at 248-827-4440.

buyers brief

AJA 12G-AM & 12G-AMA Mini-Converters AJA’s 12G-AM and 12G-AMA Mini-Converters, available in a range of model variations for transmitting and receiving signals, are designed to simplify AES or analog embedding/disembedding. 12G-AM offers eight channels of AES audio embedding/ disembedding, while 12G-AMA provides four-channels of audio transmission. Both models feature support for 12G-SDI BNC input and output up to 4K/UltraHD, and audio embed/disembed functions are simultaneously active. Eightor four-channel-balanced XLR input and output is provided via the supplied breakout cable, and models with optional LC or ST Fiber connectors extend signals long distances over a single cable. z For more information, contact AJA at 530-274-2048 or visit www.aja.com.

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | February 2021


equipment guide | signal conversion/closed captioning

MultiDyne’s 12G openGear Solutions Amplify Fiber Transport for Symphony USER REPORT Rob Ross President Enlighten Digital

SAN FRANCISCO—While the pandemic has temporarily changed live entertainment, it hasn’t fully ceased. In the classical music world, organizations such as the San Francisco Symphony have continued to perform for audiences through digital platforms. These organizations will hopefully return to performing for live in-venue audiences before too long, but regardless of how they deliver live performances, they still require professional video and audio systems. The 2,700-seat Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall is home to the San Francisco Symphony and until recently had very limited production capabilities. Working with Enlighten Digital and systems integration partner Sunshine Audio Video, the symphony quickly went from zero to 14 cameras, and built a new control room to support live production and recording. Enlighten Digital raised the bar by specifying a 12G uncompressed fiber transport and signal conversion infrastructure from MultiDyne.

KEEPING EVERYTHING CONNECTED The infrastructure is impressive, with 32 strands of fiber available to transport signals from all 14 Panasonic PTZ cameras. Each camera is equipped with a 250-foot spool of cable with fiber for connec-


February 2021 | www.tvtech.com |

tivity in three areas: the main performance hall, a small studio and the “soundbox,” a smaller adjacent venue. Each area has direct fiber home run to the new central control room, which includes a green room. Depending on the size of

Panasonic’s 12G optical camera output option. MultiDyne developed properly matched CWDM SFPs for each camera to ensure consistency when taking in multiple 4K signals from multiple cameras. These 12G video signals are multiplexed and

racks as needed. That provides commonality beyond any other fiber transport on the market, with the added benefit of using openGear’s Dashboard to monitor performance and make adjustments on the fly directly from a laptop. MultiDyne’s technical support was also critical to our success. Due to a deadline, we were unable to perform our typical testing and commissioning process at the venue. MultiDyne’s sales and engineering team were available on short notice, and helped us deal with the technical challenges. l Rob Ross is the president of Enlighten Digital. He can be reached at rob@enlightendigital.com. For more information, please contact Matt Watkins at MultiDyne at MattW@multidyne.com, or visit the company’s website at www.multidyne.com.

buyers brief

Using MultiDyne’s openGear technology, each production area for the San Francisco Symphony can be connected back to a main control room.

the event, one of three mobile equipment racks are used; the smallest can accommodate four cameras and the largest all 14, along with monitors and other gear. A mix of MultiDyne’s modular openGear fiber solutions accommodates the varied transport and conversion needs, including OG-4603 transmitter cards, OG-4607 receiver cards and OG-5310 video distribution amplifiers. We also use MultiDyne’s CWDM card, which can multiplex multiple cameras over one fiber to optimize signal transport. The CWDM (course wavelength division multiplexer), has the added benefit of supporting twitter.com/tvtechnology

then sent into the OG-4603 card, along with AES audio, genlock, timecode and serial data.

MIX AND MATCH MultiDyne’s diverse feature set and capabilities were instrumental in our decision. While other vendors provide plenty of options for throwdown boxes, we wanted a more elegant and flexible solution. A bidirectional, multipoint fiber transport system like this would require multiple throwdown boxes and auxiliary devices. MultiDyne’s openGear solutions allow technicians to mix and match cards within and share frames across different

Riedel MediorNet MuoN MediorNet MuoN SFPs are pluggable gateway and processing devices that can be used inside Riedel VirtU frames or inside COTS IP switches. The MuoN devices feature different input and output configurations, including BNC, fiber or HDMI (1.4 and 2.0). It is also available as an IP-to-IP SFP without external connectors. The MuoN SFP has a software-defined platform with up to four spaces per MuoN SFP. can also be configured with different apps to be used as an up/ down/cross converter, encoder or decoder, an audio router or a 16x1 multiviewer. z For more information, visit


equipment guide | signal conversion/closed captioning

Holley Connects Remote Viewing Kits With Blackmagic Converters UR-Blackmagic USER REPORT By Zachery Holley Owner Holley Video Consultation

BURBANK, Calif.— Since the pandemic hit in early 2020, there’s been a huge decrease in the amount of cast and crew on the typical production set. So, in response to the old maxim “the show must go on,” I developed and built remote viewing kits to help minimize the amount of crew on set, while production could still remotely view the cameras and make decisions offsite, while working from home. As it happened, I had been playing with Blackmagic Design’s ATEM Mini switcher line and its Web Presenter for several months. As did most, I watched Zoom become the preferred standard among most people working from home. In putting two and two together, I designed a small rack that takes two video sources and puts them in a Zoom meeting.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER Basing my rack off the ATEM Mini Pro, I took two of the switchers and attached them on top of my rack. With custom-designed panels, I put four SDI inputs and one SDI output on the left side, and on the right I put one SDI input and one HDMI input. The four SDI inputs on the left patched into Blackmagic Design’s MultiView 4, allowing me to create my own quad split for shows that didn’t generate a multiview. I took the SDI out of the MultiView 4 and looped into one of Blackmagic Design’s SmartView Duo monitors; while on the right, I put a Blackmagic Micro Converter BiDirectional

The ATEME Mini Pro was the basis for Holley to create a Zoom meeting to review content.

SDI/HDMI 3G, which let me take either SDI or HDMI as another source. The SDI output from that converter feeds another SmartView Duo. The HDMI output from both the MultiView 4 and the Micro Converter feeds into input 1 of each ATEM Mini Pro, and the USB-C output of each ATEM Mini Pro feeds into a MacBook. From those computers, I can host two Zoom meetings with the show feeds. The response was incredible.

I have made many of these kits, and they have been a huge factor in keeping the executives and other producers involved with decision-making, while limiting the number of crew on set. The workflow has been used on many shows and projects, including “The Weakest Link,” the BET Awards, Nickelodeon’s “NickMas” special and more. As we begin 2021, I’m excited for this workflow to continue to aid productions and support remote connectivity. l

Zachery Holley is a video engineer and owner of Holley Video Consultation. He is based out of Burbank, Calif., and works in live entertainment. He has contributed to shows such as the Academy Awards, the Emmys and the Grammys. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his family and traveling. He can be reached at zak@holleyvideo.com. For more information, contact Blackmagic Design at 408-9540500 or visit www.blackmagicdesign.com.

buyers brief EEG iCap Alta EEG’s Alta product line provides video closed-captioning encoding for IP video production. Alta is compatible with any source of iCap captioning, either human or automatic. The iCap Alta software caption encoder takes in locally-produced plain-text telnet captioning. SCTE-35 Regionalization and Ad Triggering Digital Program Insertion cues can both be injected into transport streams as well as being fully read and analyzed. Alta supports U.S., U.K. and EU captioning and subtitling standards. Servers are available in two sizes: one with up to five streams and one with up to 20 streams. z For more information, contact EEG at 516-293-7472 or visit www.eegent.com.

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | February 2021


equipment guide | signal conversion/closed captioning buyers briefs Imagine Communications Selenio Network Processor For-A FA-9600 The FA-9600 is a 12G/6G/3G/HD/SD multipurpose signal processor with support for HDR and wide color gamut as well as conversion format delivery, including 12G, 4K/UHD, 1080p and HD/SD. Among the main features for the FA-9600 are two HD/SD inputs that include a frame synchronizer; 12G-SDI terminals with optional software doors for 4K/UHD production; an optional expansion card for four more channels of 3G-SDI input/output or six channels of 12G-SDI distributed output; color processing circuit; optional converter circuit; and audio processing.

SNP is a network-based video conversion processor, with 32 1080P paths (8x UHD) and software-reconfigurable for varied functionality― all in a low-power 1RU chassis and consolidated main/protect 100GBE network interfaces. SNP supports HD/UHD and SDR/HDR conversion applications in HLG, PQ and S-Log3. Production-specific LUTs can be uploaded, enabling conversion and processing to match specific production grading. SDI and IP (ST 2110 and ST 2022) are simultaneously supported to integrate in traditional environments. SNP also offers software personalities for HDR-aware Production Multiviewing. Upcoming releases add internal audio processing (upmix/downmix), JPEG-XS encoding and decoding. z For more information, contact Imagine at 866-446-2446 or visit


Cobalt Digital 9904-UDX-4K

z For more information, contact For-A at 714-894-3311 or visit www.for-a.com.

Cobalt’s next generation of scaler/frame synchronizers for the openGear platform, the 9904-UDX-4K upconverts 12G/6G/3G/HD/SD to either UHD or 3G-SDI formats or can output ST 2082 12G-SDI for single-wire 4K transport. It can also downconvert 12G and quad UHD. In addition to the SDI-based model, the 9904-UDX-4K-IP supports emerging uncompressed video/audio/data over IP standards, and the DSP model supports Dolby Real-Time Loudness Leveling automatic loudness processing, Dolby E/D/D+ encode/ decode and Linear Acoustic UPMAX automatic upmixing. z For more information, contact Cobalt Digital at 217-344-1243 or

visit www.cobaltdigital.com.

Interra Systems Baton Captions

Digital Nirvana Trance Trance is a cloud-based, enterprise-level SaaS platform with AI technology, accessible from any web-enabled computer to autogenerate transcripts, create closed captions and translate text into more than 100 different languages. With Trance, content producers can predefine captioning parameters, such as the number of lines, line length and the total number of characters to auto-confirm with style guidelines for distribution. The platform orchestrates the entire captioning process—from STT to transcript to captioning to output—and provides a project management layer to streamline critical tasks. Operators can also designate jobs based on priority.

Interra’s Baton Captions is designed to manage captions using automatic speech recognition and can help correct alignment and suggest correct text and missing dialogs in captions. Baton has different models for caption correction and generation, which can check captions against actual audio essence, corrected and exported to an industry supported caption format. Additional features include auto time stamping, web services-based API support and a review and editing platform. It can be used with on-prem or in the cloud options.

z For more information, contact Digital Nirvana at

z For more information, contact Interra Systems at 408-579-2000 or visit

510-226-9000 or visit www.digital-nirvana.com.



February 2021 | www.tvtech.com |


equipment guide | cellular eng

Lynx Technik yellobrik OTR 1A41 The yellobrik OTR 1A41 is a self-contained fiber transmission kit for the transport of SDI signals over a single fiber link. The kit includes the fiber transmitter, fiber receiver and power supplies. OTR 1A41 supports four independent 12G/3G/HD/SD-SDI channels, which can be transported as uncompressed 8K signals. The system can also be used for any combination of SDI signals. Each channel will automatically detect and relock SDI bitrates of 270 Mbit, 1.5 Gbps, 3 Gbps and 12 Gbps. There is also embedded audio/ metadata support for each channel and LED indicators for channel presence and power.

North TV Cuts From Cable With Comrex LiveShot

Comrex LiveShot has allowed North TV to shoot more on-the-go.


z For more information, visit


Evertz Caption Conductor Caption Conductor is a real-time, flexible captioning over IP system. Using a web-based interface, Caption Conductor connects caption encoders with live captioners over IP to replace previous analog connection methods, but enables the use of familiar authoring software. Captioners can obtain encrypted audio and video directly from a program using either OvertureRT LIVE media playout servers or Evertz’ 7825CCE-AUD-3G with audioto-IP streaming. Station engineers can monitor live activity on caption jobs and control all real-time captions from a single interface. System supports carriage of caption/ subtitle data for North American and European systems. z For more information, contact Evertz at 905-335-3700 or visit www.evertz.com.

Chris Miller Director of Operations North TV

NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass.— North TV is a community media station serving North Attleboro, Mass. With three channels dedicated to community, government and education-related programming respectively, we provide a wide range of PEG content for our audience. We do everything from high school sports to news to school events and government meetings—altogether, about 600 hours of programming annually. In the past, we performed most of our remote broadcasts from cable drops located in various parts of North Attleboro. We have five live drop areas from which we can do programming, but we’ll never be able to add to that. If we wanted to cover a school graduation, we could only do it if it was indoors—anything away from those drops was not possible. We knew we needed a new

solution that would let us broadcast from anywhere. I learned about the Comrex LiveShot online by searching for similar equipment, and it seemed like a solution that would work for us.

A QUICK STUDY When we were ready to purchase, my staff and I saw LiveShot in person at an ACM conference in Minneapolis, and scheduled a demo shortly after. (The Comrex demo program allows anyone to try any piece of equipment free for two weeks.) Once it was installed, it was so simple to use that we purchased our own shortly after. LiveShot is surprisingly easy to use. It’s simple enough that I can give a person here who’s never seen or operated LiveShot a 10-minute explanation of how it works and they’ll be able to operate it without a problem— that’s critical with the volunteers we have (our part-timers can operate LiveShot as well). There’s always a learning curve at first, but once I learned the terminology, how to run

tests, and how connections work, it was easy. Since beginning to use LiveShot, we’ve covered a range of live events in locations that weren’t accessible before. We’ve done Thanksgiving football live, outdoor graduations, high school Super Bowls from Gillette Stadium—this was never possible in the past. We’ve covered political forums where candidates speak outside live, meetings, anything you can think of. The results have been great. LiveShot is the right system for us and has worked out wonderfully. We’ve used it in high pressure situations, events that we advertised heavily and if it didn’t work, we would have looked really bad. But I have enough confidence to let the community know about it, and it’s always worked. I highly recommend it. l Chris Miller is the director of operations for North TV. He can be reached at cmiller@northtv.net. For more information, contact Comrex at 800-237-1776 or visit www.comrex.com.

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | February 2021


equipment guide | cellular eng buyers briefs LiveU LU800 Designed as an all-in-one production unit, the LU800 combines multicamera and video/audio capabilities with transmission in a native 5G unit. The LU800 enables remote productions, with support for up to four fully frame-synced, hi-res feeds from a single unit. It also offers up to 4Kp60 10-bit HDR transmission. Key features of the LU800 include fast file transfer of edited footage from the field; up to 16 audio channels; optional external antenna connections; two Ethernet and two Wi-Fi interfaces; and a 7-inch touchscreen for unit control. z For more information, contact LiveU at 201-742-5229 or visit


DAWNco C-band Bandpass Filters DAWNco has developed C-band Bandpass Filters that are designed to protect against interference from 5G signals as the C-band transition commences. DAWNco has designed a filter specifically for cities for Phase-1 and another filter for Phase-2 of the C-band transition. Installed between the C-band feedhorn and the LNA or LNB, DAWNco’s filters are designed for use in both single and multifeed receive antenna applications. The filters offer increased suppression below 3,800 MHz for cellular frequencies, including 5G, commercial and military navigational communications and coastal/ marine vessels operating in the C-band.

Teradek Bond Backpacks Teradek has put an all-in-one professional HEVC/H.264 streaming system for broadcasters into what it is calling the “Bond Backpack.” The 659 offers an H.264 encoder, and the 759 provides an HEVC/H.264 encoder. Included in the Bond Backpack are Teradek Node modems, with support for up to 5 USB; high-gain antennas to enhance wireless reception of the Node modems; integrated locking cables for connecting the bonding encoder to Node modems; and the option of Gold-mount, V-mount or no battery plate for portable power. z For more information, contact Teradek at 949-743-5780 or visit www.teradek.com.

z For more information, contact DAWNco at 248-391-9200 or visit www.dawnco.com.

Telestream Wirecast Gear Wirecast Gear is a fully configured live video streaming production system. The end-to-end system can be configured to meet a professional’s specific needs, and with Wirecast Pro included, can also serve as a live event production switcher, live news production system, Facebook Live switcher and YouTube Live switcher. Each model comes with Xeon Server architecture, up to five HD-SDI or four HDMI camera inputs and all features of the live streaming production Wirecast Pro, the Stock Media Library, NewBlue Titler Live Complete and Switch Player units. z For more information, contact Telestream at 530-470-1300 or visit www.telestream.net.

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February 2021 | www.tvtech.com |


Sony Z280 Remote Production Package Sony’s new Remote Production Package (REMOTEPRODZ280) is designed to connect talent and production teams across multiple locations in real time. The kit provides the necessary tools for remote control, capture, transfer and collaboration. The production kit consists of the VTK-Z280, a fully-equipped PXW-Z280 video production kit; PWS-110RX1A network station and a 30-day trial to Ci Media Cloud Services. With this setup, users can preview and playback recorded files, transfer low-res and hi-res files to an FTP server or cloud service and live stream and output to an SDI enabled device. z For more information, visit pro.sony/ue_US.

equipment guide | cellular eng buyers briefs Dejero EnGo 260 Designed for remote newsgathering, sports coverage and live event broadcasting, the EnGo 260 compact, mobile transmitter encodes and transmits high-quality video over multiple IP connections. The unit can blend up to eight network connections with Dejero Smart Blending Technology; it provides cellular, Wi-Fi and satellite connectivity; features an intuitive touchscreen interface for monitoring and operation; and can be mounted on a vehicle, worn in a backpack or integrated with a UAS. z For more information, contact Dejero at 519-772-4824 or visit www.dejero.com.

MultiDyne SilverBack V

VidOvation PRO380

The 4K SilverBack V camera-back fiber system features a flexible, camera-platform agnostic design and four openGear card expansion slots. It can accommodate high 4K production data rates, and supports single-link 12G, dual-link 6G and quad-link 3G connectivity. The SilverBack V features integrated power injection, which leverages SMPTE hybrid fiber cables or the ability to use standard single-mode fiber for longer distance applications. In addition, the system’s I/O supports professional audio, two-wire and four-wire intercom, timecode, genlock, 1GbE Ethernet, serial comms, tally, GPIO, return video and viewfinder.

Part of VidOvation’s at-home production solution, in partnership with manufacturer Aviwest, the PRO380 is a portable bonded-cellular transmitter that can stream live HD video down to a receiver with minimal delay. The PRO380 broadcasts video live over bonded IP networks, featuring real-time detection, eight 3G, 4G and 5G internal modems, a built-in Wi-Fi modem and two H.265 video encoders. It also provides frame-accurate genlock and lip-sync across multiple handheld cameras. Users can also record broadcast-quality video onto an SD card.

z For more information, contact Jesse Foster at jesse@multidyne.com or visit www.multidyne. com.

z For more information, contact VidOvation at 949-541-9356 or visit www.vidovation.com.

products & services marketplace








+1 858 613-1818

www.dveo.com twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | February 2021


people on the move For possible inclusion, send information to tvtech@futurenet.com with People News in the subject line.





Chairman IRTS

Chief Financial Officer MediaKind

Head of Marketing Advanced Systems Group

Chair/STEM Ambassador Rise

Leo MacCourtney was elected chairman of the International Radio and Television Society Foundation. He is president of Katz Television Group, a television advertising sales organization, and has been an IRTS board member for more than 25 years. The IRTS is a charitable organization dedicated to building the next generation of media leaders and increasing diversity. MacCourtney also is the treasurer for the Broadcasters Foundation of America.

MediaKind has hired Amy S. Marmolejo as the company’s chief financial officer, reporting directly to CEO Matt McConnell. She joins the company with a background in advising and leading financial organizations for both domestic and international corporations. Marmolejo brings experience gained from working with organizations of all sizes, ranging from growing start-ups and large public companies to multinational technology providers.

Advanced Systems Group has tapped Paul Weiser as its new head of marketing, Prior to coming to ASG, Weiser was senior vice president of sales for the Americas and Asia Pacific regions at ChyronHego for three years. In his career he has also worked at Vitec Group’s Production Services Division, AJA, Autodesk, Apple and Avid. Weiser is based in Los Angeles.

Nicki Fisher, EMEA sales director for Clear-Com, has been appointed chair of the board for Rise, a nonprofit organization that supports women in M&E technology sector. She will hold a dual role within Rise as a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) ambassador for the Rise Up initiative in U.K.-based schools. She has been involved in Rise since the beginning and has supported three consecutive mentorship programs.

ALISON PAVITT Director of Sales and Marketing




Vice President of Sales North America and LATAM TAG Video Systems

Chief Operating Officer MultiDyne

Chief Financial Officer AMC Networks

Bob McAlpine is stepping down as MultiDyne’s chief operating officer. He will join the company’s newly formed Board of Directors and continue to consult for MultiDyne. McAlpine joined MultiDyne as its COO in September 2019, following the acquisition of Census Digital. His career in broadcast spanned 46 years, working in operations and engineering roles before transitioning to the supplier side.

AMC Networks has named Christina Spade executive vice president and CFO, continuing a shakeup in its executive lineup. Spade will oversee financial operations, investor relations and global technology for the company’s cable networks and streaming services. She reports to CEO Josh Sapan. Spade was previously CFO for ViacomCBS and succeeds Sean Sullivan, who stepped down as CFO in October.

TAG has appointed Roy Folkman vice president, Sales North America and LATAM. Folkman, who is based in Ontario, Canada, will be responsible for supporting current customers while increasing TAG’s presence in North America and the Latin American countries. Folkman has held senior roles most recently as Strategic Account Manager, North America for Riedel, and previously at Embrionix and Grass Valley.


February 2021 | www.tvtech.com |


Director of Operations Pebble Pebble has promoted Alison Pavitt to director of sales and marketing, and Yucel Timur to director of operations. Pavitt joined the company in 2009 as its marketing manager and played a key role in the company’s recent rebrand. She also is a board member of the IABM and sits on the IBC Exhibitor Committee. Timur joined Pebble in 2019 and leads the team of presales engineers, solutions architects, software developers and customer support who design, deliver and support Pebble’s solutions.


Profile for Future PLC

TV Technology - 0458 - February 2021  

TV Technology - 0458 - February 2021

TV Technology - 0458 - February 2021  

TV Technology - 0458 - February 2021