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DOUG LUNG LOOKS AT RF TECH AT NAB SHOW • LIGHTING: TAMING CONTRAST • THE CASE FOR NEXTGEN TV
best of show awards p. 26
www.tvtech.com | June 2022
equipment guide transmitters and RF equipment
a i d e M w e N e h T b u H n o i t c u d Pro tral role n e c ’s d u lo c e h T
June 2022 volumn 40, issue 6
More Broadcasters Adopting Cloud-Based Production
NextGen TV: Why We’re Doing It
With ATSC 3.0 now reaching half of U.S. viewers, broadcasters are taking the necessary steps to bring over-the-air to its fullest potential By Bill Hayes
How Creativity, Cloud and Covid Are Impacting Newsroom Graphics
The demands of remote production coupled with cloud advances are helping operators push the envelope and save money By James Careless
Virtual Production Comes of Age
Smaller crews, budgets and pandemic restrictions have been the driving force By Frank Beacham
When ‘virtual’ is all you have, making it work is everything By Bob Kovacs
Taming Contrasts: Lighting and Shadowing in the Field
What needs to be seen must be within the limits of the camera’s contrast range By Bruce Aleksander
RF at the NAB Show— ATSC 3.0 Analysis
The tools to launch NextGen TV come into focus By Doug Lung
Best of Show/Best in Market Awards for 2022
in the news
30 Equipment Guide
user reports: transmitters & rf equipment Dejero
For more news analysis, trend reports and the latest product and tech information, visit www.tvtech.com.
twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | June 2022
editor’s note Vol. 40 No. 06 | June 2022
NAB’s New Digs
It’s been more than two years since the staff of the National Association of Broadcasters moved to its new headquarters in downtown Washington D.C. one block to Nationals Park. Last month, Paul McLane, editor-in-chief of Radio World, and I had the chance to tour the new facility. For decades, NAB had its headquarters on N St. near Dupont Circle, however, the association decided to move to a locale closer to Capitol Hill. (It also didn’t hurt that the FCC relocated nearby in 2020.) Ground was broken on the 118,000 square-foot building in 2017 and work was completed on the nearly $63 million headquarters in March of 2020 at the onset of the The NAB’s lobby includes an pandemic in early 2020 which delayed the associaimpressive transparent LG display. tion’s ability to move into the new office. By last summer, the building officially opened up its doors and, while the smell of fresh paint may have worn off, the new features and capabilities afforded by the new facility continue to impress staff and visitors alike. Technically speaking, the former location on N St. NW could be considered the “analog version” of NAB with the new M St. SE locale the “next-gen” version. Perhaps the first thing you notice upon arrival is the screens. Sure, everyone now uses large screens to convey messages as well as a sense of community but being the headquarters of the NAB, their use of digital screen technology is particularly impressive, with more than 200 cutting-edge displays from LG Business Solutions in nearly every part of its new headquarters. Among the standouts is a 22-foot-wide by 20-foot-tall 2mm pixel pitch LG LED Signage curved video wall in the first floor lobby that’s visible from the street and an interactive screen in the Conference Center showcasing the NAB Hall of Fame—touch a name or face of an HOFer and you get their history as well as a video of their acceptance speech or short profile. In addition to meeting rooms that take advantage of the latest in A/V tech, the facility also houses the NAB’s Innovation Center and Technology Lab, where technical staff are testing new advances in The NAB Hall of Fame is now an NextGen TV and digital radio as well as an expandinteractive touchscreen. ed, state-of-the-art TV studio for NAB staff and broadcasters to produce a variety of programming from PSAs to membership updates. All in all, the new headquarters represents the best technology can offer and provides a chance for the nation’s TV and radio stations to shine a light on the important role broadcasting plays in the nation’s capital as well as in their local communities.
Well done, NAB! Michael Khatcheressian, NAB’s VP of Media Production, Industry Affairs, explains the layout and features of the association’s new production studio.
June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |
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in the news
Four On 3 At NAB
know, I’ve got a problem with my ith its long 3.0 signal in the way I need to work hiatus in the in my marketplace’” and making rearview mirror, sure broadcasters have the “space to the NAB Show experiment and innovate.” returned in April to Las Vegas, • Rosenworcel acknowledges that conveying an upbeat feel and a rule changes may be necessary to sense that things are returning to advance 3.0 and expressed a willingnormal—or, at least a new normal ness to work with broadcasters on where COVID is just an inconfinding solutions. Pointing to those venient part of life. (One need who have sought rule changes to look no further than the COVID Phil Kurz address 3.0 and multicasting as an testing stations at the LVCC and example, she told broadcasters to “come to us, the proof-of-vaccination/negative-COVID-test tell us what you’re seeing. Tell us what’s working admittance policy for evidence of that.) and where there might be a hurdle in our rules As is tradition, the president and CEO of NAB that we should figure out how to fix.” and chairperson of the FCC held a fireside chat at • The chairperson views current period with 3.0 the start of the show—the first time for both Curas an “experimental” phase. Referring to the tis LeGeyt, who took charge of the association FCC’s “framework” for NextGen TV in which in January, and Jessica Rosenworcel, whom the 1.0 continues and broadcasters voluntarily work Senate confirmed as chairperson in December. together to put 3.0 on air in local markets, she Regarding ATSC 3.0, Rosenworcel made four said, “…[W]hat that does is it gives broadcasters important points broadcasters would be wise to the opportunity to experiment with this technolconsider: ogy, develop use cases, try to figure out what • The FCC chairperson recognizes the need for services work at scale.” special temporary authorities to address 3.0 • Rosenworcel also wishes to deal with the inher“bumps in the road” and commended Media ent incompatibility of 3.0 and 1.0. “You know, the Bureau Chief Holly Saurer for “sitting down with standard is still not backwards-compatible with any broadcaster who comes in and says, ‘You
existing receivers and televisions, and that’s going to be something we need to address.” From where I sit, these are the important takeaways from the fireside chat. Rosenworcel gets high marks for expressing the agency’s desire to work with broadcasters on STAs and rule changes needed to advance NextGen TV deployment. The broadcast industry needs to do a better job of conveying where it is with the 3.0 rollout. In my mind—and likely the minds of the consumer electronics manufacturers onboard the NextGen TV bandwagon with 100 or more 3.0 models, the industry is transitioning, or has transitioned, from the “experimental” phase to deployment. The word “experiment” makes it seem like packing it in is a possibility. Lastly, is backwards compatibility really on the table? I thought that was settled. If I were a pessimist, I might view that comment as a red flag that could be used as an excuse to extend the 1.0 sunset timeframe indefinitely or even as a reason to end the “experiment.” If I were an optimist, I could see it as a hint that someone in Washington is toying with the idea of a coupon program for 3.0-to-1.0 set-top boxes for all of those existing DTV households. But I’m a realist, hoping for the latter, concerned about the former and, at the end of the day, cautiously thinking the chairperson may have misspoken or been jetlagged. Time will tell. l
Streaming Hits Record Levels, Accounts for 30% of TV Viewing ACCORDING TO NIELSEN'S "The Gauge" snapshot, streaming reached another record high in April, capturing 30.4% of total TV viewing and surpassing its previous record of 29.7% set in March 2022. While overall TV viewing dropped by 2.1% from March, streaming volume was virtually identical to the prior month, helping to increase its share by over 0.6%. Broadcast viewing was down 3% in April and lost 0.2 share points from March, falling to 24.7% of total TV viewing. The April data showed a nearly 15% decrease in content from the drama genre as season finales began to air, in addition to a 38% drop in sports on broadcast networks. Broadcast news viewing remained flat
June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |
compared to March. Cable also lost 0.2 share points in April and saw a month-overmonth usage decline of 2.5%, which dropped its overall share of April 2022
Total Day Persons 2+
TV viewing to 36.8%. While sports viewing on cable increased 17% from March, driven primarily by both the NBA playoffs and the NCAA Final Four, cable news saw
its first downward trend in several months (-16.9%), which hampered cable's overall share. The Gauge also showed that HBO Max achieved a 1% share of streaming for the first time, allowing it to move out of the "Other Streaming" category and stand alongside fellow såtreaming platforms that have previously exceeded the 1% share threshold. The "Other Streaming" category, which includes any high-bandwidth video streaming on TV that is not individually broken out, has grown by more than two share points since The Gauge debuted with May 2021 data. This category's consistent growth reflects insights into audiences' rising engagement with the growing number of streaming platforms. ❚ George Winslow
More Broadcasters Adopting CloudBased Production When ‘virtual’ is all you have, making it work is everything By Bob Kovacs
Main photo: Getty images
WASHINGTON—So many things have changed in the television industry in the last couple of decades, and the pace of change only seems to accelerate. What seemed highly unlikely five years ago becomes commonplace today, and producing content in the cloud is one of those things. The acceptance of at least some new techniques and processes can be attributed to COVID-19, which overnight forced us to get things done without actually being in the same place. And “getting things done without actually being in the same place” could be the dictionary definition of cloud production. If your only concession to COVID is to do an occasional Zoom meeting, you may get the impression that video in the cloud is convenient but nothing special. However, with production in the cloud, you can get the quality you want to get. “It is no longer accurate to assume that a cloud-based production is of lesser quality,” said Martin Jolicoeur, director of product management for Grass Valley. “One of the things we have learned from being forced to work remotely is that cloud technology is capable of handling top-tier live events.”
“It is no longer accurate to assume that a cloudbased production is of lesser quality.” MARTIN JOLICOEUR, GRASS VALLEY
“The global pandemic forced us to adopt new ways of working,” he said. “This has expanded our range of possibilities: SDI, IP and cloud all have applications for which they are best suited, both in terms of production capability and cost. We need to master the entire range of production options so that we aren’t locked into a single model. By being open, we can ensure that we are applying the best business and operational model for every
KEEP AN OPEN MIND Jolicoeur said that keeping an open mind— and an open system—is the way to build a successful cloud production strategy.
June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |
Martin Jolicoeur, director of product management for Grass Valley (L), and Chris Brähler, vice president of product at SDVI.
production that we do.” Like so many things where the internet is concerned, what you can do in the cloud is mostly limited by your imagination. You could use production talent from anywhere there is an excellent, stable connection—which brings up the subject of what the concerns can be for creating a production workflow in the cloud. “The cloud offers unique opportunities for production workflows, but it also adds some new challenges that need to be considered,” Chris Brähler, vice president of product at SDVI. “Connectivity and latencies are certainly factors that play a bigger role in a cloudbased environment than when everything is available ‘next-door’ on premise.”
RELEARN SOME TECHNIQUES Those of us who grew up in the industry and learned our roles by actually handling physical equipment and cables need to relearn some techniques and processes that we thought were the basics of production workflow. “Ensuring that the entire organization understands the strategy and the benefits that will accrue to them is probably the most important factor in determining success,” said Grass Valley’s Jolicoeur. Getting your head around how assembling a production in the cloud is key to making it work for your organization. A look into one company’s product—SVDI’s Rally—is one example of cloud production workflow. Rally can automate content verification and metadata enhancement processing,
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“We are merely in the infancy of cloud-based production.” COLIN MCDONALD, TERADEK
which can assist an operator in the production supply chain. This can include steps as typical as creating proxies or daily renders. Rally Access, available as a plugin for Adobe Premiere and accessible via browser using a cloud-services provider such as Accurate.Video, can be used to both edit content, and also to review and approve edits and sequences. Sometimes it seems like you need a “spirit guide” to appreciate how cloud production can benefit your creative and distribution processes. If you step back and think about it, the benefits make sense. “Designing a unifying workflow is key to getting your content accurately and securely distributed to all stages of production,” said Colin McDonald, product manager for cine products at Teradek. The company’s Teradek Core is a control platform that allows productions to securely manage, distribute and collaborate with live camera feeds, instant proxy files for editorial, high-quality recordings for dailies, and low-latency HDR streams for post-production. Using a hybrid cloud approach to media asset management is at the heart of Tedial’s introduction of its smartWork Media Integration Platform.
Colin McDonald, product manager for cine products at Teradek (L), and Paul Shen, CEO of TVU Networks
According to Julian Fernandez-Campon, Tedial CTO, “a hybrid-cloud architecture offers broadcasters the ability to move operations in-line with business objectives quickly while maintaining current systems in operation ensuring a low-risk transition into the cloud. Customers retain full control of their critical workflows and operations while benefiting from the latest cutting-edge cloud features, technologies and infrastructures. “smartWork is based upon no-code architecture, follows Infrastructure as a Code (IaaC) and can be deployed on-premises, on any cloud or in a hybrid architecture seamlessly, allowing customers to integrate the more suitable systems for each deployment.”
all of this work? Look around at your team—it already has the skills. “We worked with a group of top news and sports media companies to create cloud-native, microservice based, media services,” said Paul Shen, CEO of TVU. Shen said that one of these micro-applications is TVU Producer, a cloud-based live-production service. With its sync technology, the entire production team can all work from their home offices with their laptops and a normal home internet service. The application enables an audio engineer to have his own audio mixing panel and the video production engineer has his own live production panel. All production crews can communicate with each other in real time, as if they are working in the same physical space, and all the commands and instructions are executed precisely at the intended time without any misalignment introduced by network delay. As well-formed as some of these scenarios sound, there is room to improve the processes and iron out the wrinkles. “We are merely in the infancy of cloudbased production,” McDonald said. “Right now, content is being pushed to all levels of production without a direct form of feedback. But soon, each of those departments and stakeholders will be able to push information back. This constant flow of information on a single platform will mean productions can work faster and with more accuracy.”
YOUR TEAM HAS THE SKILLS Just what sort of skills are needed to make
Picture credit: Getty Images
Interestingly, the Covid crisis of the past two-plus years played a role in the increased acceptance of working on a real production using virtual tools. “The biggest take-away has been that it works,” said SVDI’s Brähler. “Obstacles that were thought to be too big to overcome now had to be worked through, as there was no alternative.” It looks like there is still a place for content creators to have their own facilities, even as the capabilities of “virtual” facilities are expanded and allow for greater flexibility. “We believe completely in the cloud and IP’s ability to transform live production in a way that dramatically expands who and how video is produced and delivered,” said TVU’s Shen. “It’s what drives us to keep creating.” The hesitancy from just a few years ago to shift to a cloud-based workflow has been replaced with urgency. The many improvements of a cloud production model became clear as COVID restrictions forced producers into a remote production model, Shen said. l
June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |
transition to atsc 3.0
NextGen TV: Why We’re Doing It With ATSC 3.0 now reaching half of U.S. viewers, broadcasters are taking the necessary steps to bring over-the-air TV to its fullest potential By Bill Hayes
JOHNSTON, IOWA— There is a bit of a renaissance taking place in the broadcast television industry—the return of the television antenna. Television antennas became relegated to use only by the TV in bedroom for watching the nightly news or to the TV on the kitchen counter providing background content while preparing a meal. However, with the rising costs of traditional cable and satellite services, the increased availability of over the top streaming services and the expanded channel selections over traditional broadcast have exposed digital generations to the technology and reminded the pre-digital generations of how they used to be entertained in their homes. A recent study from Horowitz Resarch shows that antenna penetration nationwide grew 38% yearover-year between 2020 and 2021 and now reaches 40% of all TV content viewers 18+. As this rediscovery is taking place, the underlying technology of traditional overthe-air broadcast television is undergoing a metamorphosis that will enable improved traditional television and a whole lot more. Higher-quality pictures and immersive audio are just the tip of the iceberg of improvements. NextGen TV, as it has been dubbed by the Consumer Technology Association will enable interactivity with the content, user-specific personalization and recommendations, higher resolution, a vast improvement in accessibility and alerting features, and a raft of other capabilities beyond what television can and has traditionally done or even considered. Picture credit: Getty Images
THE PATH FORWARD While it may seem irrelevant to talk about the original NTSC standard and analog broadcasting, it is important to understand how the past has influenced the present ATSC 1.0 DTV broadcasting service and continues to
June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |
transition to atsc 3.0 Why do it at all? The transition to DTV was easier because it was federally mandated, but the FCC’s approach to ATSC 3.0 is to put the decisions and timeline mostly in the hands of station owners, with some guidance from the commission on protecting traditional digital broadcasts. To answer the “why” question requires that we examine how the advances offered by ATSC 3.0 resonate with decisionmakers as well as the general public. It also requires that we understand not only the content creation side of the equation but content reception as well. Take immersive technology for example—creating this type of content will not only require additional skills and resources from the creators, it will also require the consumer to have the technology to receive it.
ATSC 3.0 is now on-the-air in some 60 markets that reach more than half of all U.S. viewers.
influence the rollout of ATSC 3.0. One of the obvious influences is a TV’s station’s overthe-air coverage. While television can trace it roots back to the early 1900’s, it was after World War II that the explosive growth started. which required the establishment of the interference limited coverage contours that we are all familiar with. While over-the-air service protection changed to noise-limited contours, the assumption was that the receiver was stationary and attached to an antenna that was mounted outside of the home and 30 feet above the ground. The introduction of digital television (DTV) 25 years ago was a game changer when it came to the quality and quantity of live streaming content that is still the mainstay of over-the-air broadcasting. It also expanded ancillary services which we often refer to as “datacasting,” which, in essence, started with the introduction of closed captioning as a digital service carried on line 21. There have been numerous experiments and deployments of other ancillary digital services encoded into the analog services with limited success. ATSC 3.0 was the next logical step in the development of television and pretty much follows the path of all things digital. As the underlying physical technology improves, software developers create code to take advantage of the improvements which then
June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |
pushes the physical technology, and the cycle continues.
GLOBAL GOAL Unlike what was done in the past, the goal this time was to create a standard that could be adopted worldwide. A global community of technical experts is involved in creating the use cases and suite of standards that is ATSC 3.0 as well as in its testing, refinement and deployment.
Currently, in the U.S., more than 60 markets have deployed NextGen TV with station groups working together to launch ATSC 3.0 while maintaining ATSC 1.0. South Korea deployed ATSC 3.0 a few years ago and there are also other countries that are looking at their next upgrade in terrestrial DTV and considering adopting all or portions of ATSC 3.0. This could be good news as it could prompt a deeper consideration of adding ATSC 3.0 receivers in handheld devices. Probably the most frequent question I hear when discussing the move to NextGen TV is:
I often get the chance to talk about NextGen TV with industry groups as well as the general public and I usually start off with a few questions to the audience to get an understanding of their technical expertise and field of interest.
ATSC 3.0 was the next logical step in the development of television and pretty much follows the path of all things digital. The first thing I like to talk about is the improved reception thanks to the changes to the physical layer modulation scheme and the addition of elliptical or circular polarization to the transmitted signal. Just as important, there’s also the advantage of being able to configure independent physical layer pipes to improve specific stream reception in the face of more challenging conditions. Using an indoor antenna is not only a fact of life but also the dominant methodology for viewers who expect reliable service regardless of location. Explaining the benefits of ATSC 3.0 over ATSC 1.0 to consumers is significantly more challenging. Where the DTV explanation got complex was the difference between SD and HD. Talking pixel count and resolution is fairly easy and the audience is sort of conditioned to understand that the bigger number
transition to atsc 3.0 is always better. The problem with ATSC 3.0 is that the benefits of UHD over HD are much more subtle. This is especially true given that most broadcasters don’t see the benefit of using a significant amount of their channel capacity to carry content at a resolution that will not be perceived by a significant majority of viewers. The areas that I like to focus on regarding content enhancement are things like color gamut, dynamic range and immersive audio. I bypass the 1080p vs. 1080i debate and instead, show an SDR and HDR high definition picture side by side that clearly illustrates the value proposition. When it comes to audio, the early enhancements used to be a lot harder to explain, but inexpensive sound bar systems have made 5.1 immersive audio a fairly simple and affordable audio enhancement. I am also careful when bringing up the potential for personalization and interactivity, primarily because most of the development happening in that space is geared towards enhancing advertisers’ ability to better target their audiences. However, I’m not sure that telling viewers that they’ll see more meaningful commercials adds a lot to the value proposition.
services—a topic that resonates well with everyone. The idea of waking up a receiver to provide alerts during an emergency is a very compelling. I live in an area of tornadic activity and high-wind events that happen on very short notice. Weather radios are pretty common and while they wake you up and provide an audio alert, most of us will turn on the TV to see what is happening. ATSC 3.0 can wake people up and provide video and audio and offers a faster and more complete, yet simpler method of gathering the necessary emergency information from different sources.
Perhaps ATSC 3.0’s strongest tool in the toolbox is its ability to provide much more robust and meaningful emergency alerting services—a topic that resonates with everyone.
PUBLIC SERVICE Perhaps ATSC 3.0’s strongest tool in the toolbox is its ability to provide a much more robust and meaningful emergency alerting
My colleagues at PBS North Carolina have even worked with emergency services within their state to use ATSC 3.0 as a closed alert
PBS North Carolina CTO Fred Engel is leading a team of engineers at the network to develop a closed alert system for first responders, using ATSC 3.0 to provide basic data in a few seconds that takes minutes using their current technology.
system for first responders providing basic data in a few seconds that currently takes minutes using their current technology. The envisioned system can also supply a wealth of additional information such as maps, floor plans and situational data so that the first responders arrive better informed. Closed-circuit services are not necessarily limited to first responders. The pandemic lockdown in many cases crippled educational institutions and many students lost an entire year or more of learning. A number of ATSC 3.0 pilot projects were demonstrated providing secure, curated content to deliver remote learning to homes that don’t have access to traditional broadband. The lack of connectivity may be due to rurality or economics, but regardless of the root cause, these pilot projects represent vital public services.
FLEET UPDATES These types of ancillary services are just the tip of the iceberg—one to many broadcast distribution of data services have applications well beyond the traditional broadcast space. With the annual ATSC Meeting being held in Detroit for the first time this month, we are seeing real interest from automakers—in particular, car rental companies—who are considering using ATSC 3.0 to provide software updates to their fleet. These companies have stated that the number one reason many of their cars are out of service is due to the lack of software updates, so being able to use ATSC 3.0 to update their fleet of vehicles while they are parked rather than in the service shop is a compelling case. So what is the future of NextGen TV? Well, I have a fundamental question that I have asked myself and as well as others working in television. The question, “do you think ATSC 3.0 is essential to your station’s future survivability and growth?” I’ll be blunt, I have heard “yes,” “no,” and “not sure.” My personal opinion is yes it is. I think that what we call DTV was actually a half step. ATSC 3.0 moves us to being a true digital broadband service. It will provide opportunities to grow in ways that we have only started to think about. Without it I think we operate our existing systems until we become irrelevant and fade away and without action on our part, I don’t believe that fate is too far into the future. l Bill Hayes is the director of engineering and technology for Iowa PBS and a SMPTE Fellow. He is also a member of SBE, IEEE-BTS and SCTE and a recipient of Future’s 2021 Tech Leadership Award.
twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | June 2022
How Creativity, Cloud and Covid Are Impacting Newsroom Graphics The demands of remote production coupled with cloud advances are helping operators push the envelope and save money By James Careless
OTTAWA—The Three Cs: creativity, the cloud, and Covid, are among the many trends driving the development of newsroom graphics and virtual sets today. “Given the situation with Covid, the option for many media organizations was either remote virtual production or not producing a show,” said Michael Geissler, CEO of Mo-Sys Engineering, a camera tracking/broadcast robotics provider. And don’t forget a fourth “C,” cost-effectiveness. “The beauty of broadcast graphics and virtual sets lies in how they allow newscasters to do more with less and not have their creativity limited by their location or budget,” said Bob Caniglia, Blackmagic Design’s Director of Sales Operations, Americas. (The company’s ATEM Mini line of live production switchers is aimed at broadcasters pivoting to remote and hybrid workflows.)
DIGITAL BRINGS FREEDOM Today’s newsroom graphics are more complex, colorful, and animated than ever. And you can thank digital composition and the cloud for making this progress possible, according to Mike Ward, head of marketing with Singular.live, which offers cloud-based graphics solutions for broadcast. “The biggest trends in newsroom graphics are all digital, moving away from linear hardware-based systems to more flexible, scalable cloud-native solutions,” Ward told TV Tech. “Not only do these solutions offer greater scalability in terms of creating multiple outputs, but they can quickly and easily adapt to increases—or decreases—in staff. Now reporters, producers and technical staff can operate systems literally from anywhere without the need to ship or transport dedicated hardware.”
VIRTUAL GOES FROM SETS TO PRODUCTION With their ability to render complex broadcast environments using economical green-tinted physical sets or even just back-
June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |
BBC Sport deployed Vizrt’s Viz Engine 4 coupled with Unreal Engine 4 render pipeline and Vizrt’s Fusion Keyer, all driven by Vizrt’s virtual set controller, to cover the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
so they took the plunge and drops, virtual sets have been quickly realized there are a money-saving boon for TV affordable and flexible tools to newsrooms for years. make virtual sets a reality in or “This is why the trend tooutside the studio,” Caniglia obwards replacing physical sets served. “Now that broadcasters with virtual sets started a long have seen these benefits, they time ago,” said Raul Alba, Avid’s want more.” Director of Media Solutions. “During Covid, everyone had (Avid’s Maestro | News is a comto conduct business from their plete news graphics package home offices. As a result, our that is integrated with Media customers achieved incredComposer and third-party news ible effects using NDI, PTZ automation systems.) “Some Mike Ward, head cameras, and Vizrt Engine 4 regions of the world have been of marketing with integrated with Unreal Engine bolder in their adoption of this Singular.live 4, where multiple presenters are technology. One shining example composited into the same virtual set,” said is Latin America, which embraced virtual sets Ray Ratliff, AMECS Technical Business De15 years ago.” velopment Lead at Vizrt. “We are really only In 2020, virtual sets came to the rescue at the beginning of XR workflows, and many when Covid isolation forced on-air talent and of these now popular technologies will only reporters to broadcast from home via the web. get better and further blend virtual reality Equipped with their own green screens and and reality.” high-quality streaming cameras, these people The trend of integrating video game-renproved just how useful virtual sets are for dering technology into virtual set platforms remote production, much to the surprise of is certainly enhancing the visual quality of many skeptical broadcasters. these graphics systems. In fact, “the biggest “During the pandemic, many newsrooms change for the virtual set market has been were forced into situations where their the ‘democratization’ of the space by players traditional approaches were no longer viable,
newsroom graphics such as Epic Games’ Unreal engine and Unity with their Unity Engine entering this space massively,” said Jan Weigner, managing director for Cinegy. (Cinegy enables multichannel playout for broadcasters.) “The capabilities of these gaming engines have been extended dramatically for the requirements of realtime media production.” This upscaling of virtual set production quality couldn’t have come at a better time. Viewers are now accustomed to the crystal-clear resolution of 4K video on their TV screens, and they expect everything to look this good, from Marvel movies to the local 6:00 news. “As audiences become increasingly discerning, TV newscasts must deliver flawless results, requiring background graphics to be rendered in ever higher resolutions,” Geissler noted. “This in turn has seen strong momentum behind the move towards virtual production, and in particular from virtual sets based around green screens to more immersive LED volume-based physical production sets that allow greater integration between augmented and virtual reality elements, along with live action.”
“The biggest change for the virtual set market has been the ‘democratization’ of the space by players such as Epic Games’ Unreal engine and Unity with their Unity Engine entering this space massively.” JAN WEIGNER, CINEGY
MORE IMMERSIVE That’s the irony of 4K: In some cases, it is motivating broadcasters to move away from virtual and back to physical sets. “The biggest change in this market has been the massive move from virtual sets to immersive sets using ever larger LED walls,” said Weigner. “As a result, ‘background graphics’ now have to be rendered in 4K, 8K or even
higher resolution, while for news at least, the 3D rendering requirement has gone. Modern newsroom graphics software is now expected to be able to handle the automatic generation of these 8K+ backgrounds and to be able to play multiple UHD or 8K clips simultaneously as part of the graphics scenes.” At the same time, the high cost of LED walls will have to fall substantially for this kind of immersive physical studio to become more mainstream. “The solution might be a combination of immersive LED screens, which helps with realistic lighting and reflections but only with a limited resolution, to then replace the background with a fully rendered texture with the help of AI for super-sampling and uprezzing [scaling up without artifacts],” Weigner said. “This would allow the usage of lower-resolution LED walls but maintain the immersive lighting and human interaction advantage over the ‘old green screen VR approach.” All of these trends point to the continuing challenge of broadcasters to provide ever more detailed and realistic newsroom graphics and virtual sets to viewers. l
Virtual Production Comes of Age Smaller crews, budgets and pandemic restrictions have been the driving force
Orbital Studios’ virtual production studio
Credit: L.A. Orbital Studio
ertain technologies just VIRTUAL PRODUCTION DEFINED limp along for years until they crystalize—and then “Today, virtual production is suddenly its potential the use of real-time technology in just explodes in your face. That has production. It’s normal produchappened with virtual television tion—all the things that filmmakand film production, which really ers already do—with the added came of age during the pandemic. ability to look at their visual effects Some form of virtual production or animation in real time,” said has been used for a long time, David Moran, director of industry with a good example being 13 relations at Epic Games, the maker EXPERTISE years ago on James Cameron’s film of Unreal Engine 3D creation Frank Beacham “Avatar.” However, that lavish and software. experimental film was far from a “Before now, all those things mainstream production. were done in post and took a long time,” Moran Today, virtual production is being used on told a 2022 NAB Show panel. “Today, we can do television programs and saving real money. them with live action and normal production Smaller crews, budget constraints and pandemtechniques.” ic restrictions have been a driving force behind the surge of the technology. For example, the FX series “Snowfall,” a show set in Los Angeles during the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s, saves about $50,000 per episode using virtual technology. Since the term has been used so loosely over the years and there are different definitions of virtual production, we’ll start with a modern description, so we are all on the same page.
A lot of the things that were not possible yesterday are possible today in virtual production.
June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |
Virtual sets replace green screens and can use 2D playback of photographic footage on giant LED set walls, or 3D tracking that moves with the camera so the image changes as it does on a real set. A big difference today is the use of high-resolution LED walls to project the background of scenes, like those used on FX’s “Snowfall.” “Computer graphics at first were very slow,” Moran said. “It took a long time to do renders, like four hours per frame. It was not good for visualizing what you were doing. Virtual production started a long time ago—Robert Zemeckis used it on ‘The Polar Express,’ a 2004 film. But then it was just the director who could see it in his own virtual camera. The latest phase of virtual production is the one where you can put the visual effects on a LED wall in front of the entire crew. Everybody can now work as they normally do on the set.” A.J. Webbing is the co-founder of Orbital Studios in Los Angeles, a virtual production studio with satellite operations nationwide. He is also the virtual production supervisor for “Snowfall,” which uses a 62x14-foot LED wall for a penthouse set alone. “A lot of the things that were not possible yesterday are possible today in virtual production,” said Webbing. “With pixel pitch being much tighter, you can get the camera closer to the LED wall. We are doing a lot of things that even just a few months ago were not possible. The technology is getting that much better very quickly.” Christian Herrera, a director of photography who has worked on Season 5 of “Snowfall,” said scenes can be shot closer on LED set walls and the wall itself becomes a light source. “The technology is still in a very nascent stage,” he added. “So we try to work with the LED panel and camera manufacturers and say, ‘These are the issues we’re having. How can you solve them? Can you change the pixel pitch? Can you give me panels at 120 hertz?’ And we do a lot of tests about color. Color is a big problem because camera sensors don’t necessarily see the same colors that your eye sees. That’s going to be a huge improvement that’s still coming. “But having LED walls, instead of a green screen, makes the set a lot more realistic,” Herrera continued. “The reaction of the actors to these LED walls where they can see a playback image, allows them to get more involved, just as having a real set on a real location. They perform in the moment.
VIDEO PLATES IN ACTION Herrera said he remembered a scene where “we had a nighttime video plate and the
camera looked at a table where the moon was reflected on it and then it moved up to the actors. The moon was what was lighting the shot from the LED wall and it was kind of awesome.” Webbing added: “The workflow in television production moving from preproduction to post is tough. We were able to develop a system that’s easier for TV schedules by using video plates that we track in two-and-a-half dimensions. We basically layer it—something we can do very quickly.” Herrera said, “Making the video plates is a collaboration. They must work on the narrative for the script that we have. So it can get tricky going through which kind of plates and what time of the day do we need to capture. Say we do 2,500 plates on the streets of L.A. You have a lot of information and detail in the buildings, on the streets and in the moving cars. We capture all those plates with a high ISO camera. You can see all these moving elements that you cannot get on a green screen. “Also, for a lot of these plates, we have to remove buildings that wouldn’t be there in 1985, the era of the show,” he continued. “We had to have period cars driving by. If you think about
Damson Idris as Franklin Saint in the FX series “Snowfall.”
having to shoot that, in reality, you’ve got to lock up the street and have the cars going by. It’s a nightmare to do that.” Moran said after the making of the 2009 film, “Avatar,” there was an explosion of interest in virtual production. But, he said at the time, all the productions were very expensive, and the industry failed to make the technology palatable for ordinary productions. Then, over time, virtual production evolved.
It became their mission to take the real-time technology and bring it to a broader group of production types. “We were careful to not hype it too much,” Moran said. “Now we’re listening and learning. We have put together a lot of training programs—one is called the ‘Unreal Fellowship’— you don’t go to class, you learn on the set; it’s an apprenticeship on the set. Also, standards are very important and must be developed.” Virtual production, when it is fully implemented, will bring another seachange to television and film production. “If you’re going to do full virtual production, you’re going to have to shift not just the workflow, but also your budget,” said Webbing. “A lot of people say ‘Oh, my God, virtual production is so expensive.’ But you’re taking money from other buckets and putting them into this bucket. In the end, it is actually money saved. Using this technology, instead of doing multiple locations, is a lot easier and higher quality than any other way of doing production.” l Frank Beacham is a New York City-based writer and media producer.
Credit: Matthias Clamer/FX
Taming Contrasts: Lighting and Shadowing in the Field What needs to be seen must be within the limits of the camera’s contrast range
n my earlier colsibility. umns we looked Freelance phoat some of the tojournalist Jerry basics of lighting. Hattan has his own As a quick recap, ways of controlling light and shadow contrast. work together to “It’s not just create the shading about adding more (or “chiaroscuro,” light.” he said. as Renaissance Working “with” the artists called it) location is always EXPERTISE to reveal dimenbetter than trying to BRUCE sional form. Those “muscle” a solution ALEKSANDER visual cues enable with brute force. a ﬂat medium, like television But everything you want to be (or a painter’s canvas), to look seen in the picture has to be three-dimensional. There are within the limits of the camera’s other visual cues involved, but contrast range. This is where here we’re concerned with those created by lighting.
lighting skills and ingenuity come into play. Controlling brightness and reducing contrast is fundamental to ﬁeld lighting. Midday sunlight can reach 10,000 footcandle or more—that’s very bright. You can’t just match those intensities on the talent, because anything more than 2,500 fc will cause people to squint, which is never a good look. So how do you reduce the contrast between the background and the talent? To an extent, you add “some” light on the talent, but you must also reduce the brightness of the
background. Hattan offers an example. “Take advantage of the natural shade to get the talent out of the direct sunlight,” he said. “Once you’ve softened or eliminated the direct sun, you can add your own lights from a more ﬂattering angle. Making sure the reporters look good is always an important part of the job.” When existing shade isn’t available, you may need to make your own. Frame-mounted diffusion can create shade and soft ﬁll light, instead of harsh shadows from the direct sunlight. But that requires additional gear. “How we light the talent is often determined by what we can bring to the location” according to cameraman Roger Brooks, of Brooks Video Production & Lighting in Houston. Brooks and Hattan often work together when projects require additional support equipment or a second photographer. To transport that additional equipment, Brooks notes that “If it doesn’t have wheels, you’re
STUDIO AND FIELD Moving beyond that theoretical groundwork, let’s consider the practical business of lighting for television. For our purposes, we can break down television lighting into two basic categories: studio and ﬁeld. Studio lighting is exempliﬁed by the creation of a plausible space within a controlled environment that’s basically a blank slate. Within its ideal conﬁnes, power is always ample, hanging positions are plentiful, and the only limits to what you can create are your imagination and the size of your budget. And then there’s the world of ﬁeld shoots—barely contained chaos, with a deadline. Field lighting is typiﬁed by constraints beyond the control of the photojournalist, including location, time of day and acces-
June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |
Fig. 1: Overhead diﬀusion softens the sunlight, while the additional lights provide better angle for subject (Former Jackson County, Texas, Sheriﬀ A.J. Louderback). Photo by Roger Brooks. twitter.com/tvtechnology
Fig. 2: Double-net scrim cuts background brightness by half. This balances exposure without causing squinting from bright lights on subject (Omar Jimenez with CNN). Photo by Roger Brooks.
in a world of hurt.” This is why his gear always travels on carts. “There’s almost always a ramp, so rolling carts is an easy way to have the equipment right where it’s needed. You never want to have to go back to the van for something forgotten.” Even with carts, the equipment still needs to be compact. Several companies make breakdown frames for mounting textiles that can modify or completely block the light. Stands and shot bags are also essential grip equipment to safely support them.
shot at a wide aperture. It often takes a combination of techniques and equipment to yield the desired look. “It’s not just the setup. When things change—and they always do outdoors—you have to respond quickly,” said Hattan. Evening shots present con-
trast problems of a different kind. Nighttime calls for creating layers of separation in the darkness to keep the image from looking flat. This is where backlights are essential to ensure talent doesn’t disappear into a dark background, (Fig. 3.) Today, LED lights justifiably
dominate the field. The best of them have excellent output and nearly perfect color rendering. They can be dimmed to match changing intensities without color shift, and many are bicolor (if not full color) to match ambient-correlated color temperature. Although fluorescent, HMI and even incandescent are still used (and useful), no previous light source has the range of flexibility found with LED lights today. And while I may miss the direct simplicity of making light by heating a tungsten coil, I don’t miss the low efficiency and waste heat of incandescent. Those older light sources will eventually fade into the sunset, replaced by LEDs. As it was with gas lights and kerosene lanterns before them, they’ll soon become quaint relics—more appropriate for nostalgic occasions than lighting sets. We’re already used to it. l Bruce Aleksander invites comments from those interested in lighting at TVLightingguy@hotmail.com.
FOR EXAMPLE… A 6X6 silk diffusion does a great job softening the sunlight, but it’s wise to remember that it can become an unruly sail on a windy day. In addition to solid stands and shot bags, it also takes more people to safely handle the gear in such conditions, (Fig. 1). Another effective way to control bright backgrounds is to add a special double-net screen behind the talent, according to Brooks, (Fig. 2). This technique reduces the background brightness by a full stop from the camera’s perspective, yet it’s transparent to the camera when
Fig. 3: Backlight on reporter (Alex Perez of “Good Morning America”) helps provide separation against dark background. Additional lights on dark trees builds visual layers of depth. Photo by Jerry Hattan. twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | June 2022
RF at the NAB Show— ATSC 3.0 Analysis The tools to launch NextGen TV come into focus
audio as well as providing thumbnails of all the video streams with up to four concurrent PLPs. With the new version, the price increased to $2,595. The RZR-1400, which uses the Sony receiver chip, is $900. I think I was the first person to buy TVXplorer 2.0. I didn’t get it installed in my Windows 10 VM until after the NAB Show but had a chance to test it in Los Angeles. It worked fine, with both video and audio playing along with full details on all the tables and a service guide. The software comes with a lifetime license and development is continuing. I was told an update might support the Silicon Dust tuner, which would dramatically lower the cost of the package and help keep it competitive with the alternatives. The dongle and software are available on-line at https://redzonereceiver.tv/ or from Comark or Unisoft.
Promax ATSC 3.0 Ranger includes video and RF constellation displays.
are using a chip developed with Coherent Logic that can decode all DTV formats, including ATSC fter three years it 3.0. was great to get back The company does not sell together with fellow directly to consumers but was engineers and exhibshowing a smartphone with a itors at the NAB Show in Las built-in ATSC 3.0 receiver as well Vegas. Official attendance was as a dongle that will work with more than 50,000 people but a smartphone with a USB port. with the new LVCC West Hall and (Fig. 1 shows the dongle in use EXPERTISE spread-out exhibits with plenty receiving an ATSC 3.0 broadcast Doug Lung of meeting spaces, it was busy but from Saankhya Labs’ low-power not crowded. transmitter that will be offered Like many attendees I spent time catching for use as a low-power ATSC 3.0 booster.) up with old friends. With the repack over, Tolka also showed a dongle it plans to offer the focus shifted to launching ATSC 3.0 and for sale to broadcasters. that will be the main topic of my convention review, specifically analysis of ATSC 3.0 AIRWAVZ signals. There were several products on display for analyzing ATSC 3.0 signals. The lowest SAANKHYA LABS cost options, both from Airwavz, remain the I looked for low-cost ATSC 3.0 receive RedZone Receiver Plus (RZR-1400) and new devices such as USB tuners, excluding comTVXplorer 2.0 software, which was released plete TV sets. New at the NAB Show were at the show. TVXplorer 2.0 now includes devices from Saankhya Labs in India. They the ability to decode and analyze Dolby AC4
Dektec showed a new USB DTV tuner that is SDR-based, so it can handle multiple standards and looks like the Dektec USB universal DTV modulator. The device comes with basic software to decode ATSC 3.0 tables, but for a complete analysis, it needs to be paired with software like Triveni’s StreamScope XM or Stream Verifier. The software does not currently include a spectrum analyzer but since the receiver is SDR-based it shouldn’t be too difficult to add that in the future. The cost is under $4,000.
Part 1 of 2
I knew ENENSYS was one of the leaders in developing ATSC 3.0 scheduler and gateway products but didn’t learn about their range of ATSC 3.0 monitoring equipment until I visited their booth at the show. Their “REFEREE3,” introduced at the last NAB Show in 2019, provides ATSC 3.0 signal characteristic measurements (useful for field tests) as well as stream analysis down to the frame level. For more detailed measurements at a fixed location, they have the “Edge Probe.” I don’t have room to list all the features here. See www.test-tree.com/product/atsc-advanced-monitoring-probe/ for details on it and other ENENSYS monitoring products.
June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |
IPGUARD Another item that caught my attention was the IPguard, which can monitor ATSC 3.0 STLTP streams and switch to a backup in case of a failure. The switch depends on a flag inserted in the stream, which I hope will be supported by other scheduler/gateway vendors.
rf technology One thing to keep in mind when considering ATSC 3.0 monitoring is whether the device or software will continue to be able to display video and audio after broadcasters begin encrypting streams. While all the tables and signal characteristics should remain available (unless the device has a key from A3SA, the ATSC 3.0 security authority), they will not be able to display encrypted content.
Saankhya Labs dongle receiving ATSC 3.0 on smart phone
All the portable measurement devices I’ve described so far require a laptop or computer for operation. Promax was showing a new standalone portable in their Ranger line that offers ATSC 3.0 reception, including video and RF constellation displays and a spectrum analyzer. With tabs on the display, you can view table content and signal characteristics. I was told it will support LDM, which could come in handy for field measurements. It also includes an Ethernet port for monitoring IP streams and logging data on a laptop. Pricing had not been set but was expected to be slightly above the price of their other Ranger units, which would put it in the $10,000 range. As of May 1, no data on this unit was available on the company’s website (promaxelectronics.com).
Most readers are familiar with the Triveni StreamScope XM ATSC 3.0, which has become the standard for detailed ATSC 3.0 signal analysis. They now offer a lower-cost product, the Stream Verifier, for around $4,000, which provides basic data on the ATSC 3.0 stream and a quick check on the quality and compliance of the stream. It needs to be paired with a compatible ATSC 3.0 receiver such as their dongle, one of the Dektec receivers or the Avateq receiver.
Preparation for encryption caused Tablo to delay the release of their ATSC 3.0 gateway and DVR product until they could modify the hardware to support the keys. Since the key has to be in secure storage it could not be offered as a firmware update. The introduction of digital rights management should not be an issue for most if it can be handled the same way NetFlix, Hulu and other streaming services protect their content. If implementation is more onerous, then it could slow the adoption of ATSC 3.0 by limiting the development of new ATSC 3.0 devices and the options viewers have to receive ATSC 3.0 broadcasts. In Part 2, I’ll have more on my experiences with the TvxPlorer V2.0 program, using the HDHomeRun ATSC 3.0 gateway in a portable configuration; a description of the NAB session dealing with drone measurement of antenna patterns and RF system heating; and some transmitter- and antenna-related NAB Show news I didn’t have room to include here. l
AVATEQ Avateq had their line of ATSC1.0 and ATSC 3.0 monitoring receivers on display, including the AVQ-200. Avateq is now offering STL-TP analysis in their products.
As always, I welcome comments and questions. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I try to answer all emails promptly, but if I’m busy and the email gets buried, I might miss it. If you don’t get a response within a week or so, email me again.
best of show
Audio Design Desk - ADD Gabriel Cowan, Product Architect & CEO
The products introduced at the 2022 NAB Show represented the best in creativity, technology and innovation and TV Tech was there to shine a spotlight on the very best. In recognition of excellence, we bring you the Best of Show Awards, now in its ninth year. We also honored companies with the Best in Market Awards, which were open to any company in the M&E Tech industry.
Cinedeck - CD2: Top: Nataly Derets, Georgiy Pismenniy, James Cranfield & Charles Dautremont; Middle: Alex Babchenko, Ilya Derets & Nikita Dedov; Bottom: Olga Luitsko & Jane Sung
BirdDog Adobe Cloud Plugin Eamon Drew, CMO
Core SWX - Maverick Ross Kanarek, CEO
Boland Monitors - X4K27HDR5-OLED Broadcast Monitor Michael J. Boland, President
Congratulations to all the winners!
Dalet - Dalet Flex for Teams Julien Decaix, GM, Americas
Adobe - Auto Color Meagan Keane, Principal Product Mktg. Mgr. Adobe Pro Video
Bitcentral - Fuel + Powr.tv Video Streaming Platform Greg Morrow, GM Streaming Media Group
Apantac SDM-MicroQ-12G, Thomas Tang, President
June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |
Canon - Canon EOS R5 C Full-frame, 8K Cinema EOS System Camera Leonard A. Musmeci, Sr. Mktg. Mgr., Image Communications Product Marketing, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group
Dejero - EnGo 265 (L to R): Francois Vaillant, Sr. Technical Product Mgr.; Arjen Hofland, Sr. Sales Account Mgr.; Ivy Cuervo, Dir., Brand and Communications; Rob Waters, Global Dir, Sales; Kevin Fernandes, CRO; and Jeremy Miller, Global Dir., Technical Account Mgt.
best of show
Digital Nirvana - MetadataIQ 4.0 Vishnu Beri, Co-Founder/COO (L) and Russell Wise, SVP, Sales & Mktg.
Evertz - NATX 32/64 100G Network Address Translation Router Fernando Solanes, Sr. Dir., Solutions Engineering
EVS - NeuronPROTECT William Walz (L), Channel Sales Supervisor and Jean-Pierre Nouws, Solution Mgr.
IHSE USA - DP 4X1 KVM Desktop Switch Manny Patel, President/CEO
FOR-A Corporation of America FA-1616 Software Defined Multi Purpose Signal Processor (L to R): Kaz Murayama, Engineer; Daisuke Abe, Engineer; Kaoru Araie, Sr. Exec. GM & Head of R&D, and Masahiro Soga, Deputy Pres.
Interra Systems - Interra Cloud Services (ICS) – BATON Captions. (L to R) Praney Mahajan, Application Eng. Mgr.; Ashish Basu, EVP, Worldwide Sales & Business Dev’t., and Joe Johnson, Principal Application Engineer
Hitachi-Comark - E-Compact EC700HP-BB3 Series High-Efficiency Air-Cooled Solid-State UHF DTV Transmitter. Fabio Garcia Pina, CMO (L) and Joseph Turbolski, VP, Sales & Mktg.
LG Business Solutions USA - LG UltraFine OLED Pro Monitor Line. (L to R) Dan Smith, VP, Bus. Dev’t, Neil Robinson, Sr. Dir., Strategic Products, and Dr. Nandhu Nandhakumar, SVP Strategic Technologies, Office of the CTO
LYNX Technik - yellobrik IDC1411 Instant Dialog Cleaner. Daniel Kubitza, Dir. of Sales Marketron Marketron Integration Suite
Grass Valley - AMPP Live Solution Packages (L to R): Jean-Philippe Lapointe, Mgr., Software Dev’t.; Vincent Trussart, Dir., Core Tech Software Engineering; Larissa Görner, Sr. Dir., Product Line Management, AMPP; Martin Jolicoeur, Dir., Product Mgt.-Networking, and Ian Fletcher, CTO, Media Business Unit
twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | June 2022
best of show
Quantum - H4000 Essential Natasha Beckley, CMO
Marshall Electronics - Micro Global Sensor Camera With Genlock Tod Musgrave, Director of Cameras Matrox Video - Matrox ConvertIP SMPTE ST 2110 Converter Danielo Iannantuoni, Product Mgr.
MediaKind - MediaKind Engage (L to R) Maria Valencia, Contract Mgr.; Stuart Boorn, VP, Mktg.; and Liz Stanley, assistant to the CEO and COO
SSIMWAVE - SSIMPLUS Video Quality Dial (L to R) Matt Herren, Sr. Dir., Sales; Beatriz Pineda, Sr. Dir., Product Strategy; Abdul Rehman, CEO/Co-founder; Kristina Zelko, Mktg. Mgr.; and Carlos Hernandez, CRO.
Telemetrics - reFrame Server. (L to R): Eduardi Lopresti, Engineering Mgr., TV Tech Content Director Tom Butts, and Michael Cuomo, VP
Tedial - smartWork—Cloud Native Media Integration Platform (L to R): Mario Lopez, Jr. Software Engineer; Eduardo Guerrero, Presales Mgr.; Julian Fernandez Campon, CTO; Claudine Cécille, MarCom Dir.; Nick Gold, VP, Bus. Dev’t. & Partnerships, U.S. & Canada; Callum Pilkington, Solution Architect; and José Luis Montero, Sales Dir.
June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |
Telestream - Stanza. Ryan Iorns, Product Mgr., (L) and Jason Livingston, Software Developer
best in market
TVU Networks - TVU Channel Paul Shen, Founder/CEO
Telestream - Wirecast Gear 3. (L to R): Lynn Elliott, Sr. Product Mgr.; Mike Daskalopoulos, and Scott Murray, SVP, Corp. Mktg. & Production & Streaming Business Unit
Teradek - Prism Flex Martin Vann, SVP, Sales, Creative Solutions
Actus Digital Intelligent Monitoring Platform V8 Avid Avid Media Composer
VoiceInteraction - Audimus.Media (L to R) Márcio Viveiros, Tech. Assistance Dir.; Renato Cassaca, Chief Software Dev’t. Engineer; Teresa Neto, Content Producer; João Neto, CEO; Mariana Manteiga, Head of Mktg.; and Hélio Rasteiro, COO.
disguise disguise xR Edgecast Channel Scheduler & Syndication Evoca Pilot Set Top Box LiveU Air Control OWC OWC Flex 1U4 Ross Video Ross Production Cloud
Zeiss - ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance Lenses (L to R): Jean-Marc Bouchut, Dir. Cinema Sales, Americas; Anna Schmidt, Cinema Mktg., Americas; Alejandro Alcocer, Dir., Cinema Sales, Latin America; David Warner, Tech. Sales Specialist, Americas; Emily Miele, Cinema Sales Support Adm., Americas; Christophe Casenave, Head, Products & Sales Cinematography; Marco Auricchio, Head, Distribution Mgt.; Richard Scali, Mgr., Photo & Industrial Sales; and Snehal Patel, Head, Cinema Sales, Americas
Videon LiveEdge Compute Zixi Zixi Software-Defined Video Platform twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | June 2022
equipment guide | transmitters & rf equipment
Quality Media Depends on Dejero to Boost Quality and Cut Costs USER REPORT By Pablo Reyes Chief Production Officer & Partner Quality Media Producciones
MADRID, Spain—Launching our company in early 2017—during the Spanish broadcast industry’s worst financial crisis—meant that we had to adapt our business model to incorporate remote IP production or perish. With broadcasters’ budgets at an all-time low and pressure to provide high-quality content at an all-time high, traditional workflow proposals were too expensive. We had to find a way to produce top-quality remote productions without passing on the cost of a full crew and OB van to our clients. Since then, we have scaled our business from zero to more than 50 broadcasters and sports federation customers worldwide, including international federations, such as FIFA, FIBA, FINA, IWF, Rugby Europe and various world sports committees; plus many private sports promoters such as Grises Humacao and Peter Auto, on top of 35 Spanish Federations.
120 UNITS IN THE FIELD We’ve utilized Dejero EnGo transmitters since day one and have now deployed approximately 120 units all over the world, from Brazil to Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia to Dominican Republic and the United States to Austria, as well as Poland and Ukraine. We have also built a number of central hubs and OB trucks that are equipped with Dejero receivers so that we can receive camera feeds from any location and distribute them anywhere. With EnGo—which blends cellular networks from multiple carriers—we do not have to rely on laying cables or parking a satellite truck on site in order to gain the resilient connectivity required to transmit high-quality video for a live production; nor do we need to bring producers, directors, graphics operators, technicians, or other onsite staff to the venue. This alone saves between 60-75% of the setup time and cost of a traditional workflow. Currently I am in the Dominican Republic working with the country’s government,
June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |
Since 2017, Quality Media has deployed approximately 120 Dejero EnGo transmitters worldwide.
national television stations and local federations. If you think about the time it would have taken to get a multicamera OB truck that is usually based in Spain, for example, across to the Dominican Republic, it would take weeks by sea freight plus the logistical challenges of customs and insurance.
FASTER AND LESS EXPENSIVE Using our remote production model, all we needed to do was fly out EnGo transmitters and cameras along with our camera operators and talent and we were ready to roll within 48 hours of landing. Everyone else involved in a production like this stays at home or in the office—as the EnGo is able to transmit high-quality live camera feeds in real-time, without interruption, back to the hub for packaging and distribution. Again, 60% to 75% of the production team now remain at the hub, saving thousands on hotel bills, airfares, logistics and expenses, let alone the time it takes for a full production crew to travel there and back. I’ve also found the EnGo is incredibly simple to use—you just turn it on and go—no matter how remote or crowded the location may be, because it cleverly finds the most reliable connectivity paths in the background. The EnGo transmits over multiple IP net-
works to reliably deliver exceptional picture quality with extremely low latency—even in challenging network conditions. We simply don’t have to worry. I believe that no other mobile transmitter on the market can offer the resilience that Dejero’s EnGo does. Having tested similar devices, it’s the only transmitter that can transmit 10-12 hours continuously without interruption. We’re currently working with a customer to plan live coverage of a prominent U.S. sports league. With a traditional OB truck, the cost per game would average $35,000, but with our remote production model, which includes multiple EnGo transmitters, we can reduce that cost to $20,000. With 80 games in a season they could be looking at a savings of around $1.2 million. l Pablo Reyes is chief production officer and partner at Quality Media Producciones in Spain. An experienced TV producer with more than 10 years in the industry, he produces multicamera events across the globe. Reyes has also developed some ground-breaking engineering advances, especially in IP remote production models. He can be reached at pabloreyes@ qualityamericas.com. For more information visit www.dejero.com.
equipment guide | transmitters & rf equipment buyers briefs
Vislink Mobile Viewpoint HCAM Module 5 Vislink’s Mobile Viewpoint HCAM Module 5 delivers unprecedented freedom to wireless camera systems by providing complete control and configuration for roaming cameras in remote locations. By delivering remote unit control of Vislink’s HCAM HEVC 4k wireless camera transmitter and camera control over private or public 4G and 5G cellular networks, production teams can fully implement unified remote production workflows, reduce on-location costs and increase operational efficiencies. Adding the cellular and centralized control technology of HCAM Module 5 to Vislink’s high-quality, low-latency wireless camera solutions allows full high-quality video and full bidirectional connectivity between events and broadcast centers. z For more information visit https://www.vislink.com.
Electronics Research Inc.. ALV Series High Band VHF-TV Antenna Electronics Research, Inc. has added circularly and elliptically polarized models to its ALV Series High Band VHF Television Antenna product family. These high-band VHF television antennas are built for any single RF channel from 7 through 13 (174 to 216 MHz). The lightweight side-mounted antennas are primarily designed for use as auxiliary antennas. All models include a fiberglass slot cover to protect the antenna from rain, snow, and ice. All models are shipped with 36-inch (914 mm) standoff brackets for mounting on poles or tower legs from 1.5-inches (35 mm) to 7.5-inches (191 mm) OD. z For more information visit https://eriinc.com.
Hitachi Kokusai Electric Comark E-Compact EC700HP-BB3
TVU Networks TVU G-Link Support for 8K TVU has adapted its TVU G-Link platform—a powerful, point-topoint IP video transmission platform—to provide high-quality, low-latency IP video transmission over commodity internet connections. G-Link utilizes TVU’s IS+ protocol, link aggregation and HEVC VBR encoding to produce stable transmission even under harsh network conditions. While the TVU G-Link family already supports up to 10bit 4K 50/60p, TVU has been able to quickly adapt the platform to support 8K 50/60p transmission. The TVU G-Link platform uses the HEVC codec to encode at bit rates up to 300 Mbps with sub-second latency over the commercial internet. It also features VBR encoding for transmission stability on variable bandwidth connections and can transmit an 8K signal at as low as 60 Mbps. 8K support is currently a technology demonstration, but TVU expects to productize the solution in the future. z For more information visit www.tvunetworks.com.
The newly improved E-Compact EC700HP-BB3 series high-efficiency air-cooled solid-state UHF DTV transmitters are the third-generation in Comark’s high-powered product line. Supporting U.S. post-repack channels 14-36, the EC700HP-BB3 product line is available with a single final power amplifier or up to 12 x PA’s in parallel, producing from 1.1kW to up to 13.2kW respectively. Key improvements to the “BB3” series include: dual commercial off-the-shelf GE AC to DC rectifiers in the power supply of each PA; hot-swappable rectifiers accessible; newly improved system controller with a simpler GUI; optional front-panel touchscreen for easier user access; and optional outdoor cabinet for sites lacking adequate space in equipment shelter. The “BB3” continues to feature the latest asymmetric broadband Doherty LDMOS amplifiers and the amplifier technology allows power efficiency of up to 44%. z For more information visit https://comarktv.com.
June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |
equipment guide | transmitters & rf equipment buyers briefs GatesAir Maxiva IMTX-70 Intra-Mast GatesAir’s Maxiva IMTX-70 Intra-Mast solution is a very compact, modular multi-transmitter system, especially useful for broadcasters seeking to fill coverage gaps in areas where signal penetration is a challenge, including very highly populated urban areas. The Maxiva IMTX-70 is scaled for installation on desktops or within typical hollow mast/tower structures or vertical poles. Tower structures provide complete protection from the outside environment while allowing heat dissipation via convection and forced air cooling. Measuring only 230 x 485 x 320 mm, the Maxiva IMTX-70 boasts many features normally found in full-size systems, including the ability to house up to eight separate transmitter modules, each with up to 70W of average DTV power. A DVB-S/S2 satellite receiver option is also available as well as GbE (TS over IP), ASI, T2MI, SMPTE-310M, and ETI inputs. z For more information visit www.gatesair.com.
AVIWEST PRO460 5G Transmitter The PRO460 has been designed with ease-of-use in mind, featuring a user-friendly intuitive interface that allows users to broadcast live videos in just two touchscreen taps. The stateof-the art H.265/HEVC hardware encoder in a compact design enclosure enables video professionals to provide seamless high-quality news and event coverage. Leveraging AVIWEST’s Emmy Award-winning SST protocol and intelligent IP bonding stack and powerful contribution network protocols, the PRO460 ensures the delivery of live video even with unpredictable and unmanaged network conditions. The PRO460 embeds six globally-compliant 3G/4G/5G cellular modems with high-efficiency custom-patented antennas. The transmission can also operate on other networks such as Wi-Fi, BGAN satellite, Ka- or Ku-band satellite, IP leased line or simply over public internet. z For more information visit www.aviwest.com.
Rohde & Schwarz R&S THU9evo The R&S THU9evo liquid-cooled UHF transmitter family offers even better efficiency and the highest power density on the market. Built on the strengths of the established R&S THU9 platform, it offers adaptive efficiency optimization for minimized energy costs and is future-ready with ATSC 3.0 support. The R&S THU9evo offers overall energy efficiency values of up to 40% for COFDM and 43% for ATSC. The R&S THU9 platform benefits network operators by offering low operating costs throughout the product lifecycle. z For more information visit www.rohde-schwarz.com.
Dielectric Powerlite TFU-WB-LP Antennas Dielectric’s Powerlite TFU-WB-LP Series delivers an extensive pattern portfolio to help broadcasters optimize coverage for SFN and LPTV applications. Built with the unique parameters of NextGen TV in mind, TFU-WB-LP antennas offer a series of elevation gains, azimuth patterns with high front to back ratios, and software tools to provide broadcasters maximum flexibility in designing and deploying ATSC 3.0 single-frequency networks. The antennas are built in four-bay increments, with a maximum ERP of 100 kW. When used with Dielectric’s Proposal Generator software, broadcasters using Powerlite TFU-WB-LP antennas can configure systems that meet very specific network designs. For networks with many low-power transmitter sites, broadcasters can select the proper power level, directional pattern, height above ground level, and other pertinent design criteria for each location. z For more information visit www.dielectric.com.
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equipment guide | transmitters & rf equipment buyers briefs LiveU LU800 Pro 4 The LU800 offers far-reaching multicamera capabilities together with flexible business models designed to help users save money. Designed for complex remote productions (REMI), it allows users to send up to four fully frame-synched feeds in high resolution (1080p50/60,10 bit HDR) from a single unit to any remote production center, physical or cloud-based. It is ideal for on-premise productions, such as football matches, providing multi-angle coverage of the game and close interaction with players for an enhanced fan experience. To ensure reliability it leverages IP bonding of up to 14 connections (cellular, LAN and WiFi) with up to eight 4G/5G internal dual SIM modems. z For more information visit www.liveu.tv.
MultiDyne VF-9000 MultiDyne’s VF-9000 is a 1RU fiber-optic transport platform with SNMP monitoring. The high-density unit offers a reliable signal transport solution for intra-facility connection, such as moving TV program signals from the studio to a transmitter site. Other use cases include inter-facility connections, sports broadcasts, ENG, and any studio or mobile truck application where space is limited. Dual hot-swappable power supplies ensure optimal power redundancy.
The VF-9000’s high-density design includes 18 or 36 optical I/O (9 or 18 SFP ports) and can be configured with up to 18 full-size BNCs or 36 HDBNCs. If populated with CWDM SFPs, all 36 signals can be multiplexed/ de-multiplexed over/from two SM fibers. The system also supports 1GbE optical extensions for handling SDI and LAN signals in one frame. z For more information visit www.multidyne.com.
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June 2022 | www.tvtech.com |