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THE FUN OF LIVE TV • TRASH AUDIO • KEEPING PIRATES AT BAY
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equipment guide cloud solutions
www.tvtech.com | October 2021
The Challenges Ahead TV Tech talks with incoming NAB president Curtis LeGeyt
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October 2021 volumn 39, issue 10
9 13 26
Keeping Pirates at Bay
Protecting digital content is a 24/7 challenge By Dan Meier
Live Television (accidentally and gloriously) Returns
The chaos at CNN’s ‘Homecoming Concert’ ignited a display of spontaneity and creativity By Frank Beacham
Taking Care of Business
Traffic, billing, HR and scheduling adapt to multiplatform workflows By James Careless
‘Trash Can’ Sound
Capturing good audio still relies on the laws of physics By Dennis Baxter
A Conversation With Curtis LeGeyt
Incoming NAB president discusses how broadcasters thrive amid advancing tech, regulatory challenges By Tom Butts
Making the Cloud Work for Broadcast
‘The meaning of virtualized playout has changed significantly in the last 12 months’ By Bob Kovacs
in the news
eye on tech
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ATSC 3.0: Full Steam Ahead One of the broadcast industry’s most important events took place in August, as the ATSC held its first annual meeting (since 2019) in Washington. The all day event focused on the progress in the rollout of ATSC 3.0, aka NextGen TV. It’s hard to believe, but the last time broadcasters and representatives from Silicon Valley met for the annual association meeting, apart from a few experimental broadcasts, no U.S. TV stations were airing ATSC 3.0. But as of August, NextGen TV was available in more than 35 markets, with the goal of 60 markets by year’s end. Like its predecessor, DTV, (aka ATSC 1.0), ATSC 3.0 is confronted with the classic “chicken and egg” scenario where broadcasters are having to launch the service with the assumption that viewers will embrace it. However, the success of ATSC 3.0 is also hindered by the lack of backward compatibility with existing TV sets. Anyone who has followed the progress of ATSC 3.0 knows that the home TV set is just one part of the standard, with opportunities for the service to be deployed in enterprise, educational and governmental areas. The advantages of NextGen TV’s emergency alert capabilities (aka AWARN) have been made abundantly clear and have taken on ever more prominence given the recent spate of natural disasters. ATSC President Madeleine Nevertheless, for ATSC 3.0 to succeed, it’s going to need widespread Noland addresses the annual meeting in consumer acceptance and there is a general consensus that making Washington. more TV sets available with the standard’s chipsets is the key to such acceptance. Currently three manufacturers make ATSC 3.0 compatible sets: LG, Samsung and Sony; all three were involved in the development of the standard itself. The first sets on the market were high-end models, (many of which were 8K), however more affordable (< $1,000) NextGen TV-compatible sets now available. At August’s meeting, LG’s John Taylor said that the company “anticipates that ATSC 3.0 capability will gravitate into more and more models more quickly [than in previous technologies]. Despite the pandemic [hindering] getting signals on the air, as we look ahead to 2022, we think that’s going to be a turning point year when you have more and more models from more and more manufacturers.” Sony’s Cosley stated that all of the new models from his company are being equipped for NextGen reception. “All of the new 2021 models that Sony is selling in our TV lineup have NextGen built in,” he said. “We look at the fundamental capabilities of the TV as being something that really should be common across the entire lineup. That produces the economy of scale that we need to bring the price of these new capabilities down.” According to Pearl TV’s Anne Schelle, approximately 3 million NextGen TV sets have been sold since they went on the market in April 2020. She promised a big holiday marketing push for NextGen TV and expects more vendors will join the NextGen TV fray in 2022. Tom Butts Content Director email@example.com
VIRTUAL EVENTS Like many of you, we were disappointed that the October NAB Show will not happen, however, that’s not stopping us from providing a forum for our industry to share ideas and network in an online, safe environment. Be sure to join us for Fall TV Week, Nov. 15-18, featuring experts in video technology, advanced advertising, the business of streaming and more! Visit falltvevents.com/2021/NextTV to register.
October 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
Vol. 39 No. 10 | October 2021 FOLLOW US
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in the news SMPTE to Bestow Posthumous Honorary Membership to TV Pioneer David Sarnoff WHITE PLAINS, NY—The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) is bestowing Honorary Membership—its highest honor—posthumously on radio and television pioneer David Sarnoff at its 2021 SMPTE Awards Gala. The society will add Sarnoff to the SMPTE Honor Roll and also will bestow Honorary Membership on Christopher J. Cookson and Peter Jackson. Honorary Membership recognizes individuals who have performed distinguished service in the advancement of engineering in motion pictures, television of the allied arts and sciences, it said. “This year’s honorees have done so much, in so many ways, to help our industry evolve and grow,” said Hans Hoffmann, SMPTE president.
SMPTE also will present the 2021 Progress Medal, it’s most prestigious award, to Wendy Aylsworth and Girish Balakrishnan. The medal recognizes outstanding technical contributions to the progress of the engineering phases of the motion-picture, television or motion-imaging industries. Robert A. Dischert (1929-1991) will be recognized posthumously with the Camera Origination and Imaging Medal, which recognizes significant technical achievement related to inventions or advances in imaging technology, including sensors and capture devices. Youngkwon Lim will receive the David Sarnoff Medal, sponsored by SRI International. The medal recognizes outstanding contributions to the development of new techniques or equip-
update Here are some of the most recent developments regarding the transition to ATSC 3.0:
Deployments • Atlanta: WPCH and WGCL (Meredith Local Media), WSB (Cox), WAGA (FOX Stations), and WXIA (Tegna) • Cincinnati: WCPO-TV (Scripps), WKRC-TV (Sinclair), WLWT (Hearst), WXIX (Gray) and WSTR-TV (Deerfield) • Indianapolis: WRTV (Scripps), WTTK and WXIN (Nexstar), and WTHR (Tegna) • Kansas City, Mo.: KCWE and KMBC-TV (Hearst), KCTV and KSMO (Meredith), KSHB and KMCI (Scripps), WDAF (Nexstar), and KCPT (PBS) • St. Louis: KDNL-TV (Sinclair), KMOV (Meredith), KSDK (Tegna), and KTVI and KPLR-TV (Nexstar)
October 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
ATSC Awards Alan Stein with Its Highest Technical Honor The Advanced Television Systems Committee has awarded its highest technical honor, the 2021 Bernard J. Lechner Outstanding Contributor Award, to Alan Stein, vice president of technology at InterDigital. During this year’s NextGen Broadcast Conference in Washington D.C. in August, the ATSC also awarded the Mark Richer Industry Leadership Medal to Sen. Gordon Smith, the president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters. The Mark Richer Industry Leadership Medal is named for the former ATSC president who led the organization for two decades spanning both ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0. The Bernard J. Lechner Outstanding Contributor Award is bestowed once a year to an individual representative of the membership whose technical and leadership contributions to ATSC have been invaluable and exemplary. The title of the award recognizes the first recipient, the late Bernard Lechner, for his outstanding service to the ATSC.
ment that have improved the engineering phases of television technology, including large-venue presentations. Other honorees include: • Huw Davies, Excellence in Education Medal, sponsored by William C. Miller and Ellen Sontag-Miller • Nick Wells, Digital Processing Medal • Linda Tadic, the James A. Lindner Archival Technology Media, sponsored by James A. Lindner • Moxion, the Workflow Systems Medal, sponsored by Leon D. Silverman • Harald Brendel, the Natalie M and Herbert T. Kalmus Medal, recognizing outstanding contributions to the highest standards of quality and innovation in motion-picture production, postproduction and distribution service • Anustup Choudhry, Jaclyn Pytlarz and Scott Daly, the Journal Award presented to authors of the most outstanding paper originally published in the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal • Ava DuVernay, Anne Jacobsen, Franklin Leonard, Kohji Mitani and Jayshree Ullal, recognized with the Presidential Proclamation • Pierre-Anthony Lemieux, Excellence in Standards Award • Hideki Ohtaka, Thomas Heritage and John Mailhot, standards participants • Tony Meerakker, François Bourdua, and Daniel Guévi, Citation for Outstanding Service to the Society • Aaron DeMolder, Student Paper Award • SMPTE student member Monica Brighton, Louis F. Wolf Jr. Memorial Scholarship A total of 17 SMPTE Fellows will be recognized this year. This honor is conferred on individuals who have, through their proficiency and contributions to the motion-picture, television, or related industries, attained an outstanding rank among engineers or executives in media and entertainment. The new SMPTE Fellows are: Robert Brunelle. Dean C. Bullock, Tim Carroll, Andrew Cotton, Richard Lindsay-Davies, Dagmar Driesnack, Joseph Goldstone, Sally Hattori, George H. Joblove, Wicky Man Hoi Law, Luann Linnebur, Jaclyn Pytlarz, David Reisner, David Ross, Yoshiaki Shishikui, Richard Welsh and William Werner. Unlike past galas, this year’s SMPTE Awards Gala will not take place during the 2021 SMPTE Annual Technical Conference, Nov. 9-18. It will be a separate, virtual event Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. SMPTE plans to release more details in the near future. More information is available at www.smpte. org.
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in the news Hearst Launches ‘Very Local’ OTT Channels NEW YORK—Hearst Television has launched OTT and connected TV (CTV) streaming service “Very Local,” that offers local news and information on popular streaming platforms like Roku and Amazon Fire TV. The Very Local offering features locally focused, free ad-supported streaming (FAST) channels for viewers in Hearst Television’s footprint in 26 US media markets spanning 39 states. “Very Local is an opportunity for Hearst Television to bring even more award-winning journalism to streaming audiences in our local communities,” said Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb. “As consumers include streaming as a way of connecting with local content, we want to bring them the best local news and information. Very Local gives us a new, flexible platform and resource to bring our content to more people and to develop fresh, original digital-first programming that will resonate. Very Local, in combination with our fast-growing Hearst Anyscreen ad marketplace, advances Hearst Television’s digital footprint substantially for audiences and advertisers.” The app is available in the channel stores of Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV and Android TV. The FAST channels are available in the Very Local streaming app as well as from Tubi and Syncbak’s free direct-to-consumer OTT app, VUIt. The FAST channels will also be available in the near future on the Amazon news app on Fire TV, NewsON, and elsewhere. Viewers in any of Hearst Television’s markets will see a feed of local news, additional programming from their local news station, and new, original content produced from communities around the United States, the company said. z George Winslow
Ross Acquires D3 LED OTTAWA—Ross Video has acquired D3 LED (Dynamic Digital Displays) from Southpaw Live. Based in Rancho Cordova, California, and with remote offices in New York City, D3 has over 15 years of experience in creating LED displays for some of the world’s most recognized
October 2021 | www.tvtech.com
brands and programmers like ABC and ESPN. D3’s solutions complement the existing portfolio offered by Ross, and will enable Ross to offer an even more comprehensive range of content rendering platforms, including XPression motion graphics, Voyager (based on the Unreal engine from Epic Games), and the D3 IMS playback system, the companies said. “We’re excited to welcome the amazing D3 team to Ross,” says Ross Video CEO David Ross. “D3 is in a class of their own for LED processing technology and the services that make customers succeed! They are innovators who were first to market with many technologies including IP Data/
Video distribution between LED Controllers and Receivers using their True Element technology to deliver the highest quality imagery. It’s great to add another world-class brand to the Ross family, and I can’t wait to have our R&D teams collaborate and help our customers overcome their creative, business and technical challenges.” The operation will be renamed Ross D3 LED. Ross intends to further expand D3’s focus on Broadcast, Retail and Hospitality, while also pursuing other Live Production applications such as Virtual LED(2) and Extended Reality, as well as IMAG(3) in venues, the company said. z George Winslow
Here’s To The ATSC 3.0 Bootstrap
here are lots of attractive aspects to the ATSC 3.0 standard, which opens up many new, previously unavailable opportunities to television broadcasters. The laundry list is long. It includes things like highly robust OTA delivery, support for 4K, HDR and more, zoned and/or personalized news and entertainment and even interactive TV experiences and targeted advertising delivery—to name only a few.
ATSC 3.0 is the ability to change the transmission format while continuing to support legacy receivers. This is accomplished through a framing structure that includes a ‘System Discovery and Signaling’ signal, referred to as the ‘bootstrap’ signal before each frame. This signal has a fixed physical configuration, but carries data identifying the version of the frame following it. This could be ATSC Phil Kurz 3.0, a future ATSC 3.1 or some other variation; even one using a different waveform.” I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. It seems each day, some press release or story crosses my desk touting AV1, JPEG XS or some other video codec that promises the sun and the moon. I don’t know whether these or any others will one day offer sufficient enough reason to replace HEVC (and/or SHVC), but it is nice to know there But the very most important aspect of the stanis a mechanism for broadcasters to keep pace with dard may be its most fundamental: the ATSC 3.0 others in the content delivery business. bootstrap. Why? Because it will keep broadcasters One thing is certain, much of the success of TV in the game giving them access to an updated going forward—whether that’s television or datastandard–even one leveraging a codec that’s more casting—will be tied to how efficiently broadcastefficient than HEVC—and do so without stranding ers can use their bits. Thanks to the bootstrap, they NextGen TV sets and viewers. will never again have to wait 30 years to get back As TVTech contributor Doug Lung put it in a into the game. l December 2015 article: “A key requirement for
Keeping Pirates at Bay Protecting digital content is a 24/7 challenge Seksan Mongkhonkhamsao/Getty Images
By Dan Meier
LONDON—The summer’s tentpole movie was more than a box office disappointment and lawsuit catalyst for Scarlett Johansson; Marvel’s Black Widow was also the most pirated movie of the pandemic era, as reported by TorrentFreak. One possible culprit (apart from the temptation to see Ray Winstone attempt a Russian accent) is simultaneous digital distribution, the practice of releasing a film on VoD and in theaters at the same time. Not only is this potentially harming earnings (the complaint behind Johansson’s legal action), it arguably makes the most valuable assets the most vulnerable. “The opportunity for cyberattacks to occur is elevated as the risk of disruption from these digital releases increases during high-profile events, mainly if a film is available to download and stream at the same time as a cinema release,” says Eric Elbaz, strategic engagement manager—Broadcasting Media, Akamai. “Pirates and threat actors are opportunistic in nature and will take advantage
of high-profile releases to maximize their impact and return on investment. Companies must be aware of this trend and take action to mitigate the risks.” Looking outside the Hollywood bubble, cyberattacks are on the rise the world over; ransomware attacks in particular were up 151% in the first half of 2021 (compared to the same time in 2020), according to data from Atlas VPN. And yet the media industry is under unique pressure to keep its mate-
rials under wraps, according to Christopher J. Chan, Partner at international law firm Eversheds Sutherland. “While ransomware attacks and breaches in customer data privacy have been well publicized in other industries,” Chan said, “the reliance of the media industry on maintaining confidentiality in a motion picture product makes the media industry particularly prone to the adverse effects of a successful cyberattack which may compromise the details of an otherwise motion picture product, such as a plot or storyline, or surprise ending to a movie.”
“Pirates and threat actors are opportunistic in nature and will take advantage of high-profile releases to maximize their impact and return on investment.”
—ERIC ELBAZ, AKAMAI
Without a team of superheroes to protect them, how can media companies defend this content from increasingly sophisticated forms of piracy? The trend towards content protection offers something in the way of security, a combination of authentication, encryption and watermarking to prevent assets from being copied. “We see greater investment than ever in protecting content, especially as the nature of how content is delivered continues
twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | October 2021
Darren Lepke, head of video product management at Edgecast
to evolve,” confirms Darren Lepke, head of video product management at Edgecast. “As content availability increases, we’re likely to see content providers apply more pressure on OTT platforms to support advanced solutions like watermarking and proactive monitoring, in addition to standard methods like DRM, encryption, and user authentication. “We anticipate that watermarking solutions will become crucial, particularly for live sports,” Lepke continued. “Forensic watermarking will enable platforms to identify unauthorized traffic and determine which streams are being compromised so that security professionals can quickly shut them down.” Even with this increased investment, content protection is a far from perfect solution, as Chain explains: “No content protection technology has yet proven 100% effective against video and streaming piracy, and the sophistication of pirates and infringers appears to increase with each advance of new content protection technology... It is still an open question as to whether content protection technology will ever be strong enough to prevent the unauthorized pirating and distribution of video and streaming content.” Deploying content protection in tandem with other cybersecurity protocols makes for more robust defences, both prior to and after a product’s release. “Content protection and cybersecurity need to cooperate with each other to provide effective protection against bad actors as well as convenient and easy access to video and streamed content by authorized consumers,” notes Chan. “During development and production, as well as after the public release of video and streamed content, such content
October 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
should be sufficiently protected with both content protection measures as well as effective cybersecurity for associated networks and computers. The lapse in sufficient protection of video and streamed content by either content protection or by cybersecurity will likely jeopardize the economic value in the video and streamed content.” On the network side, regular testing of a system’s defenses adds another layer of protection against piracy. Wayne Pecena, director of engineering at KAMU TV/FM at Texas A&M University, and past president of SBE, advocates “penetration testing,” which seeks to discover and exploit security flaws in an IT system. “A pen test is executed by an ‘ethical’ hacker or ‘white hack’ hacker,” he explains. “The goal is to proactively find security flaws and correct in lieu of system flaws discovered by an actual cybersecurity event. Pen testing is a key aspect of a security audit.” Employing hacking tools such as NMAP or METASPLOIT, the would-be hacker carries out network reconnaissance, uncovers points of vulnerability and tests default logins. “I view penetration testing as the ‘proof of performance’ for the broadcast IT environment to verify the cybersecurity prevention measures that you think are in place really work,” says Pecena.
“No content protection technology has yet proven 100% effective against video and streaming piracy.”
—CHRISTOPHER J. CHAN, EVERSHEDS SUTHERLAND
Wayne Pecena, director of engineering at KAMU TV/FM at Texas A&M University
NEW POWERS Emerging technologies such as AI and 5G will also have a key role to play in cybersecurity operations, and could be particularly powerful tools when combined. Elbaz uses the following example: “AI can monitor shifts in internet traffic that may signal the start of an attack. 5G technologies can enable the fastest response possible by allowing AI to perform at-the-edge inference analysis and mitigation within milliseconds of detecting an oncoming attack.” By accelerating the speed of data analysis and enriching the granularity of detection, the efficiency of cybersecurity could be considerably enhanced. But so too could the attacks themselves; just as supervillains come in evil versions of their nemeses’ armor, hackers will harness the same technology used by media companies and the arms race wages on. In the end these villains are thwarted when the heroes work together in ways that are unavailable to the forces of greed, and Philip James, Partner at Eversheds Sutherland, sees an opportunity for companies to provide something communal that pirates cannot, by using technology creatively. “There is nothing like the shared experience of the theater,” he argues. “The more unique or distinct a theatrical performance can be, whether via virtual reality, 3D, in-theatre special effects, hospitality, exclusive content, trailers and interviews with directors and actors, the better opportunity there is for content creators to maintain an edge over hackers... by making the official content the best experience it can be.” l
A Conversation With Curtis LeGeyt Incoming NAB president discusses how broadcasters thrive amid advancing tech, regulatory challenges By Tom Butts
broadcasters in a rapidly changing media landscape.
WASHINGTON—Earlier this year, Gordon Smith, who has led the National Association of Broadcasters as its president and CEO for more than a decade, announced his retirement. Curtis LeGeyt, NAB’s current chief operating officer, has been appointed as the next president and CEO of the organization. LeGeyt—who is set to take over Jan. 1—has been with NAB for nearly a decade, previously serving five years as NAB’s executive vice president, Government Relations, before taking on his current role as COO. TV Tech recently talked with LeGeyt on his new role and the challenges facing NAB and
TV Tech: Congratulations on your new job, Curtis. You come to NAB at a challenging time for the broadcast industry. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing NAB right now? Curtis LeGeyt: This is a time of just tremendous disruption, both in the media landscape, and in Washington D.C. Our members both on the television and radio side are grappling with the way that the large tech companies have upended their relationship with their viewers. So as an advocacy organization, we want to ensure that in the future, local television broadcasters have
Curtis LeGeyt with outgoing NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith
the ability to reach their viewers, to invest in locally focused content and investigative journalism. That business model is existential right now, and the tech platforms are altering every element of both that relationship with
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leadership profile our audiences, and our relationship with our advertisers so that is a major, major challenge for the industry. At the same time, Washington D.C. is a town that is swept up in political division, and we need to ensure that as an industry that we continue to remind policymakers that whether Republican or Democrat, we all register local, we’re serving constituents regardless of political affiliation, and we need to cut through that partisanship, because there are members on both sides of the aisle that at the end of the day want to ensure a thriving broadcast industry. So that’s really the challenge on both fronts. TVT: How has the pandemic affected broadcasting in general, NAB and the NAB Show and related industry events? CL: It is no surprise that our industry has been challenged by COVID, both in a very practical and day-to-day way. There’s never been more pressure on local stations across the country to serve their communities with very relevant, hyper-focused information on what are the rules of the road for local businesses, what’s going on with school closures, how can I go and get a COVID test, where can I be vaccinated, how safe are these vaccines, etc. So the role of local broadcasting has never been more important, but at the same time when you are an industry that relies on local businesses for advertising revenues, there are some inherent challenges there. But I think the broadcast industry is going to come out the other side of this even stronger because we really used the last 18 months to reaffirm our brand. But that pressure on the financials, especially on the advertising side puts a real impetus on the need for NAB to deliver real immediate policy outcomes. And so the fact that we were able to secure Covid relief last year for every local broadcast station in the country that wanted to take Congress up on it, to help ensure that those stations were able to keep their local employees on payroll, was a very, very significant lifeline for the industry. The fact that we’ve been able to keep regulatory fees at bay—just recently, the FCC rolled back a previous proposal to increase fees on the broadcast industry this year—those are the types of things we’re very focused on. We’re always going to have those big picture battles around retransmission consent, and around spectrum, for example, but what COVID has done is it has really heightened our focus on delivering some short-term wins for the industry when we need it.
October 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
Regarding the NAB Show, we worked very hard to try to deliver an event that exhibitors, attendees and our industry would be proud of. Unfortunately, there were too many factors outside of our control that prevented us from hosting the type of event that our community has come to expect. We are incredibly disappointed about having to cancel the show, but it is ultimately the right call, considering health and safety concerns and our desire to meet the expectations of our exhibitors and attendees.
“Regarding the NAB Show, we worked very hard to try to deliver an event that exhibitors, attendees and our industry would be proud of. Unfortunately, there were too many factors outside of our control that prevented us from hosting the type of event that our community has come to expect.” I am grateful to our partners and all who poured their hearts into trying to put together an in-person convention in the face of extraordinary challenges. We will continue to connect with the NAB Show community through NAB Amplify and we are channeling our focus towards delivering a great 2022 NAB Show in April in Las Vegas that gets our industry back to doing business face-to-face. TVT: It’s not hyperbole to predict that the future of television as we know it is OTT. How do local broadcasters stay relevant in this changing landscape, particularly since television now is basically a streaming platform? CL: Well, no doubt we need to be accessible wherever and however viewers want to access our content and so I think the innovations that you’re seeing across the industry, ranging from streaming platforms to the investment in ATSC 3.0 are designed to ensure that we’re not going to miss a beat when it comes to consumers I think our competitive advantage in the media landscape is our ‘hyperlocal’ focus and
the local station’s ability to ensure that viewers remain connected to the communities in which they live. The experience of COVID, over the last 18 months, I think underscores the relevance and reliance that viewers have on our stations. TVT: Are you satisfied with the rollout of ATSC 3.0 so far? CL: We’re really encouraged that so many stations are up and running with their deployments, especially in light of the challenges that COVID has brought to bear over the course of the last year and a half. It has slowed the pace of transition somewhat, but we will still get NextGen TV deployed in 60 television markets, reaching roughly three quarters of the country over the course of the next few months. Moreover, we’re encouraged by the fact that the industry has really coalesced around what has been a tremendous undertaking, where you’ve got so many independent businesses making their own determination about where they want to invest their innovation dollars. So getting everybody rowing in the same direction was a tremendous challenge and there’s excitement around the consumer benefits, as well as, frankly, the experience that we can provide for our advertising business partners, so we’re very encouraged. TVT: With the networks heavily involved with launching their own streaming services that give them a more direct path to getting their programming to viewers, how do you think that impacts the relationships between the networks and affiliates? CL: I think there remains an extremely strong mutual respect between the broadcast networks, and the broadcast affiliates. They are in slightly different businesses, for a lot of the reasons that you just articulated, but there’s also a recognition that there is a mutual need here and that the networks’ local affiliates remain an indispensable resource and business partner in reaching and maximizing their ability to touch viewers across the country. One thing that we really emphasize at the NAB is the need for unity between the network’s and the affiliates, which Gordon [Smith] deserves a lot of credit for. I think as it relates to our message in Washington, and frankly our message to consumers around the value of broadcast, is that the networks and the affiliates are absolutely in lockstep, which as you know, has not always been the case at NAB. l
Making the Cloud Work for Broadcast ‘The meaning of virtualized playout has changed significantly in the last 12 months’ By Bob Kovacs
ALEXANDRIA—Years ago, science fiction author Isaac Asimov said that although forward thinkers in the 19th century could imagine the automobile, they completely missed the necessity of parking lots. It wasn’t until we had experience with an increasing number of automobiles that the need to park them close to where you had business was obvious. Deep thinkers in the mid-20th century could envision computer-to-computer communications, and by the 1970s the rudiments of what became known as “the internet” started to fall into place. By 2000 or so, use of the internet
had become so common that files were described as being uploaded to the “internet cloud” in one location and downloaded in another. However, this cloud was only for transport—it wasn’t until some forward thinker combined storage with the cloud that the power of the internet began to increase exponentially.
SPINNING UP This brings us to the topic of virtual playout, a function that could not have existed 20 or possibly even 10 years ago. “The meaning of virtualized playout has changed significantly in the last 12 months,”
Grass Valley’s Agile Media Processing Platform is a scalable cloud-first playout solution.
said Ewan Johnston, strategic partner and channel director for news at Dalet. “It is now considered synonymous with ‘cloud playout,’ with the benefits of rapid set-up, management from anywhere and an OpExmodel, enabling content creators to rapidly spin up new channels.” How quickly can you “spin up” a new channel? “Broadcasters and rights holders now have the opportunity to play out content
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virtualized playout to their audiences with pop-up channels or feeds to social media outlets at any time,” said Karl Mehring, senior commercial director for playout at Grass Valley. “The speed and responsiveness of the cloud means that a team can engage with a major event or secure rights, or just have a brainstorm, then launch a TV channel in next to no time.”
SPEED & FLEXIBILITY If you can think it, it can become an actual channel… perhaps by the end of the week. Besides the speed and flexibility of set up (which are no small benefits, of course), what else makes virtual playout a better mousetrap for broadcasters?
Rob Gambino, director of solutions at Harmonic
“Cloud playout can turn what has been a largely one-way street into an opportunity for conversation with the audience,” Mehring said. “Advertising and relevant information can be directed with great precision to relevant viewers and, with greater knowledge of the audience, new kinds of programming can be developed that would have been impractical with a wide broadcast approach.” In addition to changing the interaction paradigm with viewers, virtual playout eliminates the capital expense, physical space and operating costs associated with master control facilities. “It brings operational flexibility and ready scalability,” said Ignacio Revuelto Rosello, product marketing manager for Imagine Communications. “And it attempts to get rid of hardware dependencies. Given today’s hardware capabilities, it is best suited to handling transport streams rather than uncompressed, high-resolution video over IP.” One of the most amazing points about virtual playout is that there can be (and
October 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
almost certainly is) a channel that uses only compressed signals and never deals with the storage and bandwidth needed for uncompressed HD and UHD content.
DECISIONS, DECISIONS If you have an existing broadcast distribution system, what questions should you ask if you’re thinking of replacing it (or adding to it) with a cloud-based system? Start with defining the features and functions that drive your core business. How can you best monetize your content without ruining the user experience? “Most broadcasters want to deliver the highest possible video quality,” said Rob Gambino, director of solutions at Harmonic. “They want richly branded channels with custom graphics, and many of them are now investigating personalization and regional variants to increase viewer engagement.” Then look at complexity and price. “Although traditional broadcast architectures are well understood, to move to a virtualized solution means adding an extra layer of computing overhead and intricacy for orchestrating hypervisors, VMs and virtual resources,” Rosello said. “Similarly, the cost of licenses for [the necessary software] plays a part in total cost of ownership.”
“Cloud playout can turn what has been a largely one-way street into an opportunity for conversation with the audience.” —KARL MEHRING, GRASS VALLEY
Finally, do you have a need for temporary channels? “Broadcasters will often gain the right to broadcast major events where the ability to bring temporary channels to air is a must,” said Miroslav Jeras, chief technology officer at Pebble. “The Olympics are a great example of this where multiple sports are required to be broadcast concurrently, or elections where the results in each area of a country are being revealed at any one time.” There are several companies with experience and products to address setup and operation of virtual playout systems. LTN has a range of products, including LTN
Rick Young, senior vice president and head of global products for LTN Global
Transport, which provides predictable low-latency streams anywhere in the world, with dedicated support infrastructures that are often preferred by linear channel providers. LTN Schedule is a hosted playout platform that allows live and non-live elements to be managed across the same timeline with the flexibility to support a wide genre of channels, including entertainment, sports, esports, wagering, and news and information. “For channels that include lots of live programming like sports and news, we’ve extended our centralized production service [LTN Flex] to help companies ramp up content production for full-time or pop-up channels,” said Rick Young, senior vice president and head of global products for LTN Global. GV AMPP Playout is part of Grass Valley’s Agile Media Processing Platform application suite It’s a scalable cloud-first playout solution that lets users deploy any number of channels, where and when they need them, without requiring any additional infrastructure. Imagine's Versio software-based playout engine is designed to operate in a private data center or in the cloud, providing video processing capabilities with peripheral functionality such as synchronizing video, audio and metadata, and inserting complex graphics in real time. The Harmonic VOS360 cloud streaming platform is a managed solution that allows creation of linear channels, live events and streams. Using the platform, operators have control over content ingest, scheduling, playout, encoding, monetization and the creation of channel variants, with real-time agility. Pebble’s Automation software platform provides centralized ingest, content management and multi-channel solutions, and can be scaled from one to hundreds of channels. The company’s Virtualized Playout solution is a
virtualized playout software-only implementation of Pebble’s Integrated Channel device, and it is configurable for any channel whether it is IP or traditional SDI.
perform regular security penetration tests, all intended to provide better security than was possible in traditional on-premise systems.
SECURITY IS PARAMOUNT
WIDESPREAD INDUSTRY GROWTH
With anything on the internet, security is a paramount concern. “There are two major aspects to consider regarding playout security,” Dalet’s Johnston said. “One is the security of the platform to allow a highly available service for premium SLAs. Second, the security of the content that is played out to ensure it is not leaked and distributed before the required playout date.” Interestingly, being in “the cloud” may make operations more secure, not less. For example, an agreement with a cloud operator could require that all content and operational modules be stored in multiple locations, accessible with different passwords. A ransomware attack could be fended off by moving to the unaffected system. “Cloud service providers such as AWS or Google have a huge amount of money to spend in security that far outweighs that of an individual broadcaster,” said Grass Valley’s Mehring. “They are trusted by banks and the
The sudden availability and growth of virtual playout systems does not immediately render physical broadcaster-owned playout systems obsolete, but it does provide a new distribution method that the clever and fleet-footed can exploit. With the Great COVID Panic of 20202021 forcing the general population into swiftly accepting virtual workdays and meetings, viewers are more primed than ever to accept new ways of enjoying their favorite content— and finding new favorite content. “More and more media organizations are examining the merits and challenges of migrating their broadcast playout operations to IP and virtualized deployments,” said Pebble’s Jeras. “However, every broadcast playout workflow is unique, so properly supporting any broadcaster’s needs requires agile software development, a collaborative approach for the lifetime of the project and, crucially, an experienced engineering and deployment team.” l
Miroslav Jeras, chief technology officer at Pebble
stock market to run their systems, so platform security should not be an issue. We work closely with these companies to ensure that our products are architected from the groundup with security in-mind.” Mehring said that Grass Valley runs regular internal security checks within its CI/CD pipeline and employs data specialists to
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Live Television (accidentally and gloriously) Returns The chaos at CNN's 'Homecoming Concert' ignited a display of spontaneity and creativity
set when the concert was halted. ive television today is nothAbruptly, thousands in the crowd ing like it was during the were told to find the nearest exit medium’s pioneering years. and proceed to protected areas In those simpler times, sets outside of the event site. Artists fell down, lights exploded and all like Elvis Costello, Paul Simon sorts of “disasters” happened unand Bruce Springsteen had yet to expectedly over the airwaves. Now, perform. live television has been so perfected With forecasts that the storm and scripted that things rarely go would pass within a half hour or wrong. so, the concert was in temporary That is…until they do. Quite EXPERTISE suspension. CNN was forced to stay suddenly, accidents can still Frank Beacham on the air and vamp for time. CNN happen and sometimes they turn host Anderson Cooper — backed into great television. At times like with inaccurate weather forecasting and no these, human beings drop their on-camera idea when or if the concert would resume — was personas and become their real selves for saved when Barry Manilow called the studio the world to see. That wonderful serendipity from his backstage trailer on a mobile phone. happened on a summer night at the “We Love With a piano in his trailer, Manilow—ever NYC: The Homecoming Concert,” a globally the entertainer—sang his hit, “I Made It televised music event on August 21 on CNN. Through the Rain,” over the phone live to It was supposed to be New York City’s CNN. He had planned to sing the song on stage comeback after the pandemic. Recording before the stormy ending and was determined mogul Clive Davis had assembled a who’s who to sing it now as the rain poured down outside. of top named entertainers for what was billed Manilow opened the floodgate for other as a five-hour live spectacular from Central performers to phone in or do live video from Park’s Great Lawn. backstage. The Killers performed impromptu backstage musical numbers over live iPhone EXCUSE THE INTERRUPTION video; Steven Colbert, Elvis Costello and Patti Then, suddenly, halfway through the conSmith called in to chat about both serious and cert, a record-breaking rainstorm—with thunlight subjects with Cooper. Carlos Santana, alder and lightning—blew in over Central Park. ready having performed his set at the concert, Barry Manilow was in mid-song early in his
October 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
visited the CNN studio. All dropped their formal stage characters and became real people—joyously talking of such matters as stealing food from each other’s snack tables. It was real life, hair down, backstage banter on live, international television, and it was perhaps as good as the concert itself. “I am watching historic broadcasting right now,” Colbert told Cooper on the phone as he watched CNN from the performance tent. “I am enjoying this moment of you killing time. You are spinning straw into gold.” At about 10:30 p.m., it became clear that the forecasters were dead wrong and the weather was getting worse—not better. Finally, the concert was officially cancelled and the performers scattered. But that hour or so of impromptu bantering from the musicians backstage while they waited in the storm added to the rich history of great live television accidents. Of course, from the vintage live drama and variety shows through the early years of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” viewers have always known that anything was possible. In that era, we watched in expectation of the outrageous. Can you imagine John Belushi performing in today’s environment? These days he probably couldn’t get past studio security at Rockefeller Center to even do the show! I have always been intrigued by the adventure and creativity of truly live broadcasting.
media tech Not only did I grow up watching live shows, but in my college years I operated a turret-type monochrome RCA camera on a daily live kids’ show. Later, I got to know some of the people who worked and performed on live network broadcasts. I loved their war stories and could listen for hours.
THE GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION For the people who broke into television during the medium’s formative years, it was the use of videotape beginning in about 1958 that sanitized and permanently changed the business. Video recording, the old timers lamented, sucked the life out of television. Before their deaths, I had conversations on this subject with Milton Berle, the pioneering comedian who became known as “Mr. Television” after emerging as the first real TV star on NBC; Jackie Gleason, who knew just as much about what happens behind the camera as in front; and Buffalo Bob Smith, who hosted the 13-year run of NBC’s “Howdy Doody,” the pre-eminent kid’s show of my youth. Each of these performers relied on physical comedy and each relished the accidents that breathed tension into their live televi-
sion broadcasts. Milton Berle recalled that some of his best moments came during accidents, such as falling scenery or misplaced props. He told me he held membership in several labor unions simultaneously during his live TV days so he could do any job required on the show—including emergency carpentry with a hammer and nails on a fallen set wall during commercial breaks. “They didn’t call me ‘Mr. Television’ for nothing,” he liked to say of his off-camera skills. Buffalo Bob, an endlessly cheerful entertainer who used to do naughty “blue” versions of the “Howdy Doody” show for his sponsors before the live broadcast, also respected a sense of spontaneity (remember how Clarabell used to randomly squirt Buffalo Box with seltzer water?) and the high energy level insured by the piercing eye of the live camera. Gleason, who began his performing career as a carnival barker and in vaudeville-burlesque houses, valued the live performance as essential to his comedy. Even when he decided to do “The Honeymooners” as a filmed sitcom, Gleason did the show with minimal rehearsal before a live audience to gain spontaneity.
Whether comedy, live drama or even talk shows, veterans of live television will tell you it was different when there were no “safety nets” to protect against mistakes and other slip-ups. And yes, profanities and “costume malfunctions” occasionally made it on the air back then as well. All the old-timers say the so-called “mistakes” often resulted in the best moments on television and infected viewers, who loved the idea that anything could and might happen during a live broadcast. Videotape, they will also tell you, not only largely ended this creative tension, but shifted power away from the live performers to the bean-counting suits upstairs. The loose, fly-by-the-pants “Golden Age” of live television gave way to the tightly controlled, ratings-dominated era when every second counted for big dollars. So, it is always refreshing today when things go delightfully wrong on live broadcasts. The Central Park experience proved chaos can still make great television. l Frank Beacham is a New York City-based writer and media producer.
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business management systems
Taking Care of Business Traffic, billing, HR and scheduling adapt to multiplatform workflows
ONTARIO—The fundamental nature of TV broadcasting is changing, and the companies who make its back office systems—business management (formerly “traffic and billing”), human resources, and scheduling—are changing as well to keep up with the industry’s evolving multiplatform needs. To maximize the continuing usefulness of their products, these vendors are watching broadcast industry trends very closely.
of accessibility, guaranteed uptime, automatic software updates: This list of benefits goes on and on.” The second trend affecting business management systems are emerging technologies such as ATSC 3.0. “These technologies are going to usher in increased advertising opportunities and a much higher levels of personalization,” Myers added. “Linear schedules are going to become multidimensional, so we are staying focussed on both expanding our existing toolsets as well as introducing new ones.”
THE MOVE TO CLOUD
MOBILE AND INTEROPERABILITY
The software advances being made by Imagine Communications, Marketron, Myers, Xytech, and WideOrbit, among others, in their back office systems are an indirect response to eight key broadcasting advances. According to these companies, the biggest trend is the ongoing migration of TV broadcasting—in all respects—onto third-party cloud platforms. “Transitioning to the cloud provides numerous efficiencies for both software vendors and clients alike,” said Crist Myers, president and CEO of Myers. “Less onsite hardware, improved security, unlimited scalability, ease
Xytech COO Greg Dolan said that mobile and the need for interoperability between digital and linear platforms are driving his company’s product development. “One of our goals here at Xytech is to put curated functionality and data into the hands of the right people at the right time with a mobile application,” he told TV Tech. “Another goal is to ensure our system seamlessly integrates with other systems. This is vital for our customers to save time, effort and reduce mistakes.” Over at Imagine Communications, Ad Tech Products Senior Vice President Brad
By James Careless
October 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
Herman cited the convergence of broadcast digital/linear TV services and the one-toone targeting of advertising as two trends that business management software has to address. “By aggregating the audience, a broadcaster can develop a single, intelligent campaign that runs across linear and digital, taking the best of both and combining them to improve overall advertising,” Herman
Xytech President Greg Dolan
business management systems linear ad tactics. Technology vendors need to offer solutions that support all ad types across proposals, orders, execution, performance reporting and billing.” Finally, the speed and scale of broadcast operations are changing as broadcasters face increased competition in both programming and advertising. “As a result, they need technology that streamlines workflows with modern, easy-to-use interfaces,” said Chaudari. “TV groups should expect their technology vendors to offer API-based platforms that are interoperable with their other tools. They don’t have time to manually move data to understand the health of the business.”
said. “Meanwhile, individual ad targeting has been seen as a unique benefit of digital services. But with broadcasters putting linear television services on IP streams, ATSC 3.0 offering options for targeting, and mapping non-Nielsen audiences to content, the options for tightly addressed commercials are increasing.”
AUTOMATING TRADITIONAL PROCESSES Increasing automation across every aspect of TV broadcasting is the fifth key trend that business management software providers are responding to. “Many people think immediately of programmatic sales when they hear the word ‘automation,’” said Will Offeman, WideOrbit’s chief product officer. “While that’s certainly part of it, it’s also about automating traditionally manual processes like the handling of Electronic Material Instructions; accounts receivable, collections, and payment processes; and automating makegoods as much as possible by offering suggestions based on an automated comparison of the advertiser’s needs—the right audience, at the right time, the right programming—against available
Will Offeman chief product officer, WideOrbit
WHAT’S NEXT inventory.” Marketron Vice President of Product Jimshade Chaudari sees three more trends that business management software is now addressing. First, “remote work is here to stay: While COVID continues to play havoc, it seems many employees prefer the ability to work remotely,” he said. Next, “broadcasters need technology that supports more than just
Mindful that change never stops, business management system vendors are looking out for the next big thing in TV broadcasting, and adjusting their products to deal with it. Opinions vary on what it will be. “Clearly, the next big thing in the [broadcast] industry is the rollout and adoption of ATSC 3.0,” said Crist Myers. But Dolan disagrees. “The next big thing on the horizon is the use of optimization
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business management systems tools and artificial intelligence,” he said. According to Herman, “the next big thing will be platforms that combine the brand safety and premium viewing experience of linear broadcast with digital’s open architecture, high levels of automation and targetability—platforms that take the best of both linear and digital advertising experiences to improve both.”
“By aggregating the audience, a broadcaster can develop a single, intelligent campaign that runs across linear and digital, taking the best of both and combining them to improve overall advertising.” —BRAD HERMAN, IMAGINE COMMUNICATIONS
Offeman similarly sees the evolution in advanced advertising as having an enormous impact for TV broadcasters, but in a different way. “As broadcasters make it easier for advertisers to buy their digital inventory, they’ll attract previously digital-first advertisers,” he said. “Those brands who are new to TV will discover the unmatchable value of unduplicated reach and of providing a shared, common experience. When that happens, broadcasters who are ready to offer both will have the advantage.”
October 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
For his part, Chaudari is not so much focussed on what the next big thing will be, so much as he is with broadcasters being able to adjust to it. “Whether it’s TIP-compliance or NextGen TV, broadcasters need to be thinking about future TV standards and the impact these
will have on their operations and customer experience,” he said. To protect themselves, “Broadcasters should future-proof their technology stacks today with partners that are interoperable, cloud-based and offer centralized data warehousing to improve reporting.” l
It’s Time to Tear Down the Ad Silos I don’t recall ever having to swim upstream, but in my younger days I was on my fair share of canoe floats and witnessed firsthand just how powerful the current of a river can be. So. I understand why TV broadcasters do not want to swim upstream against the current in the world of advertising. Significant growth in digital ad spending last year despite a pullback elsewhere may be reason enough for broadcasters to devote more effort to digital. An eMarketer Insider Intelligence report notes that despite “sharp declines in 2020” in television ad spending, “U.S. advertisers increased their spending on digital ads last year by almost 15%...” ABC-owned TV stations, NBCUniversal, Nexstar Media Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Hearst Television are among the major station groups that have or said they are in the process of adopting an impressions-based ad sales model—the very bread and butter of digital advertising. In June, Katz Television Group, which represents more than 800 TV stations in 210 DMAs, announced its support for industry-wide adoption of impression-based selling and buying for local broadcast TV. Layer on the growing adoption of NextGen TV with ATSC 3.0’s support for personalized and targeted advertising, and it’s clear big changes are needed in how ads are sold, booked, scheduled, managed and played out. It’s also evident those changes will revolve around technology and workflow on the one hand and people on the other. Technology and workflow: Broadcasters embracing this transition will soon find there is little room for disparate, siloed ad workflows. Nor will maintaining separate ad-tech systems—one for linear television and the other for digital—remain feasible. Failing to unify digital and linear workflows will result in costly operational inefficiencies, redundant processes and, in the end, intolerable inflexibility. Personnel: For local TV broadcasters and station groups to take full advantage of their platform portfolio—TV stations, zoned TV coverage for certain 3.0 stations, radio and digital—their sales people must be equipped to succeed. That will likely require significant retaining of the station’s salesforce. Just as on the tech and workflow side where there this no more room for silos, broadcasters will find siloing sales—with some salespeople dedicated to the linear product and others to digital, or, worse yet, farmed out to a third-party sales organization—will be inefficient and create lost sales. The television industry has a long history of change. Black-and-white made room for color, which gave way to digital and HDTV. Now, 4K with HDR is here. Film and its associated workflows gave way to videotape and ultimately digital media. NTSC gave way to DTV, which will likely be replaced by ATSC 3.0. Now the tectonic change is focused on the cash register. If broadcasters follow past form, here too they ultimately will succeed in making this fundamental transition because to do otherwise amounts to swimming upstream against a current that grows stronger with each passing mile.
z Phil Kurz
‘Trash Can’ Sound Capturing good audio still relies on the laws of physics
lems are the result of simple he quality of home TV physics and not usually taught sound has improved in journalism school, however with DSP trickery and most TV Tech readers will know soundbars plus a large that all sound has a direct sound pool of younger consumers who wave and multiple sound waves have invested in better sound for after the initial. You have to their gaming experience. cut the secondary sound waves So there is no doubt that the out—somehow. consumer can now hear bad Simple physics tells us that audio. Home sound for movies, you can alter the acoustics by sports, national live programEXPERTISE absorbing the extra sounds or ing and gaming generally are Dennis Baxter diffusing the offending sounds higher-quality production, but it before they become objectionseems there are areas where the able. For example, virtually every home production quality of the sound is excused for journalist is a talking-head in front of a some reason or ignored. bookcase. If the books are organized in a Cable news provides an abundance of stair-step fashion, the sound will be somecontent both edited and produced, but much what diffused and prevent a direct sound of it is from live presentations. As with all reflection from behind directly back into things TV, Covid-19 news capture and presenthe microphone. Additionally some blankets tation morphed into an abundance of home journalists with authoritative credentials, however no skills in the technical production of a broadcast quality “homecast.” When the home journalist is dependent on their presentation and voice persuasion and the audio is subpar it is distracting from the content and bad for their brand.
should be hung on the sides and front to absorb the sound and reduce and eliminate the “trash-can” sound.
DON’T JUST RELY ON YOUR LAPTOP Microphone placement is critical for all acoustic capture and is probably the most offending culprit in live audio capture and reproduction. From what I can see, a lot of home-based journalists use the built-in camera and microphone on their laptops; but even if the camera and microphone are only arms length away it is still too far for audio pickup. The microphone captures the direct sound from the on-camera journalist plus all the reflections of sound from the desktop, walls, ceiling and computer screen surface and all different reflection times causing an acoustic soup. The next step beyond the built-in audio in your streaming device is a USB audio inter-
FRONT & CENTER The pandemic brought the concept of the home journalist front and center and it did not take very long for them to figure out how to get good lighting from cheap digital cameras; front lighting rings can now be found at your local Best Buy. I think viewers can usually accept the inferior picture quality even with poor lip-sync, but the acoustic nature of audio continues to suck. Why? Because with all the auto features on your picture capture device—camera, computer, iPhone or tablet, the audio auto gain control cannot fix fundamental audio problems. You could parallel the problems for the home journalist to your dads’ home movie production where the audio and lighting was bad or non-existent. First, virtually all live, non-studio audio suffers from poor acoustics, because of poor microphone placement and microphone selection, and in the digital world, bad-sounding digital gremlins that live in the circuits. Bad audio comes from a variety of culprits, but is easy to diagnose. Most audio prob-
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face which provides one or two audio inputs plus headphone monitoring for incoming Q&A, as you will need an audio sound interface to attach an external microphone to your computer. If you choose a lapel microphone there is always the chance of capturing an abundance of room noise, however the goal is to get the microphone as close as possible to the sound source—your mouth. I would encourage the use of a hand microphone on a stand in front of the presenter. This type of microphone is good for close voice capture with greatly reduced reflective sounds and is readily available from Audio Technica, Sennheiser or Shure in music stores or online. Besides, a hand microphone just sounds better. Note—part of the microphone might be in the picture/shot, but should not totally obstruct the presenter’s face. Additionally the USB audio interface gives the presenter a high-quality way to monitor the audio which should be done on headphones. I have seen a few home-journalists using headphones and an external microphone, but this level of experience seems to come from the podcast-
October 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
Microphone placement is critical for all acoustic capture and is probably the most offending culprit in live audio capture and reproduction. ing community where the sound is usually of higher quality than from live cable news programming. Even with digital audio, there is both good and bad audio quality. Sound must be converted from the sound vibrations that your microphone captures to a digital audio representation. The analog-to-digital conversion algorithms have a range of settings that have a significant impact on fidelity and amount of data to get into the pipeline. High levels of digital compression can sound brittle and edgy with limited frequency spread in the voice with little low frequencies.
How do you fix this? You solve the problem by educating the home journalist and the broadcast technical/production supervisors. Just because you see the audio coming in does not mean it is usable. First, the producers should reject audio and picture, particularly from regular contributors that are below a certain set standard. Speech intelligibility and fidelity are debatable points of view and perhaps that is why poor sounding audio is tolerated, although I will comment that we are decades beyond the early days of AM radio. Some networks have put together remote packages for high profile commentators with audio, lighting and instructions, but the home journalist can do a lot to improve their brand with as little as $500 and some knowledge from reading this article. l Dennis Baxter has spent over 35 years in live broadcasting including sound design for nine Olympic Games. He has earned multiple Emmy awards and is the author of A Practical Guide to Television Sound Engineering, His current book about immersive sound practices and production will be available February 2022. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www. dennisbaxtersound.com
eye on tech | product and services Interra Systems ORION 2110 Probe
MultiDyne SilverBack-VB Camera Adapter
The ORION 2110 Probe endto-end monitoring solution for IP media workflows monitors ST 2110 main and redundancy signals as well as NMOS-based ST 2110 feed discovery in networks. It addresses the complexities and challenges of the SDI and IP environment by enabling a simple, yet powerful means to monitor content, especially in production and contribution applications. The probe offers a rich set of REST APIs to ensure seamless integration with third-party software, including most network management systems. The probe can detect video quality issues rapidly throughout the entire video workflow, regardless of whether it’s ingest, content preparation or delivery. With insights into video errors as early as ingest, broadcast can dramatically improve video quality of service and quality of experience. z For more information visit www.interrasystems.com.
MultiDyne’s new SilverBack-VB series fiber camera adapter reduces the cost of creating high-resolution, cinematic quality productions, making them an appealing option for a much broader customer base, including live concerts, sports and church services. The SilverBack-VB is a 1RU halfrack-width enclosure that provides a robust, full-bandwidth fiber optic link between any 12G, 4K or HD camera and a truck, control room or video village position. The new SilverBack-VB retains the main features required for HD, 4K and even 8K productions while streamlining the feature set for smaller budgets. The SilverBack-V and SilverBack-VB both convert digital cinema cameras into SMPTE studio cameras for use in live multi-camera productions. z For more information visit www.multidyne.com.
AVIWEST RACK400 Encoders
Teradek Bolt 4K Monitor Modules
RACK400, part of AVIWEST’s RACK Series encoders for remote and at-home video production over unmanaged IP networks, is available in a compact, half-1U form factor and supports 4K UHD and multicamera workflows for up to four high-resolution, fully frame-synced feeds. H.265/HEVC and H.264/AVC are supported to accommodate new and existing infrastructures and it can handle up to 4Kp60 combined with eight audio channels for high-end productions. Advanced features include frame-accurate synchronization and video transmission between multiple cameras to ensure perfect and seamless camera switching in the studio. z For more information visit aviwest.com.
Teradek’s Bolt 4K Monitor Modules 1500 TX and 1500 RX give users a long-range option with the 1500 monitor modules and a short-range option with the original 750 monitor modules. Both seamlessly integrate with SmallHD Smart 7 Monitors and the entire Bolt 4K product series. When paired, they transmit and receive zero-delay wireless video signal from 1080p up to 4Kp30. The new longer-range devices offer 1,500 feet of line-of-sight range and support for 10-bit 4K and HDR. The Bolt 4K Monitor Module TX 1500 has an integrated hardware connector for SmallHD Smart 7 Monitors (Cine 7, Indie 7, and 702 Touch), optional wireless camera control with a Smart 7 Monitor and SmallHD license (sold separately), easy setup and signal management. z For more information visit www.teradek.com.
RED Digital Cinema V-Raptor 8K Camera
Blonder Tongue Aircaster AQT8 Transmodulator
Red Digital Cinema’s new V-Raptor 8K VV camera is the first entrant in its next generation DSMC3 platform, and features the highest dynamic range, fastest cinema-quality sensor scan time, cleanest shadows, and highest frame rates of any camera in Red’s lineup. V-Raptor features a multi-format 8K sensor (40.96mm x 21.60mm) with the ability to shoot 8K large format or 6K Super 35. Like its predecessor, the Monstro 8K VV sensor, this in-camera option allows shooters to leverage any of their large format or S35 lenses with the push of a button and always deliver at over 4K resolution. The camera exceeds previous sensor capabilities, presenting users with the option to capture 8K full sensor at up to 120 frames per second (150fps at 2.4:1), 6K up to 160 fps (200fps at 2.4:1), and 2K (2.4:1) at 600 frames per second, while still capturing over 17 stops of dynamic range. z For more information visit www.red.com.
Blonder Tongue’ Aircaster AQT8-QAM/IP and Aircaster AQT8-IP transmodulators offer comprehensive and flexible toolsets to create custom IP and QAM channel lineups from any ATSC 1.0 off-air or QAM content source. The Aircaster AQT8 is well-suited for facilities looking to incorporate off-air video programming without paying additional retransmission fees for local cable or satellite services. The Aircaster AQT8 transmodulators offer a solution for any fiber optic or cable service operator or commercial property, including campuses, hospitals, hotels and multi-dwelling units (MDUs), as well as video integrators with small- and medium-sized business (SMB) customers. Requiring only 1RU, the device can accept up to 8 ATSC 1.0 signals offair or QAM sources, and simultaneously output a series of Single Program Transport Streams (SPTS) and/or Multi-Program Transport Stream (MPTS), creating both a custom IP feed and/or QAM transmissions. z For more information visit www.blondertongue.com.
twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | October 2021
equipment guide | cloud solutions
Sailing the High Seas With Dejero’s Cloud-Based Production Tools USER REPORT By Erwan Riquier CEO Sea Events
RENNES, France—Livestreaming from coastlines at multiple points across 1,830 miles of Europe’s roughest waters for La Solitaire du Figaro, (aka the unofficial world championships of solo offshore racing), is challenging on a number of levels. The multiple locations, harsh physical environment and inconsistent network connectivity all stack up. In this event, solo skippers race across four stages between France, Ireland and Spain—and it’s our job to capture the dramatic departures and landings at each of these legs for the event’s 30 000-strong Facebook audience live. The very best way to capture the race, and be as close to the action as possible, is from a boat in the water and a drone in the skies above.
NAVIGATING COMPLEXITY We need the most reliable equipment to ensure an uninterrupted live broadcast at each stage in what is a complex network environment from the coastlines of each location. Sea Events, a French-based media production company that covers offshore sailing races, decided to use a combination of Dejero’s high-quality video contribution technology and Dazzl’s cloud-native live video production tools. Onboard, we used a SONY PMW 400 with a stabilized lens connected to a Dejero EnGo mobile transmitter to capture the skippers racing to the finish line. Onshore, we used the Dazzl app on an iPhone to interview the skippers, and a drone provid-
October 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
perfectly—which we’ve also experienced. Live footage of the race was delivered to Facebook via two smartphones running the Dazzl application and a drone and these sources were streamed over RTMP to the Dazzl cloud server for our producer’s use. By integrating Dazzl’s cloud video platform with Dejero’s mobile transmitters, Sea Events gained access to live broadcast production, live clipping, fast editing and video distribution tools on location, ensuring Facebook audiences had the best viewing experience. Dejero and Dazzl have made cloudbased live production simple for us. As a sea-based events company, it has opened up new opportunities for livestreaming because of the reliability and low latency it provides and because it allows us to deliver a quality livestream to any platform—whether digital or linear, from anyDejero’s EnGo mobile transmitter and Dazzl’s cloud-native live video production tools were used to livestream the Solitaire du Figaro sailing race. where in the world. l
ed a bird’s eye view of everything that was going on across the water. We also had two remote commentators for additional audience engagement, with the production director located in the arrival harbor. As you can imagine, network coverage was a major concern
finding the most reliable network when we crossed borders or were confronted with patchy coverage. The EnGo’s Smart Blending Technology automatically finds and combines the strongest network paths to form a high bandwidth pipe. This technology also meant that we didn’t have to
as we had to ensure reliable connectivity with each countries’ telecom providers as we advanced in each stage of the race.
worry about the movement and positioning of the boat in order to gain the best vantage points, no matter how far away we were from the coast. The EnGo was able to preserve and deliver the best picture quality possible from the roughest of seas, where available bandwidth was limited. This transmitter is built to withstand harsh conditions and we’ve heard from other users that it can take a few knocks and work
CONNECTED WITH ENGO This is why we used Dejero EnGo. It has six integrated global modems, global roaming connectivity services and interchangeable SIM modules, which meant we didn’t have to think about switching to different network carriers or constantly twitter.com/tvtechnology
Ex France Television journalist Erwan Riquier has been CEO of Sea Events for 15 years. Sea Events is the leading production company in France for offshore sailing racing (Vendee Globe, Route du Rhum, Fastnet Race, Transat Jacques Vabre, Solitaire du Figaro, etc). He can be reached at erwan@ seaevents.tv More information on the integration of Dejero and Dazzl technologies is available at www. dejero.com.
equipment guide | cloud solutions
GBH Produces and Collaborates in the Cloud With Sony Ci USER REPORT By Tim Mangini Senior Director of Production Technology GBH
BOSTON—GBH is a Bostonbased public media producer and broadcaster and the leading multiplatform creator for public media. We’re both a PBS and an NPR member station, as well as the producer of a significant amount of well known series including “Frontline,” “Nova,” “American Experience,” “Masterpiece” and “Antiques Roadshow.” As senior director of production technology I oversee our Production Group unit, which is responsible for GBH’s production and post-production. In 2015, we started using Sony’s Ci media collaboration cloud platform as a way to streamline our operations and enhance collaboration among our production teams. Along with our IT/technology team we were looking for a solution that would be intuitive, secure, and easy to use and that’s what we found with Ci.
ONE PLATFORM FOR ALL One of the things that GBH really appreciates about Sony’s Ci is that it is a single secure platform built on top of AWS where we can access our media safely and easily. The post-production group has an adage about the technologies we adopt—they have to be able to be utilized by a 17-year-old intern or a 70-year-old director/producer, and everyone in-between. It has to be robust technologically because we’re doing so much with it, but it also has to be really easy to use. We’ve found Ci to be a well-designed tool that people can learn how to use quickly and
GBH uses Sony’s Ci media collaboration cloud platform to produce a large volume of content for multiple platforms.
then leverage to increase their productivity. Ci is used extensively throughout our organization in broadcast, distribution, stock footage licensing and wherever we need to share media. On the production side we use it for uploading, storing and sharing media, as well as reviewing and approving content. Before the pandemic necessitated virtual work, we were using Ci to enable our production companies to deliver captured and created content from around the world to our facilities in Boston. In essence, Sony’s Ci acts as a cloudbased central repository through which we can pass that media, safely and securely.
VIRTUAL COLLABORATION We also use Ci for review and approval of content across most of our brands, and for final approval of the color grading and final mix of programs. In the past, an EP or director/pro-
ducer could step into an edit suite, work on a cut, and then step back out again, but the pandemic limits those options. We’ve used LiveSessions as one replacement for that interaction. Ci purpose-built this feature to meet our needs and it’s tailored to streamline the process. We also use LiveSession as a replacement for our in-suite final reviews. Typically, we’d have 5-15 people in a screening room, which hasn’t been possible over the past 18 months. Instead, the LiveSession feature enables us to have a high-quality, collaborative finishing session with anyone on the team from anywhere. That saves on travel and allows us to widen the circle of people who have visibility into the content. Another beneficial element of Ci is its flexibility and scalability—one advantage of it being built on top of AWS. Each year we see an increase in our usage of Ci, and we know we’ll contin-
ue to create more media in the future, so as additional features and capabilities roll out we look forward to implementing them to increase the collaboration and productivity of our production teams at every level. l Tim Mangini, Senior Director of Production Technology, is an acclaimed film and television producer who has worked as a director, producer, cinematographer, editor, multimedia producer, and motion picture sound editor. Prior to joining the GBH Production Group, he spent 18 years supervising the production and post-production of more than 350 “Frontline” documentaries. Tim began his career at Hannah Barbera as a cartoon-character voice editor. His film credits include “Star Trek IV,” “48 Hours,” “Poltergeist,”and the IMAX film “Behold Hawaii.” He can be reached at email@example.com. For more information on Sony Ci visit www.sonymcs.com.
twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | October 2021
equipment guide | cloud solutions buyers briefs Triveni Digital ATSC 3.0 Cloud Triveni Digital’s ATSC 3.0 Cloud service enables broadcasters to launch NextGen TV services faster and more efficiently. The solution integrates the company’s software-based ATSC 3.0 Broadcast Gateway scheduler and GuideBuilder XM ATSC 3.0 Transport Encoder. Available as a softwareas-a-service business model, Triveni Digital’s solution lowers the cost to market for new channels and services by eliminating capex. The ATSC 3.0 Cloud service offers instant scalability and upgradeability, providing broadcasters with flexibility for future growth. Deployed by leading broadcasters in the U.S., the solution empowers users to make a smooth, cost-effective transition to the next era of TV. z For more information visit www.trivenidigital.com.
Ross Inception.cloud Inception.cloud is a complete, multiplatform newsroom computer system in the cloud, a hub to create and manage content for broadcast, social media and the web for news, live events and digital. It is offered in a variety of packages that can be customized to suit users’ needs from small to large enterprises, with a News Edition (a complete story-centric newsroom with social media built into the core and a MOS-connected ecosystem), Social Edition (designed to engage audiences and integrate social media into productions) and Live Edition (live event management system to play and organize your game day experience). Version 15 of Inception includes a wide variety of new features for Assignment Manager, MOS Device Permissions and other parts of the platform.
EVS XtraMotion EVS’ XtraMotion cloud-based service allows production teams to transform any live footage—as well as post and archived content— into super slow-motion replays. Designed to be seamlessly integrated into EVS’ live production ecosystem, replay operators can simply clip any content from anywhere on the network, render it to super slow-motion and play it back in seconds from their EVS replay server. Using machine learning algorithms, the rendering process can be applied on-demand on any production format and on any original framerate to create high quality super slow-motion content, from any camera. Available as a cloud-based service, XtraMotion can be deployed quickly, whenever or wherever it is needed, with no additional hardware required on site. z For more information visit
z For more information visit https://inception.cloud.
Cablecast Community Media Cablecast 7.4 Cablecast Community Media v7 adds cloudbased, automated closed captioning to its comprehensive broadcast automation, playout, and content publishing system. PEG broadcasters using Cablecast VIO Servers can add captions to both live and file-based content for all viewing platforms—cable television, web, mobile, and OTT—directly from within the Cablecast user interface. Intelligent speech-to-text conversion is made possible by a new Cablecast captioning engine running in the cloud with a usage-based billing model. For customers who prefer to use ENCO’s enCaption4 automated captioning system, expanded integration in Cablecast 7.4 enables users to trigger enCaption from the Cablecast interface. z For more information visit www.cablecast.tv.
October 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
equipment guide | cloud solutions
Blackwater Digital Services Moves Massive 4K Files With Media Shuttle USER REPORT By Nathan Ross Founder & CEO Blackwater Digital Services
ATLANTA—When I started my company, I knew there were some core technologies needed to make our new post-production house, Blackwater Digital Services, successful. Based in Atlanta, Blackwater specializes in quality control, mastering, conversion and transcoding, deliverables, asset management, and worldwide digital delivery. Basically, we help with anything needed to properly exploit a film domestically and internationally, following post-production. We like to say we’re ready to help with that “last mile” of a film’s journey, bridging the gap between post-production and distribution. As with most of the media and entertainment industry, file movement is critical to our business. We are under considerable pressure to deliver more content, to more destinations, in a shorter amount of time—and those file sizes can be very large.
FTP WAS NOT AN OPTION Because of this, Signiant Media Shuttle was one of the first things I spent money on. I had prior experience with Media Shuttle using it with various companies and knew it was fast, reliable, and user friendly. Regardless, we still did our due diligence before acquiring a subscription for Blackwater Digital Services, considering many alternative high-end solutions. Media Shuttle met all our requirements for speed, storage flexibility, security, and reliability. First, standard FTP was not
an option. FTP-based solutions can be impractically slow and unreliable when moving anything more than about 500 MB. FTP is prone to data loss and corruption, not to mention well-known security holes; that’s why many larger companies have effectively banned FTP. We receive and deliver many very large feature-length
our tools when changing storage types and adapting to situations.
Signiant’s tech support, on the rare occasion we need it, is fast, friendly, and knowledgeable. l
Because of our broad, global client base, we regularly work with clients who have notoriously slow and unstable internet connections. It is not uncommon to be hindered by high latency, interrupted connections, and very little bandwidth. Signiant’s acceleration technology and Checkpoint Restart address those exact issues for us. I can’t tell you how many times a connection has dropped around 80% for a client overseas uploading a huge file to us. The ability to restart where that file transfer dropped has saved the day on multiple occasions. We don’t need to babysit the transfer, a feature our teams appreciate with late-night deliveries. When Nathan Ross founded his post On top of that, Signiant production house Blackwater Digital Services, improves on standard inSigniant’s Media Shuttle was one of the first ternet transmission speeds technologies he selected. up to 200-fold and is increasingly impactful with longer 4K ProRes files, which can be 800 distanced clients or congested GB each. Media Shuttle not only networks. allows us to deliver over the interPost-production is a long net, but it is also incredibly fast, process, with lots of files moving especially for assets that large. all the time, like a well-oiled Blackwater relies on Media machine. All those files, along Shuttle’s multicloud, hybrid with ancillary data, need to move cloud flexibility to move content quickly and reliably, or the entire from various storage locations machine breaks down. Media and types used in today’s modShuttle meets our production ern production environment. and business demands admirably, Signiant Media Shuttle supports better positioning us to take adon-premises file and object vantage of new opportunities and storage, public cloud storage business. With Media Shuttle’s including AWS S3, Microsoft unique SaaS architecture, we get Azure, Backblaze B2, and Google the best of both worlds: fast, reliCloud Storage, and hybrid able file acceleration, along with storage architectures where both complete control over storage on-premises and cloud storage type and location. Additionally, are in play. We aren’t limited by twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | October 2021
Nathan Ross is Founder and CEO of Blackwater Digital Services, a company he started in 2018. Prior to starting Blackwater Digital, Nathan was the director of digital operations at Vision Films. He can be reached at nathan@ blackwater.digital. More information on Media Shuttle can be found at www. signiant.com.
Zixi Zixi as a Service (ZaaS) Zixi as a Service (ZaaS) provides broadcast infrastructure as a service enabling media companies and service providers to quickly leverage IP to contribute and distribute live video into or out of the cloud. With ZaaS, broadcasters can quickly scale to add new partners, leveraging Zixi for video processing as well as the additional data, analytics, security and QoS that professional broadcast requires. ZaaS allows media and entertainment companies to extend existing on-premises infrastructures and capabilities to the cloud. With ZEN Master, the industry’s leading virtual control plane, users can orchestrate, manage and monitor broadcast quality and efficient workflows globally. z For more information visit
equipment guide | cloud solutions buyers briefs Harmonic VOS 360 Cloud Streaming Platform
Viaccess-Orca Cloud TV Platform Viaccess-Orca’s (VO) Cloud TV Platform enables operators to deliver high-quality TV services on any device via any network, with flexibility and agility. Based on a pay-peruse business model, the platform includes VO’s Secure Video Player, unified Service Delivery Platform, advanced content discovery and personalization, TV Business Analytics, and TV apps. Using the Cloud TV Platform, operators can swiftly launch new TV services, expand to OTT, optimize their TV infrastructure, improve user engagement, and better monetize services. A wide range of business models is supported including live, VOD, catch-up TV, replay, nPVR, targeted advertising, subscription, and in-app purchases. z For more information visit
Harmonic’s VOS 360 Cloud Streaming Platform is an end-to-end, fully managed solution for delivering exceptional video quality from source to screen. Running on the public cloud, VOS360 simplifies all stages of media processing and delivery, providing real-time scaling and the highest service availability through Harmonic’s worldwide 24/7 DevOps team. The VOS360 platform speeds up the creation of linear channels, live events and streams, direct to consumers or syndication partners. Used by large service providers to power millions of simultaneous streams,
MIMiC is a cloud-based live production and delivery platform that provides global access to production, clipping and editing, transmission and bonded cellular capabilities. The end-to-end production-as-a-service covers remote IP-video contribution through to distribution, handling all aspects of the production workflow in the cloud, from clipping tools, editing and graphics creation to comms and talk-back, giving content producers the choice to use their own production crew or The Switch’s experienced team. MIMiC’s new cloud transmission service offers global IP delivery, enabling rightsholders to take video feeds from anywhere in the world and simultaneously deliver them to hundreds of destinations using cloud-based networks and, where available, The Switch’s private network. z For more information visit www.theswitch.tv.
LTN Schedule delivers simplified workflows for creating 24/7 linear programs from archived content and live elements, with ad management. Designed to be compatible and expandable with industry-standard workflows and hardware, LTN Schedule can streamline these processes for greater flexibility, scalability, and monetization. Running on LTN Global’s latest technology, users can ingest live feeds from multiple sources, import existing media, or connect to existing cloud libraries and browse assets. They can also mix formats, loop folders, sequences, or the whole rundown, trim assets, and edit metadata. Content can be monetized with in-band SCTE-35 Ad-breaks, live ad triggers, or ad-break events and published on up to 10 destinations in multiple formats, including Multi-Bitrate CDN Targets. z For more information visit https://ltnglobal.com. October 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
z For more information visit www.harmonicinc. com.
The Switch MIMiC Cloud Video Services
LTN Global LTN Schedule
Harmonic’s VOS offerings are designed to change the way content is monetized through content personalization, channel variants and targeted advertising on every screen.
PlayBox Neo Cloud2TV The cloud-based, software-as-a-service, playout system Cloud2TV allows broadcasters to operate their playout channels from any location via an easy-to-use web interface. Cloud2TV simplifies the process of putting a new television channel on air and offers such advantages as: on-demand channel launch, unlimited scalability, 24/7 reliability, web-based access and IP workflow. Cloud2TV can be operated in fully automated mode, giving operators the freedom to make schedule alterations or insert live content between prescheduled content whenever a late-breaking story occurs. Basic Cloud2TV applications include: Content Ingest, Graphic Editor, Media Browser with metadata handling and clip trimmer, Quality Control and Verification tools, Transcoder, Playlist Manager and Audit Log. z For more information visit https://playboxneo.com.
equipment guide | cloud solutions buyers briefs EditShare EFSv As a part of EFSv, EditShare has introduced a cost-effective cloud editing infrastructure designed to overcome one of the primary objections of migrating editing workflows to the cloud. EFSv optimizes the use of both object and block storage located in the cloud to allow users to save up to 75% compared to the existing costs of cloud storage and workstations. EFSv is designed to solve the workarounds associated with proxy editing and conforming. EFSv also facilitates a seamless proxy editing experience for all editors including Adobe, Avid, Blackmagic Design and Grass Valley, significantly improving the efficiencies of remote editing workflows. z For more information visit https://editshare.com.
Bitcentral Veset Nimbus
Xytech MediaPulse Managed Cloud
Veset Nimbus is a true cloud-based playout solution that gives media operators greater flexibility in how they manage their channels. Nimbus provides an efficient path to launch channels with low up-front costs and excels when launching disaster recovery, event driven pop-up and 24/7 linear channels. Backed by Bitcentral’s 24/7/365 support and professional services, Nimbus offers customers the ability to deliver channels to terrestrial broadcast, satellite, CDN or OTT distribution points within a cloud-based playout solution.
Xytech’s MediaPulse Managed Cloud is powered by Microsoft Azure, creating a safe, reliable and efficient platform for MediaPulse deployments that lower costs and increase uptime. It offers broadcasters and studios a comprehensive recourse, work order and
z For additional information visit: https://bitcentral.com.
Prime Focus Technologies CLEAR AI Prime Focus’s CLEAR AI is designed to drastically eliminate playout errors and increase monetization by auto-generating frame-accurate segmentation metadata. With Prime Focus’ AI platform, CLEAR Vision Cloud, users can automatically identify content and barter segments accurately (black, color bar, title slate, opening, closing montages, pre-caps, recaps, credits, disclaimers, promos and commercials, text and textless segments, and custom segments as defined by the customer) in their content. It ensures comprehensive identification (creative blacks/cutting out stills where audio ends/rolling credit v/s credit on content), made possible by its Patented Machine wisdom technology. In addition, identify markers help build “Skip Intro” features into streaming platforms and the system reduces the time to do manual QC.
asset management solution. With MediaPulse Managed Cloud, Azure is fully integrated and managed by Microsoft SQL Server database. Xytech manages all MediaPulse updates, backups, and configuration implementations for its customers. The MediaPulse Managed Cloud is available with redundancy for all servers with load balancing in place to increase performance. z For more information visit
z For more information visit www.primefocustechnologies.com.
TVU Networks TVU Remote Commentator With TVU Remote Commentator, sports producers can add synchronized, real-time audio commentary from virtually any location using the public internet. Talent can provide commentary for multiple games in a day because they do not have to be on location. All sessions are created and managed in the cloud. A browser-based interface provides a low-latency, high-quality preview of the event, which allows talent to add broadcast-quality commentary that is in sync with the live program. TVU autosync technology ensures all the audio and video of all commentators is synced with the main video feed. They can hear each other with full mix-minus capability and a private back channel lets them see each other as well. z For more information visit tvunetworks.com.
twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | October 2021
equipment guide | cloud solutions
Korea Content Platform Builds Global Media Brand With Dalet USER REPORT By Justine McKay Product Marketing Manager & Team Leader Korea Content Platform, Inc.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Founded in Los Angeles in 2016, the Korea Content Platform, Inc. (KCP) is a joint venture among Korea’s three major broadcast networks: KBS, MBC and SBS. In 2016, KCP launched KOCOWA, a cloudbased streaming service offering
which includes high-quality subtitles in English, Portuguese and Spanish, KCP built a CMS based on the media logistics and metadata management capabilities of the Dalet Flex system.
COLLABORATIVE MEDIA LOGISTICS Dalet Flex allowed us to expand globally, supporting remote collaboration across our U.S. South Korea and Brazil offices. The media logistics capabilities enable a seamless exchange of content and metadata, automating many
across the KOCOWA social media channels. Without the constant stream of content, we would have never been able to accrue such a large social media following of more than nine million followers. Today, our YouTube channel has more than six million subscribers and our Facebook page has more than two million followers.
first seven episodes of when Cha Eun-woo first joined the show to celebrate the Second Anniversary of KOCOWA Brazil with the help of Dalet Flex. It has been a great experience working with Dalet, not only for their system capabilities, but also for their customer care. l
KCP social followers are very vocal and thrive on the constant insider access to all our premium
Justine (Napoles) McKay is Product Marketing Manager and Team Leader at KCP, where she manages an international team of eight employees and contractors based across the USA, Brazil, and
content. And because the social media channels are so active, we can gauge the popularity of our content and use Dalet Flex to curate our B2C and B2B product packages accordingly. For example, social media followers in Brazil have repeatedly asked for classic episodes of “Master in the House’’ starring Cha Eun-woo to be subtitled in Portuguese. We were quickly able to curate and localize the
South Korea. McKay directs the B2C and B2B marketing strategy for KCP, and also oversees all of the KOCOWA social channels with over nine million followers. She can be contacted at justine. firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the Korea Content Platform can be found at https://kcpglob.com. For more information on Dalet Flex, visit www.dalet.com or call 212-269-6700.
CURATING SOCIAL MEDIA
A Korea Content Platform operator uses Dalet Flex for content preparation
one of the largest collections of Korean produced entertainment including over 17,000 hours of K-Pop, K-Variety, and K-Dramas for the Americas. An impressive lineup of current hits, including “The Veil,” “The Penthouse 3,” “Running Man,” “Home Alone,” and “Police University” are available on KOCOWA as quickly as six hours after the Korean broadcast. To ensure a premium experience,
nuances of working across geographies and languages. Using the configurable APIs, we can create and manage an ecosystem with complex media workflows that meet our B2C and B2B requirements, including rapid content delivery with first-class metadata and subtitles which cut down overall costs of operation. Our marketing team uses Dalet Flex to easily access fan favorite content and share it
October 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
equipment guide | cloud solutions buyers briefs
Grass Valley GV AMPP The GV-AMPP (Agile Media Processing Platform) is designed to meet the response and accuracy requirements of live streaming media and entertainment. Grass Valley’s scalable SaaS platform offers agile management tools, cloud-based elastic platform services and intelligent media technologies that combine into solutions capable of mirroring broadcast workflows where and when they are needed. Key features include being scalable to as many instances as required without upfront buildout; a flexible, elastic I/O with access to any source on the AMPP fabric; cloud-hosted replay without sacrifice on responsiveness and accuracy; frame-accurate for live production; intuitive software tools; and is fully compatible with connected control surfaces and applications. z For more information visit www.grassvalley.com.
LiveU Matrix LiveU Matrix is designed to make live content management simple and affordable. Combining a powerful front-end with a reliable IP cloud-based transport layer, LiveU Matrix allows news teams to share high-quality, low-latency live feeds and lets users replace expensive leased lines/satellite uplinks with cost-effective and reliable distribution over the public internet. It is offered as a fully managed service in the cloud with 24/7 monitoring and NOC-dedicated support. Users can share from anywhere regardless of BW & CPU limitations and new pools/destinations can be set up in less than an hour. The LiveU Global Directory provides access to LiveU users worldwide. Matrix works on all devices (PC/tablet/smartphone) to simplify the content management routine, even when working from home. z For more information visit https://go.liveu.tv/matrix.
products & services marketplace POWERFUL MULTICHANNEL TRANSCODER
Tested to work with Atlas™, Wowza®, and Adobe Flash servers Grooming for OTT, Mobile and IPTV Can be configured with 2, 4, 6 or 8 GPU’s
email@example.com +1 858 613-1818 www.dveo.com
Adapts MPEG-2 streams to H.264 for Hotel, Cruiseline, University, Resort feeds
Down converter ability to convert all HD services to SD
twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | October 2021
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JENNIFER MITCHELL TOM CANEDO DAVID GRIFFIN
President and CEO Griffin Communications David Griffin, president/CEO of Griffin Communications, has been named to the Natonal Association of Broadcasters Television Board of Directors by Board Chair Perry Sook. Griffin joined the family-owned Griffin Communications in 1990 and was named president and GM of Griffin Television in 1992 and president/CEO of Griffin Communications, LLC in 2001. He started his career in broadcasting with Telerep in Atlanta.
Presidents CBS Stations Veteran local television executives Jennifer Mitchell and Tom Canedo have been named presidents, CBS Stations. In the new roles, Mitchell and Canedo join Adrienne Roark, who began serving as president, CBS Stations, August 2. Roark, Mitchell and Canedo all report to Wendy McMahon, president and co-head of CBS News and Stations and will have day-to-day responsibility for working directly with the local GMs and their teams at ViacomCBS-owned stations in major markets nationwide.
President Society of Broadcast Engineers
Nevion has appointed company founder Thomas Heinzer CEO, following the departure of Geir Bryn-Jensen to pursue new projects. Nevion’s existing management team remains unchanged. Heinzer founded Network Electronics in 1996, which became Nevion in 2007 and was acquired by Sony in 2020. He has been instrumental in the company’s M&A activities, and most recently served in the management team as EVP of strategic projects.
Andrea Cummis, CBT, CTO, has been elected president of SBE. Cummis, CTO of PBS39/WLVT-TV, in Bethlehem, Pa., is the first woman to be elected to the office. She is a member of SBE Chapter 15 in New York City. Cummins succeeds Wayne Pecena, associate director of educational broadcast services at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, who will continue to serve on the board as immediate past president.
Vice President of Public Policy National Association of Broadcasters
President Hearst Media Production Group
Director of Manufacturing Riedel
NAB has hired Anna Chauvet as VP of public policy, where she will report to Shawn Donilon, EVP of government relations. Chauvet joins NAB from the U.S. Copyright Office, where she was most recently associate general counsel, working on a range of legal and policy matters. Chauvet holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law.
Hearst Television has launched the Hearst Media Production Group to expand its original program production and distribution capabilities and apointed Frank Biancuzzo as its president. Previously he was EVP and group head at Hearst Television, sharing oversight of the company’s TV and radio stations. The new business unit will develop and produce original programming within existing studio resources and in partnership with outside production entities for distribution.
Riedel Communications has appointed Oliver Zimmermann director of manufacturing. In his new role, Zimmermann will focus on Riedel’s supply chain and production processes to enable even greater efficiency and agility, the company said. Zimmermann is a physicist, supply chain expert, and change management specialist with more than a decade of experience in the manufacturing business, most recently in data and telecommunications.
MediaKind has appointed Allen Broome as the company’s new CEO. For the last two years Broome led MediaKind’s R&D as the company’s CTO and was VP of cloud engineering at Comcast Cable before joining MediaKind. Since joining MediaKind in October 2019 as CTO, Broome has helped advance the company’s teams in the industrialization of broadcast-quality OTT streaming while also reshaping its portfolio to enable full-service solutions.
October 2021 | www.tvtech.com |
TV Tech - 0466 - October 2021