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End-to-End Cloud Production p. 26
equipment guide www.tvtech.com | July 2021
Master Control, Routing & KVM
Live From How NBC is covering the Summer Olympics
NextGen TV Tools for Deployment
Photo Credit: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images
July 2021 volumn 39, issue 7
NBC’s Olympics Coverage Honed From Decades of Tech Experience
Network uses advances in IP, HDR to up their game By Adrian Pennington
Eye on Tech: Olympics
It’s ‘Go Digital or Go Dark’ Time for LPTVs
Most should meet the July 13 analog shutoff By James E. O’Neal
The Expanding Universe of Tools to Deploy NextGen TV
Suppliers ready to assist broadcasters making 3.0 switch By James E. O’Neal
Olympic Games to Debut Immersive Sound
What will masked and socially distanced crowds sound like? By Dennis Baxter
The Basics of End-to-End Cloud Media Production
Dashboards and virtualized desktops enter the mix By Karl Paulsen
Test Equipment Vendors Expand Capabilities to Address IP, ATSC 3.0
Maintaining a robust and optimized stream is more important than ever By James Careless
Cost effectively add digital channels with ClipFire integrated playout .com/VirtualDemo
in the news
To read more industry news and learn about TV Tech events visit www.tvtech.com.
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equipment guide 28 user reports master control/routing & kvm • • • •
Guntermann & Drunck GmbH Blackmagic Design Matrox Playbox Neo
A TV Event of Olympian Proportions Like most major sports leagues worldwide, the main value of the Olympics lies in its television broadcast rights (that’s not cynicism, just a fact). How else would you explain why American networks bid billions to obtain broadcasting rights, which are among the most lucrative sports properties in the world. According to The New York Times, the International Olympic Committee, the organizer of the games, rakes in $4 billion in the potential amount of television rights income, comprising 73% of its revenue. These figures are bandied about when trying to justify that the 2021 Summer Games in Tokyo should go on despite the fact that the country has a very low vaccination rate and is still dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks. But there’s also the factor of national pride (which can’t truly be enumerated) as well as the fact that the country has spent more than $15 billion on infrastructure to sponsor the quadrennial event. Nevertheless, despite the protests, it looks like the games will go on, served with an “abundance of caution” (to revise a much reviled phrase from a year ago). Over the past severThe master control room at the International Broadcast Centre, host of the al months, the Japanese world’s broadcasters covering the Olympics government has updated its guidelines to ensure that the athletes, fans, broadcasters and everyone else involved stay safe, with increased testing, access to vaccines and other steps to promote social distancing. Obviously this is great news for the athletes in particular, most of whom have worked the majority of their lives for this very moment to shine on the world stage. It’s also great news for the world’s media companies, although it immediately prompts the well-worn debate about what’s more important: money or public safety (and whether that’s an equitable choice). The most noticeable image will be the lack of fans in the stands. As we went to press, the Japanese government announced that it would limit the number of fans to 50% capacity or 10,000 per venue. Seiko Hashimoto, the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, called the decision "the last piece for the Olympics" to proceed on July 23, according to ESPN. The Olympics is also perhaps the most important television technology event in the world as well. A number of important technologies have been adopted after having been tested during the Games, perhaps the most important was NBC’s implementation of remote production over IP, starting 25 years ago at the Atlanta Summer Games in 1996. Those practices and technologies came in handy over the past year and a half as the world locked down and television adapted to its new normal. And now, of course, multiple streaming platforms will greatly enhance NBC’s Olympics coverage, allowing the network to offer an ever more diverse and personalized view of the games. Will the fans be missed? Of course. However, broadcasters have shown that they have the capabilities to recreate the audio experience for the fans stuck at home over the past year, and this year, broadcasters plan to deploy new technologies to allow for more immersive audio experiences at the Games, according to TV Tech audio columnist Dennis Baxter. For NBC, the main technology drivers behind its coverage will be its ubiquitous use of IP to connect production and the increased implementation of UHD/HDR to bring enhanced image clarity to its 7,000+ hours of coverage over the 17 days. Let the games begin! Tom Butts Content Director email@example.com
July 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
Vol. 39 No. 7 | July 2021 FOLLOW US
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All contents © 2021 Future US, Inc. or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents,subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions. Please Recycle. We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from responsibly managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. The paper in this magazine was sourced and produced from sustainable managed forests, conforming to strict environmental and socioeconomic standards. The manufacturing paper mill and printer hold full FSC and PEFC certification and accreditation. TV Technology (ISSN: 0887-1701) is published monthly by Future US, Inc., 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036-8002. Phone: 703-852-4600. FAX:703-852-4583. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to TV Technology, P.O. Box 848, Lowell, MA 01853.
in the news OPINION
Phoenix Test Of 3.0 SFN Demonstrates Improved Signal Robustness Single Frequency Network testing of ATSC 3.0 here has proven the efficacy of this multisite TV transmission scheme in boosting signal level and service margin, significantly improving over-the-air signal-to-noise ratio and signal reception, according to a new report on the latest round of Phoenix Model Market trials.
The primary transmitter site used for the test is located eight miles south of downtown Phoenix. A smaller transmitter on the same physical channel 27 is located 18 miles away on Shaw Butte. Testing showed the ATSC 3.0 SFN improved signal robustness. With technical coordination between the two transmitter sites, the SFN was shown “to dramatically enhance what a consumer would be expected to receive,’ said Dave Folsom, Pearl TV CTO. The test report was compiled by broadcast engineering consultants Meintel, Sgrignoli & Wallace as part of the Phoenix Model Market testing program. BitPath, CAST.ERA and ONE Media Demo `Enhanced GPS’ In an important demonstration of the new services that NextGen TV can offer, BitPath, CAST.ERA and ONE Media have delivered “Enhanced GPS” (eGPS)broadcasts that could provide a new tool for autonomous vehicle navigation and other applications. The demo using ATSC 3.0 showed it could deliver positional accuracy within a few centimeters. That kind of accuracy could be very important in a number of applications like autonomous vehicle navigation. Additionally, a drone using eGPS and a 5G radio was used to show the potential of “Beyond Visual Line of Sight” observation and live imagery. This demo delivered a near real-time broadcast of gathered live images that could be used by news, first responders and others.
July 2021 | www.tvtech.com
You might be surprised who knows about NextGen TV
ATSC 3.0 as an IP transport nder ordinary circummethod that could address this stances, a broadcaster’s challenge, the reply was a bit of a response to that statesurprise. ment would probably Turns out, Akamai is wellbe, “They better be watching.” aware that 3.0 might be able to But these aren’t normal times. help, making it possible to leverThe TV industry is rolling out a age the strength of OTA broadcast wholly voluntary next-generation to deliver IP packets of content television standard. No temporary to homes. In other words, they’re second-channel assignments. No watching. coupon programs. No mandatory Phil Kurz Not only are they watching, but switch-off deadlines. Just the Akamai has met with the Advanced Television broadcast industry and the public. Together, Systems Committee about this very applicathey’ll either make NextGen TV fly or they tion of 3.0, its spokespeople revealed during won’t. the discussion. However, when it comes to ATSC 3.0, the None of this is to say that adopting ATSC “public” is much bigger than simply the 121 3.0 as an affordable alternative to other lastmillion TV homes in the United States. It
Photo credit: News Press Gazette
includes just about anyone who has digital data—whether it’s in the form of video and audio content or something else—to distribute broadly. In mid-June, an online discussion between representatives from Akamai, the content delivery network company, and the press crystalized that point. During the proceedings, the Akamai spokespeople identified the “last mile”—the final leg of content transport to viewers’ homes—as one of the greatest challenges that must be overcome. When your intrepid reporter asked about
mile delivery methods is a slam dunk. A lot of things have to happen first, including broad adoption of 3.0 nationally, the proliferation of NextGen TV home gateways with enough memory to store lots of carouselled content and successful business negotiations. However, the good news for broadcasters at this stage is that they are watching, and they’re taking notice of how ATSC 3.0 may one day solve a problem in the real world and in the process open up a new, consistent revenue stream to the television industry that does not exist today. l
nbc olympics coverage
Photo Credit: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
NBC’s Olympics Coverage Honed From Decades of Tech Experience Network uses advances in IP, HDR to up their game By Adrian Pennington
STAMFORD, CONN.—NBCU’s Summer Olympics operation is a herculean effort at the best of times without having COVID-19 to contend with. The Games’ postponement in 2020 at least gave the network some breathing space to revise its plans but with uncertainties around travel and health regulations changing up until the last minute, the logistics are staggering. Nonetheless, David Mazza, senior vice president and CTO for NBC Sports Group and NBC Olympics is doing his level best to keep the machine well oiled. “We have aggressive plans, as does [IOC host broadcaster] OBS, to make this the most immersive experience for fans especially since so many can’t come to the games,” he says. “My main job as we approach the Games is trying to predict when the train is going to go off the track and bump it back on before there’s an actual wreck. You’ve got to be ready to minimize the damage.” Other than the not inconsiderable challenge of meeting COVID protocols, the biggest logistical shift sees NBC relocating 400 staff and a number of venue control rooms back home. These are the control rooms for basketball, beach volleyball, diving, golf and tennis.
July 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
With Stamford already utilizing all eight control rooms, four mobile units have been docked on site. Then, to make sure everyone is socially distanced, NBC also moved three dayparts out: one to Telemundo Center in Miami from where Telemundo Deportes is presented; another to 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan and another daypart to CNBC in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. A further 150 people working on digital editorial are set up in a hotel near the Stamford HQ. Nonetheless, in Japan the number of NBC crew including freelancers is still around 1,600.
FROM SDI TO IP FOR UHD As if the shifting sands of Covid weren’t enough, NBC is undertaking a key technical upgrade too. It is finally retiring the SDI router after 15 years and five Games of service and implementing an IP core at its broadcasting center in Tokyo and Stamford. This is based on ST 2110 Grass Valley gear, Cisco routers and the same VSM control system used for the past couple of Games. “We pretty much gutted all our RIBs [racks-in-a-box] down to bare metal,” Mazza said. “Our original plan was to get that IP to settle in for Tokyo as our big step before tackling 4K HDR at the Beijing Winter Games February 2022.”
Approximate hours of Olympics coverage over 10 broadcast and streaming platforms by NBC Sports
NBC Olympics crew members in Tokyo
Announce booths at NBC Olympics Stamford, Conn. HQ
Days of coverage
Hours time diﬀerence between Tokyo and L.A.
nbc olympics coverage
Then the pandemic happened. “We realized there is such a short turnaround [six months] between successive Games closing and opening ceremonies and that we were not going to be able to make the shift in time,” Mazza added. “So, we accelerated the HDR 4K shift into Tokyo.” HDR is being prioritized by broadcasters around the world as a stepchange in enhancing viewer experience. It can boost the look of shows regardless of whether they are in SD, HD or 4K. In NBC’s judgment, it wanted to bring improved content to the home far sooner than wait for another Games cycle. NBC could lean on three years’ worth of Notre Dame football in preparation for HDR at scale. It has spent a great deal of effort on single stream productions [shooting 1080p and downconverting to the 99% of the audience still viewing SD] and also on the round trip process [for graphics, for example] of elements produced in SDR, upLUTed to HDR, and downLUTed to SDR. “HDR is tricky stuff,” Mazza says. “There’s a lot of ways to screw it up if you don’t convert it properly. But after all the work that’s gone into the LUT conversion for round tripping, we think we’re in a good place.” The Notre Dame coverage enabled NBCU to experiment with different LUTs for up and down conversion. This was based on OBS’ HLG LUTs (aka “look-up tables,” which help color grade footage), which the Olympic broadcaster shared with NBC. After some adjustments the broadcaster arrived at “NBC LUTs,” which it recently Dave offered to the industry. Mazza “We’re using both OBS’ and our LUTs for our HDR coverage depending on how it best fits our workflow,” Mazza explains. “The main OBS idea that we preserved was leaving more room for highlights in SDR. It means we have some latitude in the down-conversion for those HDR highlights, which we think enhances the SDR signal.”
AT THE VENUES The key events for the domestic primetime audience are the ceremonies, track and field, gymnastics, swimming, diving and beach volleyball. While switching for the latter two moved home, the rest remain in Tokyo. At those primetime venues NBC is fielding crews of 80-100 while NBC’s setup at the International Broadcast Centre is home to the program tech leaders and decision makers. All unilateral NBC feeds plus host material is aggregated at the IBC for transfer as 1080P HDR over 8x10Gig pipes to Stamford, which then becomes the U.S. aggregation point for onward distribution to Telemundo, CNBC and 30Rock. Mazza explains, “At the venue we book a video split of an OBS camera feed [such as super slo-mo] into our switcher. In Stamford they record all the OBS host feeds and some multi-clips [such as super slomos that didn’t go to air] running in parallel to the live feed. Our digital and social teams can dive into that extra content.” The scheduling and time zones (Tokyo is 16 hours ahead of L.A.) works for showing swimming and athletics live in primetime but for some sports—like gymnastics, which attracts a huge audience—quick turnaround edits (2–3 hours) will be made at the venue. Additional edit
July 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
suites in Tokyo and Stamford will craft feature programming. Its presentation of the Games’ opening ceremonies will offer a hint of that: On Friday, July 23, NBC will offer a first—a live morning broadcast of the opening spectacle, starting at 6:55 a.m., followed by a special broadcast of “Today” and a daytime Olympic program. There will also be a traditional primetime broadcast. “OBS coverage is fabulous but as always we’ll supplement their cameras at those five big prime time venues with 8–12 of our own in order to tell the U.S. story,” Mazza said. “For the other 25 sports we’ll augment the host feed with a ‘mix zone camera,’ typically transmitting via a LiveU unit. The only announcers on site will be those for the bigger sports. Back in Stamford there are 30 announce booths for calling the other sports.”
HOME RUN TO CONNECTICUT All of the broadcast circuits are lightly compressed back to Stamford in J2k while NBC will use OBS MPEG-4 feeds where latency is not critical. “If we can afford the 2 1/2 second latency to trade for higher picture quality it’s Long GOP MPEG-4,” Mazza said, referring to the format that uses a mixture of inter- and intra-coding. For monitoring where we care more about latency—such as for our announcers—it’s a lower bitrate MPEG-4. I think we’ll all be shifting to HEVC for UHD deliverables but most of the HD is MPEG-4 today.” In event of failure, NBC has a “belt and braces” safety net with four fibre paths carrying 215 HD feeds back to the U.S., managed by AT&T. If a massive series of undersea earthquakes knocked them all out (unlikely), then line cuts of the main cable and primetime shows are available via satellite. “Because the risk of failing is too great for our primetime shows, we also have the ‘lifeboat’ of a small coax router,” Mazza says. “The IP network is fully redundant but in the event of any problem we have a coax back-up.” All told, NBCU is expected to broadcast and stream around 7,000 hours of Olympics coverage. Mazza says his biggest fear is not having the right expert in the right place at the right time. “There are a handful of people who understand how IP works. We have to get them to the right place where the problem is. That is daunting with all the COVID regulations in place.” Nonetheless, he says he enjoys the challenge. “We’re taking a whole bunch of finicky kit halfway round the world, setting it up in a hurry and getting 1,200 freelancers who arrive just a week before the Games up to speed on how to operate it. Then having it run at peak performance on the night of the opening ceremony and for the 16-day marathon after that. It’s incredibly gratifying when all those pieces come together at exactly the right time to make the program.” Mazza describes the process akin to going into battle. “I tell our staff, lots of stuff is going to go wrong. Don’t spend time lamenting the problem. We need to react and figure it out so it doesn’t burn us again. Work the problem, don’t look back. Fix it and get back on the air.” l
eye on tech | olympics Here are some of the companies that will be providing technologies and services to NBC Olympics during the Tokyo Games.
Avid’s MediaCentral solutions will be used by NBC Sports to drive Tokyobased remote and on-site productions and workflows for linear broadcast and streaming coverage. NBC Olympics is also using Avid NEXIS shared storage, Media Composer Ultimate and the Media Composer Cloud VM option in multiple international locations to connect and collaborate in real time for content production and delivery.
NBC Olympics will deploy Amagi CLOUDPORT, and its live sports/ news automation solution, Amagi LIVE, to create Olympic Channel’s live coverage in UHD. With HEVC playout and mezzanine quality UHD encoding, Amagi CLOUDPORT architecture creates a new benchmark for video transmission over IP, especially for a global and premium live sporting event such as the Olympic Games.
Chyron NBC Olympics is using Chyron’s realtime graphics authoring and playout solutions, including the Chyron Lyric X, a 4K-ready solution for graphics creation and playout. The systems will be used at NBC Sports’ International Broadcast Center in Stamford to enable an agile graphics workflow that will make it possible for NBC to take graphics quickly to air.
Calrec Calrec will equip NBC Olympics with a mix of Artemis and Brio consoles as well as six RP1 remote broadcast mixing systems to expand coverage. In total, there will be six Calrec Artemis consoles in NBC Sports’ International Broadcast Center in Stamford with a 64-fader Artemis and Brio console in the Main Control Room in Tokyo. Also in Tokyo, Calrec is supplying its 32-fader Artemis to handle audio in the 4K control room and two 40 fader Artemis consoles for NBC Olympics’ fly packs.
MediaKind will provide video contribution and distribution solutions for the production of the Tokyo Olympics, including a range of video processing and advanced modular receiver technologies. MediaKind’s specialist engineers will also provide assistance through the installation of equipment and system set-up. The engineers will be present on-site 24/7 to offer multi-site support throughout the event.
Grass Valley NBC Olympics is deploying Grass Valley’s IP Media infrastructure, leveraging control of a Cisco Spine and Leaf switching topology through the GV Orbit NMOS compliant router control and configuration system. The IP Media solution is SMPTE-2110, AMWA NMOS IS-04/05, SMPTE-2059, UHD, and HDR compliant. Grass Valley is also providing MADI audio gateway products, and the Audio Live multi-stream audio processing solution.
July 2021 | www.tvtechnology.com |
Ross Video Ross Video is providing both a graphics rendering solution and production crew for NBC Olympics’ augmented reality production. Ross Video’s in-house creative and professional services division, Rocket Surgery will be deploying Voyager, the graphicsrendering solution (based on the Unreal 4 engine from Epic Games), and the production crew will integrate the graphic elements designed by the NBC Olympics graphics team and operate the technology on air.
eye on tech | olympics Here are some of the companies that will be providing technologies and services to NBC Olympics during the Tokyo Games.
RTS will supply broadcast intercom systems and provide support for NBC Olympics’ transition to IP. RTS’s trunking solutions will allow all of NBC’s local and global locations to work together in a single virtual location. The installation for NBC Olympics’ coverage of the Tokyo Olympics will be fully IP, comprising over 600 ports and leveraging RTS Omneo high-quality audio for local communication and RVON for international comms.
Xytech NBC Olympics will be using Xytech’s ScheduALL to manage the complex production of Olympics. The deployment will allow NBC Olympics to leverage Xytech’s software and services to orchestrate the logistics of people, equipment, locations and transmission feeds.
Signiant’s intelligent file transfer software will move petabytes of footage from Tokyo back to Stamford, Conn. immediately after it is captured, allowing NBC to leverage their talent and equipment in Stamford. Signiant’s network optimization technology also allows for seamless transfer of the footage over standard IP networks, eliminating latency and packet loss, so that editors in Stamford can very quickly begin creating highlights. In addition, the software will be used to transfer content, including advanced graphics work and pre-recorded footage, quickly and securely back to the broadcast center in Tokyo.
Sony HDC-3500 camera
TAG Video Systems TAG Video Systems will provide NBC Olympics with an integrated software-based IP probing, monitoring and multiviewer solution to monitor MPEG Transport Streams originating in Tokyo, which are then logged, categorized and archived in NBC Sports’ International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. The system will run on true COTS off-the-shelf servers and give NBC Olympics the ability to view metrics and evaluate the health of the signals every step of the way.
July 2021 | www.tvtechnology.com |
Signiant intelligent file transfer software
Telestream Telestream’s products will be used for media capture and automated processing workflows that will allow the broadcaster to simultaneously produce both high dynamic range (HDR) and standard dynamic range (SDR) content. NBC Olympics will utilize Telestream’s Lightspeed Live Capture and Vantage media processing platform to perform the unique, mixed HDR/SDR workflow. The Lightspeed Live Capture systems will receive 1080p59.94 HDR signals from the events and create media simultaneously to two different formats. NBC Olympics will also leverage the complete suite of UHD/4K Waveform Monitors from Telestream’s Tektronix Video product family supporting UHD/ HDR formats and ITU-R BT.2020 wide color gamut (WCG), Master Sync and Master Clock Reference Generators to support its coverage.
NBC will use nearly 100 Sony cameras as well as several Sony production switchers and 4K monitors to capture high-resolution imagery. The technology will help NBC use newer, more flexible IP infrastructures and capture highresolution imagery with workflows for 1080p, 4K and HDR. A number of Sony cameras, including the HDC3500, will be used for IP-enabled transmission, while the rest will operate in SDI. NBC Olympics will also use Sony’s production switcher models—including the flagship XVS-9000 4K/3G/HD IP-ready switcher and the XVS-8000 and XVS6000 4K/3G/HD video switchers designed for IP- and SDI-based production. Hundreds of Sony’s professional monitors, including 4K Master Monitors, will also be deployed.
TAG's integrated software-based IP probing, monitoring and multiviewer solution
Olympic Games to Debut Immersive Sound What will masked and socially distanced crowds sound like?
he broadcast production of the Olympic Games is mostly a background operation provided by the Olympic Committee’s broadcast operation Olympic Broadcast Services. Their mission is to provide comprehensive coverage of all sports, of all athletes and ceremonies to global rights holders such as NBC in the United States. OBS is also known as the Host Broadcaster and provides complete coverage including audio, video, graphics and timing/scoring— essentially providing a full broadcast production to their clients, the Rights Holder. Rights holders will then overlay their local identity on top of the Host Broadcaster production and to their home viewers it would appear
to be a custom production by their network provider. In the U.S., it looks like NBC does all the work.
BEHIND THE SCENES In a normal Olympic year, the hustle and bustle during the month of May would signal that there are about 60 days to Opening Ceremonies of the next Summer Games. Many of the vendors have arrived; the army of skilled crews have been preparing the broadcast center and venues for sports and television production; and boatloads of equipment have been arriving at a frantic pace. Often the behind-the-scene preparation that goes into an Olympic production is unknown to the public and even to many tele-
EXPERTISE vision engineers who have never Dennis Baxter experienced such a vast undertaking from the inside. Broadcast operations are organized by function with equal, but separate production, engineering and management departments. OBS’s engineering department is under the direction of Isidoro Moreno who is responsible for the International Broadcast Centre and all sports venues. John Pearce is the director of venue engineering and the venues are divided among five venue managers while all things audio are under the direction of Nuno Duarte who has been the full-time audio manager for OBS since 2009. The audio manager is responsible for any-
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inside audio For example, large venues like track and field require microphones to be placed off-axis to the PA speakers. Rowan Smith has been responsible for rigging the microphones at the Olympics since 2000. Microphones are positioned at different distances in front of a crowd zone with the microphones pointed at the audience. Microphones are often placed on ground stands so they can be moved and tuned to the seating and size of the crowd to present a “being there” impression. The sound of sports is often associated with sizzling field sounds, PA banter and exuberant crowds. The spring of 2021 saw the return of spectators Rowan Smith rigging microphones over the audience location and posers to the racetrack, the horse track and baseball stadiums; and some would say sports looks and produce basic immersive sound in Japan eight sounds normal again—in the United States. months ahead of schedule. However on July 23, 2021, the show in Tokyo Conceptually, immersive sound is often will begin with Opening Ceremonies and described as the venue experience and many stadiums that are empty or near empty. of the current immersive sound designs Crowd size always varies with the host are nothing more than atmospheric emcountry and any difficulties with travel bellishments. Along with some production and visas, but the stark reality is that a elements like immersive music, this level of half-empty stadium is common. Crowds are production delivers an immersive experience usually modest for most Olympic sports without to much hassle. Immersive sound anyway. For this summer’s Olympics in is still being developed and defined and an Tokyo there has been talk about masked, soempty stadium is no way to practice and cially distanced crowds that cannot cheer or develop your sound. Developing a sound is chant. I wonder what that will sound like or not the objective of this summer’s sound IN-DEPTH AUDIO PLANS perhaps it means more noisemakers? I think production because clearly there are a lot of All Olympic audio plans include mounting the Japanese call them "thunder sticks" and technical challenges for the production of and rigging details along with recommended when they are struck together it sounds like immersive sound especially when there are "sweet spot" placement for each microphone. digital distortion, much over 30 different venues and an internationmore annoying than the al crew that only works together every two Vuvuzelas. years. The Olympics are often We are only eight months away from the the stage for new technolWinter Olympics in China and I suggest that ogies and production pracTokyo 2021 is a dress rehearsal for the 2022 tices and the 2020 Summer Games. During 2020, spectator-less stadiums Olympics, although a were the norm with silly looking cardboard year late, is the debut of cutouts and audio samples of crowds. At the immersive sound. Tokyo time of this writing I cannot imagine what 2020 or 2021 is the culmiJapan might do, although we will soon find nation of decades of work out. l by the public Japanese broadcaster NHK to roll Dennis Baxter has spent over 35 years in live broadcasting contributing to hundreds of live events including sound out Super High Definition design for nine Olympic Games. He has earned multiple television with 8K pictures Emmy Awards and is the author of “A Practical Guide to and 22.2 sound. OBS made Television Sound Engineering,” published in both English and Chinese. His current book about immersive sound a commitment to implepractices and production will be available this fall. He can ment immersive sound Nuno Duarte meets with Anthony Montano about audio mix and be reached at email@example.com or at production of ceremonies www.dennisbaxtersound.com. beginning in 2022, but will thing technical that impacts the audio of the games including cable, equipment, mounts, the IBC, venue improvement, audio mixing rooms and OB vans. Duarte usually spends four years, with an intense two-year cycle, preparing for the next games. The audio manager usually arrives in the host country (this year, Japan) three months before the games begin. This may seem like a long time, but every venue must be surveyed weekly and even some daily to ensure that control rooms and venue field of plays are on schedule and that every cable is labeled and located where it is suppose to be. During this period the audio supervisor can find problems and variations in plans and hopefully accommodate all impacted parties. Efforts that should be simple like drilling holes in the floors and walls will often include venue management, equipment suppliers, sports federations and the Host Broadcaster venue and audio manager to get an approval and sign off. In addition to technical duties, Duarte is responsible for the sound design of each sport and the particulars of implementing the microphone plan into each venue. A great amount of time and energy has been spent on developing and shaping the sound and tone of the Olympic Games. Years of developing and testing has evolved into refined capture methods that enhance the enthusiasm of a crowd no matter what the crowd size. I am not talking about using samplers to enhance the crowds; I am referring to proper microphone placement.
July 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
test & measurement
Test Equipment Vendors Expand Capabilities to Address IP, ATSC 3.0 Maintaining a robust and optimized stream is more important than ever By James Careless
ONTARIO—As the world of video content delivery has expanded from broadcast and cable into OTT and mobile streaming, so too has the need for advanced test & measurement equipment to keep these content streams optimized and robust. Here are some of the trends driving T&M equipment development today and into the future.
IP IS KEY With IP becoming more dominant in production and distribution, vendors have had to respond to by supporting IP-based content management through every aspect of the
media supply chain. For example, “on set production, post-production and distribution centres now need test and measurement products that can support the analysis and monitoring of these advanced standards,” said Kevin Salvidge, European regional development manager for Leader. “Rapid growth in the migration of outside broadcast truck and production facilities from SDI video to IP is also evident, based on the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards. IP analysis and monitoring are completely different from traditional SDI analysis.” Advanced T&M equipment is also in high demand for ATSC 3.0 transmission facilities, but this demand comes with a catch: The test equipment also has to analyse existing ATSC
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1.0 plants that are paying broadcasters’ bills. “Ultimately, broadcasters need to ensure that both their ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 services are delivered with pristine quality,” said Ralph Bachofen, vice president of sales and marketing for Triveni Digital. “Having a solution that supports both ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 is key to complying with the FCC mandate to broadcast both standards during the transition.” Finally, there is the need to optimize OTT video quality, which uses a data-centric IP architecture that was never designed to support continuous video. Fortunately, today’s T&M equipment has matured to support wide-scale video streaming, according Matthew Driscoll, director of product management for OTT monitoring & service correlation for Telestream.
test & measurement
Telestream recently added audio support to its PRISM monitoring product line.
But there’s still more change to keep up with: “In the live uncompressed video space, most of the content workflow is moving from SDI to IP based transport,” Driscoll said. “This shift is mainly due to the large cost-saving opportunities enabled by IP-based facilities.” Even with this migration to IP, it’s clear that SDI will remain viable for many years. “Since SDI is not going away anytime soon, it’s critical to supply hybrid test and measurement equipment that supports both SDI and IP video workflows equally well,” added Driscoll. With all this technological evolution is occurring, broadcast/OTT engineers need effective T&M equipment more than ever before.
Kevin Salvidge, European development manager for Leader
July 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
“They now have many different requirements as their systems fragment," said Prinyar Boon, product manager for Phabrix. "This means that there is no one-size-fits-all solution possible. To address this, we've developed a range of equipment that can address these different applications—but they all have a common look and feel for operators and API for automation."
NEW AND DIFFERENT TASKS The move to IP-based infrastructures has generated a new set of test and measurement parameters for broadcast engineers. Today they have to use a range of IP physical layer T&M tools to manage digital elements such as Transport Format, IP Source and Destination Addresses, Packet Interval Arrival Time, Packet Loss, Packet Delay, RTP (Real-Time Transport Protocol) Alignment, and PTP (Precision Time Protocol) Offset and Delay. The deployment of High Dynamic Range has also expanded the number of T&M parameters, with new requirements to be managed such as MaxFALL (Maximum Frame Average Light Level) and MaxCLL(Maximum Content Light Level). Add to that “multiple transfer characteristics including Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG), Perceptual Quantizer (PQ) and manufacturer-specific characteristics like S-Log3 (Sony), C-Log (Canon) and Log-C (Arri), along with increased luminance levels that significantly exceed the 100 nits to which traditional broadcast images have been mastered,” said Salvidge, and there’s no doubt that yesterday’s T&M equipment was
“As competition between services has increased by new market entrants and a shift in how viewers consume video, test and measurement has become critical to monitoring and responding to user experience issues.” MATTHEW DRISCOLL, TELESTREAM
never designed for this job. The move to IP video is just one trend being addressed by T&M equipment manufacturers on behalf of their clients. “As new technologies emerge, such as ATSC 3.0, there are additional intricacies that broadcasters have to manage,” Bachofen said. “Our goal is to continue making quality service assurance solutions that are easy to use and that simplify the delivery of NextGen TV applications.” Meanwhile, the trend to either centralize or regionalize TV station groups is also driving T&M equipment innovation. In response, “we are implementing video quality assurance solutions that provide a good view of the entire network, not of just one monitoring
test & measurement point of the infrastructure,” said Bachofen. “By monitoring all of the demarcation points in the network, broadcasters can more quickly pinpoint what the issue is, and where it is happening, to ensure an exceptional quality of service for their viewers.” The Herculean task of constantly monitoring numerous program streams is also being automated. In the past, keeping an eye on signal and picture quality was a human engineer’s duty— but that was when each TV station only had one real-time broadcast feed to contend with. “As competition between services has increased by new market entrants and a shift in how viewers consume video, test and measurement has become critical to monitoring and responding to user experience issues,” said Driscoll. As a result, performance metrics previously only used by operations and engineering teams are now reviewed by top TV executives, including those in the newly-minted position of “Chief Experience Officer.” “Test and measurement is now a critical path to customer satisfaction, maintaining viewership and retaining subscribers in an era of near zero switching costs and increasing product substitutes,” Driscoll added.
Ralph Bachofen, vice president of sales and marketing for Triveni Digital
FUTURE TRENDS T&M equipment has evolved from standalone physical devices of exclusive interest to TV engineers to sophisticated IP-based solutions that command the attention of top management. As for future trends? “Test and measurement will evolve hand-
in-hand with the services we monitor,” predicted Driscoll. This evolution includes “an increase, and eventually an acceleration, of organizations shifting service to cloud workflows.” "We are transitioning from a hardware SDI-centric to a software IP network-centric world," observed Boon. "This trend will continue for many years." T&M will also play a key role in assuring a stable, financially viable transition to ATSC 3.0, according to Bachofen’s own forecast. “The more ATSC 3.0 services are deployed, the more ad revenues will flow,” he said. “During this stage it is very important to have 24/7 monitoring solution with network-wide capabilities to make sure ads are being delivered correctly.” Finally, T&M equipment will keep pace with the deployment of higher resolution video by broadcasters and OTT providers. “The Leader LVB440 IP analyser is already capable of supporting 8K resolution,” said Salvidge. “With SMPTE expected to publish new 2110 standards in due course, the broadcast test and measurement landscape is guaranteed to continue to change.” l
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It’s ‘Go Digital or Go Dark’ Time for LPTVs
The nation’s large number of LPTVs and translators have been keeping consulting engineers, equipment manufacturers and their licensees busy in preparation for the sunsetting of all analog TV broadcasts.
By James E. O’Neal
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—“High noon” is rapidly approaching for the low-power television stations and translators that have not already made the switch to digital broadcasting, with a hard deadline of July 13 having been set by the FCC. LPTV/translator operators were exempted from the June 2009 mandate which required cessation of analog transmissions by all full-power stations, and were initially given until Sept. 1, 2015 to transition to digital. Some four months before that due date—in consideration of the spectrum auction and repacking moves being made by full-power stations—the commission extended the LPTV digital deadline to mid-summer of this year. According to the latest FCC figures, there are some 1,985 low-power TV broadcasters (LPTVs) and 3,306 TV translators licensed to operate. This combined facility figure is far greater than the number of full-power stations that had to move away from analog transmissions more than a decade ago. However, as the time for either going digital or going dark is rapidly approaching, most of those in the industry involved with LPTV and translator conversions expressed optimism that the deadline will be met.
STAYING AHEAD OF THE CURVE ARK Multicasting is heavily involved in LPTV, owning or managing nearly 300 stations nationwide. CEO Josh Weiss, said the Dallas-based company committed to moving into a fully-digital environment early on. “Our first digital construction permits were granted in 2006 and we began building those out by 2009,” he said. “Meeting the deadline will not be a problem for us. We still have around 30 stations that need to be converted, with most of these being rebuilt on a new channel due to the repack. They have been off the air for this reason and [will return as digital].” Weiss noted that in most cases, the conversion wasn’t as simple as just replacing an exciter.
July 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
“We found that for our broadcast internet business plan, the power levels are going to change, so the transmitter is going to change, and the antennas may have to change,” he said. “We found that it’s perhaps better in some cases to rebuild on a different tower or change locations. The majority of our stations have, or are, being rebuilt with a new antenna, a new transmitter and a new exciter.” A spokesperson for another broadcast group with a large number of LPTVs and translators in its holding reported that there should be no problem in meeting the low-power analog-to-digital deadline, as more than 95 percent of their transmission facilities have already been converted, with the remaining sites either ready to flash cut to digital prior to July 13 or permanently shut down. The spokesperson, who asked not to be identified, explained that the facilities being taken off the air were, in most cases, quite old and had outlived their usefulness as they are located in thinly populated areas that are now served by other signals after the latest full-power repack and maximization.
‘A FEW ANALOG STATIONS STILL COOKING OUT THERE’ Lee Miller, the executive director of the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance, a trade association representing LPTVs, reports that in most cases, stations which are part of the group are in good shape to meet the FCC’s deadline. “For our members in general, this is not really a problem,” said Miller. “Although, there are still quite a few analog stations still cooking out there.” Asked if the unreimbursed cost of digital conversion might be a factor in the decision by some operators to throw in the towel, Miller said that this shouldn’t have happened, as gains greatly outweigh the expenses “Right now, just about the only people picking up analog stations are cable companies,” he said. “Most of our membership hasn’t complained about having to go digital. It’s really a shame to let a station go dark when there are other solutions. We’ve been helping members within our alliance find those solutions.”
PHOTO CREDIT: ARK Multicasting
Most should meet the July 13 analog shutoff
digital transition Weiss added that with their move to digital, low-power stations can help pave the way for NextGen TV broadcasting. “LPTVs have always been strong in community service by providing local programming,” he said. “The industry also has the ability to assist in making the transition to ATSC 3.0. Most analog stations are getting into situations where they can flash cut to ATSC 1.0 with equipment that can [later] be used for 3.0.” With the shifting of some population centers, translators have become increasingly important in serving outlying viewers. John Terrill, president of the National Translator Association, says that overall, the march to take the nation’s voluminous number of low-power transmitters to digital has gone well, noting that only a relatively small number might be left behind. “Most, but a very few, have converted to digital, and made the move on time,” said Terrill. “There are a few analog stations that have not converted, but they must do so by July 13 or turn it off. I don’t know how many stations were granted a construction permit and did not build.”
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With nearly 300 LPTVs and translators, ARK Multicasting enjoys a nationwide footprint.
Terrill added that it was extremely important for LPTV and translator operators to check with the FCC to make sure that if they had converted to digital, the commission’s records reflected this. The LPTV/translator digital/analog status database is available for searches on a state-bystate basis through the FCC’s Licensing and Management System (LMS). “Mark Colombo, the FCC’s associate chief of the Video Division, guaranteed at the NTA convention in May that stations indicated on the list as analog as of the July deadline will have their license cancelled,” said Terrill.
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CONSULTANTS REPORT RELATIVE CALM The LPTV digital conversion initiative seems to be going well, judging from comments by individuals at several engineering consulting groups. “I’ve only had one low-power client recently,” said Bill Meintel, partner and technical consultant at Meintel, Sgrignoli & Wallace. “All the others have already made the transition.” Meintel said that the majority of LPTV work was brought about by the recent full-power station repacking. “We’ve worked with dozens of LPTV stations that were displaced due to the repack, but a lot of these were al-
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digital transition ready operating in digital before being displaced. I don’t really remember any analog operations, but there must have been some. We did a whole bunch of relocations.” Erik Swanson, a broadcast engineer with Hatfield & Dawson Consulting Engineers, is working with about a half dozen low-power clients, with severa operating a fairly large number of transmitters. “They’re trying to meet the conversion deadline,” said Swanson, noting that owners were eligible for a six-month grace period beyond the July deadline if they’d applied to the FCC before its March 2021 deadline for extensions. Swanson said he wasn’t aware of any common denominator in connection with stations that haven’t made the switch yet. “I would imagine in some cases that it has been that they just have not gotten around to this. Others are nursing analog along because some viewers haven’t switched over.” He was optimistic that all of the broadcasters he was working with would meet the deadline. “None have asked for help in terminating their licenses.” Carl Gluck, a senior engineer at Carl T. Jones consulting firm, reported that he’s working with a number of clients that collectively operate a fairly large number of low-power and translator facilities, and is optimistic that none will fail to make the July deadline. “The intention is that this is not going to happen,” said Gluck. “Our clients want to move on.” He reported that none of the low-power clients he’s assisting has considered surrendering their licenses. “Right now, it’s ‘get it on the air and make improvements later with a different antenna, higher power transmitter, or a greater antenna height.’”
VENDORS: ‘ALL IS WELL’ Manufacturers of exciters, transmitters and other RF gear that may be needed for digital conversions report too that the most LPTV players apparently took the FCC’s mandate seriously and planned their digital conversions far enough in advance to meet the July deadline. “We’ve been fairly active during the past six or more months in low-power projects,” said Joe Turbolski, vice president of sales and marketing at Hitachi-Comark. “But I’ve only seen a few last-minute requests.” Graziano Casale, Broadcast & Media account manager at Rohde & Schwarz USA, also reported no eleventh-hour flurry of LPTV activity. “We have seen, starting in the beginning of 2021, an uptick of interest and new projects in the LPTV space, but not much last minute driven by the analog sunset.,” said Casale. “This is a clear sign that customers were prepared months in advance for the event and carefully made their decision and their plan accordingly.” Nick VanHaaster, district sales manager at GatesAir, also reported the absence of any down-to-the-wire requests for gear. “The upward swing of interest started in April, with various stations making the request to convert by the summer,” he said. “Some of these requests came from stations that were already running digital on other translators, but had not yet managed to get a few smaller outlying areas converted.” VanHaaster added that GatesAir was ready to assist procrastinators if the need should arise. “Since our manufacturing plant is local, we are able to deliver on many last-minute requests.” So, be it either a flash cut to digital by the few remaining LPTV holdouts who intend to keep broadcasting, or a final push of the “off” button on July 13, the final chapter on U.S. analog TV broadcasting is about to end. l
Franken FM Gets Stay of Execution
of transmitting in this hybrid fashion. Under the terms of the STA, Venture is required to submit written reports at reguoperate in this hybrid digital/analog mode Although U.S. analog television broadlar intervals delineating “any reports of inwith the Commission being able to modify casting is set to become extinct on July terference to other licensed users” as well or terminate it in cases of inference to 13, the FCC is allowing one class of as any interference observed “between other licensed spectrum users or “for any analog transmission to continue in TV KBKF-LD’s audio and video services that in other reason upon written notice.” spectrum after that date, at least tempoany way limits coverage of its video.” The operator of KBKF-LD, Venture Techrarily. This is the somewhat controversial The STA also requires the station to pronologies Group claims that such hybrid “Franken FM,” which uses the TV Ch. 6 vide “at least one stream of synchronized operation is permitted within the ATSC (82–88 MHz) FM audio carrier (87.75 MHz) video and audio programming on the A/322 standard and is operating with its 3.0 to transmit audio programming unrelatATSC 3.0 portion of [its] spectrum on a full signal occupying 5.509 MHz of the Ch. 6 six ed to the video being broadcast on that time (24x7) basis.” In addition, the station MHz bandwidth and that it had received no channel. The practice has been around also has to demonstrate that its regular interference complaints after three months for more than a decade, with these audio and video coverage is not low-power FMs popping up in many impacted by operation in the hybrid areas where Ch. 6 wasn’t being ocdigital/analog mode. cupied by a full-power station. At least one manufacturer of It was thought by many that the July antennas and RF equipment, Jampro, moratorium on LPTV analog operais offering a combiner that accomtions would spell the end for the Franmodates such hybrid operations, the ken FMs, but the FCC has granted the “FM Sidekick.” operator of one Ch. 6 LPTV station For additional information about (KBKF-LD) in San Jose, Calif. Special “Franken FMs” and the July 13 sunsetTemporary Authority (STA) to continting of analog TV broadcasting, see ue transmitting an analog FM carrier Randy Stein’s article—“ Time Running along with its ATSC 3.0 digital signal. Out for FM6 Stations?” at TV Tech’s The STA, which was granted on sister publication radioworld.com. June 4 and runs for six months, is Analog LPTV operation of a sort will continue after the FCC’s conditional, allowing the station to z James O’Neal July 13 deadline.
July 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
The Expanding Universe of Tools to Deploy NextGen TV Suppliers ready to assist broadcasters making 3.0 switch
By James E. O’Neal
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—ATSC 3.0, (aka “NextGen TV”), is rapidly making its debut in many U.S. markets, with some 60 deployments now made, and more on the way. There’s no getting around the truth—the 3.0 march is on, and if you’re a television broadcaster you’re going to have to join the ranks to remain competitive. The first installment of this two-part series (in the June issue) discussed in general terms what was required to make the switch from ATSC 1.0 to 3.0 broadcasting. This time, we’ll look at actual equipment and services available to help with the transition to NextGen TV.
to ultimately create the HEVC video and Dolby AC-4 signals that are OFDM-modulated for transmission. This “conditioning” includes: input stream and transport stream processing, any up-, down- or cross-conversion of video, A/V encoding, statistical multiplexing, common encryption encoding (CENC), route encapsulation, “conditioning” via the broadcast scheduler and gateway, as well as generation and addition of signaling, an Electronic Services Guide (ESG), captioning or subtitles, and other ancillary data that make up the overall 3.0 signal. These processes are mostly software-de-
fined, with dedicated servers doing the heavy lifting at either the studio or remote transmitter location. A number of companies have risen to the challenge of developing products in this area and will be happy to work with prospective 3.0-adopters. Harmonic’s end-to-end hybrid on-premises solution, features encoding with the XOS Advanced Media Processor and cloud origin server and delivery via their VOS 360 cloud streaming SaaS. Enensys’s MediaCast ATSC signaling and delivery server virtualized software provides delivery of live content from HEVC encod-
WHERE ARE THE ‘BOXES’? By its very nature, ATSC 3.0 is much more software than hardware, with many of the products about to be described existing as software already loaded onto a dedicated server or software provided for installation on a user’s server platform, p.c., laptop, tablet, or even smartphone. Some companies even offer their 3.0 products in cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) packages.
GETTING THE SIGNAL READY Transforming studio video and audio into an ATSC 3.0 signal involves a number of processes
Harmonic’s XOS and VOS 360 technologies are designed to enable ATSC 3.0 broadcasting.
Triveni Digital’s StreamScope XM software provides a detailed look at ATSC 3.0 signal parameters.
ers, or of non-real-time content, using ROUTE or MMTP protocols. In addition, MediaCast facilitates delivery of ESGs, EAS information and interactive applications. Enensys also supplies a virtualized software gateway, the SmartGate, that aggregates multiple IP streams, ensures ATSC layer protocol encapsulation and more. DigiCAP’s DigiCaster combines all required software components necessary to bundle digital data into an ATSC 3.0 stream that’s ready to send to a station’s OTA transmission platform. Ateme’s Titan Live, Titan Mux and Titan File products provide, respectively, the video compression, stream processing and transcoding operations essential in creating a 3.0 signal. Triveni Digital’s ATSC 3.0 Broadcast Gateway/Scheduler is designed to integrate with the company’s GuideBuilder XM encoder to twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | July 2021
create a NextGen TV signal that’s ready to be sent to the transmitter’s exciter stage. The Broadcast Gateway/Scheduler creates signaling from users’ parameters and can also serve to synchronize SFNs. DS Broadcast’s Aster BGE9300 ATSC 3.0 encoder accommodates UHD1 (2160p) video, as well as multiple FHD (1080p) or HD video signals with TS, ROUTE or MMTP streams or DASH/MPU output. It supports Dolby AC-4, Dolby Digital, AAC audio, along with high dynamic range and wide color gamut video. Synamedia provides software-centric processing solutions for encoding and packaging the ATSC 3.0 signal. The company has partnered with NextGen TV players Triveni Digital and Thomson Broadcast to allow broadcasters to create a cloud-deployable ATSC 3.0 service. Synamedia has created a brochure (“ATSC 3.0 Next-Generation TV For Programmers And TV Networks” that provides some useful information on making the move to 3.0. The free download is available at synamedia.com. Unisoft Corp. offers a complete ATSC 3.0 signal preparation package/delivery system comprised of components from Ateme, Enensys, and other brands with a presence in NextGen TV. The company is an authorized reseller of third-party software, but has also developed a number of products on its own, including their UniSoft Multicast Server or “UMS,” which enables delivery of the hybrid broadband ATSC 3.0 component to consumers’ receivers.
NEXTGEN AUDIO Although a lot of attention is being paid to video in terms of wooing consumers with NextGen TV, enhanced audio capability is also part of the consumer experience too. Dolby Labs AC-4 technology was tapped for audio delivery in the United States and the company has released a 5.1.4 encoder kit for that standard. The Telos Alliance is ready to assist broadcasters in making the 3.0 switch with their
DS Broadcast’s Aster BGE9300 ATSC 3.0 encoder
GatesAir’s Maxiva XTE exciter converts ATSC 1.0 to 3.0.
Linear Acoustic LA-5300 broadcast audio processor, which is billed as a “complete audio solution for ATSC 3.0. It processes and Dolby AC-4 encodes up to four audio programs, with the capability to add Nielsen and Verance watermarking.
GETTING IT ON THE AIR Transmitter manufacturers have been primed for the move to an ATSC 3.0 platform for some time now, with almost all showing products tailored for NextGen Delivery. GatesAir Maxiva XTE exciter broadcasters are already primed for 3.0 and easily convertible from 1.0 operation. The company’s Intraplex networking technology is also available to provide secure reliable transport of any video content over IP, including the higher 3.0 data rates. Hitachi-Comark’s Parallax transmitter owners are equally set to transition to NextGen broadcasting, with no-derating of amplifiers necessary when making the 3.0 switch, and just a small exciter upgrade to add an ATSC 3.0 license. The company’s Comark Digital Services division, CDS, is ready to handle the necessary transmitter proofing when moving to Next Gen operation. CDS partners with a number of companies (Ateme, Enensys, Triveni Digital, and DigiCAP) to provide everything
Telos’ Linear Acoustic’s LA-5300 broadcast audio processor
Hitachi-Comark provides this server for NextGen TV applications.
July 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
necessary for 3.0 conversions. Rohde & Schwarz has been providing transmission packages for ATSC 3.0 applications with outputs up to 100 kW for some time, and is about to launch NextGen TV-capable gear aimed at LPTV operators who want to get on the 3.0 bandwagon, and will soon be adding 3.0 capabilities to its TLx9 gap filler and low-power line.
MONITORING, TESTING AND COMPLIANCE NextGen TV “practitioners” all stress the importance of monitoring their signals via consumer 3.0 television receivers, as home reception is the ultimate test as to whether or not everything in the transmission chain is working as it should. Representative models are available from a growing list of manufacturers, including LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony. An off-air demodulator or “demod” has long been part of a TV station’s inventory, and several companies are now offering models for 3.0 reception. Sencore is one of these, with their ARD 3000 series of receiver/decoders. The ARD 3100 accommodates ATSC 3.0 signals with bit rates of up to 70 mbps, along with Dolby AC-4 audio, and output demodulated video in most 3G/HD/ SD SDI formats. Sencore also offers a handheld RF measurement device, the SLM 1350, with a built-in 3.0 demodulator. DS Broadcast offers off-air 3.0 reception via their BGD4100 integrated receiver decoder (IRD). It handles both ATSC 3.0 and 1.0 signals, and in addition to outputting SDI or HDMI video, the unit also analyzes and monitors ROUTE/MMTP IP/STLTP/TS/T2MI data, and features an integral TFT-LCD display. DekTec provides a number of 3.0 products, including a software-defined multistandard receiver, the DTA-2131, which in addition to supporting ATSC 3.0 and 1.0, works with DAB, DVB-T2 and ISDB-T signals. When used with DekTec’s StreamXpert software, it provides
collecting data in real time to provide an ongoing evaluation of overall system health and to aid in spotting problems and quickly resolving them. Another very portable and useful device for analyzing 3.0 signals is Airwavz’s RedZone USB “dongle” receiver that provides detailed off-air data about NextGen transmissions.
TIME TO CONSIDER AN SFN? TestTree’s ReFeree 3 ATSC 3.0 field analyzer
in-depth display and analysis of an ATSC 3.0 IP audio, video and metadata payload. DVEO Computer Modules’ Verify ATSC 3.0 test and measurement tool provides complete signaling table data, PLP bitrate and speed analysis, an RF constellation display, Dolby AC-4 decoding and more. Triveni Digital, in addition to their 3.0 signal processing gear, offers a full suite of monitoring, test and measurement products, including StreamScope XM Verifier Windows-based software that provides an in-depth evaluation of ATSC 3.0 services, and their StreamScope XM MT stream analyzer supports ROUTE, MMTP and STLTP protocols, as well as RF signals, with real-time signal analysis. In addition to providing analysis of most all broadcast audio and video broadcast standards in use, Hexylon’s self-contained Multistandard TV and Radio Analyzer also provides an 8-inch touchscreen display for viewing 3.0 transmissions and in-depth examination of their health. TestTree’s ReFeree 3 ATSC 3.0 field analyzer also works with 1.0 signals and provides complete RF and STL TP analysis along with audio and video decoding to assist in troubleshooting transmission issues. Qligent’s Vision ATSC simultaneously monitors both ATSC 3.0 and 1.0 end-toend signal paths,
One of the big advantages that comes with ATSC 3.0 is the relative ease in customizing coverage—especially in areas that are mountainous or have problems with high-rise building shadowing— through the creation of a single frequency network or SFN. Hardware for this application is readily available, with Dielectric offering an antenna specially designed for SFNs, the new Powerlite TFU-WB-LP series. ERI supports SFN buildouts with their SuperPanel and ETU series of UHF antennas that are available with elliptical polarization and may be configured for directional or non-directional applications. ERI’s AL single-channel UHF antennas are also ideally suited for SFN
Airwavz’s RedZone USB “dongle” receiver is used with a laptop or tablet to provide both NextGen TV viewing.
projects as they’ve available with horizontal, elliptical or circular polarization and directional azimuth patterns.
DON’T GET LEFT BEHIND! If you’ve been dragging your feet about moving into broadcast television’s next era, don’t hesitate any longer. There’s no shortage of technology to support 3.0 operations, and additional gear is arriving on the scene in greater and greater numbers. Manufacturers are totally committed to moving NextGen TV broadcasting forward and are standing by to help you to make the conversion. l
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The Basics of End-to-End Cloud Media Production Dashboards and virtualized desktops enter the mix
storage. Today, cloud providers functions or alternatives to back-office softparadigm shift in offer hundreds of specific services ware consolidation. Once thought of for stormedia-production ranging from compute and storage age as backup, cloud services now endeavor technologies is changto cloud consulting (through partto provide full-time playout of programming ing how the cloud is ners) and management. on a channelized basis that includes sports, perceived, used, presented and Each provider aims to enable gaming, OTT services and delivery, and even applied to media production. The users to deploy their compute into end-to-end production using core prodlines between ground-based and and storage requirements in the ucts from providers who had previously only cloud-based media production cloud offering various competutilized ground-based server architectures. are becoming blurred. One of the itive platforms, all eager for Major media organizations are steadily first steps in getting to a cloudusers to experiment in any way adopting and combining technologies that based production environment is EXPERTISE conceivable. take the hardware out of the shop and place it understanding how the requireKarl Paulsen ments and the components differ; and those physical hard interfaces are being replaced by topics like dashboards and virtualized desktops. We start with cloud computing, an application-based solution known also as an “infrastructure in the cloud.” Cloud computing is divided into a front-end part and a back-end part. To the user, these details don’t need to be thoroughly understood—but it is helpful to know that the end-to-end ecosystem is changing so that acceptability of these differences can be evaluated and adopted. Users needing access to the cloud will typically employ a browser and will utilize a (public) internet service provider (ISP) for that access. Sometimes, instead of an ISP, there may be a direct connection portal available by the cloud service provider as Fig. 1: Cloud service providers and overall benefits are described in this example of global connectivity. a cost-added feature that provides for faster, more secure connectivity. The primary component of a cloud comin an entirely software-centric environment MEDIA-SPECIFIC puting solution is its back-end, which has connected by on-ramps and off-ramps located AND CLOUD FORWARD at its core the responsibility for securing, almost anywhere. Dynamic scalability and In more recent times the capabilities storing and/or processing data on its often high-performance storage/compute capabilitypically exposed in cloud services have proprietary central servers, compute stacks, ties are enabling this fundamental change in started to reach deeper and farther into databases and storage sets. Cloud computing how content is assimilated into the producmedia-specific offerings. Global connectivity is multifaceted, employing databases, servers, tion ecosystem. coupled with the rapid exchange of content applications and other elements including Today GPU-based virtual machines are now throughout the world has strengthened those orchestration, storage and monitoring. enabled using infrastructure-as-code into capabilities, with the provisioning of services For years this Cloudspotter’s Journal has software applications that were formerly run increasing at an almost exponential rate. identified the advantages of cloud capabilities on dedicated “pizza-box” servers. As a result, Applications for media production in the including scalability, virtualization, availabilorganizations are already shifting away from cloud are no longer just a unique opportuniity and the like (Fig. 1). It goes without saying in-house central equipment rooms and past ty; they are becoming a way of operating. that services available in the cloud continue the outsourced data center directly into public Cloud-forward initiatives are definitely exto grow. Yesteryear had cloud focused on cloud environments. Media workflows are now panding beyond simple storage and compute
July 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
cloudspotter’s journal being developed as cloud-native solution sets, ignoring how things “used to be done” and placing them into unconstrained, non-interdependent environments that are treated almost like the way a new-greenfield facility might have been engineered for single purpose occupation as recently as five years ago. Automation is a key factor in the success of making cloud-native media production successful. Back-office-like servers are no longer mainstream. Individual sets of configurations coupling a single-function device into the next single operation are evaporating. Plug-in management that was custom-tailored to the product and then tweaked to meet the operational needs are now orchestrated to rapidly adapt to multiple functional requirements without discrete, complex or time-consuming adaptations. Once the automation process is confirmed and the capability requirements are established, the rest just happens. Through a dashboard abstraction of the functions, users are then ill concerned with all the nuances of manually moving files around various services that are typically steeped in numerous interfaces, which must be individually accessed and configured for each successive use or application. Flows are continuous, repeatable (if necessary) and able to be monitored. Using configuration management tool sets, images of the application-specific interfaces (APIs) are landed on a resource pool of compute servers that operationally never see the light of tech-administrators. Systems are booted up, configured for the applications per the dashboard and the artist/editor starts their creative tasks.
COLLAPSE AND REDEPLOY Once the production, show or activity is completed and confirmed, automation then collapses the environment, which stops the process and halts the billing charges. Ground-
Fig. 2: Depiction of how cloud providers support virtual desktop infrastructures linked into corporate data centers servicing mobile, at home and intra-facility workflows.
based users don’t do anything other than confirm the “end” or “stop” command and walk away. If there is a requirement to change or adjust something, the exact configurations can be re-established and the workflows can continue as before. New capabilities were brought into accelerated use as a consequence of Covid-19 and are being applied to “next-gen-production” ecosystems. Content supply chains can now be adapted to cloud, assuming the feature sets are available. Previously ground-based features, such as analysis, transformation and quality control now become exception-based background tasks in the new cloud model. Virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) essentially take all the previously required elements of media production and wrap them into a solution that is secure, features high-quality and fast-reacting actions and can be accessible anywhere there is a stable internet connection with sufficient bandwidth (Fig. 2).
VDI technologies, which utilize functionality known as “zero-clients,” offer users a variety of advantages including mobility, accessibility, flexibility and improved security. The latter, security, is accomplished because now the data lives only on the servers and does not need to be transported to the active users’ workspace. Cloud-enabled platforms can replicate data using other secure technologies only to specific locations, even employing transparent ledger technology known as blockchain. Microservices and containerization are the keys to this future cloud infrastructure for production (Fig. 3). Calling up only what is needed, only when it is needed, is what production services in the cloud are moving to. Entire catalogs of capabilities are growing out of these cloud-native services, which up until now could not be established except through discrete sets of hardware and software that were purpose-built to do one and usually only one specific function or operation. Reliable, secure, scalable, protected and cost-effective media production—without the annoyances of managing a complex local infrastructure—is changing the face of media from one end to the other. Whether the production services are hosted in a public cloud, regional co-lo site or even in your own private data center, the concepts developed (and being perfected all the time) are real, available and are here today. If you’re not currently using these kinds of services, you probably will in short order. Stay tuned. l
Fig. 3: Microservices are connected via API gateways to users who interface to the services via public internet or cloud service providers.
Karl Paulsen is chief technology officer at Diversified and a frequent contributor to TV Tech in storage, IP and cloud technologies. Contact him at kpaulsen@diversifiedus.
twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | July 2021
equipment guide | master control/routing & kvm
MLB Network Hits Home Run With G&Dʼs ControlCenter-Digital USER REPORT By Steven Rittenberg Senior Director of Engineering MLB Networks
the operator side, MLB Network decided to make use of mainly DVI and DP operator units (DVICON and DP-CON). Since MLB Network had to connect servers and operators in
single mode, fiber multi-mode or CAT-x cables. Since both the switch card and the control card are modular, the cards can be easily replaced if necessary. At just 9RU height, the frame is
function for bidirectional access between different matrix frames. This will enable the network to interconnect CCD matrix frames that are installed on different locations within its facility, as if
SECAUCUS, N.J.—We are glad that we decided to invest in a G&D KVM system for our full KVM replacement solution. In addition to the system features and the product quality, G&D worked with us as a trusted partner on Phase One of the project, providing impressive support during the planning and implementation phases. MLB Network is currently available to approximately 68 million homes throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as live, authenticated streaming via MLB. For those operations, MLB Network has two G&D matrix systems in its headquarters in Secaucus. The ControlCenter-Digital frames have up to 288 and up to 160 dynamic ports.
UPGRADING OLDER KVM MLB Network replaced parts of its older analog KVM system with G&D’s digital and modular matrix system, delivering added flexibility due to an increase in ports coupled with G&D’s dynamic port system. This gave us the option to configure individual KVM workplaces with either cascading or a bidirectional connection of the matrix systems allowing easy expansion of its KVM infrastructure. MLB Network is now working with a mix of DP, DVI and VGA servers connected to the ControlCenter-Digital matrix frames. The CPU units have either individual power supplies or are connected to a central power supply unit (MultiPower-12 for up to 12 x G&D CPU module). On
July 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
MLB Network works with a mix of DP, DVI and VGA servers connected to G&D’s ControlCenter-Digital matrix frames.
different physical locations from the matrix switches, the ability to mix CAT-x and fiber-optical cards in the matrix frame became important. The modularity of the G&D system gives MLB Network the option to expand its KVM installation step by step. Since the redesign of MLB Network’s KVM infrastructure was complex, the flexibility of G&D’s matrix systems was a perfect match for short- and long-term needs.
FLEXIBLE, MODULAR DESIGN The CCD 288 system has 18 modular cards, which can be used either to connect fiber twitter.com/tvtechnology
quite small for a 288-port matrix system, and it can be expanded with G&D’s KVM MatrixGrid feature, which delivers more flexibility as a simple cascade. The system also offers MLB Network a simple configuration via web interface, plus the option to configure individual user rights, benefits from easy operation (e.g. switching via individually defined hot keys or by on screen display) and promises high reliability. To accommodate potential future growth in infrastructure, MLB Network is planning to implement G&D’s KVM Matrix-Grid
working in a virtual super matrix system. With this major expansion, MLB Network is now ready to hit a home run. l Steve Rittenberg has been with the MLB Network for more than nine years; prior to that he worked at such companies as LA Digital Post, Video Corp. of America and Moviola. More information, contact Guntermann & Drunck GmbH by phone (+49 (0) 271 / 2 38 72 – 100), fax (+49 (0) 271 / 2 38 72 – 120), at their website, www. gdsys.de or by email: sales@ gdsys.de.
equipment guide | master control/routing & kvm
GlobeStream Delivers Softball Championships With Blackmagic USER REPORT By Brett Casadonte President & Co-Founder GlobeStream Media LLC
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.— When the USA Softball’s Girls 18 and under 2020 GOLD National Championships took place at the organization’s Hall of Fame Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, we had already produced the championship tournament for a few years and gotten the process down to a science. Even with the burdens and unpredictability we all faced in 2020, using Blackmagic Design products gave us the flexibility and reliability to deliver a flawless production. Since the Hall of Fame complex only has four fields, the tournament’s games were played at multiple locations across the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. We needed to be able to stream from multiple venues with consistent quality and Covid-19 restrictions limited the number of onsite personnel at each location.
NEW DALLAS CONTROL ROOM Meeting these challenges required our team to leverage remote integration technologies to run the production from our new control room in Dallas. As we designed the control room, we leaned heavily on Blackmagic Design products to provide a full range of functionality within our IP broadcast center. With Blackmagic Design’s Smart Videohub 40x40 router in our control room, we live streamed more than 150 softball games from three different locations in the Oklahoma City area over the course of the six-day
Blackmagic Design’s Smart Videohub was a central component in GlobeStream’s remote production of the 2020 GOLD National Championships.
tournament to online viewers via USA Softball’s website. The Smart Videohub 40x40 is such a central component within our overall workflow because it allows us to route our remote camera feeds to a variety of locations, which is critical to our live sports productions. First and foremost is sending our camera feeds to the ATEM Constellation 8K live production switcher that we use for switching all of our remote shows. Next is sending these same camera feeds to our replay system running on a Mac Pro with a Decklink Quad 2 capture and playback card, which handles replay for all our sports broadcasts. Lastly, since we embed the location’s audio on two of our remote camera feeds, the Smart Videohub 40x40 allows us to route these feeds through a pair of Teranex Mini SDI to Audio de-embedders to send the audio feeds to our mixer.
Additionally, we use the Smart Videohub 40x40 to route our program output to multiple live stream encoders, as well as several HyperDeck Studio Mini broadcast decks for recording, a Blackmagic Audio Monitor for monitoring program audio, SmartScope Duo for signal monitoring and an iMac Pro to provide us with live capture-to-edit capability using an UltraSudio 4K Mini capture and playback device.
A COMPLETE ECOSYSTEM As we’ve continued to expand and build out our remote production facility, Blackmagic Design’s complete ecosystem of routers, live production switchers, monitoring tools, cameras and recording systems played a central role in allowing us to deliver affordable, higher-end productions under ever-shrinking client budget constraints. In my view, Blackmagic De-
sign is a leader in the broadcast world on two fronts: usability and the performance you get for the price. The Blackmagic Design ecosystem is well thought out and provides a robust feature set to meet the needs of virtually any production, including hitting it out of the park for our successful live stream of the 2020 GOLD National Championships. l Brett Casadonte is president and co-founder of GlobeStream Media LLC, a live streaming and event A/V production company, as well as The Casadonte Group LLC, a creative services and video production agency. He can be reached at brett@globestreammedia. com. To learn more about GlobeStream Media LLC, visit www. globestreammedia.com. For additional information, contact Blackmagic Design at 408954-0500 or visit www.blackmagicdesign.com.
twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | July 2021
equipment guide | master control/routing & kvm buyers briefs NewTek NDI KVM & TriCaster
PESA Tiger FUSION 12G SDI/IP
Using NDI with current NewTek TriCaster products, it is possible to control and operate your TriCaster from anywhere on your network using NDI-based KVM control. It is as easy as placing your TriCaster interface on the network and using NDI KVM control to remotely access that interface wherever you may be on your network, without physical control access. It costs zero dollars to set up and operate from any Windows PC running NDI Studio Monitor. NDI Studio Monitor is available for free at NDI.tv with the NDI Tools download. z For additional information visit www.newtek.com.
According to PESA, the Tiger FUSION Video Distribution System is the largest single-link 4K matrix in the world and is designed to meet the need for simplified management of large 4K installations via single-link 12G SDI that reduces cabling and simplifies management. It can accommodate a hybrid mix of SDI (1.5G, 3G, 6G, and 12G), HDMI (1.4, 2.0), and IP (SMPTE ST 2110) inputs and outputs within one high-density, 18RU frame. With current 12G routing matrixes of up to 320x320, and room for future expansion, Tiger FUSION is truly a cat of many stripes, suitable for military and government applications and for sports and entertainment venues. z For additional information visit pesa.com.
AJA KUMO 3232-12G Routers Users can reduce cable runs and simplify 8K/4K/UltraHD transport over 12G-SDI with AJA KUMO 3232-12G routers. Designed for use in broadcast, production, live and proAV environments, KUMO 3232-12G offers increased capacity for larger configurations while maintaining a compact 2RU profile, featuring 32x 12G-SDI inputs and 32x 12G-SDI outputs for flexible and cost-efficient 12G-SDI routing. KUMO 3232-12G supports large format resolutions, high frame rates, deep color formats and multiport gang-routing for emerging 8K workflows. KUMO 3232-12G offers network-based and/or physical control and mirrors the form of AJA’s production-proven KUMO 3232 routers. z For additional information visit www.aja.com.
Black Box Emerald KVM-over-IP Emerald is a high-performance KVM extension and matrix-switching platform that supports point-to-point KVM extension and matrix switching for an unlimited number of users and computers. The zero-client based system extends and switches pixel-perfect HD (DVI) or 4K/UHD (DisplayPort) video, USB 1.1/2.0, and audio over an IP network. It provides remote access to physical computers and virtual machines and features the Boxilla KVM Manager, a user-friendly web-based GUI that allows you to configure new end points, update firmware, adjust bandwidth consumption, etc. z For additional information visit www.blackbox.com.
Ross Ultrix Carbonite Ultrix Carbonite is a powerful new integrated solution based on Ross’ “Software-Defined Production Engine” (SDPE) initially used for Ultrix Acuity that combines the routing and processing capabilities of Ultrix with the sophisticated capabilities of Carbonite. Each SDPE can be installed in either an Ultrix FR2 or FR5 frame, providing up to two powerful Carbonite M/E banks and versatile MiniMEs. Suitable for smaller technical facilities or OB vans, it eliminates the need for audio processing, framesync and multiviewer hardware, as well as the inter-rack cabling typically required in traditional system designs. z For additional information visit www.rossvideo.com.
July 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
Cobalt Digital 9942-RTR Series Cobalt Digital’s scalable 9942-RTR 12G/3G/ HD/SD-SDI/ASI/MADI routers provide a high-density, card-based solution with a design specifically optimized for 12G support. The series is suitable for use in production trucks or live event flight packs receiving multiple sources, varying signals and requiring routing to varying destinations. Unprecedented flexibility, ease-of-use and seamless integration make these cards an exclusive within the openGear platform. In addition to standard DashBoard support, the 9942-RTR series offer a built-in Ethernet port for IP-based protocols such as Cobalt’s ReFLEX and SW-P-08. The 9942-RTR series also offer serial and GPIO interfaces. z For additional information visit www.cobaltdigital.com.
equipment guide | master control/routing & kvm
Matrox Extio 3 IP KVMs an OB-vious Choice for Lyon Video USER REPORT By Kevin Norris Engineering Operations Lyon Video
COLUMBUS, Ohio—From premier North American soccer confederation matches to distinguished festivals and events, Lyon Video covers it all. As we are a full-service mobile broadcast provider and production company, connecting staff in order to better serve customers across North America requires switching up our KVM solution. With Matrox Extio 3 IP KVM extenders, we're able to affordably upgrade our existing infrastructure, and connect remote users and mobile unit operators with ease.
in the OB vans in order to offer real-time technical support during events. Furthermore, we sought out an IP-based KVM matrix that would allow us to use our current 1 GigE infrastructure. Many KVM systems on the market required dedicated connection links that were not IP-based or required a central controller or a matrix that requires users to purchase block licenses and a choose matrix size upfront. When we came across Extio 3, we knew that we would be able to leverage our existing IT networking equipment and infrastructure, as well as future proof our investments by expanding its installations without costly upgrades. We found that Extio 3’s flexibility to adapt installations and seamless deployment made it an indispensable addition.
OUR KVM REQUIREMENTS Lyon Video needed a KVM solution that would allow users to connect to and switch between multiple hardware platforms— within or in a separate OB van —in the event of a system failure. We also required a KVM solution that would allow engineers in the production studio to remotely access these broadcast systems
DYNAMIC SWITCHING Lyon Video is currently standardizing two installations that include Extio 3 transmitters and one receiver using installed IP switches. Various computers on the network are extended to different locations within a mobile unit, another mobile unit or to a remote user over WAN and
The Matrox Extio 3 IP KVM allowed Lyon Video to leverage existing IT infrastructure and expand its installations without costly upgrades.
With the Matrox Extio 3 IP KVM, operators can rapidly access and switch between systems all from one desk while maintaining broadcast continuity.
internet. With an Extio 3 IP KVM setup able to support one-to-many and many-to-many configurations, operators can rapidly access and switch between systems all from one desk while maintaining broadcast continuity. Furthermore, by allowing engineers to remotely access the broadcast systems in OB vans from their workstations at the production studio, mobile unit operators can receive tech support should a situation arise. Integrated directly within the Extio 3 KVM at no additional cost, Aggregator Mode also provides our operators with efficient multisystem control. With Aggregator Mode, operators can simultaneously view and operate multiple source systems from their remote displays that support 4K resolution, and control them with a single keyboard and mouse set. Between its advanced IP KVM feature set, scalable design and straightforward setup, Extio 3
has been a welcome addition to Lyon Video’s mobile production workflow. Since we installed the Matrox Extio 3 IP KVM extenders, we have been able to more easily connect remote users to the mobile units. This upgrade has allowed us to save on travel costs, maximize our resources while maintaining superior production quality, and keep our staff safe. We already have plans to expand our IP KVM installation. We anticipate adding all PCs at Lyon Video headquarters to the KVM setup in order to allow engineering staff to easily access remote workspaces in the mobile units. l Kevin Norris in Engineering Operations at Lyon Video can be reached at kevin@lyonvideo. com or at 614-319-4080. More information on Lyon Video is available at www.lyonvideo.com. For more information on Matrox Extio 3 IP KVM visit www.matrox.com.
twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | July 2021
equipment guide | master control/routing & kvm
Seattle Channel Creates Broadcast Look and Flow With PlayBox Neo USER REPORT By Daryl Peck Video Engineer Seattle Channel
SEATTLE—The Seattle Channel is an award-winning municipal television station available on cable and online that offers a local mix of live and prerecorded news, analysis, stories and perspectives that help citizens connect with their city. When the Seattle Channel first purchased its first two AirBox Neo servers from PlayBox Neo in 2007, the servers were to be used for 24/7, multiformat playout with one as the main unit and the other providing redundancy. We use our PlayBox Neo setup for program scheduling and promos in a fully automated playout model. Since our initial purchase, we’ve taken full advantage of several of the system’s lesser known features.
Daryl Peck at the Seattle Channel has been pleased with the reliability and automation capabilities of Playbox Neo’s Airbox Neo-20 servers.
STREAMLINED WORKFLOWS One of the first of the lesser-known features we noticed was the system’s ability to autofill time gaps between programming using the ListBox Neo-20 offline schedule editor. We used to have one full-time staff member filling in the gaps between prerecorded programming. We were thrilled when we realized our new system could do that for us. We operate out of Seattle City Hall and broadcast all Seattle City Council meetings with closed captioning using PlayBox Neo’s Capture Suite live ingest solution. The captions are included within the MPEG file so there’s no need for a separate caption file when the meeting is replayed. Separate caption sidecar files are also recognized
July 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
by the SafeBox Neo automated content management software and played back as needed. We have a lot of live and a lot of evergreen programming. As we’re scheduling the programming, SafeBox Neo finds what we want in our EVO NAS device and adds it to the playlist. It makes sure the right programming is copied over to the server. It’s a big help with our existing programming. Emergency messages are created within the TitleBox Neo-20 graphics generator.
AUTOMATION AND RELIABILITY We’re a very busy municipal station with a ton of live and prerecorded programming. It’s twitter.com/tvtechnology
a great relief that a critical part of our technical operations is something we never have to worry about. Overall, we’re thrilled with the reliability of our system. Typically, both AirBox Neo-20 servers run for 30 days or more without being rebooted. They just grab the next playlist and keep on going. The PlayBox Neo system is so automated and reliable, we now look like a broadcast station, without the need for a full-time operator. PlayBox Neo solutions provide a seamless workflow to keep channels on air by combining scheduling, ingest, playout, CG and interactive graphics
within one box and remote tools to enhance QC checks, preparation and monitoring. The output can be SDI or IP streaming and is suitable for a variety of applications including traditional broadcast TV, pay TV, playout centers, satellite operators, etc. l Daryl Peck has been a video engineer for 40 years and has been with the Seattle Channel for the past 18. The Seattle Channel is the award-winning cable channel for the City of Seattle. For more information visit www.seattlechannel.org. For more information on Playbox Neo visit www.playboxneo. com.
equipment guide | master control/routing & kvm buyers briefs Sony PWS-110NM1 IP Live System Manager Station The PWS-110NM1 IP Live System Manager Station software allows users to set up, control and reconfigure an IP live production system. Flexible configuration functionalities include router setting, monitoring setting, redundancy setting, device registration, workgroup registration and user registration. Users can build several production systems under one networked system of AV devices. The software provides video and audio routing and allows users to monitor the status of devices in a network topology view. It also collects status logs from AV and network devices, providing basic system maintenance. The PWS-110NM1 communicates with remote maintenance servers allowing remote users to detect and investigate system issues.
Bitcentral Central Control Central Control provides a more efficient, cost-effective and flexible way of launching channels with a modular approach so that integrated components for playout, asset management, storage and ingest can be added to meet different customer needs. Central Control delivers full linear channels including traffic integration, media asset or storage management, offline playlist scheduling, program cataloging, media editing/versioning, system monitoring and reporting, syndicated content processing and automated feed recording. Broadcasters can take control of their own branding and ad insertion/live events, while network-wide content can be processed centrally and shared. z For additional information visit,
z For additional information visit pro.sony.
ADDER ADDERLink Infinity 4000 A dual-head, 5K high-performance IP KVM matrix over a single fiber, the ADDERLink Infinity 4000 (ALIF4000) is fully compatible with the existing ADDERLink Infinity (ALIF) range, and supported by the ADDERLink INFINITY Manager (AIM). The ALIF4000 can be used as a point-to-point extender or easily integrated into a wider matrix system. It supports up to 10-bit per color SDR and HDR10, offers pixel-perfect image quality and multichannel digital audio via DisplayPort. It features Adder’s USB True Emulation for fast switching and full touch screen control. z For additional information visit, www.adder.com.
products & services marketplace
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www.dveo.com twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | July 2021
people on the move For possible inclusion, send information to email@example.com with People News in the subject line.
Chief Executive Officer Friend MTS
General Manager Telemundo Streaming Studios
Chief Diversity Officer Nexstar
Executive Vice President, Product and Engineering, Streaming Univision Communications Inc.
Friend MTS has appointed Derek Chang the company’s new chief executive officer. Former CEO Jonathan Friend, founder of Friend MTS, will serve as chief product officer and continue to drive growth through the creation of the company’s proprietary solutions. Chang previously served as CEO of NBA China, and has held leadership positions with several recognized sports, media and entertainment providers.
Telemundo Global Studios has promoted Juan Ponce to senior vice president and general manager of its recently launched Telemundo Streaming Studios, which the company says is the first-ever studio in Hispanic media dedicated to serving the growing Latino streaming audiences worldwide. Ponce will lead the new venture, producing original premium scripted content designed to fulfill the needs of its direct-to-consumer platforms.
The Nexstar Media Group has named Courtney Williams to the new position of chief diversity officer where she will lead the company’s efforts to expand the diversity of its workforce in hiring, promotion and retention. She currently serves as vice president of human resources. Williams joined Nexstar in 2019, after serving in a variety of human resources leadership positions at General Electric, Coca-Cola Refreshments, Gannett (now Tegna) and Tribune Media.
Chief Executive Officer National Cable Television Cooperative
Chief Operating Officer Cobalt Digital
Vice President of Product Development Ross Video
Venues Account Manager Chyron
The Board of Directors of the National Cable Television Cooperative has appointed Lou Borrelli as its chief executive officer. Borrelli joins the NCTC from his recent position as CEO of Home and Entertainment for Digicel Group Ltd. Having owned and operated cable systems in second and third-tier markets, Borrelli is an independent cable operator with an understanding of the challenges facing operators of all sizes.
July 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
Cobalt Digital has promoted four team members, attributing to company growth. Chris Shaw has moved into the position of chief operations officer from EVP of sales and marketing. He first joined Cobalt in 2006 after having held leadership positions with Linear Acoustic and Wohler. Suzana Brady becomes senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing; Nick Maag and Monte Variakojis were elevated to vice president positions. twitter.com/tvtechnology
Ross Video has named Martin Soukup to the new role of vice president of product development. Soukup will help develop and coordinate the company’s strategy in relation to product development methodologies, technology and coordination. Soukup joins Ross with more than 25 years of experience in product development having previously held senior R&D, applications development and solutions architect roles.
Univision Communications Inc. has hired Michael “MC” Cerdá to serve as executive vice president, product and engineering, streaming, a new position. He joins the company from Disney+ and will oversee the product and technology development strategy and execution for Univision’s streaming portfolio, anchored by its free ad-supported streaming service PrendeTV.
Chyron has hired Nigel Davies as its new venues account manager responsible for building and extending relationships with college and professional sports venues across North America. Davies will focus on increasing awareness and adoption of the Chyron PRIME Click Effects solution for stadium and in-venue production and fan engagement, as well as the broader PRIME Live Platform..
TV Tech - 0463 - July 2021