TV Tech 0489 - September 2023

Page 1

Welcome to the September 2023 issue of

ARCUS > Engineered for demanding sports and live major market news. Both touchscreen and physical control, plenty of IP layering, and paging, routing and logic control.

STRATA For remote work and local news. Works with Wheatstone’s LAYERS Server Engine or the Wheatstone BLADE-4 IP physical mix engine.

TEKTON > Compact, easy operation with physical and touch-screen flexibility. The TEKTON has all the TV features most studios need.


Build/control/extend your network virtually. Deploy multiple software mix engines and multitouch glass controllers from one or multiple servers to streamline your workflow.

BROADCAST AUDIO PERFECTIONISTS ® Good News Starts Here Wheatstone AES67/SMPTE 2110 -30 IP Audio Network Systems
AoIP WheatNet-IP Tablets Physical Control Surfaces Larger Format Touch Screens

5G Broadcast | September 2023
Doug Lung looks at the emerging standard
equipment guide audio
contents 10 What Is 5G Broadcast? Does it have the potential to replace ATSC 3.0? By Doug Lung 15 Assessing the State of 4K/UHD in Today’s Broadcast Ecosystem 4K creates technological and operational challenges as bigger events demand higher levels of gloss By Phil Rhodes 18 For Content Personalization, ‘Taste’ Is All in the Data Recommendation engines increase viewership, interaction By James Careless 20 Why Does A/V Sync Continue to Be an Issue for Broadcasters? Out-of-sync audio and video can originate in the OB van or broadcast studio By Dennis Baxter 22 Storage Technologies Need to Change to Keep Up With Supply and Demand The steps you’ll need to take to future-proof your infrastructure By Karl Paulsen 10 September 2023 volumn 41, issue 9 6 in the news 24 eye on tech 34 people 20 18 15 | | September 2023 3 equipment guide user reports audio • Blackmagic Design • Calrec • Solid State Logic • Clear-Com 27 27

editor’s note

Vetting 5G Broadcast

A new standard, “5G Broadcast” has suddenly joined AI as perhaps one of the most talked about developments in the broadcasting industry this year. While it’s still in what would be termed the “experimental” phase, the protocol has gained a number of adherents worldwide in a short span of time. German transmitter manufacturer Rohde & Schwarz has taken the lead on the technology, demonstrating its capabilities at a number of major trade shows for the past five-to-six years. Testing has taken place in China, Europe and Latin America. R&S and its adherents claim that 5G Broadcast, (under the “3GPP” protocol for mobile broadcast standards)— which was devised to offer both broadcast and multicast service over 3G networks—could be an alternative to broadcast formats such as ATSC 3.0, particularly in terms of handing massive amounts of data. The aim of 3GPP “is neither to burden the regular mobile networks nor to incur additional costs for citizens but rather to demonstrate how premium content can be distributed more efficiently, deliver new visual experiences while enhancing the user experience,” the group has said.

Europeans have become more proactive recently, with France (France Télévisions), Italy (RAI), Germany (SWR, BR), the Netherlands (NPO), Ireland (RTÉ) and Austria (ORF/ ORS) signing a Memorandum of Understanding in July, outlining a “Roadmap to 5G Broadcast.” The broadcasters plan to demonstrate jointly developed 5G Broadcast applications and commercial-use cases during the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris and the UEFA European Football Championship in Germany.

In the U.S. WWOO-LD in New Hampshire received experimental special temporary authority (STA) in July. Station owner Malachi Media is partnering with XGEN Networks LLC, Qualcomm and others to provide traditional television programming using 5G Broadcast, while also using 5G Broadcast to work with first responders to provide enterprise video and data services, as well as emergency alerts. The project has the backing of industry heavyweight Preston Padden who of late, has been involved in advancing the interests of the LPTV broadcasters.

How have broadcasters responded? Some, particularly in the LPTV sector, are cautiously optimistic but some, including Sinclair’s Mark Aitken—a longtime advocate of ATSC 3.0—aren’t buying it, calling it “5G only in name,” and, in particular, calling out those European broadcasters who support the initiative.

“[5G Broadcast is] 4G-LTE at its core and when compared to ATSC 3.0, it is an inefficient and ineffective ‘broadcast’ bearer particularly for mobility,” he said. “European Broadcasters are facing the same consumer shift towards streaming and on-demand multimedia consumption. Requiring an IP solution, I guess they feel they can do no better. For them, ATSC 3.0 is ‘not invented here.’”

TV Tech’s RF expert Doug Lung has taken a look at the protocol and in this issue, examines the technology and its market potential. In the end, he concludes that, much like ATSC 3.0, the decision to adopt 5G Broadcast will end up being a business and marketing decision, rather than a technological one.

While it’s too soon to determine whether it gains any traction in the U.S., it deserves to be vetted and tested and, depending on test results, considered as another method to deliver content to mobile devices. It’s way too soon to be thought of as any kind of “threat” to NextGen TV.



Content Director

Tom Butts,

Content Manager

Terry Scutt,

Senior Content Producer

George Winslow,

Contributors: Gary Arlen, Susan Ashworth, James Careless, Kevin Hilton, Craig Johnston, Bob Kovacs and Mark R. Smith

Production Managers: Heather Tatrow, Nicole Schilling

Managing Design Director: Nicole Cobban

Art Directors: Andy McGregor, Anthony Wuillaume


Managing Vice President of Sales, B2B Tech Adam Goldstein,


To subscribe, change your address, or check on your current account status, go to and click on About Us, email, call 888-266-5828, or write P.O. Box 8692, Lowell, MA 01853.


TV Technology is available for licensing. Contact the Licensing team to discuss partnership opportunities. Head of Print Licensing Rachel Shaw


SVP Wealth, B2B and Events Sarah Rees MD, B2B Tech & Entertainment Brands, Carmel King Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance Head of Design Rodney Dive

FUTURE US, INC. 130 West 42nd Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10036

All contents © 2023 Future US, Inc. or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein.

If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents,subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions.

Please Recycle. We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from responsibly managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. The paper in this magazine was sourced and produced from sustainable managed forests, conforming to strict environmental and socioeconomic standards.

TV Technology (ISSN: 0887-1701) is published monthly by Future US, Inc., 130 West 42nd Street,

September 2023 | | 4 Vol. 41 No. 9 | September 2023
7th Floor, New York, NY 10036-8002. Phone: 978-667-0352. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to TV Technology, P.O. Box 848, Lowell, MA 01853. Future plc is a public company quoted on the London Stock Exchange (symbol: FUTR) Chief Executive Zillah Byng-Thorne Non-Executive Chairman Richard Huntingford Chief Financial and Strategy Officer Penny Ladkin-Brand Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244 Future plc is a public company quoted on the London Stock Exchange (symbol: FUTR) Chief Executive Officer Jon Steinberg Non-Executive Chairman Richard Huntingford Chief Financial and Strategy Officer Penny Ladkin-Brand Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244
In July, some of Europe’s largest broadcasters announced plans to test 5G Broadcast during marquee sporting events on the continent.


Minneapolis: KARE (Tegna), KMSP, (Fox), KSTP (Hubbard), WCCO (CBS) and WUCW (Sinclair)

Philadelphia: KYW-TV, WPSG (CBS); WCAU (NBCU), WPVI (ABC), WTXF (Fox) and WUVP (Univision)

Reno, Nev.: KNSN (Deerfield Media), KOLO (Gray), KRNVDT (Cunningham Broadcasting), KRXI (Sinclair) and KTVN (Sarkes Tarzian), South Bend, Ind.: WHME (Family Broadcasting Corp.), WNDU, WSJV (Gray), WNIT (Michiana Public Broadcasting) and WSBT-TV (Sinclair)

San Francisco: KDTV-DT (TelevisaUnivision) KGO (ABC), KNTV (NBCU), KPIX (CBS), KRON (Nexstar) and KTVU (Fox Television Stations)

First NextGen TV-Certified Consumer Auxiliary Device Now Shipping

ADTH’s NEXTGEN TV Box, the first consumer external device certified with the NEXTGEN TV logo, is now shipping for $119.99. As expected, the box—which Atlanta DTH jointly developed with Tolka—includes support for the A3SA digital rights management protocol, making it the first such certified device on the market.

NextGen TV is now available in more than 70 markets nationwide from markets as large as Los Angeles and as small as Green Bay, Wisc. Ivy Shou, president of Atlanta DTH, characterized the launch of the box as a “landmark moment both for us and for our development partner, Tolka.”

“The ADTH upgrade accessory receiver is not only fully certified with the NEXTGEN TV logo but also verified for content security, she said. “This assures that consumers will get the best possible experience at home, enjoying the outstanding advantages of NEXTGEN TV channels in 70 markets across the U.S. The ADTH NEXTGEN TV Box packs a huge amount of processing power and versatility into its compact dimensions and makes UHD TV reception easier than ever. It is also the first set top box to support A3SA digital rights management.”

Orders for the ADTH NEXTGEN TV Box can be placed via ADTH’s website:

Nielsen: Streaming Outpaced Broadcast, Pay-TV in July for the First Time

Ratings for streaming services outpaced U.S. broadcast and cable TV in July according to new numbers from Nielsen, marking the first time that viewing for broadcast and cable fell below 50% since the ratings researcher began tracking streaming services in the fall of 2020.

Although the numbers were likely skewed by an increase in kidvid ratings as well as what was considered a soft month for professional sports, the fact remains that the decline in broadcast and pay-TV viewership continues apace. Broadcast viewership reached a new low, at just 20%, while cable viewing garnered just 29.6%, which meant that combined non-streaming numbers dipped just below 50%. While overall TV usage was up just slightly from June (0.2%), viewing among people under the age of 18 increased 4%, and viewing among adults 18 and older fell 0.3%. These trends resulted in increased streaming and “other” usage, which is primarily attributed to video game consoles.

Comparatively, sports on broadcast generated almost 25 billion viewing minutes in July, albeit across a range of channels. Most would consider July a slow month for sports, given that broadcast sports viewing typically more than triples when September starts.

While the FIFA Women’s World Cup provided a boost at the end of the month, drama remained the most

watched category, capturing 25.7% of viewing. Overall, total broadcast viewing was down 3.6% to finish the month at 20% of TV, representing a new low. On a year-over-year basis, broadcast usage was down 5.4%.

Cable viewing slipped as well, losing a full share point to capture 29.6% of TV in July. Feature film was the only genre to see a rise in viewership (0.5%), despite the fact that usage fell 1.5%. Viewing across virtually all others dropping from June. ESPN’s "Home Run Derby" and the "College World Series" took the top two slots, followed by "When Calls The Heart "on The Hallmark Channel. On a year-over-year basis, cable usage was down 12.5%.

Local broadcast TV trade association TVB blasted the study, accusing Nielsen for failing to “provide the key data needed by advertisers.”

“The Gauge Report provides a monthly view of the content and programming that audiences are watching on a television screen, including broadcast, cable and streaming platforms,” said Steve Lanzano, TVB president and CEO. “However, The Gauge doesn’t provide the key data needed by advertisers. Specifically, The Gauge’s streaming numbers include ALL SVOD subscribers—those who do and don’t receive ads—and for most SVOD platforms subscribers viewing ads are a far smaller segment of the overall total viewing.”

in the news
6 September 2023 | | update

NextGen TV DRM: Let’s All Take A Deep Breath

Digital rights management (DRM) is under the microscope in the ATSC 3.0 world—at least by a contingent of early NextGen TV adopters and pundits who fear broadcasters will use it to lock down their OTA signals, prevent viewers from digitally recording their favorite shows and yank away features like time-shifting that they have enjoyed since VHS and Betamax VCRs burst onto the market in the 1970s.

This concern centers on some early 3.0 gateway boxes that receive a NextGen TV signal and convert it for display on a legacy DTV set—not fresh out-of-the-box NextGen TV sets with built-in 3.0 tuners.

Perhaps, however, the consternation and hand wringing may ultimately prove to be largely irrelevant.

On June 20, the FCC adopted its 3.0

Multicast Licensing Report and Order (“In the Matter of Authorizing Permissive Use of the ‘Next Generation’ Broadcast Television Standard”).

In it, the commission writes: “Accordingly, we adopt a new sunset date of July 17, 2027. Given the ongoing transition, we believe at this time that this is an appropriate sunset period.” That sunset is the new lightsout date for 1.0, subject to an agency review commencing in July 2026. That means viewers can continue to receive and record legacy DTV over the air through mid-July 2027.

Consumers also can take solace in the fact that the FCC has not found “a sufficient shift in the marketplace that would justify elimination or modification of the substantially similar rule.” Presumably, in July 2026 if there hasn’t been “a sufficient shift” in the market, it will continue the requirement to

Matt Adams

preserve 1.0 service that’s essentially the same as a broadcaster’s primary 3.0 channel.

Now consider this finding from a March NPD Circana Report: “The average TV is replaced every 6.56 years in the U.S., and more than one-quarter of TVs are now at least seven years old.”

Given that the first 3.0 gateways—those without DRM support—came out in 2020, it’s fair to assume that NextGen TVs with built-in DRM support will replace many of the TVs those gateways feed today. Further it’s reasonable to assume 3.0 recorders with DRM support will become available.

Anne Schelle, Managing Director of Pearl TV, has said as much. “Content security is designed to prevent piracy, not stop home recording,” she said. “No broadcaster has attempted to limit digital video recording capability for its ATSC 3.0 broadcasts, as far as we know. In fact A3SA’s [ATSC 3.0 Security Authority’s] compliance rules for broadcasters expressly prohibit restrictions on home recording for ATSC 1.0 signals that are simulcast now in ATSC 3.0.

“Moreover, expect content security-verified DVRs to be available to consumers by early 2024 and maybe even later this year.”

Bottom line: Now is not the time for consumers to panic, but rather to take a deep breath and let things play out. l

Matt Adams passed away Aug. 18 from cancer at the age of 65.

Matt was a video pioneer, utilizing Ku-band satellite for telemedicine and distance learning—before turning 20. In 1984, he built and deployed transportable satellite services to televise the Olympics and in 1989, he designed and implemented the first all-serial digital television facility, for The Christian Science Monitor.

He led a team that designed the technical architecture of the first Direct TV plant in Castle Rock, Col. in 1993 and in 2002, he developed a file-based remote workflow for NBC Olympics in 2002, which over the next couple of decades blossomed into a full-fledged remote digital asset management system. In 2009, while working for Harmonic Inc, he developed a similar system that served as CNN’s production backbone. Adams was awarded seven Emmys for his Olympics innovations as well as a patent.

Peter Wharton

Peter Wharton, 64 died of cancer on Aug. 9. At the time of his death, he served as TAG Video Systems’ chief strategy and cloud officer. Peter’s career in television straddled both operations and system design, beginning with a position at ABC News where he was involved in studio broadcasts, the White House press pool, and coverage of presidential travels.

Peter was also very much involved in Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers activities in Washington, D.C. and nationally. He attained a number of leadership positions, including SMPTE Eastern Region governor and vice president of membership. For many years, he played a large role in producing the SMPTE “Bits By The Bay” regional conference held near his home in Chesapeake Beach, Md.

At the time of his passing, Peter had attained the rank of SMPTE Fellow, and will be posthumously honored with the Society’s President’s Award at the organization’s 2023 Media Technology Summit.

8 in the news September 2023 | |

What Is 5G Broadcast?

Interest in over-the-air reception of TV in the U.S. continues to grow as evidenced by sales of antennas, with CTA estimating that the total antenna marketplace in the U.S. will exceed 53 million homes by 2025. While the ATSC 3.0 build out continues, a new concept, “5G Broadcast” is now being considered as another option for high-power, high-tower “next generation” TV broadcasting.


There is already one experimental 5G Broadcast station on the air (WOOD-LD in Westmoreland, N.H., announced in July), and broadcasters in other parts of the world are testing 5G Broadcast deployment.

Will it replace ATSC 3.0 as the “next generation” broadcast technology? The major factor, in my opinion, will be whether or not consumers and broadcasters drop over-the-air TV in favor of streaming programming over the internet.

5G Broadcast is targeted primarily at mobile devices, where data capacity for video distribution is still a concern.

Consumer adoption of ATSC 3.0, so far, has been limited to fixed TV sets. While more people are cutting the cord and discovering (or rediscovering) over the air broadcasts, far more of these sets are connected to the internet alone than to antennas.

Will wireless operators, who largely control distribution of mobile devices in the United States, allow reception of 5G Broadcasting without a government mandate? If there is a government mandate, perhaps that mandate could require ATSC 3.0 devices instead.

That raises some questions: Which technology is better? Which is easier to implement? I’ll provide some information and links to resources to help you answer those questions.


5G Broadcast today is defined in 3GPP Release 17 (for an overview on the evolution of 5G Broadcast within 3GPP, check “Broadcast, multicast technologies,” by Dongwook Kim, 3GPP MCC at technologies/broadcast-multicast1).

The current standard has features that support high-power, high-tower broadcasting. These include Receive-OnlyMode (no SIM card required) and a cyclic prefix of up to 200 microseconds, allowing larger distances between sites in a single frequency network (SFN).

The major components of the 5G Broadcast signal are the CAS (cell acquisition subframe), which contains the PBCH (physical broadcast channel); PDCCH (physical downlink control channel), and the PDSCH (physical downlink shared channel) necessary to decode the PMCH (physical multicast channel). In order to receive a 5G Broadcast signal, a receiver must be able to decode the PBCH, the PDCCH, the PDSCH and the PMCH.

The PBCH, PDCCH and PDSCH are control channels that can be compared to the bootstrap, L1-basic and L1-detailed in ATSC 3.0, while the PMCH is similar to the PLP subframe in ATSC 3.0. The coding and modulation of these components determines the robustness and capacity of the system.

More information on the 5G Broadcast physical layer is available in “ETSI TS 103 720 Technical Specification” and in the IEEE Transactions on Broadcasting paper “Evaluation of ATSC 3.0 and 3GPP Rel-17 5G Broadcasting Systems for Mobile Handheld Applications.”

10 September 2023 | |
rf technology
Doug Lung
Credit: Getty Images
Does it have the potential to replace ATSC 3.0?


Rohde and Schwarz has developed a 5G Broadcast platform that has been used for tests around the world. Fig. 1, taken from the company’s “5G Broadcast for Automotive” presentation by Dr. Nik Dimitrakopoulos, shows a R&S BSCC2.0 (broadcast service and control center) feeding a R&S SDE900 (the same model number unit used for ATSC 3.0 signal generation) into a TCE901 exciter and THU9evo transmitter. With the exception of the BSCC2.0, this configuration will be familiar to U.S. broadcasters. Fig. 2, from the BSCC2.0 product brochure, shows the internal architecture of that unit.

The OpenAirInterface5g initiative has developed software that will run on a UHD/

USRP based SDR. The last information I have on this is from 2019 for a configuration based on 3GPP Release 14. Details are available in the “FeMBMS/eMBMS E2E Prototyping using OpenAirInterface5G” presentation by Javier Morgade at Vicomtech.

Fig. 3 shows a system using two Ettus B210 SDRs, the same model used in the GNU Radio ATSC 3.0 transmitter I described in a previous article.

adding 5G Broadcast support to its mobile device chipsets but no devices supporting 5G Broadcast are currently available to consumers. Prototype devices are available for both standards. When will consumers be able to purchase these devices?

ATSC 3.0 broadcasts are already on the air in more than 65 markets in the United States. Currently there is only one 5G Broadcast station in the U.S., the experimental LPTV mentioned earlier. The 5G Media Action Group’s website has details on 5G Broadcast trials as well as links to a GITHUB with 5G Broadcast reference tools. Expect to hear more about 5G Broadcast deployments around the world at the 2023 IBC Show.

5G Broadcast can build on existing modems and 5G mobile device components. This should make it relatively easy for manufacturers to implement in mobile devices. ATSC 3.0 has an incompatible physical layer and requires additional hardware, which implies extra cost for mobile devices. Many ATSC 3.0 performance advantages come from time-interleaving, which requires more memory. I’m not aware of 5G capability in any TV set. If 5G Broadcast is required in TV sets, what will that cost?

The IEEE Broadcast Transactions paper shows ATSC 3.0 has a significant cost advantage for network deployment—fewer transmitters are required for equivalent or better coverage. Will that matter in the United States?




VS. ATSC 3.0

Broadcasters have ATSC 3.0 transmission infrastructure, but at this time don’t have consumer equipment beyond fixed TV sets and gateway devices. Qualcomm is

What if we end up in a scenario where 5G Broadcast is available on newer mobile devices but not in TV sets and ATSC 3.0 is available in TV sets but not on mobile devices? What about automobiles? We’ve seen interest in using ATSC 3.0 for delivering content to automobiles and as shown in the IEEE paper, ATSC 3.0 has a performance advantage there, but if 5G wireless devices are already in the vehicle, that may give 5G Broadcast an advantage.

One solution would be for a TV station to transmit both 5G Broadcast and ATSC 3.0 on

12 August 2021 | | rf technology
Fig. 1: This diagram shows a R&S BSCC2.0 (broadcast service and control center) feeding a R&S SDE900 (the same model number unit used for ATSC 3.0 signal generation) into a TCE901 exciter and THU9evo transmitter.
September 2023 | |
Fig. 2: The internal architecture of the R&S BSCC2.0 (broadcast service and control center)
Rohde and Schwarz has developed a 5G Broadcast platform that has been used for tests around the world.

the same channel. This would require using time division multiplexing (TDM) to share the channel. I described the demonstration at the 2023 NAB Show in my two-part review of the show in my June and July columns.

For this to work, either or both the ATSC 3.0 or 5G Broadcast standards will require changes to their frame structure. Given the number of ATSC 3.0 TV sets already in use, any change to that standard will have to be compatible with existing TV sets.


FCC rules require broadcasters to deliver at least one free channel to the public in standard definition. During the transition to

ATSC 3.0, the FCC has required broadcasters to ensure programming remains available to all viewers, including simulcasting on ATSC 1.0. It is unlikely the FCC will allow broadcasters to shut down both ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 and move to 5G Broadcast any time soon. Assuming interest in OTA TV continues, the number of ATSC 3.0 sets will continue to rise making a full transition to 5G Broadcast difficult.

Without new spectrum, I don’t expect a significant number of 5G Broadcast signals on the air in U.S. broadcast bands until enough ATSC 1.0 spectrum has transitioned

to ATSC 3.0 to allow 5G Broadcast to share spectrum with ATSC 3.0. At that time, some stations may be able to move to 5G Broadcast entirely while other stations carry their programming on ATSC 3.0 channels, similar to the way stations are transitioning to ATSC 3.0 now. Stations may also use TDM (time division multiplex) to share their channel between ATSC 3.0 and 5G Broadcast. Both assume FCC approval.

Several visions for the future for 5G Broadcast/Multicast Rohde and Schwarz described in their presentations could apply to the ATSC 3.0 system. In the end, the choice will likely depend as much on marketing, business plans and consumer preferences as it will on technology.

5G Broadcasting is continuing to evolve. 3GPP Releases 18 and 19 should make it easier for high-power, high-tower broadcasters to begin 5G Broadcast, either by itself or time shared with ATSC 3.0 when (and if) 5G Broadcast reception becomes available in mobile devices. l

As always, your questions and comments are welcome. Email me at

Comparing 5G Broadcast and ATSC 3.0 Performance

As in the 5G Broadcast system described here, ATSC 3.0 has elements that allow receivers to lock to the channel, get information on how to tune the channel, and decode the data. How these elements are implemented affects performance under different conditions.

Table XI in the IEEE Transactions on Broadcasting paper “Evaluation of ATSC 3.0

and 3GPP Rel-17 5G Broadcasting Systems for Mobile Handheld Application” shows ATSC 3.0 performance gains for TU-6, India-Urban, India-Rural, and Seoul-SFN-3 channels for ideal estimation and linear estimation at speeds of 3, 40, and 120 km/hr.

Performance gain of the ATSC 3.0 bootstrap vs. 5G PBCH varied from a worst case –4.1 dB for linear estimation of a TU-6 channel at 120 km/hr to a best case +10.5 dB for linear estimation of the Seoul-SFN-3 channel at 3 km/hr. Bootstrap performance was better than PBCH in 20 of the 24 scenarios.

A comparison of PDSCH vs. L1-Detail showed ATSC 3.0 performance gain varied from -3.0 dB to +5.0 dB. PDSCH was undecodable in 3 of the 24 scenarios. L1-Detail was worse than PDSCH in

eight of the 24 scenarios, although in six of these the difference was less than 1 dB.

When comparing ATSC 3.0 subframe with PMCH, the subframe performed better at 5 Mbps, 10 Mbps and 15 Mbps in every channel, with PMCH undecodable in eight of the 24 scenarios at 15 Mbps. The performance gain ranged from +15 dB linear estimation in a 10 Mbps TU-6 channel at 120 km/hr to +0.6 dB ideal estimation at 10 Mbps at 3 km/ hr and 40 km/hr in an India-Rural channel.

The study, presented in the IEEE paper explains the ATSC 3.0 performance gain comes from the superiority of its BICM (bit interleaved coded modulation) components and—depending on the propagation channel—the time interleaver.

The bootstrap performs worse than PBCH in non-line-of-sight channels with high mobility but otherwise bootstrap has better performance. In the comparison of PDSCH, L1-Detail performed better over line-ofsight but PDSCH was able to take advantage of the diversity provided by combining two PDSCH in non-line-of-site situations.

14 August 2021 | |
September 2023 | | rf technology
Fig. 3: An OpenAirInterface5g system using two Ettus B210 SDRs
It is unlikely the FCC will allow broadcasters to shut down both ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 and move to 5G Broadcast anytime soon.

Assessing the State of 4K/UHD in Today’s Broadcast Ecosystem

4K creates technological and operational challenges, especially as bigger events demand higher levels of gloss

The move to high definition didn’t make viewers work hard to notice the improvement. It was easy to promote, in TV showrooms or at broadcast equipment conventions.

The shift from HD to UHD is almost as big a jump in linear pixel count, and while the same level of immediate uptake probably wasn’t expected on the consumer side, broadcast clients have begun demanding it almost as a matter of course.

It’s no surprise to see an outside broadcast truck covering an event in 2023 with “UHD” as a proud part of its livery. Sometimes that’s done for future-proofing, and sometimes to satisfy early adopters at home. Whatever the motivation, UHD creates technological and operational challenges, especially as ever bigger events demand drive for ever higher levels of gloss. That increasingly means high

dynamic range and UHD, always with the pressure to somehow do it all with the same resources as conventional HD.


There are now a number of ways to do that, and many of them diverge from the sort of technology that broadcast has long been used to. Arri’s Multicam system marries its Amira camera—itself not quite a UHD device, but usually near enough—with a fiber adapter and compatibility with the sort of control panels and other truck tech that put engineering people in a place of comfort.

Similar things are possible even on lower budgets with equipment from Blackmagic Design, which not only has cameras with studio accessories and lots of spare resolution, but also switchers, recorders and the Resolve application.

Sony has also put its high-end cinema cameras into the parts of broadcast that seek

to bring a little Hollywood sparkle to live TV, although by sheer hours broadcast, the company’s more conventional studio cameras are still doing the lion’s share of the work.

Peter Sykes, strategic technology development manager at Sony in the U.K., confirms that the motivations for UHD are “a combination. The future-proofing part is very, very important, because prestige content will be archived. Especially for sports events, archive is a consideration once you get to the top tier events… if you want to put something in the archive, do it at the highest quality.”

In the immediate term, though, the pressure to please subscribers remains key. “The image quality is something people will look at when they’re trying to differentiate themselves from their competitors,” Sykes confirms. “You can get the consumer TVs, and the bitrates are available as they weren’t in the very early days—but if you have a premier league football game, the rights for that game are very, very expensive and you need a good look. They’re always trying to get the best rights, and that’s a way to differentiate.”

It’s been over a decade since Sony launched its first 4K broadcast camera, though Sykes points out that HDR had to wait on standards activity.

“Live broadcast producers were operating in an HD SDR environment, mainly, and our first developments looked at increasing the resolution,” Sykes said. “As a follow-on stage about a year later, in the mid-2010s, HDR in live production really started to capture everyone’s imagination. It was the ITU that developed the specifications for TV production. When those arrived the pathway was opened up to start producing live content, and that’s where HDR really did capture everyone’s imagination.”


Equipment is one thing; technique is another. “There is a technology aspect to all this,” Sykes confirms, “but there’s also an operational aspect to it as well. It wasn’t just the technology that needed to be addressed, but fitting the technology into existing workflows was a challenge. Imagine you have outside broadcast companies with operators in the trucks, camera shaders, vision supervisors, all having lots of experience in HD SDR, to then come along and say we can’t have two trucks, we have to have a simultaneous workflow so we have some new practices, but we don’t want to have to completely retrain.”

Automatic downconversion is one option— once a picture has been engineered for HDR, there’s enough consistency for a machine to

15 4K production | | September 2023
Sony Venice 2 digital cinema camera

create the accompanying SDR output.

“If you look at some of the work the BBC has been doing, they’ve developed their own LUTs, and we’ve also issued some LUTs of our own, which are freely downloadable from our website to do conversions from HDR to SDR.”

Sykes concludes, though, with the observation that while truck technique is key, dealing with large sensors and high resolutions demands the best of camera operators, too. “If you’re going to shoot the halftime show at a major event, you’re going to put your exceptionally good talent on that.”


Blackmagic Design’s approach to highresolution broadcast came from slightly different beginnings. Darren Gosney, technical sales manager for the company, begins on a technical note:

“We were one of the key manufacturers driving for 6- and 12-gigabit SDI technology across a lot of live products,” Gosney said. “We wanted to move away from dual and quad link for high bandwidth content. One of the things we’ve really pushed for is UHD for HD prices—all the way back to when we

launched the first ATEM switcher with 6G SDI capabilities, 10 years ago.”

“What that’s let us do is to allow not only high-end broadcaster to work in UHD, but also other people to experiment,” he added. “What we’ve noticed over the past 10 years is where that’s bled into other areas, the AV and live events workspace. If you’re hosting live music events or high-end concerts, you’ll have huge LED walls at the side of stages and in those instances high resolution is beneficial. If you’re pumping through low-res content it’s hard to distinguish what’s going on.”


On smaller screens, some of the most techsavvy consumers exist in the world of computer gaming. High-bandwidth workflows were adopted early to satisfy viewers who demanded high frame rate, if not high resolution.

Some of the earliest applications for images beyond traditional 25- or 30-frame broadcast standards were targeted at applications other than broadcast. Esports needs high frame rate for much the same reason that conventional field sports need high frame rate. It’s the same reason 720-line 50- and 60-frame formats existed, and it’s why 1080p60 pictures have

since become an everyday occurrence.

Even before 60p became common for live sports broadcasting, gaming tournaments often meant putting together 3 Gbps infrastructure to handle live cameras and feeds from both the player monitors and in-game virtual cameras. Still, pushing resolution beyond HD meant four physically separate links until 6- and 12-gigabit SDI, or more recently various IP options, found ways to fit UHD pictures down a single cable.

“Esports is a huge emerging market,” Gosney says, “and has been for the last few years. The technology there sometimes exceeds what you’d see in broadcast. We’ve done extensive work with the likes of ESL, a big esports conglomerate across Europe. They use capture cards to get content in and out of workstations.”

The company’s Ursa Mini cameras, with their Super-35mm sensors, are examples of a multipurpose approach that’s only recently become commonplace; big sensors with lots of resolution, which can be cropped to suit the job at hand. “We’ve used the really powerful sensor we had in our other 6K camera so that you have the dual-ISO capability, which is really good in low light if you’re in a conference center, or for darker concerts,” Gosney says. “Because it has the resolution, you can also put a B4 broadcast lens on there and go shoot an interview, then shoot the VTs, which are interspersed with the live production… that is one of the huge benefits of that camera.”

Much as the Ursa series is perfectly capable of shooting HDR images, Blackmagic’s implementation through its switchers is a work in progress. It’s a reminder that HDR is a system, not a product, although the company is well-placed to build that system.

“Other manufacturers do cameras, or switching, or routing, but we have every part of the puzzle,” Gosney says. “We can connect end to end and it gives customers confidence that things will work cohesively. Things like the ATEM ISO lets you run a fleet of 4K cameras through our HD television studio switcher, and it’ll record an iso feed in low bandwidth H.264. Then, you’ve got the option to drop that into post, cut, then relink to the camera originals working in 4K or 6K or even higher.”

With that sort of capability available even from the company, which positions itself as the affordable option, the offset between what producers want and can have, and what the audience is actually watching, seems set to persist or even widen. With the technology democratizing, though, the best conclusion might be that it may not matter that much, because if we want UHD and HDR at 60 frames, we can increasingly have it, from high school sports to the Super Bowl. l

16 4K production September 2023 | |
Lake Forest High School, just outside of Chicago, has employed a full system of Blackmagic Design cameras and equipment, including Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 digital film cameras and ATEM Mini Extreme ISO live production switcher for switching, as well as the HyperDeck Shuttle HD for playback to cover sports.
“Archive is a consideration once you get to the top tier events… if you want to put something in the archive, do it at the highest quality.”

For Content Personalization, ‘Taste’ Is All in the Data

Recommendation engines increase viewership, interaction

The applications may seem innocuous when they suggest new programs for you to watch, but content personalization/recommendation engines are truly powerful platforms that significantly benefit broadcasters and content distributors.

Case in point: ThinkAnalytics produces content personalization engines for Bell Canada, Crunchyroll, Tata, Liberty Global, SkyMexico and BritBox International, among others across 38 countries. Based on its presence on one billion devices serving 475 million people, ThinkAnalytics’ research has found that its content recommendations increase on-demand viewership up to 100%, boost the consumption of linear TV by 35% and increase the number of channels viewed by 30%.

“Content recommendation engines are all about placing the content in front of the subscriber in such a way that they’re going to act,” said Greg Riker, chief revenue officer with ThinkAnalytics in the U.K. “The key is making the viewing experience on that channel/platform interesting enough for them to continue to come back because they’re being served the content that they like to watch on an ongoing basis.”


Content personalization is all about monitoring the types of content a given viewer chooses to watch—particularly when they do so for an entire series—and using the data accumulated during their viewing experiences to recommend similar kinds of content.

“There are two ways that you can use personalization,” said Tony Jones, principal technologist with MediaKind, which offers its MediaFirst TV recommendation platform. “First, there’s video on demand, where content appears as a recommendation for viewers based on their preferences. Second is the creation of a ‘Custom Linear Channel.’ This involves creating a custom channel filled with content from the recommendation engine. It’s like a continuous channel specifically

crafted for an individual user, eliminating the need to swap channels. It’s essentially a recommendation-driven playlist.”

To do all of this successfully, “video content recommendation engines leverage several data sets to suggest content by analyzing a user’s interests and viewing behavior,” said JT Taylor, product marketing lead with Synamedia; maker of Synamedia Go, a cloud-based video management platform that includes content recommendation modules. “There are several factors that these recommendations are based on—for example, the viewer’s search and watch history, and the content they have previously liked or shared among others.

“By analyzing data, identifying patterns, and understanding viewer preferences, these engines, driven by algorithms developed with a combination of AI and research, offer personalized content recommendations that expand beyond surface level recommendations solely based on what someone has al-

MediaKind’s MediaFirst is an end-to-end, cloud video platform for the creation, management and delivery of nextgeneration pay TV that provides a personalized TV experience engaging the customer in the live, video on demand and subscription content that is suited to their viewing.

ready watched,” Taylor continued. “They also enable viewers to discover new content that they might have otherwise overlooked.”

ThinkAnalytics refers to this concept as developing “taste profiles” that capture viewers’ program preferences in ways that can lead to successful content recommendations.

It’s an in-depth process: “We do a lot of what we call ‘metadata enrichment’ to get much more granular on the ability to make good recommendations,” said Riker. “It’s not just that you’re watching a drama or a romcom or that you like this actor. We get much more detailed than that. It’s the ability to compare that taste profile against the rest of the catalog and then put similar content in front of this person so they continue to watch this channel.”

As the numbers from ThinkAnalytics demonstrate, content personalization can help keep viewers watching the same channel/platform more often. This reduces churn at a time of ever-fragmenting audiences due to increased content choice.

Taylor concurs. “Ultimately, the synergy between personalized recommendations and content discovery increases user loyalty and leads to greater lifetime value for each user,” he said.

From ThinkAnalytics’ standpoint, it’s about engagement, according to Riker.

“That’s really important, he said. “If you can begin to offer similar content and advertising to viewers, you can keep their engage-

18 September 2023 | |
reducing churn
“The design of personalization engines must prioritize the end consumer’s privacy.”

ment levels very high, and then you can go from there.”


Although content personalization platforms do harvest viewership data, they do so in such a way that their identities remain anonymous and their personal information stays private.

“Privacy is paramount,” Jones said. “Personalization tools should ensure that individual users remain unidentified. A token-based system can ensure user or group anonymity. The design of personalization engines must prioritize the end consumer’s privacy.”

His view is endorsed by others in the industry. “Striking a balance between offering personalized content recommendations and respecting user privacy is crucial to ensure customer trust and maintain a positive relationship with users,” said Taylor. “As a responsible technology provider, we prioritize implementing robust data protection measures and providing transparency to address these privacy concerns and ensure a secure and enjoyable user experience for our customers.”


With its ability to keep viewers engaged, content personalization/recommendation platforms are helping broadcasters and content distributors retain and grow their audiences today.

As for the future? Taylor expects content recommendations to transcend video and encompass music, gaming and spoken word


“As well, content recommendations will incorporate real-time contextual information,” he said. “Factors like time of day, location, current mood, and trending topics will influence content suggestions. And content discovery will extend beyond traditional text-based to include voice-based recommendations, image recognition, and interactive interfaces.”

Artificial intelligence will play a more important role, with broadcasters and content providers working through AI platforms such as ChatGPT to provide recommendations based on users’ questions. “Whether it’s Discord or WhatsApp or Twitch, you can start to create these one-to-one relationships outside of the service providers’ own platforms, leveraging chatbots and generative AI to drive recommendations,” said Riker.

Whatever comes next, the primary goal for content personalization is enhancement, Jones concluded. “While current recommendation engines are better than random selections, there’s room for improvement in targeting content to users’ interests. The challenge lies in moving beyond simply relying on a user’s historical habits.” l

Greg Riker, chief revenue officer for ThinkAnalytics

Why Does A/V Sync Continue to Be an Issue for Broadcasters?

Out-of-sync audio and video can originate in the OB van or broadcast studio

The state of audio and video synchronicity in the broadcast world is definitely improving, but deficiencies are still apparent on some broadcasts, particularly sports.

Audio/video synchronization problems are aggravating and probably inevitable. Frequently many problems experienced in the home are solved by software updates, replacing cables, adjusting the hardware settings in your TV and on your soundbar or by simply unplugging the unit for 30 seconds.


However, many persistent and seemingly random sync problems that plague broadcasters are a head scratcher. For example, how can various elements within a production such as wireless microphones and cameras be out of sync while other production elements are in sync? I used to think my problems were a Roku (streaming device) problem, but then the network goes

to a commercial break or local news and that content seems to mysteriously be in sync. How can an entire program be out of sync while the national and local commercials are in sync?

Although picture and sound in DTV are transmitted together they are distinct streams of data and processed by separate hardware or software paths at the station and in TV receivers. Here lies most of the problems: At-home audio and video enhancements such as video upscaling and soundbar decoding through ancillary speakers require processing time.

Many issues can be resolved with a power reset, software download and even by putting a wire between your router and TV, eliminating the wireless aspect of Wi-Fi, but there are problems that the viewer cannot resolve, particularly in sports.

Out-of-sync audio and video sync can begin in the OB van or broadcast studio where the audio and video are captured, produced and processed independently of each other.

With any piece of digital equipment—

for instance the mixing console—the microphones have to be digitized and attention must be paid to the input/output stage and with the monitoring.

Why? Because latency occurs with every digital conversion. High-end digital mixing consoles—such as those from Lawo, Calrec, Wheatstone and others—have resolved any noticeable delay, but with the pressure to reduce engineering costs, small and mediumsized operations have opted for mixing consoles from the PA industry that rely on I/ Os that connect through CAT 5/6 along with console plug-ins for compressors and other processing equipment that certainly inject timing issues.

Mismatched conversion or sampling rates will certainly cause latency between digital equipment and can be easily overlooked during installation. At the end of the day, a “valid test” should be conducted to ensure that the audio and video are in sync before leaving the studio or OB van.


Every time I watch TV I observe A/V sync issues, but I decided to give broadcasters another look last month and was very surprised at what I saw and heard. Nothing demonstrates a sync issue better than the crack of the bat hitting a fastball or the whack of the golfer on a tee shot.

Earlier this season, ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball caught my attention after I noticed that the first several batters were out of sync. This does not surprise me because the audio team might have to do some tweaking to get the sync dialed in. But after several innings the sync did not improve.

Months later, ABC/ESPN appeared to have their sync issues under control and their coverage of softball championships with RF microphones on the coaches and umpire seemed to match the picture. ESPN’s WNBA coverage was impressive because the net microphones and coaches’ microphone were spot-on with the commercial breaks. Later that day I observed that ESPN’s SportsCenter was in sync, but once again Sunday Night Baseball

20 September 2023 | |
inside audio
Dennis Baxter EXPERTISE Baseball is a tedious sport to sync audio because of the various graphic sources that all inject some processing latency.

was off. How does that happen?

Baseball is a tedious sport to sync audio because of the various graphic sources that all inject some processing latency. I asked Glenn Stilwell, who produces and mixes baseball for Apple TV, what the numerous audio sync pinch points in baseball are.

“Foremost the pitchcast or strikebox,” he responded. “Second is the advertising boards [green screen] behind home plate. Third can be any low depth of field RF cameras that shoot presenters. And then there are wireless mics placed on the home plate umpire. Getting all that to sync with the video can be a challenge.”

Stilwell further said that “Camera 4 [center field] is the most common video signal that will need a sync adjustment, as it is the one typically used with the pitchcast and advertising signs. Camera 2 [high home] also has a different sync given that it is used to show certain graphics.”

In addition to baseball, golf is particularly difficult to sync because of the abundance of wireless microphones and cameras used. During my listening test I observed that both CBS and CW’s LIV golf were unacceptably out of sync.

I waited for CBS to show the booth announcers and noticed that they were slightly out of sync, but when they showed the roving announcers, the sync only got worse and the tee shots on both CBS and LIV golf were hideous. I curiously waited for CBS to go to “60 Minutes” and found the sync on “60 Minutes” to be acceptable.

Finally I observed that NBC NASCAR had various degrees of sync issues between the many RF microphones and even the commercials, but when the network switched to local news, the sync issues cleared up. During the day and evening I noticed that one of the four local networks had sync issues on all programming and that the talking heads on CNN, MSNBC and PBS were in sync.

Sync issues are pervasive and elusive and can occur in production, transmission, distribution, and finally, in the home. With production, anything wireless comes with timing problems. Additionally, when moving audio and video through the network, frame synchronizers and encoders need processing time to accomplish their tasks. Bit rate reduction, better known as “compression,” is always prone to timing issues.

I know the technology exists to initiate proper sync, and there are various “time stamping” schemes that can be used to

insure and maintain sync. I know that sync issues have been addressed in these pages; however what I do not know is why sync is still a pervasive problem, particularly with sports. I would appreciate hearing from my engineering and video friends who can explain to this non-techie audio guy what’s going on. l

Dennis Baxter has contributed to hundreds of live events 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” and “Immersive Sound Production – A Practical Guide” on Focal Press. He can be reached at dbaxter@ or at www.dennisbaxtersound.

inside audio
Glenn Stilwell at the mixing console of an Apple TV broadcast
Sync issues are pervasive and elusive and can occur in production, transmission, distribution, and finally, in the home.

Storage Technologies Need to Change to Keep Up With Supply and Demand

The steps you’ll need to take to future-proof your infrastructure

In recent years media organizations have been preparing for changes in how media is produced, which inevitably came to fruition once the impacts of Covid were realized. Prior to the pandemic, remote production was quite stable for those larger venue-like productions (concerts, sports, entertainers), however day-to-day operations (news, weather, local shows) had to be re-envisioned on a much broader scale once production crews became isolated.

The media and entertainment industry saw a huge impact as the industry nearly shut down overnight. Once organizations were able to survey the availability of their own resources, the extension of those resources quickly expanded, supported by software-enabled internet-based interconnects and flexible remote applications that were portable and adjustable.


When the pandemic was “officially” over, the entities that enabled these new routine remote operations quickly understood that they could continue in the “remote-mode” fashion and sought to keep that new operational model

functional. This, obviously, pleased the majority of those who had now resolved to work from home and could easily and effectively operate in that model with only marginal impact on homebase facilities. Certainly, exceptions popped up and adjustments had to be made—but the overall design and modeling for remote production was established. The foundation for many live and non-live productions were now setting like wet concrete.

Other things besides connectivity and applications have been changed or augmented to allow remote or at-home production to be sustained. The most obvious is the cloud—but cloud facilities had to expand in similar fashion to allow home-based central equipment rooms of the broadcast facility to be more easily utilized.

By that I mean, accessibility, bandwidth, networking and fast, easily accessible storage all had to be reshaped in order to support live and non-live production requirements.

One of those areas, storage growth, has not slowed down in the least. Predictions say that by 2026 more than 220 exabytes of data (equal to 220 quintillion (1018) bytes) will have been

created and stored somewhere in various ecosystems, according to research and a report by Coughlin Associates.


Reports have indicated that server and storage spending are leading indicators of the global economy. As for the future, companies are either terrified or optimistic of that pattern, or both at the same time, as predicted by NextPlatform in September 2022. IDC reported that total revenues in “shared cloud,” “dedicated cloud” and “all-cloud plus non-cloud” reached $39.9B; and overall increases from 2020 for the same period reached over $10B in growth.

This only covers a single segment of those overall applications, and when compared with past sales—including service providers and everyone else (private users, non-shared services, etc.)—total revenue in 2020 was $130.9B and the predicted revenue in 2026 will reach $197.3B (references from IDC in 2022 as a CAGR of 10.9% from 2022 to 2026).

With this growth, how will storage technology be able to keep up with the supply and demand expectations? What is changing to meet these goals? There is a steady change in storage technology platforms, which are necessary to meet the objectives expected. Some manufacturers are betting on the change to an all-flash storage device, whether for the local device or the cloud. One manufacturer recently reported that they expect capacity of their proprietary DFMs (direct flash modules) to increase by six-fold in a few years, reaching up to 300 TB capacities.

Advancements in 3D NAND (Fig. 1) areal density will look somewhat like how HDD (hard disk drives) grew a few short years ago. The physical capacities of such hard drives nearly reaching saturation as molecular densities drove magnetics to practically crashing and colliding upon themselves. Today, 24 TB and 48 TB DFM drives are shipping, dwarfing past other devices and showing that HDDs may no longer be the norm.

How is this changing? Heretofore, 3D NAND devices used a stacking or laying principle with between 112 and 160 layers per IC. In the next few years (and less than five), fab vendors expect the number of active layers to increase

22 September 2023 | |
storage technology
Karl Paulsen EXPERTISE Fig. 1: Structure of 3D-NAND flash devices

to between 400 and 500 layers, yielding much higher-capacity 3D NAND ICs.


Applications for storage and its growth indicate that there are other storage segments which also need to be supported by M&E.

Long-term archiving will continue on various media form factors, with external HDD deriving around 18% of the archive storage space and 20% for local storage networks (NAS and SAN) with about an equal amount for private or public cloud at 21%. Digital magnetic tape (e.g., LTO or similar) remains the leader at 32% overall, according to Coughlin Associates’ research—but this may be shifting downward as cloud becomes more convenient and affordable. This prediction, again, is for long-term storage and for short-term storage the model changes


In celebration of our 40th anniversary, TV Tech is offering a month-bymonth look at some of the headline-making industry news of the past four decades.

September 1983: TV Technology goes to press for the first time. After several years of publishing a successful radio broadcasting magazine— Radio World—Steve Dana’s lMAS Publishing launches a similar publication for the television sector. The brand, which expanded online in the ‘90s, changed its name to TV Tech in 2021.

September 1993: Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) launches a “video-over-copper” trial service for some 300 of its Alexandria, Va. employees.

even more dramatically.

Both bandwidth and storage are required for a proper balance in content generation (i.e., production, capture, post and readying for transmission). The evolution of the network to 100 Gbps is almost routine now. Effectively, new installations striving towards an all-digital post-production environment should consider no less than 100 Gbps pipes to address the upand-coming virtual environments that already require 20 to 50 Gbps connectivity/communications on a consistent basis.

Multipliers for content capture command more and faster storage solutions that can only be met by adding storage (local and/or cloud) and pipes that move data at rates approaching 50+ Gbps continuously. If you’re producing 4K (or 8K for long-term archiving) the network must be capable of handling 100 Gbps with the

servers and storage able to receive (and return) such data rates. Today, for most storage systems in the M&E space, the bulk of those facilities continue to rely on HDD, however, SSDs are playing an increasingly important role through the use of NVMe SSD and NVMe over fabrics leveraging the “pooling” of storage.

Storage pools (Fig. 2) are principal constructs around storage virtualization. The “distribution” of a storage pool (a block of storage) may be connected in any number of means including Fibre Channel, iSCSI or direct attached (DAS) storage devices. The pool should not be “vendor-locking,” meaning that a pool should not be dependent upon one storage vendor’s product or proprietary solution—and instead allow flexibility to add or remove storage devices across the overall storage network solution. This, in turn maximizes the opportunity to scale or shift storage depending on the load or application; very important when exchanging files or resolution densities in a production environment.

One can see that the dynamics associated with these new and future production storage sets will require some careful planning to mitigate being trapped into a single source solution. This appears, on the surface, to be the target for future storage product providers, whether in the cloud or on-prem.l

The “ADSL” (asymmetric digital subscriber line) service is reported to deliver “slightly better than VHS” quality, with MPEG video sent at 1.5 Mbps. Subscribers have access to 30 movies residing on a server.

September 2003: Despite much talk about television’s “tapeless future,” manufacturers continue to push the envelope on packing data onto magnetic tape, with projections of moving from present-day 100-gig data cassettes to 1 TB of uncompressed data by 2006, and as much as 10 TB by 2011.

September 2013: Concerns are being raised about the use of unoccupied TV channel “white spaces” to transmit broadband data services. Industry experts caution that interference to licensed DTV broadcast channels would be especially difficult to track down from mobile

transmission devices and their location unpredictability. Wireless microphones operating in white space frequencies could also be impacted by such difficult-to-trace interference sources.

Karl Paulsen is a frequent TV Tech contributor who has been writing about storage and media solution technologies for the past three decades. He can be reached at
Fig. 2: Storage pool internal architecture; formed out of one or more SSD or HDD disk devices. Once a storage pool set is created, storage groups or sets may be provisioned from it.
storage technology | | September 2023
Prior to producing its first issue, TV Technology sent out this ‘prototype’ magazine to prospective subscribers.


MuxIP, a provider of automated solutions for adsupported streaming, has launched Pod FAST TV, designed to provide content creators the ability to globally distribute vodcast and podcast content targeting major FAST channel platforms, including LG Channels, Pluto TV, Roku, Samsung TV Plus, and Tubi. MuxIP’s Pod FAST TV format enables podcasters/vodcasters to expand audiences and advertiser support beyond audio-only formats and deliver live capabilities for higher CPMs and higher engagement.

As part of the launch, MuxIP is partnering with AVC Group, a global integrator and distributor of audio, radio and vision products, to deliver FASTHub for Pod FAST TV to its roster of content creation clients across Australia, New Zealand, Middle East, North Africa, India and the Pacific Islands.  z

G&D 2 Factor Authorization for KVM Systems

KVM manufacturer G&D has added 2-factor authorization (2FA) security feature to its KVM systems to minimize the risk of cyberattacks. 2FA for KVM systems provides access control to critical data and systems, thus offering a higher standard of security, ensuring that only authorized users can access the systems. This additional security level contributes to protecting sensitive data and significantly reducing the risk of cyberthreats.

Until now, user authentication for KVM systems involved a password query. The optional 2FA introduces a second, ownership-based factor that provides an additional level of security. A Time-Based-One-TimePassword (TOTP) is used for this. In matrix installations, the feature ensures increased security and in extender applications, in which 2FA is included by default, this feature also brings significant benefits. z

WideOrbit WO Network 2023

WideOrbit has released WO Network 2023, the company’s flagship network ad sales and commercial operations platform. WO Network 2023 introduces a number of new capabilities and benefits that are designed to help broadcast and cable networks generate more revenue, reduce costs, and improve efficiency.

Those capabilities include enhanced Direct Response automation; improved precision when calculating CPMs and accounting for delivered impressions; improvements to the Electronic Material Instructions module and more. More specifically, Properties can now define raw impression values from 1(000) thousand to the unit level 1(001), which allows users more accuracy when calculating CPMs and accounting for delivered impressions; there is a new tab within Constraint Instruction Bundles to track changes to bundles; and users can create Master Deals from an existing group of deals from Deal Search. z

Vizrt  MOS Gateway for Viz Flowics

Vizrt has added Media Object Server (MOS) protocol support to its cloud-native HTML5 Viz Flowics platform. The addition means Viz Flowics is now an HTML5 graphics system with a MOS Gateway and HTML plug-in for all MOS-compliant newsroom computer systems (NRCS). The support simplifies newsroom MOS workflows, enabling efficient graphics creation and management of graphics playlists, the company said.

While Viz currently offers a comprehensive solution using the MOS protocol, the addition of MOS support to Viz Flowics gives newsrooms and broadcasters seeking to adopt HTML5 for graphics a path forward. “We want to make it easier for customers, especially broadcasters with more simple graphics requirements, to incorporate HTML5 graphics,” said Gabriel Baños, co-founder of Flowics. “The new MOS support in combination with our native integrations with local weather, traffic and markets data providers makes this solution a perfect fit for regional broadcasters and local stations who are looking for more effective graphics systems.”



VHF Band 3 E-Compact Series Transmitter

Hitachi-Comark has introduced the EC600HP-BB3 VHF Band 3 E-Compact series high-efficiency, air-cooled solid-state DTV transmitters. The EC600HP-BB3 product line is available with up to 4x power amplifiers (PAs) in parallel, producing from 1150 W to up to 4.6 kW, respectively. The EC600HP-BB3 features the latest broadband Doherty LDMOS RF power amplifiers with efficiency of up to 40%.

The new VHF band 3 E-Compact delivers the same features as the UHF version, including, among others: EXACT-V2 DTV exciter licensed for ATSC 1.0 and optional license for ATSC 3.0; hot-swappable rectifiers accessible from the front panel of the PA chassis; dual commercial offthe-shelf GE AC-to-DC rectifiers per PA in load share mode; single drive exciter and controller or optional dual drive with auto switching.  z

ARRI  Software Update Package 2.0 for cforce mini, cforce plus

ARRI has unveiled a Software Update Package (SUP) 2.0 for its cforce mini and cforce plus lens motors. The update improves the time it takes the motors to respond to user input, making them twice as responsive. All cforce mini and cforce plus lens motors in the market can benefit from the free software update and increased performance is not affected by the choice of hand unit.

Any ARRI ECS configuration using the Hi-5, ZMU-4, SXU-1 or the legacy WCU-4 can take advantage of the motors’ halved latency and a pronounced enhancement of the first AC’s direct connection to the lens axis. When working with a low-friction lens, the new motor firmware delivers particularly improved performance when coupled with the larger 50t CLM-4 gear (K2.72108.0). The combination delivers 25% faster speeds than when used with the default 40t but with a slight reduction in maximum torque, according to ARRI.


24 XXXXXXXX 2021 | | 24
eye on tech | product and services September 2023 | |

Videon LiveEdge

Video encoding provider Videon has integrated Zixi’s tech platform into Videon’s LiveEdge, a powerful container-based edge compute ecosystem with sub-second glass-to-glass latency. A second integration enables LiveEdge to be managed by Zixi’s ZEN Master control plane, enabling users to manage large-scale configurations and orchestrate, analyze, monitor, and report on live video streams and devices across the Zixi Enabled Network of customers, integrated hardware and software applications, platforms and service providers standardized on Zixi.

Key features include the ingestion of live video, audio, graphics and metadata, including proprietary and custom data formats, for normalization, synchronization, visualization and security using native, third-party or custom containers such as SMPTE-336 (KLV), SCTE-35, timestamp, DRM, watermarking, etc. z

MediaKind MK/IO

MediaKind has introduced the MK/IO streaming solution that blends video quality and high reliability with the quality of experience that today meets the expectations of millions of viewers. Built on Microsoft Azure, MK/IO offers a video streaming canvas for app developers, video platforms and others looking to improve the experience they deliver to customers, the company said.

MK/IO offers video-on-demand (VOD) and live streaming, encoding and packaging services for files and live video streaming with digital rights management (DRM) support and a native media player. It is built on Azure cloud and integrated in Azure Marketplace and offers application programming interface (API) parity and one-click asset migration for all Azure Media Services users. z

AI Media LEXI Viewer

LEXI Viewer is a new captioning solution that AI-Media says will revolutionize how event organizers captivate and engage audiences. Features include Full Screen Mode, allowing captions to be displayed on the entire screen, offering maximum accessibility to a large audience; Background Image Mode: Users can overlay four rows of captions on a custom background image, providing complete configurability of caption appearance, including font, text size, positioning and color; Caption Decoder Mode: Captions can be displayed over the input video to mimic the behavior of a consumer caption decoder while offering customization options for font and text color; Scaler Mode: Users can maintain full visibility of presentation content by scaling down the input video by 20% and displaying two rows of captions above or below the video. Furthermore, event organizers can enhance captioning security and retain greater control of their data by pairing LEXI Viewer with LEXI Local. This powerful solution provides LEXI automatic captions on-premises, eliminating cloud-related concerns and ensuring complete data privacy. z

MRMC Cinebot Mini

Cinebot Mini, a small, lightweight, versatile camera robot, includes a range of user-friendly features that are well-suited for studio owners, content creators, grips, cinematographers and camera operators. The Cinebot Mini robot can be controlled manually and record camera positions, a feature that makes complex camera movements more accessible. Built to be portable, the robot is easy-totransport, setup and use on location.

It can run up to eight hours on battery power and can be controlled by hand directly from a mobile device or with MRMC’s Flair software. The robot can handle a camera payload of up to 22 pounds (10 kg) and offers a 4-foot-3-inch (1.3m) arm reach, allowing operators to shoot from a variety of angles and positions. For added flexibility, the Cinebot Mini comes with a track and pedestal option. This feature allows the robot to be used on an adjustable pedestal for height variation or equipped with a track for an additional axis of movement. z

Cineverse MatchpointAI

MatchpointAI is a new AI-based platform and marketplace that provides video content producers, streaming platforms and OEMs an easy-to-use way to prepare, optimize and future-proof their content. MatchpointAI blends Cineverse’s proprietary AI tools and an array of pre-integrated third-party AI tools. It uses Cineverse’s proprietary content processing platform, Dispatch, to provide content owners and streaming services access to capabilities that can eliminate expensive, time-consuming manual work preparing film and television assets for global distribution.

MatchpointAI also provides companies with a premium, affordable path to scale global content processing and delivery at far lower error rates at substantially reduced costs, while simultaneously preparing content libraries for next-generation implementations. z

Chyron PRIME Platform 4.8

Version 4.8 of Chyron PRIME Platform live production engine includes a new JavaScript Effect & Resource tool that provides an intuitive interface to import and edit scripts entirely from within PRIME. Scripts can be applied as parameters at the object, scene, project and application level. New scripting security settings also have been added to ensure security in the cloud and on premise. The new version adds Replaceable Panel for playout operators, offering an alternative to a custom control panel that populates automatically with a scene’s replaceable elements, making it fast to edit text, images and style values. The panel also offers control over external updates and data bindings. There is also support for multiple graphic subfolders, making it easy to drive all productions from one project.

For automated productions driven by external updates or Chyron’s Intelligent Interface protocol, the introduction of message ranges saves hours of operator time by eliminating the design requirement for hundreds of graphics variations. z

25 eye on tech | product and services | | September 2023

Immersive MMG Upgrades Audio Workflow With Blackmagic DaVinci

LANCASTER, Pa.—Immersive Music/Media Group (Immersive MMG) is a collection of unified creative professionals rooted in a Dolby-certified Atmos mixing room, recording space and media facility. We offer our clients the highest quality and most cutting-edge services within our industry, as our goal for each project is to facilitate a positive, meaningful, memorable and unique experience from start to finish. It’s why our facility offers a range of services, including shooting, editing and grading, in addition to mixing and recording, in order to provide Immersive MMG and our clients with a competitive edge.

At the core of Immersive MMG’s services is our sound studio, a premier destination for audio services. We’ve had everyone from Grammy-nominated producers to songwriters to audio engineers to instrumentalists walk through our doors.


A primary focus of our company is Atmos and other immersive audio formats, and at the core of our Atmos studio is a computer-based content development design with a DAW/video production computer connected through 128 MADI channels to a dedicated Dolby Atmos Rendering Master Workstation (RMW). This supports DaVinci Resolve Studio editing, color grading, VFX and audio post-production software. We use DaVinci Resolve Studio’s Fairlight audio post-production tools and a five-bay Fairlight Advanced Console for mixing and mastering for our musician and post-production clientele alike.

Implemented in 2020, Fairlight’s flexibility and feature set seamlessly support our spatial

workflow. For example, we can mix with native Atmos integration and patch ins and outs to and from additional in-house hardware, computers and speaker setups, all from within Fairlight’s Patch Input/Output menu. For extra control and a greater variety of workflows, Fairlight gives us the ability to swap the order of effects, dynamics and EQ.

Blackmagic Design has continued to up its game with each new version of DaVinci Resolve Studio, and version 18.5 is no exception. On the Fairlight page alone, many of the most recent upgrades are practical and useful to our daily processes, such as fine control of automation level trimming and the addition

of edit and mix groups. But two of the biggest additions for our workflow are bus panning and rewire support.


Since we focus on Atmos and other immersive audio formats, being able to use bus panning and placement is a huge timesaver and helps to streamline our mixing process, especially with dense and complex material. Rewire support is another benefit to our workflow and helps to make what can be a tedious process of connecting certain types of third-party plugins and software much smoother, saving us time and energy.

These latest upgrades help us leverage the workflow and processes that we have developed over the years in audio-only DAWs, while reaping the additional editing, color grading and VFX benefits of the entire Davinci Resolve platform. This results in a win-win for us and our clients and helps us to truly offer the highest-quality services possible. l

Ken Mertz and Chris Keeney are engineers at Immersive Music/Media Group. They can be reached at 717-621-2441 or at

For more information, visit

27 | | September 2023
Acoustic guitar instrumentalist Bob Coyne shot in 6K and keyed out in the DaVinci Resolve Studio color page at Immersive MMG
equipment guide | audio

Wheatstone Strata Audio Control Surface

Wheatstone’s Strata is a compact (40-inch wide) mixing/processing surface that interfaces with the entire family of Wheatstone Blades, Stageboxes, and AoIP Audio Drivers. A Wheatstone network consists of various Blade I/O types (Analog, AES3, Mic, MADI, HD/SDI embedded audio) connected via Gigabit ethernet. The surface itself is also connected via GigE, with redundant network ports on both the surface and the Mix Engine Blade associated with the surface.

Strata is AES67/2110 compatible and has extensive on-board processing applicable to all inputs and master outputs: 4 band full parametric EQ, Hi/Lo pass filters, expander/gate, and compressor/ limiter. All processing and control is done via an intuitive central 13.3-inch 16:9 1080p touchscreen. 32 physical motorized faders control sources on two layers providing 64 active mix channels.

Lawo mc²56

The third generation of the mc² 56 represents incorporates several groundbreaking features from Lawo’s mc² 96 flagship console while offering compact size, flexibility and versatile design for applications ranging from broadcast trucks and studios to live performance and recording. For optimized performance within IP video production environments, it offers full support for native ST2110, AES67, Ravenna and Dante, while Lawo’s LiveView feature enables thumbnail previews of video streams directly in the fader labeling displays.

Networking applications have also been enhanced with the addition of unique capabilities such as IP Easy simplified network setup and DSCA.

Nugen Audio Utility Tools

Nugen’s new Utility Tools are aimed at encouraging creativity and improving workflows. This includes Jotter, a timestamped annotation tool, and Aligner, which perfectly aligns audio with just the touch of a button.

Aligner is an automatic phase and polarity alignment/correction tool with an automatic linking functionality to connect multiple instances in session. It can be utilized in various instances, including lining up multitrack recordings or to ensure a microphone and direct input signals are lined up correctly. Jotter allows TV and film sound editors to collaborate with each other and directly with clients worldwide.

Neumann KH 120 II Studio Monitors

Designed for audio professionals, Neumann KH 120 II monitors were created to redefine audio excellence in the industry. With a frequency response of 45 Hz to 21 kHz, these monitors offer a wide dynamic range, ensuring that every nuance of your audio is faithfully reproduced.

Featuring the latest advancements in sustainable design, the KH 150 II offers impeccable sonic performance across the entire frequency spectrum. The new long-throw 6-inch woofer provides tight and controlled bass, while the 1-inch tweeter delivers pristine highs without any harshness or distortion, providing an incredibly accurate and immersive listening experience.

Wohler iAM-SUM

The iAM-SUM Series is a set of well-featured, easy-to-use and competitively priced IP-ready audio monitors/mixers available in 8-, 16- or 32-channel configurations to operate in either single channel or pair mode. Standard features include 3G-SDI and a pair of analog inputs and outputs. Upgrade/license other signal formats and processing options, as and when needed, either initially or after purchase.

Equally at home in QC, fast-paced OB and live-to-air environments, iAM-SUM provides intuitive audio monitoring with instant access to signals or to user-definable presets of any individual signal source or a mix of sources for monitoring and mixing. Options for additional signals include AES3, MADI, Dante, Ravenna, SMPTE-2110 and SMPTE-2022-7.

Sennheiser EW-DP

Wireless Microphone System

Sennheiser’s fifthgeneration Evolution Wireless system is a fully digital UHF wireless microphone system with a new portable design and unmatched audio quality. At its heart is a compact, intelligent receiver that helps even novice users set up their audio with ease. Besides the stackable EW-DP EK receiver, the series includes a bodypack transmitter for clip-on mics (EW-D SK), handheld transmitter (EW-D SKM-S) and plug-on transmitter (EW-DP SKP) that will launch in October.

Three sets are available: The EW-DP ME 2 SET comes with a bodypack transmitter and the ME 2 omni-directional clip-on (lavalier) microphone, while the EW-DP ME 4 SET includes a cardioid clip-on microphone for noisier environments. The EW-DP 835 SET contains a handheld transmitter with cardioid MMD 835 dynamic microphone head.

September 2023 | | equipment guide | audio
buyers briefs

Middle Tennessee State U. Sounds Off With Calrec for Bonnaroo

selected performances.

College of Media Entertainment’s Recording Industry Department Middle Tennessee State Univ.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.—At Middle Tennessee State University, our broadcast audio advances and remote production accomplishments have been rapidly evolving. A prime example of this happened in June during the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., where more than 80,000 fans took in 135 scheduled acts on six primary stages over a non-stop four-day weekend. The experience of seeing and hearing multiple overlapping shows, especially amongst the kaleidoscopic lights of “‘Roo” at night, is exhilarating and dizzying.

However, if the crowds, sound levels and smells of a live music festival aren’t your speed, there was a streaming alternative on Hulu, which broadcast two channels of Bonnaroo programming over the same four days with live and time-shifted coverage of 71

It takes a national level crew of producers and craft professionals to create 70 consistent hours of great-looking, great sounding, high-definition multicamera concert television. But who would have guessed that 29 of the streamed performances, originating from two separate Bonnaroo stages—sometimes at the same time—were switched and mixed entirely by a crew of university students in a 40-foot expando box truck nearly half a mile from NEP’s mobile units in the master control compound?


In 2014, when this story begins, the College of Media and Entertainment at MTSU hosted a symposium on music festival management that opened the door to an educational partnership with Bonnaroo. I became the coordinator and audio supervisor on a faculty/staff team that taught nearly 100 students over the next five years how to mix, shoot, engineer and direct live performance coverage of Bonnaroo’s “emerging artist” stage.

What began next as a limited plan in 2018 to replace the truck console and deploy digitally networked field boxes led to another opportunity thanks to Calrec. We made a

transformational investment in not just one but three digital broadcast audio consoles with associated I/O equipment to support broader collaboration and training on premises as well as in the mobile unit. We certainly didn’t know how relevant distributed production and remote integration would become within the next year.


During peak-Covid, we used our Calrec Summa-32 and Brio-36 consoles in a variety of linked and independent configurations across the MTSU campus on dark fiber Hydra2 networks and within the College of Media and Entertainment’s studios. The equipment and its unique capabilities also helped us launch a new broadcast audio production course.

We broke the mold again at Bonnaroo in 2022 when we were asked to go live and produce several mainstage EDM acts for that year’s Hulu broadcast. Not only did we shoot more total performance hours than any previous season, we spanned more than 3,000 feet with a dozen video lines and over 100 audio channels to reach both the EDM stage and our alternate venue, thanks to our Calrec upgrades.

To achieve simultaneous broadcasts from two stages in 2023, we implemented two fully independent video production switchers, a complex audio traffic scheme with multitrack recording, and independent audio program mixing, monitoring and QC, thanks in huge part to the flexibility of the Brio’s split console layers, dual inputs per channel, multiple main buses and Calrec Fader Assist. l

Michael Fleming is an audio engineer with a strong track record in broadcast audio and music production. He earned degrees in physics and music from Carleton College and McGill University, respectively, and has held national office in the Audio Engineering Society.

At Middle Tennessee State University, Fleming is a professor of audio production in the College of Media and Entertainment’s Recording Industry Department. He can be reached at or

For more information visit

equipment guide | audio
MTSU students used Calrec gear to produce the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival for a live Hulu stream. | | September 2023 29

SSL Powers PBS’ ‘Austin City Limits’ Audio Production

SEATTLE—“Austin City Limits”—now in its 49th season—is the longest-running music television show in history. We broadcast on PBS stations nationwide and host approximately 20 shows per year. We are proud of the contribution we have made over the years, not only to the city of Austin, but to American music culture at large.

One of the things that makes us unique is that we have always let the artist choose the songs, giving them full artistic control. In my experience, this is highly unusual, and certainly welcomed by the artists we work with. Something else that makes us unique is we have recorded every performance in-house for all 49 years. These performances are then edited down to 13 one-hour episodes that run internationally. Some of the artists we have worked with include Paul Simon, Foo Fighters, Billie Eilish, Steve Miller and Lyle Lovett, among others.


We recently acquired a new Solid State Logic System T broadcast audio production platform, which is housed in the audio control room at the ACL Live at the Moody Theatre, where the show is produced. This is our permanent home and has a seating capacity of 2,750. The System T platform, which in our case comprises a 48-fader S500m console and dual TE1 Tempest Engines and a variety of SSL’s Network I/O interfaces, provides a comprehensive end-to-end solution for recording, mixing and broadcast applications.

Since we are in an “all-analog” theater, it was important for us to have Dante/MADI capability out of the gate to meet our clients needs and the array of interfaces we see each season. We want to keep the vibe of what the band is presenting, but we also broadcast video both internally and to the public. We

were presented with several options, but once Audio Director David Hough and I saw the Solid State Logic S500 console, we both agreed it was the perfect solution.


Some of the features that drew us closer to the System T included the SuperAnalogue mic pres, and the on-board dynamics and effects— which are “gold standard” and very important to us. As far as the mic pres, from the very start you get the best signal possible, whether in a live or recording scenario and it is a sound that artists and bands can immediately connect with and appreciate. The powerful on-board DSP is great as well because we don’t want to have to rely on outboard gear, which we did in prior years. All of these features and more live

within the S500 console, and it is great to have everything in one spot.

In addition to having the broadcast capability, networking capacity, high-quality mic pres and DSP functionality, we needed dynamic automation, which is not only key to the post side of our production but also a helpful tool with clients who want to hear a specific section or track after a rehearsal or performance. Using dual Tempest Engines, I love how we can go from one to the other seamlessly. On the SSL we can add processing or switch between primary or redundant engines without a drop in audio. It’s terrific!

Since we’ve installed it, everything has been very solid. From a sound perspective, this really takes us to a more modern and next-level place. SSL is a legacy brand, we are a legacy brand, it was a very easy match and we are very pleased. So far, we have done eight shows with the new console, and we’ve had nothing but success. l

Randy Reynolds is the lead audio engineer at Austin PBS and audio supervisor at Austin City Limits. He can be reached at

For more information visit

equipment guide | audio
For “Austin City Limits’” 49th season, Randy Reynolds has relied on a new broadcast audio platform from Solid State Logic.
September 2023 | | 30

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Taps Clear-Com for Comms


—From the very beginning of my tenure at the Playhouse (a large, regional, nonprofit theater in its own right) it was clear that there were frequent aspirations for transitioning shows to Broadway. We’re a regional Tony Award winner and have also won a Tony for shows we’ve transferred to New York. So, we have a profile in the region and we’re beholden to our patrons to provide the best possible experience with cutting-edge technology and by dedicating resources to our shows so that they’re great, not just on a local scale, but on a national, global scale.

Recently, the Playhouse had a huge capital campaign and opened a new building in March 2023. The theater we were in had been in place since the 1960s, so, this was a total campus renovation that required a big investment, not only for the build but also the technology needed to make it functional.


We’ve been devoted Clear-Com acolytes for years. Previously, we’d been using CELLCOM, but coming up to this build, we decided to upgrade to an Arcadia Base Station, FreeSpeak Edge and FreeSpeak II. Arcadia handles comms for the entire campus, which has two spaces: the 537-seat Moe and Jack’s Place— Rouse Theatre and the 172-seat Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre.

The Shelterhouse is our original theater. It’s literally a historic park department stonewalled shelter house with unique comm needs because it wasn’t built as a theater. Using FreeSpeak II there—with one antenna that covers the entire space even through the stone walls—along with FreeSpeak Edge, works well for our bigger space.

Getting shows up and running requires a lot of personnel who require constant, detailed communication. So we needed an intercom system that could handle a variety of needs for productions ranging from dramas and jukebox musicals to farces and Broadway shows with a large cast and orchestra. That’s

where Clear-Com comes into the picture— their technology is so flexible, modular, and scalable; and with Arcadia and FreeSpeak II we’re discovering features we didn’t even realize we wanted.


Now we’re running digital wired comms, FreeSpeak Edge, FreeSpeak II, and an old analog 4-channel wired system simultaneously through Arcadia. It’s pushing the whole system. We can communicate between digital and analog, wired and wireless, digital and digital comms. No matter what we need, we’re able to facilitate it, which I don’t think any of us in our wildest dreams expected we’d be able to do with one base station—especially for multiple spaces.

We can also create custom groups/channels that we can change depending on where we are in production. In tech rehearsals vs. previews vs. production, our needs are distinct, so being able to quickly and efficiently switch between those stages of production serves us very well. Even though we had minimal training on the system, on the first try, it all worked, which is rare. We just opened the web

browser, set it up the way we wanted, tested it, and it worked immediately. Right off the bat, the cross-platform functionality—using all these different Clear-Com technologies together and being able to communicate between them—was tremendous.

But to me, the primary function of comms is safety. This new theater has many moving parts overhead we didn’t have before: set pieces flying in and out, automated scenery, trap doors, and all manner of motorized, moving objects that can be dangerous if you don’t have constant, vigilant communication. The fact that people can communicate with whoever they need to efficiently and quickly is very important.

Clear-Com’s audio quality also plays into that—noise, interference, ringing, buzzing or just being unable to hear what people are saying. Eliminating that helps us focus and communicate more clearly. l

More information is available at

equipment guide | audio
Aaron Stephenson is A/V supervisor for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. He can be reached at
USER REPORT | | September 2023 31
Aaron Stephenson relies on new gear from Clear-Com for comms at two new theaters at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.


The MPA1 product family provides quick and simple operation, with each model available as a Solo or Mix variant.

ST 2110, 3G/HD/SD-SDI, Dante, MADI, AES and Analog audio interfaces are all catered for by the MPA1 Range of audio monitoring products. All MPA1 monitors share the same 1RU form factor at only 100mm deep, with a built-in power supply and are ideally suited for where space and weight is a premium, such as OB trucks, flyaways, SNG and ENG trucks. Offering simple and intuitive control, the MPA1 range has been designed to enable the smoothest of workflows for operators and engineers working under high pressure such as with live production. In addition, all MPA1 ranges can be configured, controlled and monitored via web interface, enabling facility-wide management of MPA1 from a single desktop PC.

DPA Microphones

DLS4000 Location Sound Kit

DPA’s DLS4000 Location Sound Kit features an array of crucial condenser microphones and accessories, each chosen with input from professional engineers. Included are the 4098 Supercardioid and 4661 Heavy Duty Omnidirectional mics; two each of the 4097 Micro Shotgun, 4017B Shotgun and 4018C Compact Supercardioid mics; and a pair each of the 4060, 4061 and 4071 Omnidirectional mics.

Four 6061 and two 6060 Omnidirectional Subminiature mics are also available for close-miking, along with more than 20 accessories.

Interra Systems BATON 9.0

Version 9.0 of BATON, Interra’s company’s AI-/ML-enabled automated QC platform is designed to handle most demanding QC standards for quality and compliance for audio and video. New features added to BATON include major framework updates, performance enhancements for QC and analysis of UHD content, optimized IMF analysis, and optimized reading and downloads from S3 cloud.

In addition, enhanced video quality checks enable the detection and decoding of QR codes, video dropout, logo detection, color banding for UHD content, and burnt-in-text recognition. BATON also offers complete support and checks for subtitles and transport stream formats, as well as Dolby Atmos, enhanced audio quality checks like Audio Silence, and enhanced support for formats including REDCODE audio, DPX, and TIFF. XS3

A new addition to’s modular range of audio studio equipment and systems, the XS3 core audio processor supports up to 20 stereo faders on DHD audio mixing consoles. Occupying 1U of rack space, it will form the basis for the reintroduction of complete mixer bundles for the SX2, DX2, and TX2 models. DHD cores process audio as well as connect control surfaces and perform I/O routing and interfacing. IP audio feeds as well as IP-connected remote device control can be closely integrated. Automated workflows and product virtualization are also supported.

RØDE Wireless Pro

Wireless PRO

RØDE ‘s Wireless PRO utilizes Series IV 2.4GHz digital transmission and proprietary near-zero latency codec with 128-bit encryption, delivering crystal-clear, stable audio with a range of up to 260m. Its 32-bit float on-board recording means audio is safely backed up every time it is recorded, with the ability to recover any recording in post-production that was too loud or too quiet. The advanced timecode capabilities allow easy synchronization of audio and video.

Included are two professional Lavalier II microphones for recording on-screen talent, as well as furry windshields for outdoor use, a pair of MagClip GO to attach transmitters anywhere, a smart charging case and a handy accessory pack to store lavs, cables and clips.

Pliant Technologies CrewCom Firmware & Software Update, v1.14

Pliant’s latest update to CrewCom includes support of two additional hardware devices, convenient new features and several key improvements to CrewWare control software to strengthen the user experience.

With the new v1.14 firmware update, CrewCom now supports the addition of the new IP-rated lineup of radio transceivers (RTs), and the current CrewCom CRP-12 series of radio packs (RPs). CrewWare v1.14 includes a unique UI display in the system diagram of CrewWare that automatically detects the new IP-rated RT hardware and shows when it is in use, as well as the indication of corresponding new model numbers in the detail and device list views.

equipment guide | audio September 2023 | | 32
buyers briefs

IntraCom VCOM

VCOM is a software-based, always-on, multichannel, multiaccess matrix communications platform that can be provisioned in the cloud or on-premises for professional and mission-critical applications and as such, can be located anywhere a network connection can be established. VCOM is highly scalable to thousands of users and supports virtually an unlimited number of channels and conferences.

The feature-rich, IP-based system incorporates an abundance of practical functionalities that have been developed over Intracom’s 17 years of providing IP solutions. VCOM systems are found worldwide in renowned facilities that depend on crisp, reliable communications to operate.


MTK982 IEM/IFB Transmitter

With highquality audio and extremely low spurious emission, Wisycom’s MTK982 dual-wideband, stereo IEM/ IFB transmitter features up to 330 MHz bandwidth and a 470-663 MHz frequency range.

The MTK982’s Direct Digital Synthesis signal provides reliable performance and operation. Long-range Bluetooth remote-control and Stationary Wave Ratio sensing on antenna outputs are also included. Both analog and digital (AES3) inputs are supported. When used with Wisycom’s BFL transmitter and receiver, the MTK982 transmits signals over fiber up to 20 km, at low latency. The MTK982 has a high-resolution LCD display and can be controlled remotely using Wisycom Manager.

AEQ XPEAK Intercom System

XPEAK is a matrixless intercom system ready for remote production developed on new concepts, which covers a range of needs in a cost-effective way and flexible and simple configuration. It supports up to 28 user terminals in a variety of form factors: desktop, rack, wired beltpack, wireless beltpack, and PC applications, which can be connected to each other with the greatest operational flexibility and without the need for an array. The stationary terminals have 8 4-way lever keys, with two functions per lever, in addition to individual level regulation on the key itself.

Telos Alliance

Telos Infinity Virtual Intercom Platform (VIP)

Telos Infinity Virtual Intercom Platform (VIP) is a fully featured, cloudbased intercom system, delivering sophisticated comms to smartphones, laptops, desktops or tablets via HTML5 browser or the new Infinity VIP App for Android and iOS devices.

Infinity VIP lets users harness Telos Infinity IP Intercom’s performance, scalability, ease of integration and operational/cost efficiencies onpremises, in the field, at home or site-to-site, making cloud-based media production workflows available wherever the action happens. Easy panel sharing via email links to pre-configured screens simplifies collaboration.

products & services marketplace

equipment guide | audio
buyers briefs

people on the move

For possible inclusion, send information to with People News in the subject line.

WENDY MCMAHON CBS News and Stations, CBS Media Ventures

Wendy McMahon has been named president and CEO of CBS News and Stations and CBS Media Ventures. In this new role, McMahon will lead CBS News’ broadcast and streaming operations, 27 local TV stations in major U.S. markets, 14 local news streaming channels and CMV’s top-rated first-run syndication programming, as well as its content licensing to television stations and the division’s national advertising sales business.


Fox Corp.

Fox Corp. has appointed David Espinosa president of distribution. Most recently he served as EVP, distribution strategy and business affairs. Espinosa will oversee the company’s multiplatform content distribution for its brands, including Fox Entertainment, Fox News, Fox Sports, Tubi and manage all aspects of distribution with the Fox-affiliated television stations in over 200 markets across the U.S. Espinosa has served in increasingly senior roles since joining Fox in 2006.

MICHAEL BIARD Nexstar Media Group

Nexstar Media Group has hired Fox Corp. executive Michael Biard as president and COO following more than 23 years at Fox and its predecessor companies, including leadership positions covering multiple functional areas. He recently served as president, operations and distribution, overseeing the multiplatform content distribution, strategy, affiliate marketing and related business operations and affairs for all of its media brands.


IBC has appointed Mark Smith chair of the IBC Council, which advises IBC on key strategic issues. Smith spent more than 30 years in the technology and events sector. He helped launch the IBC Accelerator Media Innovation Program. As communications and marketing director for the GSMA, the organization that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide, he was a key part of the team that acquired and grew Mobile World Congress (MWC).


Telestream has promoted Alex Keighley chief revenue officer to lead its global sales teams. For the past 30 years, Keighley has held senior positions at organizations such as AP, News International and Reuters. He also played a role in the growth of Avid, Bitcentral and Grass Valley. Since joining Telestream in December 2020, Keighley has led the U.S. sales team, working with customers across the spectrum of networks, studios, live and post-production companies, station groups and streamers.

KYLE LUTHER Imagine Communications

Imagine Communications has tapped Kyle Luther assumes as its VP, Americas sales. He will be responsible for sales strategy for Imagine’s portfolio of playout and networking solutions. With more than 25 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry, he has a deep understanding of the playout and video technology sector. Prior to joining Imagine, Luther held sales leadership positions with Ross Video, Grass Valley and TVU Networks.


The E.W. Scripps Co. has hired Brian Norris as its new chief revenue officer. Norris is a seasoned media industry leader with 25 years of experience driving television revenue and developing multiplatform advertising sales strategies. Norris was most recently with NBCUniversal, where he served as senior vice president of its recently launched SMB growth division. Before joining NBCUniversal, Norris led media sales for Dish Network and Sling TV.

TED HAND Society of Broadcast Engineers

The Society of Broadcast Engineers has elected Ted Hand president of the association for 2023, succeeding Andrea Cummins. Hand, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, ATSC3, DRB, was elected to his first one-year term as president, which will commence on Sept. 28, 2023. Hand is an SBE Fellow Member. Kevin Trueblood, CBRE, CBNT, was elected vice president; Jason Ornellas, CBRE, was elected treasurer; and Geary S. Morrill, CPBE, AMD, CBNE, was elected secretary.

September 2023 | |

Ride the Wave to intelligent IP versioning

Media companies around the world trust LTN Wave to reach micro-markets with greater efficiency, flexibility, and scalability. Drive revenue and digital growth with the fully managed IP transport and versioning solution that operates on the industry-leading LTN Network.

Book a meeting IBC stand 5.A76