April 2009 - TVBEurope
TVBE_Apr FC_P3_P4_news
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Inside: NAB Show Issue, Digital Switchover, HD Masters 2009
Big ideas are in as the HPA gets down to technology business
New pace of innovation
Technology Retreat
By Carolyn Giardina
“This is not just a recession, it is a
revamping of the model,” asserted
Steve Weinstein, president and
CEO of R&D centre MovieLabs,
at the Hollywood Post Alliance’s
annual Technology Retreat, held
in late February in the California
desert city of Palm Springs.
Speaking to several hundred
entertainment technology industry leaders, Weinstein cited
examples of companies that have
prompted or are poised to spark
massive change in media, such as
Skype, Hulu and YouTube.
Attendees were focused on
understanding and acting on
where their industry is heading —
as they networked, participated
in the conference, and visited a
A digital vision: Industry experts move onto NAB Las Vegas this month
demo room that was filled with
new and emerging technologies.
The disastrous economic crisis
was on everyone’s mind.
Saying that the venture capital
business is in “triage mode,”
Weinstein observed that there is
renewed importance in businesses
with big ideas, a team/track record,
a model that is quick to revenue,
and has limited competition. He
noted that ad driven models,
Share content with iPlayer
By David Fox
The BBC’s iPlayer online viewer
has been hugely successful since
it went live over Christmas 2007.
It is currently responsible for
about 2% of all BBC viewing,
but for some programmes, especially those appealing to a
teenage audience, it can rise to
about 30%.
It served a total of 41 million
streams in December 2008, up
from 11.2 million the previous
January, with as many as
1,324,000 streams in a single day.
It is now established as the
leading broadcast online player in
the UK, but the next stages of
development will add HD, make it
more of a social network, and
eventually add content specifically
made for online viewing.
Anthony Rose, head of the
Online Media Group, BBC Future
Media and Technology, believes it
will become even more appealing
once broadcasters begin to leverage the power of the internet and
apply it to the content. “We could
get interesting audience interaction, such as adding user-generated
content to back up programmes,”
such as political debates.
APRIL 2009 £5.00/€ 8.00/$10.00
Europe’s television technology business magazine
Playing catch up:
BBC iPlayer’s home page
The iPlayer is designed to be
simple for the viewer, although
this involves a lot of complex
technology behind the scenes,
and seeking simplicity doesn’t
always make things simple.
service businesses, betting on hits,
mobile content, and search engines
have all fallen out of favour.
Weinstein told attendees that
those who acknowledge the
trends would realise there is
opportunity in this market.
Underscoring his message,
Sony Pictures Technologies president Chris Cookson observed:
“We need to face the fact that the
market for each project will probably be smaller. The number of
projects that will be hugely successful is likely to decline in the
face of expanding choices.
“As the market fractionalises,
the number of participants in any
channel will shrink. We have to find
ways to tailor what we do in how
we create content and how we get it
to market. What is missing is how
things mesh with one another. We
are very dependent on the physical
labour of moving things around.”
Cookson reported that Sony
Pictures Technologies is building
a new production backbone for
the creation and distribution of
content, which is being developed
in collaboration with IBM as well
as Sony.
He said of the implementation
of the technology: “Filmmakers
are not being asked to change the
way they work. If you want to
work with Avid, you work with
Avid. It is our job to manage the
data in such a way that the creative
process is improved upon, rather
than telling people to adapt.
“It will be an imperative to be
in a more datacentric environment
than we are in today, which is very
labour-intensive,” he concluded.
In another session, speaking on
investment in production tools,
Continued on page 3
NAB Show Issue
Welcome to our NAB 2009 show
edition. We’re pleased to bring you this
issue Part II of our NAB Product
Preview, which sheds first light on over
100 new products and innovations that
are relevant to the European
marketplace. Our NAB writing team
will bring you headline news in May
issue, followed by our unique ‘thought
leadership’ NAB Wrap Up analysis in
our June issue. — Fergal Ringrose
NAB section starts p31
The first version made it very
easy to get any of the six promoted programmes, but difficult to
find individual shows. This is
because it was too closely modelled on the broadcast schedule
model, whereas people want more
choice online, explained Rose.
Based on the feedback it was getting, the BBC added ‘last chance’
and ‘recently added’ menus on the
opening screen.
iPlayer 2.0, which was
launched last July, had a more
complicated opening page that
included schedule menus for today
and yesterday, to make it easier for
catch-up and live viewers. Ideally,
what people want to view “should
Continued on page 4
Anthony Rose: “We want to
make TV more social again”
ONE Company. ONE Direction. The Future.
NAB2009 Stand N2502 | broadcast.harris.com/nab2009
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TVBE_Apr FC_P3_P4_news
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Sony applies lipstick to HD
By David Fox
Sony is releasing its new, low cost
(under £2,000) miniature HD
camera, the HXR-MC1P, at
NAB, its first HD lipstick camera.
The 1080i camera head has a
1/5-inch ClearVid CMOS sensor
and a 10x zoom lens, and records
via a permanently attached 3m
cable to a separate solid-state
recorder. The recorder has a
built-in 2.7-inch LCD monitor
and also acts as the controller,
mainly via touch screen controls
familiar to anyone who has used
Sony’s A1E HDV camcorder.
There is also a built-in stereo
microphone in the camera head,
and the unit offers component,
composite and HDMI outputs.
“We wanted to put together a
product that was easy to use
straight out of the box, so you
are not having to fiddle with putting together separate parts,”
explained Rob France, UK product manager.
Image quality “is really good
for this size of camera,” he claimed.
New pace of
Continued from page 1
speaker Tom Burns of Technicolor
warned: “The pace of innovation is
frightening. The evolution happens
so quickly … that you better have a
plan to work out those lease payments (in the event that) you plan
wrong. You can’t predict innovation, all you can do is mitigate risk.”
The retreat was originally
expected to occur as the US completed its DTV transition. But in
the weeks prior, the federal government moved the February 17 deadline to June 12 — naturally becoming a key discussion topic at the
event [see page 10 for more on US
Digital Switchover].
At the retreat, Jim Burger of
Washington law firm Dow
Lohnes reported that 69 million
Americans still receive over the
air analogue TV, and that according
to research firm Nielsen, 6.5 million were not ready for DTV.
To ease the transition, the US
government had been offering a
DTV converter box coupon program for those that rely on over the
air transmission. Burger reported
that as of February 17, 3 million
were on a waiting list because the
funding ran out (although not
everyone who ordered coupons
have used them). He added that the
government committed an additional $65 million to the program in
its new economic stimulus bill.
The 3D masters
Stereoscopy was another key topic
as numerous speakers urged completion of standards for 3D in the
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
Handlebar, must dash: Augello used the minicam to cover a Mexican cycle adventure
“It is the first of our professional
cameras we’ve launched using
AVCHD.” Sony hasn’t used
AVCHD previously, except for
consumer cameras, because it
hasn’t been compatible with most
professional edit systems until
recently, even if, like Final Cut Pro,
home. “SMPTE needs to urgently
nail down the 3D master,” asserted
HDDC’s Peter Wilson, as numerous speakers echoed this message.
TD Vision’s Ethan Schur added
the importance of also creating a
distribution format. “There is confusion; standards are most problematic
for the 3D industry,” he said.
Noting that UK broadcaster Sky
has demonstrated that its set-top
box could deliver 3D to the home,
Wilson said getting the TVs to market also requires attention. “We need
3D-ready (consumer electronics),
but there has to be an education program for retailers as well as for us.”
Another standardisation topic
was the Digital Video Package
initiative. This is an effort led by
Hollywood studios Disney, Fox,
Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros.,
working under the Entertainment
Technology Center @ USC umbrella, to create recommendations for an
industry standard for master digital
files, which would be used to send
entertainment content to broadcasters, internet sites and the like.
This B2B package would be used
between content providers and content distributors. The group wishes
to complete and submit recommendations to SMPTE for standardisation, before the end of the year.
Also at the retreat, SMPTE
Director of Standards and
Engineering Peter Symes encouraged participation in the SMPTE/
EBU Task Force on Synchronisation and Timing.
In the area of new developments, Sarnoff presented a newlydeveloped test pattern for digital
video, which includes the ability to
measure frequency response, compression, skin tone, motion, bit
depth, lipsync, colour space, colour
sub sampling, gamma and motion.
they have to convert to another
codec first. “So, it’s not as quick as
working with HDV, but it’ll give
you that same flexibility in the long
term,” he said.
One of the first users of the
HXR-MC1P has been producer/
DoP Kevin Augello, of Dutch-
based documentary maker, New
Earth Films. It recently shot a
five-day, 2,000km cycle trip in
Mexico for Spain’s TVE, where
the minicam allowed them get a
wider range of shots. “I wanted
to get some really interesting
point-of-view shots,” from the
helmet and handlebars, that were
better than the pencil cams he’d
used previously, which produced
“scruffy, rough-looking DV.”
He improvised a jib by Gaffertaping the camera to a bamboo
pole and using it from the camera
car. This allowed shots a couple of
centimetres above the ground or a
similar distance from the subject’s
face. If he had used a conventional
jib, “it could have been quite dangerous, but using the little minicam
as a small jib gave me some really
interesting, unique shots that has
allowed me capture the essence
and spirit of what it takes to ride
on that kind of terrain through the
Baja California in Mexico.”
1-6 News & Analysis
6 HD Masters 2009
Fergal Ringrose
introduces the
heavyweight list of
speakers already
confirmed for the
June 23-24 event
10-19 Digital Switchover
10 The DSO story
Richard Dean reports in
detail from the recent
Digital Switchover
Strategies conference
held in London
19 Digital Summit
At the precipice of an
uncertain future is
where the television
industry stands,
according to the
DTG summit. Neal
Romanek reports
20-22 The Business Case
20 Video engineering
Can Avid escape the
commoditisation of core
editing markets and
reinvent itself as a
solution provider? Adrian
Pennington’s analysis
22 Vislink News
Fergal Ringrose talked
to Vislink News &
boss Ben McCLeod
about its change in
strategic direction
24-29 TVBEurope360
24 Free mobile TV
Anne Schelle of the
Open Mobile Video
Coalition talked to
Heather McLean about
mobile DTV services
26 Content merging
Size matters: Suckling with the HVS-300’s
small mixer panel and multi viewer display
For-A enters space race
By David Fox
For-A has introduced a small, flexible vision mixer that suited for use
in the most space restricted applications. The HVS-300HS 1M/E
Hanabi portable switcher can be
used as a 1U rack-mount unit with
integrated controller, or controlled
from a more traditional looking,
but still small mixer panel.
“The idea is to get as much
into as small a package as possible,” explained Stuart Suckling,
freelance vision mixer and For-A
demonstrator. “It’s an entry level
application that does most of the
things that you’d want a big mixer
to do, but it doesn’t take up that
much space.”
It can have four to 12 HD/
SD-SDI inputs and four to eight
outputs, with a frame synchroniser and re-sizing engine on each
input, plus optional DVI-D,
analogue RGB, HD/SD analogue
component and composite i/o. It
has one keyer (including chroma
key) and one downstream keyer
with a 2D DVE, with various 2D
and 3D DVE transitions, and
more than 100 wipe patterns.
There are two channels of picturein-picture, which can act as an
additional simple 2D DVE with
borders, plus two still store channels and up to three auxiliaries.
The settings and event memories can be downloaded to and
from a USB stick. An optional
16-split multi viewer would be
especially useful for restricted
locations, such as a small van,
he said.
The mixer panel has only two
leads, power and the cable to the
main unit, and the rack unit can
fit all the options in the same box.
Adrian Pennington
reviews the latest
market analysis
emanating from the
recent IPTV World Forum
28 Cross platform
Adrian Pennington
appraises the online
strategies of the UK’s
major broadcasters
31-44 NAB Preview
Part Two of our guide
to new products and
innovations being
launched at NAB Las
Vegas this month
45-46 News & Analysis
45 3D Monsters
Carolyn Giardina
reports from California
on the explosion of
A-list 3D movies
coming down the pipe
46 MPEG-4 of age
Guest Opinion from
Fabio Murra, Tandberg
Television, on why
MPEG-4 AVC has arrived
for newsgathering
TVBE_Apr FC_P3_P4_news
Page 4
Go with Flow: workflow
management gets visual
By David Fox
GridIron Software’s Flow is
claimed to be the “world’s first
Visual Workflow Manager” and
enable creatives to “be totally
organised without organising anything.” Launching at NAB, it will
cost $299 and could potentially
pay for itself in a day, thanks to
such tools as time tracking that
require little or no user input.
It looks like a cross between a
mind map and a flow chart and
aims to make it much simpler to
see what you’re doing and how a
project is progressing.
“Originally, we found, starting
with motion graphics and visual
effects, the principal problem was
understanding the relationship
between files. Unless you put in a
lot of metadata, the only thing
the computer sees is the file name
and project folder, so we wanted
to be able to show the whole context of a project in a map,”
explained Steve Forde, president,
GridIron Software.
“Metadata is great after the
fact, but you have to remember
to do it. We wanted to track the
relationship between all files,
irrespective of the application
you use, without you having to
do anything and will show a map
of how everything is related without you having to do any work.”
When files and folders were
first implemented as an organisational metaphor on computers, it
People on the move
Broadcast hire comSeptember
pany Alias Smith and
The new team comSingh has announced
bines former Arqiva
the appointment of
and NGW directors
Danny Dawson as hire
with the external
manager. Dawson will
oversee the allocation
John Cronin as manof technology recently
aging director of
acquired including
its enlarged Wireless
Sony EX1, Sony EX3
and Sony HDW F790
Former NGW mancameras.
aging director John
Bauer, a brand of
Ward has become
The Vitec Group, has Graham Ramsey, Anton/Bauer Arqiva’s chief Operhired Graham Ramsey
ating Officer, and
as vice president of Sales. Ramsey Michael Giles joins as group commoves to Anton/Bauer from Clear- mercial director.
Com. He will work closely with
Bitcentral, a provider of news
Shin Minowa, recently promoted to production, archiving and distribuvice president, Marketing and tion solutions to television stations,
Business Development.
has appointed Alex Keighley as
Arqiva CEO Tom Bennie has general manager for Europe, the
finalised his new management Middle East and Africa. He will
board following integration of the report to Bitcentral’s Vice President
former National Grid Wireless, of Sales, Charlie Grisham.
which was acquired in April 2007
Bright Systems strengthened its
but operated independently until senior management team in the
Share content
with iPlayer
Continued from page 1
be on the home page or one click
from the home page,” Rose told
conference goers at the recent
Broadcast Video Expo in London.
“If a programme is on the home
page it gets lots of views; if not, it
gets fewer.”
iPlayer is now supported on more
devices than just Windows PCs and
Macs, such as the Virgin Media cable
box (available in any UK home
served by cable), the iPhone, Wii and
PS3 game players, and the Nokia
N96 phone. “These weren’t perfect
devices for iPlayer, but we took the
initiative,”and it paid off, winning the
BBC an award for best mobile application at the recent Mobile World
Congress in Barcelona.
Because the iPlayer is becoming so successful, he believes that
device manufacturers will start
supporting iPlayer themselves —
companies are already approaching the BBC looking to integrate
iPlayer into their devices.
There was a difficulty, initially,
with spreading its reach, as the
first version was based on
Windows Media digital rights
management, and was P2P only,
then a live streaming version using
Adobe Flash was added. But
downloads should be coming this
month to non-Windows devices
thanks to Adobe’s AIR DRM,
which will be used with the new
iPlayer Desktop working with
Mac and Linux, and allowing the
was based on how offices handled
paper files, “but now disks are so
big and there are so many files, it
is difficult to find and organise
them.” Flow can show how any
file was constructed and how
any file is used in other projects
without the user doing anything –
there are no new buttons to press.
The current beta version works
with many of the most popular
applications, such as Adobe CS3
and CS4, Final Cut Studio,
Microsoft Office, Apple iWork,
Maya, Shake, Notepad, internet
browsers, etc.
“Once you understand all these
relationships, you can do interesting things, like time tracking (‘How
long did I spend making that
Flow chart: Forde with a MacBook running the GridIron Flow software
project’), and then dump out an
Excel spreadsheet from the map.”
For a post facility or anyone
offering a service, it makes it a lot
easier to find out if they are actually
making money out of a job. “How
do you know that a change a client is
asking you to do won’t have a big
impact on other projects?”, he asked.
Flow also acts as an audit trail.
“The average creative spends
four hours a day doing tasks that
don’t allow them to be creative,
such as management or switching
from project to project. One facility using the beta found that a job
booked for three hours actually
took 16 hours to complete,”
claimed Forde.
run-up to NAB 2009. Rick Picton tal television, mobile and new
joined Bright as product market- media services.
ing manager, following 14 years at
Andrew Duafala has been
Quantum where he was technical named Euphonix’ vice president of
advisor with the company’s Global Channel Sales effective
StorNext technology. Createcna immediately. In this new role,
has hired Miguel Angel Hernandez Duafala will be responsible for
as sales director. Hernandez is an overseeing the company’s worldinformation system technical engi- wide distribution chain.
neer and has an MBA Masters
Gravity Media Group has
from the ADM Business School.
appointed Kevin Moorhouse, formerThe Digital TV Group (DTG), ly group technical director, as
the industry association for digital chief operating officer. Gravity
TV in the UK, has appointed David Media Group owns Gearhouse
Docherty as chairman, replacing Broadcast and O21 Television. A
Professor David Youlton who has new board appointment was also
stepped down from the post after announced with Gearhouse Broadmore than 10 years.
cast managing direcDocherty was most
tor, Eamonn Dowdall,
being appointed busirecently chairman of
ness development
IP Vision, a receiver
director for Gravity
manufacturer and
Media Group alongon-demand
side his existing
Netgem. He is a forEkaterina
mer deputy director
of Television and the
joined an expanding
first director of New
Nordic and Central
Media at the BBC,
European team as
where he spent over
regional sales man12 years driving digi- Andrew Duafala, Euphonix
ager for the Harris Broadcast
Communications business in the
Russian Federation. Harris Broadcast has also appointed Stefan
Weitzer as key account manager,
based in Munich. Weitzer joins
Harris from Avid Technology.
Orad Hi-Tec Systems has
opened a new UK office with sales
and training facilities to support the
company’s growing presence in the
UK market. Based in Brentford
and headed by David Dowling, the
UK office provides demonstration
suites and support. Dowling joins
Orad from Snell & Wilcox.
Technologies, existing General
Manager Andreas Stelling has
taken over the role of managing
director. Current MD Kazunori
Kobayashi will move to a new role
at Yamaha Corporation.
Fabrègues has been appointed chief
executive officer of SGT, a global
software vendor in the broadcast
and media industry. d’Azémar de
Fabrègues follows Philippe Hauguel
who will pursue new ventures outside the company.
downloading and storage of programmes at higher quality than
streamed shows for up to 30 days.
Getting feedback from users is
enormously important in improving
iPlayer, with Twitter being Rose’s
favourite, because it is almost instant,
and the BBC monitors Twitter posts
recommending content and pointing
out problems and complaints – the
most prevalent of which seems to be
users’ moans that they can’t view
iPlayer when they are abroad (due to
rights restrictions and the difficulty
of identifying if someone really is a
licence-fee payer).
Rose also wants to hook into a
social network of recommendations, having seen that when something gets mentioned on Twitter it
gets more views. He believes it
would be useful to make it easier to
share what you watch with your
average session is two programmes,
with 35% of programmes watched
all the way to the end.”
Rose would like to open the content to other applications and uses.
“In future, people will be able to take
metadata and build new services,
although it will still be a seven day
window [for viewing after on air
transmission] and UK only. But,
allowing people to create derivative
products is good for the BBC.”
The BBC also hopes to add
archive material to iPlayer, but
“there are up to 27 different rights
to be negotiated,” which makes
that problematic, as does the
expense of encoding material.
However, a selection of archive
content will be available in the
near future, as “it is a big piece of
the BBC’s legacy.”
friends or find out what they are
watching. One such initiative is an
iPlayer Mesh application that can
search a local network and can
synch them, and can link to
MSN/Windows Live Messenger
contacts to share iPlayer experiences, “so you can synchronise
with friends and all your PCs.
“We want to make TV more
social again. If we get such a system right, I believe that viewing
will increase.” It will be easy for
viewers to rate shows, using a
‘Love Meter’, and add ratings to
their social network.
iPlayer is currently the second
most popular video website in the
UK after YouTube. “On YouTube
you can get 1 million views, but
programmes can be under a
minute. On iPlayer the average
viewing time is 22 minutes and the
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
Page 1
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TVBE_Apr P6_News
Page 6
Europe’s television technology business magazine
Editor Fergal Ringrose
Media House, South County Business Park,
Leopardstown, Dublin 18, Ireland
+3531 294 7783 Fax: +3531 294 7799
Editorial Consultant George Jarrett
Associate Editor David Fox
United States Correspondent
Ken Kerschbaumer
Contributors Nicola Brittian, Mike Clark,
David Davies, Richard Dean, Chris Forrester,
Carolyn Giardina, Jonathan Higgins, Mark Hill,
Dick Hobbs, John Ive, Farah Jifri,
Ken Kerschbaumer, Heather McLean,
Bob Pank, Adrian Pennington, Nick Radlo,
Neal Romanek, Philip Stevens, Andy Stout,
Reinhard E Wagner
Digital Content Manager Tim Frost
Publisher Joe Hosken
Production Editor Dawn Boultwood
Production Executive Tassanie Johnston
Group Sales Manager Steve Grice
+44 (0)20 7921 8307
UBM Ltd, Ludgate House,
245 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 9UR
Business Development Manager Alex Hall
+44 (0)20 7921 8305
International list of speakers for HD Masters 2009 unveiled
The relevance of HD Masters
Conference Preview
By Fergal Ringrose
Informa.com’s recent Global HDTV
Forecasts observed that ‘only 4% of
global TV homes actively watched HD
programming by end-2008, though the
proportion is expected to increase to 5.5% by end-2009. However,
this represents nearly 65 million households at end-2009, up
24 million from the end of 2008. By 2013, Informa forecasts
214 million HD active homes, representing 17% of TV households’.
This led Informa to observe ‘HDTV is finally on the brink of
mass market acceptance. Set and set-top box prices have fallen
substantially in the last few years. National free-to-air broadcasters
are launching HD services, which will further stimulate take-up’.
High definition has barely got started in Europe in terms of
production, infrastructure, roll-out, coverage and consumer penetration. The HD Masters conference, staged by TVBEurope in partnership with SMPTE and BKSTS, is the leading international platform
examining the dynamics of the emerging HD marketplace.
Each year the market momentum behind HD Masters grows.
The event exists to provide focused, targeted thought leadership at
the high end of European television broadcasting technology. The
quality of contributions and debate at HD Masters continues to
increase, as does the international nature of the event.
If you don’t believe me, consider the following list of speakers
who have already agreed to participate in the June 23-24 conference — thanks largely to the outstanding efforts of our content
producer John Ive:
Michael Mitchell
Broadcast Media International, PO Box 44,
Greenlawn, New York, NY 11740
+1 (631) 673 3199 Fax: +1 (631) 673 0072
Sho Harihara
Sales & Project, Yukari Media Incorporated
+81 6 4790 2222 Fax: +81 6 4793 0800
Sissela Andren, HD coordinator, SVT Sweden; Adam
Brodziak, technical director, Telewizja Polsat; David Carr, operations director, Media City UK; Walter Demonte, head of
department, WDR Germany; Simon Fell, director of Future
Technologies, ITV UK; Hans Hoffmann, program manager,
EBU Switzerland; Chris Johns, chief engineer Broadcast
Strategy, BSkyB UK; Timo Koch, chief executive officer, Outside
Broadcast Belgium; John Luff, SMPTE Fellow USA; Brendan
Each year the market momentum behind HD
Masters grows. The event exists to provide focused,
targeted thought leadership at the high end of
European television broadcasting technology
Mallon, technology development manager, BBC Scotland; Kevin
Moorhouse, chief operating officer, Gravity Media Group UK;
Luk Overmeire, technology expert, VRT Belgium; Paul Mason,
Olympic Broadcasting Services (London); Marco Pellegrinato,
deputy director, Videotime Gruppo Mediaset Italy; Graham
Plumb, head of Distribution Technology, BBC UK; Daniella
Nagler, head of BBC HD UK; David Roth, engineering manager, HD Suisse; Rainer Schaefer, head of production systems, IRT
Germany; and Karl Slavik, senior consultant, Artecast Austria.
We expect to confirm more speakers once the dust has settled
on NAB; but this list portrays more eloquently than anything I
can write the level of excellence and high-end industry support
already achieved by HD Masters 2009.
Each year, as the NAB desert experience becomes less and less
essential, HD Masters simply becomes more relevant to European
broadcast technology decision makers as a place for learning,
debate and networking with like-minded peers. If you are interested in attending the event at the Hotel Russell in central London
June 23 and 24, please go to www.hdmastersevent.com. If you
would like to sponsor or exhibit at HD Masters 2009, please call
Steve Grice at London +44 20 7921 8307, steve.grice@ubm.com.
One two scalers
variety of features such as HDTV/SDTV
resolution conversion.
The demodulator function supports
DVB-S2, DVB-DSNG and DVB-S formats for high-performance satellite transmissions. For its demodulation method, it
supports 16APSK and 32APSK as well as
QPSK and 8PSK which are more efficient
transmission formats that haven’t been supported in IRDs before. Furthermore, the
HVD6100 not only supports constant coding and modulation (CCM) but also supports variable coding and modulation
(VCM) and by Q4 of this year will support
adaptive coding and modulation (ACM).
The 1T-C2-750 Dual-PIP DVI-I Scaler is
based on TV One’s exclusive CORIO2
technology and has two high quality graphic scalers capable of working at full DVI
video rates. The two scalers can be used to
convert digital DVI-D or analogue DVI-A
signals to another format, with full
CORIO2 picture-in-picture flexibility.
DVI-D resolutions up to 1920x1200@
60Hz and 1080p are supported along with
analogue DVI-A (or HD15 via optional
adaptor) resolutions up to 2048x2048 at
virtually any refresh rate. A wide variety of
computer signal formats are available to
support PC, Mac and Workstation formats.
The 1T-C2-750 can also be used as a
seamless switcher device, enabling the
user to toggle between the two DVI
inputs with instantaneous cuts. Two Still
Image Stores are built into the unit that
can store 10 graphic images each to be
used in place of one or both of the DVI-I
inputs to add custom logos or backgrounds. All settings are stored in nonvolatile memory and are retained even
when power is switched off.
UBM Information Ltd, Sovereign Park,
Lathkill Street, Market Harborough LE16 9EF, UK
Free subscriptions
Controlled circulation +44 (0)1858 435361
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Printing by Headley Brothers, The Invicta Press,
Queens Road, Ashford, Kent TN24 8HH
NTT combines H.264 with DVB-S2
By Fergal Ringrose
© United Busienss Media Ltd 2009. All rights reserved. No part of this
publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or
any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior
written consent of the publisher. TVB Europe is mailed to qualified persons
residing on the European continent. Subscription rates £64/€96/$120.
Allow 8 weeks for new subscriptions and change of address delivery.
Send subscription inquiries to: Subscription Dept, United Business Media Ltd,
Sovereign Park, Lathkill Street, Market Harborough LE16 7BR, England.
ISSN 1461-4197
NTT Electronics Corporation has
announced the global release of HVD6100.
The HVD6100 is NTT Electronics’ professional 4:2:2 integrated receiver decoder
(IRD) for broadcast contribution and distribution – a solution for satellite, broadcast, cable and telco operators.
HVD6100 is claimed to be the world’s
first professional IRD that combines
decoder functionality with support for
AVC/H.264 HDTV, 4:2:2 chroma with a
DVB-S2 demodulator. The decoder function supports multi-format (AVC/H.264
and MPEG-2, 4:2:2/4:2:0 chroma and
HDTV/SDTV) and comes equipped with a
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
Page 1
On track, on vision
We’ve always had an eye on the future – a strong vision for
providers to deliver the Individual TV Experience
where the TV business is going and the technologies
and generate subscriber and revenue growth with
it needs to succeed. With our Emmy award-winning video
next-generation DTH, IPTV, VOD and personalized
compression and on-demand solutions, and the latest
advertising solutions.
in content management systems, we’ve built a strong
Our new collection of visionary papers will give you
all the information you need to build your individual
Now as part of the Ericsson group, our vision is deeper
journey into the future of TV. Share our vision,
and broader as we enable all television service
visit www.tandbergtv.com/vision.
Page 2
The next step in digital media
Worldwide tapeless distribution
By Laurent Seve
Over the past 10 years, the media
industry switched gradually to
tapeless systems improving the
workflow between the different
departments. However the
worldwide movie distribution
bears to be much more complex,
regarding security, quality and
Before talking about the
tapeless distribution, it is
important to understand all the
different steps of distribution
with the use and re-use of
physical media within this
(classical distribution) consists
of 4 main parts: The sender, the
shipper, the receiver and the
broadcaster. The sender and the
receiver can be distributors,
production or post-production
facilities, etc… They are huge
tape consumers. If the workflow
is still analogue, a copy is used
for every activity (see the
workflow is tapeless, there will
be only minor in-house costs,
but this will not be the case for
the physical delivery of tapes.
The physical media quality
also suffers from multiple
encoding and re-encoding and
the tape recorders need a lot
of maintenance, representing
high OPEX and CAPEX
(Operational expenses; Capital
Shipping is less complicated; for
security reasons, the movie is
completely copied on a new
tape. Then the transport is made
by an express courier (such as
FedEx, DHL or UPS). Once the
tape arrives at its destination,
several copies are required, for
the different departments and
the archive. In the case the
receiver is tapeless, the received
content will be immediately
digitized and then archived
“It was time that we find a
way to reduce the costs of
content distribution, the tape
manufacturing and the shipping
had a high cost, was not secure
and could have complicated
delays. Movie2Me came as
the best solution for a cost
effective distribution with BCE’s
European distribution hub”
comments Tony Beswick, SVP
at SONY Pictures (U.S.A.).
The final part of
distribution workflow is the
broadcasting, although more
nowadays use tapeless infrastructures, the transport of the
content to the broadcaster is
still analogue, means physical.
Until last important improvements with file transfer, a fully
impossible, as compression and
digital encoding were not
optimized for the speed of the
internet, or reducing the quality
of the movies. With the use of
new technology of compression
such as H264, new transfer
protocol and larger Internet
bandwidth, the arrival of the
worldwide tapeless distribution
is just one step ahead.
As Internet speed evolves, new
solutions came to the market,
however its business models did
not always meet the needs of the
distribution models could be
identified. The Peering uses all
the different users of the
Analogue workflow.
QC (Quality control)
15% rejection ratio
Major / Producer
Television / Broadcaster
Language versions
Internet to share all content and
information. The interest of
such a technology is that
everybody is identified as a
content provider, giving the
ability to the content searcher to
build his files from various
sources. Unfortunately this
model is not at all secured and
does not give to the media
industry any control on content
The File Transfer Protocol
(FTP) is a point to point
technology, mainly used for
website updates and medium
sized files up/downloading. It
has good speed performance
and a very good security as it is
environment. Many software
solutions can be used for
sending and receiving files, but
for the media industry, the
problem is that movies in
broadcast quality use a high
amount of data and it could
take days to send a movie from
one place to the other.
Multiple copies
“Using the Internet as a basis for content
contribution for broadcasters has virtually
no costs” comments Tun Van Rijswijck from
BCE (Luxembourg).
BCE developed a solution that
offers the best file transfer speed
with a high security and a
precise delivery schedule for
each customer. "Movie2Me and
the UDP technology it is based
on offers us at Fox everything we
look for in file based delivery"
states John Koscheka, VP at
Twentieth Century Fox. "High
security, speed of file transfer,
and an easy-to-use interface are
all critical factors we need."
Nothing is free in this world, but
sending content through the
Internet has no cost provided
you have the necessary pipes for
your data. The source and
destination platforms have
infrastructure costs of course,
but the distribution itself is free,
and this is why tapeless
distribution becomes really
Media activities are bursting on
the market; technology and
innovation have never been so
dynamic these last years. The
media actors are not limited
anymore to Television and
Radio, since new platforms
emerged such as Internet,
Mobile video and Video on
Demand. Being able to answer
in time to all theses platforms is
paramount. The tape is not
sufficiently versatile to give the
media industry the possibility to
answer the needs of today
dynamic market.
In order to avoid a market
breakdown, the contents must
travel as fast as possible to our
target audience; this would
avoid the end consumer to
search the content from less
appropriate sources such as
peering networks or illegal
distributors such as 20th Century
Fox, Sony and CBS are
connected to BCE. As a result
the company acts now as one
of the first European digital
content hubs where channels,
platforms can connect and
content. “For our total amount
of content we receive from the
USA per year, this roughly
represents 6 million Euros of
economy each year” comments
Frederic Lemaire, CFO from
And regarding flexibility for
postproduction, editing, digital
archiving and new playout
technologies, the adopted
format provides a more fluid
workflow and answers the
audience needs for large amount
of content.
Being tapeless improves your
reactivity for a market with a
demand in constant evolution, it
improves the workflow between
the different companies with an
universal standard, reduces the
costs of your infrastructure and
the one from your partners, but
it also gives more security for
the content and for the played
Page 3
FTP and Movie2Me.
Speed (time for sending 1 h. HD video)
28 hours
35 minutes
Security, encryption
Precise delivery schedule
Easy single user via Linux Box
Bandwidth control
The more high quality content
we have, the more security we
need. Even if our content is
secured in digital libraries, the
content shipping is still mainly
done physically. A secure
tapeless system is the best
solution, preventing the content
to be stolen or damaged.
The question that comes now is
“Is my content secured against
piracy?” Internet is like a huge
nod of highways, some roads
are public, some are reachable
and some are just invisible.
“Our solution offers a completely
2048bit encrypted line for
the content transfer with a
multiple split up of the files,
making the content unreachable
and even unusable while being
shipped over the world wide web”
Developer New Technologies
at BCE.
(Movie2Me) splits the content
in an unlimited number of
codes and each of these codes
are sent in separated encrypted
virtual tracks, each part of
content is unusable alone and a
private key is needed to
recompose the file at the
Worldwide tapeless distribution
is an inevitable evolution for the
media industry; it will bring new
perspectives and answer a
is increasing, mainly working
with automation and almost no
live transmissions. Thematic
channels can be setup with a
simple server that gets the
content from a digital content
it directly to the cable head ends
and/or satellite uplinks.
Digital infrastructures are best
suited to counter major
disasters. Low cost playout
immediately; if the main
playout system would have an
incident, the end consumer will
be able to continue to see his
favourite show.
Content stored on digital
libraries can easily be duplicated
“For our customers searching a cost
effective TV solution we created a
decentralized playout service. Some of our
general TV customers also adopted the
solution as a backup in case of incident”
comments Catherine Ettlinger, head of Broadcast
Continuity at BCE (Luxembourg).
market that moves faster and
Since costs are reduced
with tapeless environments,
companies are now able to focus
on their business development
and strategies. For instance the
demand for thematic channels
Director of the Centre National
de l’Audiovisuel (Luxembourg).
There are still millions of hours
of movies to be digitized,
Broadcasting Center Europe
digitization & archiving, now
they are at the top of digital
distribution with the first digital
content hub in Europe.
While the world is becoming
tapeless, the next years are going
to be very exciting for the media
industry, for both professionals
and end-consumers, with a
rising offer of quality content
and the multiplication of
outputs such as HDTV, VoD,
IPTV, Web, DVB-H… In order
to fulfil our targets, the next step
in digital distribution will be
storing and structuring this
limitless content.
More information about:
Tapeless distribution services:
on other digital libraries
anywhere in the world. “Our
historical content is stored on
your digital library, each time a
new movie is added to the library,
the redundant library located
immediately updated via a
connection between our 2
Decentralized Playout
(IPTV, Cable head ends...)
The content is pushed from the content hub to local
servers with a remote management of playlists by
a web interface.
Concept of content hub.
Web portals
(e.g. iTunes, etc...)
Local servers
Content Hub
FLV, etc...
TVBE_Apr P10-19 N&A
Page 10
The Digital Switchover story
Richard Dean reports from the recent Digital Switchover Strategies
conference in London, which presented examples of both good
broadcast change management practice and others that have
struggled to handle and communicate the massive change involved
DSO Analysis
The biggest digital switchover
(DSO) news event of all time – the
‘sudden death’ conversion of US
TV – was to take centre-stage at
the fifth ‘Digital Switchover
Strategies’ two-day conference
held in late February.
However as Jonathan Collegio,
vice president of
Television Transition at the
Broadcasters explained, now
speaking on a video link in the
afternoon instead of delivering an
opening keynote in person, the
incoming president Barrack
Obama had little choice but to
postpone this momentous event
from midnight on February 17 to
the same time on June 12.
What scuppered the original
plan, which is in stark contrast to
the phased transition favoured by
major countries including the UK,
was the almost comical collapse of
a coupon program designed to
help rather than hinder digital
take-up. Some US$1.5 billion was
allocated to provide 33.5 million
coupons each worth US$40
towards the purchase of a government-certified basic ‘converter
box’, a term adopted to avoid confusion with the STB of US cable
TV. Up to two could be redeemed
per household.
Some 53 million vouchers were
requested, but only 55% redeemed.
The government had to account for
all outstanding coupons as spent
funds, explained Collegio, and
the 12.4 million households affected converted fairly painlessly. Most
queries positively sought tuning
advice rather than negatively questioned the process.
Interestingly, NAB research
revealed that some 70% recognised
the original DSO date of February
17 unprompted, compared to just
58% for April 15 – the US date for
filing tax returns.
What scuppered the original US switchover plan was
the almost comical collapse of a coupon program
designed to help rather than hinder digital take-up
couldn’t issue more coupons until
unused coupons expire – and each
was valid for a generous 90 days. On
January 5 it was announced that a
wait list of some 4.2 million putative voucher seekers had stacked up,
placing the planned DSO date in
serious jeopardy.
On January 8 the then presidentelect Obama asked Congress for a
delay, with the proviso that stations
could go ahead if they saw fit.
Some 421 of the 1800 or so fullpower stations in the US did just
that, and according to Collegio,
So far Europe has led on DSO,
now completed in Luxemburg,
Sweden, Germany, Belgium
(Flanders) and in major parts of
Austria. The end of next year will
see the rest of Austria plus
Estonia, Denmark, Spain, Malta
and Slovenia follow suit.
Japan and Canada have both
committed to 2011, and by the end
of 2012 Belgium (Wallonia and
Brussels capital region), Bulgaria,
Cyprus, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania,
DSO for UK TV will involve 600 man-years of work on over 1,000
Photo: Vismedia
transmitters across the country, says Digital UK
Slovakia, South Korea and the UK
will all have consigned analogue TV
to the museum. Bringing up the rear
is Australia for 2013, Brazil for
around 2014 and both India and
Russia for 2015. Last but not
least is China in 2015; Poland has
also promised to switch by 2015
at the latest.
However this conference was all
about DSO strategy, which is partly
about carrots and sticks, but mainly about publicity. In the carrots
department, Tomoyuki Okamura,
Senior Director at the Technology
Research & Development Department of the Digital Technology
Planning Office at Fuji Television
Network explained that Japan is
promoting DSO on July 24, 2011 as
the gateway to HDTV channels for
all, using the Japanese ISDB-T
Broadcasting) format. This has also
been adopted by Brazil, with tests
underway in other South American
countries and the Philippines.
The US has taken a lead on the
sticks front with regulator FCC mandating two unmissable ‘snipes’ (popups) and ticker crawls per day on analogue broadcasts. Some 1,000 stations
are even running a simulated switchoff sequence during daily news bulletins, forcefully telling viewers that ‘if
you can see this, you haven’t upgraded yet’. This has proved to be very
effective, noted Collegio.
Actually Japan, where manufacturers are developing 3-channel
Continued on page 12
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
Page 1
Interoperable. Integrated. Innovative.
Come see us at the NAB Show 2009 — stand N2502
To learn more, visit us at www.HarrisNAB2009.com.
+44 118 964 8200
UK, Israel, Africa
+44 118 964 8200
Southern Europe
+33 1 42 87 09 09
North, Central, Eastern Europe
+49 89 149 049 0
Middle East
+971 4 433 8250
TVBE_Apr P10-19 N&A
Page 12
The Digital
Switchover story
Continued from page 10
HDTV PVRs, comes a close second with a warning logo added to
analogue channels since January.
In contrast to the UK’s gentle compromise aspect ratio of 14:9
devised by the BBC, analogue
broadcasts will dramatically switch
to letterbox in July, with warnings
of their impending demise nestling
menacingly within the black bars.
Perhaps ironically, the US has
harnessed the ascendant online
media to help viewers upgrade,
with a ‘DTV Nightlight’ video
(DTV is what Americans call DTT)
posted on YouTube. According to
Tauno Äijälä, senior advisor for the
Finnish DTT Helpdesk, growing
online viewing especially among
young people is what’s behind a
licence boycott by 2.4% of viewers
in Finland.
Denying that the protest was
fuelled by problems with missing
subtitles and unreliable cheap STBs
following DTT switchover in September 2007 and cable last February
– and dismissing press reports of a
20% boycott as apocryphal – Äijälä
nonetheless predicted that a Future
Funding of Public TV committee
report due at the end of April could
mark the beginning of the end for
the TV licence.
Amid talk of reducing STB power consumption – an EU Directive
specifies a maximum standby power
of 1W on all A/V appliances except
cable and satellite boxes by the
beginning of next year – he drolly
observed that the 60MW currently
consumed nationally by STBs is
actually very useful for heating during the harsh Finnish winter!
In Sweden’s favour
A perhaps more chilling message
came from Anders Appelqvist,
MD at the Swedish Electronic
Business Association (Elektronikbranschen), who said that while
frequencies could be reserved for
HDTV (indeed the UK is clearing
a multiplex to roll out national
HD from the end of this year),
ultimately today’s 1996-vintage
DVB-T transmission and MPEG-2
compression formats make relatively poor use of spectrum. That’s
why Appelqvist wants to make a
further switch to DVB-T2 and
MPEG-4 by 2015.
Public reaction to a second
switch has yet to be gauged, but at
least logistics are in Sweden’s favour
as just 23% of households view terrestrially, coupled with the relatively
low number of transmitters. Most
watch via cable (52%), alongside
satellite (17%) and IPTV (8%).
This is certainly not the case in
the UK, where terrestrial viewing
remains prevalent through one of
the most complex networks of interleaved transmitters on the planet. As
Ofcom’s Spectrum Policy Group
Director of Operations Matthew
Conway explained, that meant the
country stood to gain very large
spectrum savings when DSO
replaced the wasteful patchwork of
analogue frequencies, leading to the
notion of a ‘Digital Dividend’ since
adopted across the rest of Europe.
Eager to rebuff perceptions that
the government – and inter alia
Ofcom – saw DSO as an opportunity
to cash in, Conway repeatedly stated
that the controversial spectrum auctioning process was designed to
obtain the best outcome rather than
the most revenue. Furthermore, had
the government sought merely to
replace the 368MHz of UHF
spectrum currently consumed by
analogue TV, it could have got away
with just 40MHz for DTT.
As it was, the government decided in 2003 to reserve 256MHz for
six DTT multiplexes to expand coverage and capacity. Following the
subsequent release of 16MHz formerly used by aeronautic radar and
radio astronomy, this leaves some
128MHz available for new uses,
which according to Conway promised an estimated value to society of
£5 billion to £10 billion over the next
20 years.
Beth Thoren: “Changing behaviour relies on understanding the human element,
and we want to work with human nature rather than against it”
However mainland Europe now
looks set to adopt a different slot
for new applications. “The UK
invented the concept of a Digital
Dividend, but it is clear that the rest
of Europe is now focusing on the
800MHz band, which is different to
our original plans,” he said, referring to the recent decision by
France and Switzerland to join
Finland and Sweden’s support for
the higher band.
“As well as bringing economies
of scale to equipment manufacturers addressing a potential market of
500 million consumers, the greater
efficiency in communications
offered by harmonisation can be
expected to yield wider benefits to
commerce and society,” said
Conway, adding that failure to do
so could cost the economy some £2
billion to £3 billion over 20 years.
Ofcom’s official line that it is technology-agnostic and doesn’t pick
winners prevented him from using
the term ‘mobile broadband’ to
describe the spectrum in question,
but that was widely recognised to be
what he meant.
NAB access to TMD content
TMD’s web-based enterprisewide architecture I-Mediaflex has
made it possible to extend access
to content and metadata throughout a broadcast organisation. iMediaflex will debut at NAB 2009
with new functionality and a
redesigned GUI. Users from both
inside and outside an Enterprise
can use i-Mediaflex to examine
content and workflows from any
available desktop browser — PC
or MAC. This enables users,
including Legal, Sales, Programme Planning and Traffic
departments, to see content as it
flows through a facility and
enable anyone with access rights
to use workflows for processes
such as Post Production, Dub
Ordering, Subtitling (Close
Caption) and Audio Dubbing.
Livewire broadcast to the extreme
Livewire Digital, the provider of
remote video transmission solutions, is showcasing M-Link X and
the HD Video Delay Line on stand
C10250. M-Link X, Livewire’s
Mac OSX client for the delivery of
news and documentary footage, is
fully compatible with the Windows
M-Link portfolio. Broadcasters
now have a choice of Apple or
Windows platforms for their field
equipment, without compromising video quality or transmission
performance. M-Link X delivers
TMD’s expanded Mediaflex
Ingest Suite of modules — combined with other Mediaflex
modules — makes ingest in any
form more efficient and less
labour intensive. In addition,
material gathered via Mediaflex
may be made immediately available for editing and insertion into
bulletins or programmes.
NAB SU8904
‘Live’ and ‘Store and Forward’
H.264 AVC video across a wide
range of transmission mediums
including Inmarsat BGAN, 3G
and the public Internet.
Visitors to NAB can also see
Livewire Digital’s ‘HD Delay Line’
used to capture dramatic events
that would otherwise be missed.
NAB C10250
Digital roadshows
Meanwhile the UK now has two
albeit small-scale DSOs under its
belt, the first completed ahead of
schedule in Copeland in Cumbria
Whitehaven) in November 2007
covering 25,000 households, and
the other covering 60,000 viewers
in the Scottish Borders region
about a year later.
It’s not surprising that Beth
Director at the Digital UK organisation tasked with ensuring that
DSO runs smoothly – was given
the keynote slot vacated by NAB’s
Jonathan Collegio, as the scale of
the project is enormous. Some
1,164 transmitters covering 14 television regions are involved,
including a complicated mesh of
relay stations.
The biggest challenge was in
convincing viewers that DSO is a
good thing, said Thoren, as it’s an
enforced change, most people will
have to pay for new equipment,
and there’s no single catch-all benefit. A simple ‘Have you switched
yet?’ message couldn’t be used as
25% of households nationally
won’t be able to receive Freeview
until DSO has come to their area.
This makes UK DSO a very local
affair. As well as partnerships
with government agencies, charities and viewer groups, Digital
UK is embarking on some 2,000
road shows per annum using a distinctively pink-liveried truck and
the ‘Digit Al’ robot character,
which also appears on local TV
ads and hand-outs.
Local retailers are offered temporary pink shop signs carrying a
message such as ‘Switchover is easy
with Currys’, and Digital UK is
even encouraging home visitors to
lend a hand, from socially-funded
Home Help and ‘Meals on Wheels’
services to postal and other
doorstep delivery organisations,
and plumbers.
“We expected a lot of calls to
our helpline, but found that people
go to those they know,” said
Thoren, “so we diverted some
funds to retailer training.” Set up
in 2005 by public service broadcasters BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five,
S4C and Teletext plus digital multiplex operators SDN and Arqiva,
Digital UK will spend £200 million
over seven years. A Switchover
Help Scheme assisting over 75 year
olds and disadvantaged groups —
expected to benefit 7 million
households — is being funded out
of the BBC licence fee.
Although individual STBs cost
as little as £15, the estimated average cost per UK household is
£132 including multiple sets and
VCR replacement, and some
households will need to spend
substantially more.
While Digital UK would have
preferred viewers to switch early,
the emerging truth was that people leave it to the last minute.
“Changing behaviour relies on
understanding the human element, and we want to work with
human nature rather than against
it,” said Thoren, “so we now
spend most money two weeks
before switchover.”
Compix Media for sports
Compix Media is launching its new
CYNERG HD, a dual-channel
HD CG for the broadcast, sports,
professional, educational, and
government markets. Capable of
simultaneously outputting graphics
in either SD-SDI or HD-SDI,
Compix Media’s new dual-channel
CYNERG HD packs a powerful
punch into a conveniently sized
4-RU chassis.
“Our goal in expanding our HD
product line is to offer a range of
world-class solutions that ease the
cost and complexity of HD migration for our customers,” said Lan
Merrill, director of technology at
Compix Media. “This full-featured,
broadcast-quality dual-channel
HD CG is no exception, boosting
workflow and offering substantial
time and cost savings without sacrificing functionality.”
The CYNERG HD has the
inherent advantage of branding
multiple video streams with
different overlay material from a
single chassis and one easy-to-use
interface. Rather than invest in
two separate CG systems, users
can apply the CYNERG HD to
two different functions at once,
saving both time and money.
Additionally, because the data
required to create and playback
graphics can be used between
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www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
Page 1
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TVBE_Apr P10-19 N&A
Page 14
Transmission transition
from analogue to digital
Guest Opinion
By Stefan Wallner,
Harris Broadcast
Broadcasters and media network
operators around the globe are
already in or on the verge of a
brand new era in digital multimedia broadcasting, one which is
both challenging and exciting.
The leap from terrestrial analogue TV services to terrestrial
digital multimedia services creates many new questions and
forces network operators to
become familiar with a wide
range of increasingly complicated
technologies to ensure that the
right choices are made when
developing plans for future network transmission infrastructure.
While the path to the digital
future may seem complex and
confusing, understanding a few
major points about the market
and the various network transmission solutions will allow network operators to select the right
transition path.
The Analogue Switch-off
(ASO) is driven by the increasing
demands of a society that wants
to consume more multimedia on
a wider choice of devices. The
spectrum efficiency of new technologies helps to serve this
demand, enabling the available
spectrum to carry not only traditional television in a variety of
formats, but also mobile TV for
handhelds, data services, radio,
data broadcast and other applications not yet conceived. However,
there are still limitations that
force network operators to use
the spectrum in a smarter, more
efficient way.
In Europe, ASO is supported
and promoted by two important
factors. One is the Geneva 2006
(GE-06) Agreement that regulates frequency usage in the
broadcast bands of Europe,
Africa and parts of Asia. This
binding international treaty sets
the precise date of June 17 2015,
at 00.01 hr UTC as the end of the
transition period from analogue
TV service to digital. This does
not necessarily mandate that all
countries in Europe, Africa and
parts of Asia have to be digital by
that date, but it implies that countries no longer have to protect the
analogue services of neighboring
countries and can make full use of
the frequencies assigned to them
in GE-06 for digital services.
Secondly, the EU has encouraged its member states to switch off
their terrestrial TV services by
2012 in order to help accelerate the
move to digital technology. Of
course, the speed at which each EU
member processes the ASO is up to
its respective national government.
Hence, each country has defined
individual switch-off dates.
How to transition?
Depending on the market situation, each country follows an individual approach that meets their
needs and addresses their specific
challenges. Finland took the
approach to convert all sites to
digital first, and then turn off the
Harris Broadcast’s Martyn Horspool
removes a PA module from a new
Maxiva transmitter
analogue service countrywide on a
given date. The clear benefit of this
approach is that all viewers experience and benefit from Digital
Terrestrial TV (DTT) at the same
time and spectrum is freed up
immediately for use nationwide.
In countries with widely
spread urban areas, a phased
approach is more likely. In this
scenario, only sites in a certain
geographical area are converted
to digital, and, after a period of
transmitting analogue and digital
TV simultaneously, the analogue
service is turned off in that
particular region. The benefits of
this approach are that ‘lessons
learned’ in one region can be
applied in another region. In
addition, resources and cost for
upgrading a countrywide network can be spread out by DTT
planners in the most effective way.
In less developed countries,
network operators are faced with
an additional aspect of ASO to
consider. In some countries, the
existing analogue TV transmitter
network has been in operation for
decades and needs to be modernised. But at the same time, for
various reasons, those countries
are not ready to move directly to
a DTT network.
In order to avoid making large
investments twice in a short period of time, those broadcasters are
taking advantage of modern,
flexible transmitter platforms that
provide terrestrial analogue signals, but can be upgraded later to
digital TV. Such transmitters are
called digital-ready. For example,
in Romania, Harris Corporation
helped to modernise the entire
transmitter infrastructure based
on digital-ready transmitters. The
programme was completed in
2005 and enabled the public
network operator to ensure the
quality of its analogue service,
while preparing for a digital transition in the future. Today,
Romania is preparing for the
transition to DTT in order to
accomplish ASO by 2012.
Stefan Wallner: Understand the
financial stability of the potential
partner. Will they be able to support
you if problems arise?
The difficulty of how to start
One of the big questions to be
answered at the beginning of the
transition process is how and
which programme offers will be
made available. In many countries, public broadcasters are
obligated by law to reach as close
to 100% of the population as
possible. Private broadcasters,
however, do not have this obligation. Although the capacity is
available to mix public and private broadcasters’ programmes
on one multiplex in many countries, a strict separation exists.
Whereas the public multiplex
must be made available nationwide, private broadcasters may
choose to only cover the urban
areas in order to reduce network
expenses and still cover 80-90%
of the population. In the analogue world, where only one
programme was carried over one
transmitter, each programme
provider had its own transmitter
network. These days, where digital transmitters allow the broadcast of a number of different
programmes, competing broadcasters might find themselves in
a situation where they need to
share a multiplex.
Each country has its own difficult environment in this respect,
which adds a challenging dynamic of how and who operates
the new digital network. One
approach, which is under discussion in countries including
Greece and Turkey, is to form a
new company that is a consortium of network operators.
The new company would build
and operate the terrestrial network, carrying the programmes
of its founders. However, bringing all those different broadcasters
and network operators under one
umbrella and complying with
existing monopoly laws is a big
challenge that has caused major
delays in transition plans. In
countries where network operators and programme aggregators
were previously split, at least the
question of who operates the network can be answered more easily.
The discussion of which programme is made available on the
multiplex is always difficult
because of the missing capacity at
the beginning of the process when
ASO is not completed and analogue and digital services are
transmitted simultaneously.
Why make the effort?
The transition from analogue TV
to digital services is a major milestone in the history of broadcast
TV and requires important decisions that impact the wireless
multimedia future of a country.
The efforts necessary to accomplish digital coverage are formidable and expensive, but there are
many benefits to modern digital
terrestrial networks that make the
efforts worthwhile.
The increasing demand of
spectrum — especially in the
UHF frequency band, which is
very attractive for mobile applications — pressures the broadcaster to use more than one
programme per channel. And the
broadcaster must also consider
the need for additional revenue
sources and the availability of
technology that allows additional
channels to happen.
Therefore, higher efficiency
per available spectrum bandwidth
is becoming a necessity. Single
Frequency Network (SFN)
designs further increase the
efficiency of spectrum usage.
Traditionally, neighbouring transmitters were always put on different
frequencies to avoid interference,
With SFNs, services can be
Continued on page 16
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Page 1
TVBE_Apr P10-19 N&A
Page 16
News on DNxHD
SeaChange International’s
digital video system is putting
South Asia’s first complete Avid
DNxHD broadcast operation on
air at Sakshi TV. The all-news
broadcaster is using SeaChange’s
Broadcast MediaLibrary/
MediaClient play-to-air
platform to support its end-toend Avid DNxHD workflow.
SeaChange’s native support of
the Avid DNxHD high-definition
production codec format has
helped Sakshi TV become one
of the first news operations in
the world to build its entire
workflow on the HD format.
Sakshi’s SeaChange platform
allows the broadcaster to
frame-accurately ingest and
natively play back HD content
in the DNxHD format. The
BML/MCL system is working in
conjunction with Marquis
Broadcast’s Medway media
transfer and format conversion
software, facilitating the
movement of video files between
Avid News Cutter and Media
Composer editing workstations
and the BML play-to-air server.
From analogue
to digital
Continued from page 14
carried throughout adjacent
transmitters with little interference, covering a bigger area, with
just one frequency. This more efficient means of terrestrial broadcasting frees up frequencies that
can be used to carry more terrestrial TV programmes to the consumer or to offer complete, new
wireless services.
Given the fact that digital
technologies allow failure recovery, the best audio and video
quality can be delivered up to the
point that the receive level falls
below the threshold of decoding.
Taking advantage of this effect,
the emitted power can be
reduced compared to analogue
services. In practice, many network operators have experienced
this positive effect of power
reduction, but not to the degree
predicted when the DVB-T standard was defined.
This power reduction, however,
combined with highly efficient
modern transmitters, leads to
long-term cost savings. Taking
into consideration that multiple
programmes can be delivered via
one transmitter, the power consumed by the programmes is
significantly lower. Not only are
environmental arguments corroborated by this approach, network
operators are saving costs needed
to stay competitive with technologies such as satellite, cable
and IPTV.
When examining competing
technologies, the consumer can
choose from a wide range of programmes offered via satellite, cable
and IPTV. Portable TV, enabled by
terrestrial TV and offering only a
handful of programmes, is becoming less and less attractive. DTT —
with its increased signal quality,
better portable reception and the
ability to offer more programmes
and services by using digital compression and multiplexing on the
freed-up spectrum — positions
terrestrial TV for the future. In
Germany, the free-to-air DTT
offers from 12 to 30 programmes,
depending on the region. This has
led to an increase in terrestrial TV
viewing households. The increase
in number of programmes offered
has been seen as a realistic alternative to cable and satellite. An opposite situation exists in Sweden,
where roughly a fifth of the analogue terrestrial platform viewers
did not convert to DTT, but rather
converted to an alternative television reception technology.
Choosing the right partners
To avoid startup problems and
realise the profits and benefits
DTT has to offer, it is important
that each country choose the
right deployment method. With
any planned purchase to accomplish ASO, many factors must
be evaluated, including products, prices, features and operational costs.
However, it is also important
to evaluate the potential partners. Selecting the right technology partner can make the
deployment and long-term
operation of the multimedia
network problem-free and costeffective.
financial stability of the potential partner. Will they be able to
support you if problems arise?
Can they adapt and grow with
new technologies? Will they
survive turbulent financial times
like we are going through now?
Can they help commission and
deploy the system? And, a critical consideration, do they have
established training facilities so
your staff will be trained and
knowledgeable on the system
you select to deploy? Do they
have experience in how to
manage countrywide DTT network deployments?
Probably the best example of
an ill-advised decision would
be those people who purchased
a Delorean automobile in the
1980s (the stainless steel car
featured in the popular Back to
the Future movies). While the
car had some outstanding
features, and it is hard to beat
stainless steel for longevity,
those who selected market
leaders such as BMW, Audi
and Toyota still have a worldwide network of service and
support professionals.
The planning and deployment of a digital multimedia
network is not a simple undertaking. Diligent evaluation,
negotiation of the programmes
carried, careful network planning, good financial modeling
and critical partner evaluations
are all part of making the right
choices to ensure you have a successful deployment from day one
and over the long term.
Considering how long the
terrestrial analogue system has
lasted, the importance of getting
this right is very clear. To give
DTT the best chance for success,
broadcasters must understand
and respect the local market
consumer trends and business
model approach, and ensure that
the network covers the consumers appropriately and delivers the content they desire when
they want to consume it.
Also, remember that no matter how cool it looks, you don’t
want to buy a Delorean!
Stefan Wallner is product
marketing manager for
Transmission at Harris Broadcast,
Europe, Middle East and Africa
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
Page 1
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TVBE_Apr P10-19 N&A
Page 19
Digital Summit for change
At the precipice of an uncertain
future is where the television
industry stands, according to the
DTG Summit 2009. The Digital TV
Group is an independent association
formed in the mid-1990’s to assess
and monitor the adoption of digital
TV in the UK. With all television now
‘digital television’, the DTG has had
to adjust its focus to an entirely
new set of industry transitions. On
March 6 at BAFTA in London, the
DTG gathered for a series of
presentations from heads of all
segments of the TV industry.
Neal Romanek reports
The industry is caught between
opposing tides. The economic
downturn is slowing change and
forcing conservative, cost-saving
measures on every front, while on
the other side, the revolution in
internet video and Video-onDemand in all its forms continues
to expand.
On the whole, most DTG
Summit speakers were cautious
in their characterisation of the
economic downturn, and in at
least one case there was the
suggestion that it might in fact
help — relatively speaking — the
TV industry.
Dr Guy Bisson of Screen
Digest gave a dense, fascinating
analysis of TV audience trends up
until the present day. There has
been a fundamental shift in the
economics of TV, he explained.
One aspect is that the TV industry has in some cases “decoupled”
from economic trends. As the
world and British economy have
declined over the past six months,
purchase of large screen TV’s and
package upgrades has actually
increased. The British weather
may have ironically come to the
rescue in some degree. Whereas in
times of economic downturn the
Mediterranean TV market has
also collapsed, in Britain it has
tended to stay afloat. The suggestion is — to put it crudely — if
you are out of work in Spain or
Italy, you go play in the sun, if
you are out of work in Britain,
you stay in and watch more home
Suranga Chandratillake: blinkx
aims to make it easier for
audiences to find the video
content they most want to see
entertainment. It has been said
that the continuous sunlight gave
Renaissance Italy its painters,
while the Elizabethan cold forced
the English to become writers.
Perhaps the same parallel may
hold true for the TV industry?
A bright spot in the DTG
Summit was the keynote given by
Suranga Chandratillake, CEO
and founder of the video search
engine, blinkx.com. Chandratillake
combines a Cambridge-educated
practicality and level-headedness
with a Silicon Valley dreamer’s
vision of the TV future. It could be
said that his presentation was the
only one of the day that had both
feet firmly planted in the 21st century, with blinkx taking for
granted that in the minds of con-
sumers there is little distinguishing
between TV and web video.
Francisco, blinkx uses a sophisticated toolkit — beyond the
Google video searches most are
used to — that scours the web for
any and all types of video, logging and identifying it with next
generation logarithms. blinkx is
potentially a point of entry for
traditional broadcasters into the
fully on-demand world of web
video. Chandratillake is already
making a point to partner with
existing media companies ready
to make cross the threshold.
Chandratillake reminded the
Summit that the web represents
an infinite number of channels
that audiences have to choose
from. blinkx aims to make it
easier for audiences to find the
video content they most want to
see, when they want to see it. The
challenge for producers is that,
short of the introduction of some
kind of Soviet-style protectionism measures, their potential
competitors are infinite.
Stephen Petheram delivered
some useful insights in his presentation ‘Usage of Games Consoles
to Access TV’. Much has been
said about the computing power
lying dormant in most game boxes. Petheram addressed several of
the different methods this might
be exploited to bring TV content
to viewers, and emphasised that
this ‘over the top’ delivery of
video is already happening on a
large scale. Xbox, it may be surprising to hear, is currently the
largest Video-on-Demand service
connected to a TV.
David Wood, Head of New
Technology at EBU gave a clear
and sensible snapshot of the future.
He emphasised that different countries will develop their technology
and infrastructures on different
timescales and that it would be
unwise to underestimate the differences in technological sophistication, methodology, and choice
of priorities between different
European countries. His pithy,
undeniable comment was the most
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memorable of the Summit: “We are
all in favour of a single, common
standard — as long as it’s ours.”
Wood elucidated the certain
changes ahead: there will be a
progressive move to MPEG-4;
HDTV will simply become
everyday TV, with no SD around
with which to compare it; and
there will be a trend toward
purchase of larger and larger
screen sizes. He also predicts
that, with the continuing expansion of internet TV, by 2015,
one-half of viewers will come
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02.03.2009 18
TVBE_Apr P20-22 Bus case
Page 20
A video engineering business
Can Avid escape the commoditisation of core editing markets and reinvent itself as an
audio and video project management provider? Market analysis by Adrian Pennington
For two decades Avid Technology
has been the dominant force in
nonlinear editing, and arguably
the most influential developer in
the whole post production sector.
However after a recent series of
loss-making quarters and a subsequent nosedive in its share price
the firm has been forced into
major restructuring. While the
global economic situation has no
doubt exacerbated matters, the
commoditisation of the editing
market and cut-throat competition from Apple have combined
to leave Avid facing an uphill battle to retain its market position.
This time last year Avid
announced ‘New Thinking’, a
campaign intended to ‘re-connect
with customers and restore their
confidence in our commitment to
deliver.’ The company ended its
professional entry level Xpress
Pro editing line, at the same time
halving the price of its flagship
Media Composer application to
$2,500. Avid didn’t attend NAB,
instead focusing on developing a
Gary Greenfield: The turnaround
specialist replaced David Krall last
summer as Avid chairman and CEO
new online community to get its
message across.
It subsequently shed a fifth
(500 jobs) of its workforce in a
reorganisation that saw the firm’s
multiple units reformed as a single
company, stripped down to focus
on audio and video in both pro and
consumer markets. It offloaded
Pinnacle PCTV, a range of TV
tuners, to Hauppauge Digital, and
sold 3D animation division
Softimage to Autodesk for $35 million (£22 million), a technology it
originally acquired from Microsoft
in 1998 for $285 million. Softimage
products contributed just $1.4 million of revenue in the fourth quarter
of 2008 from a total of $111.2 million for Avid’s entire Professional
Video division, and was down by
half from that of a year ago.
These changes, including a
decision to re-engage with NAB
this year albeit on a smaller
footprint, have been instigated
by a new management team
headed by Chairman and CEO
Gary Greenfield.
Known as a turnaround
specialist from his background
restructuring IT firm Peregrine
Systems and his term as a venture
capitalist, Greenfield replaced
David Krall last July. In Krall’s
five years at the helm he had
orchestrated the $462 million
acquisition of Pinnacle Systems,
an audacious move intended to
arrest Apple’s advance by grabbing a majority stake in the global
consumer-level editing market.
Indeed in 2005 when the purchase was made, Avid’s annual
turnover was predicted to top
$1billion a year. Although the
company has generated revenues
for 2006 of $911 million, $930 million in 2007 and last year $845 million it has faced six successive lossmaking quarters, most recently
reporting $31.9 million quarterly
loss on revenues of $206.7 million
(Q4 2008) which is 20% below
that of a year ago.
“Avid is changing its approach
as an organisation as its core product areas face commoditisation,”
says Vice President of Sales Patrick
Jocelyn. “We’ve gone from nine
different customer-facing companies to one company (including
merging Avid with Digidesign) and
that is naturally a huge upheaval.
We have a twin focus which is concentration on our core strengths as
an editing systems and audio tools
supplier and as a workflow expert.
Avid’s brand is strong and trusted
and that is a considerable plus
when customers face crucial investment and upgrade decisions.”
The firm is reducing its indirect
sales channels across EMEA and
India by around 10% as it tries to
improve relations with customers.
“As we want to engage better with
customers, having passionate
resellers who understand the market is far better,” explains Jocelyn.
“If there are less of those then they
will probably be more committed
to making sure customers are getting the information they need.”
Connecting all the dots
Having thwarted all previous challengers, Avid’s lock on editing
workstations began to be undermined by the 1998 launch of Final
Cut as a $1300 package running on
a standard Mac. Apple had reacted to the 9% investment Microsoft
had made in Avid as part of the
Softimage deal, with the intention
Continued on page 22
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
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©2009 ViewCast Corporation. All rights reserved. Osprey®, Niagara®, and Niagara SCX® (and design)™ are registered trademarks of ViewCast Corporation,
TVBE_Apr P20-22 Bus case
Page 22
Fresh News and Entertainment
Fergal Ringrose talked to News & Entertainment Managing Director Ben McCleod about
the recent major change in strategic direction at broadcast contribution specialist Vislink
Duncan Lewis was appointed chief executive of Vislink PLC on 1 October 2008.
Lewis’ past roles include senior advisor
in Telecommunications, Media and
Technology for The Carlyle Group;
chief executive of GTS/Ebone; managing
director of Equant; chief executive of the
Granada Media Group; and chief executive of Mercury Communications.
In January 2009, following a strategic
review, Lewis announced the formation
of new business units targeting Vislink’s
core markets in News and Entertainment,
Law Enforcement and Security, Technical
and Professional Services, and Marine
and Energy. The executive team has
been drawn from the management
team at Advent Communications, Hernis,
Link Research, Microwave Radio
Communications (MRC) and the other
companies that form Vislink. Collectively
they bring a broad range of experiences
and a strong track record of success in
RF communications, broadcast contribution solutions, telecommunications and
information technology.
Where does Vislink see the broadcast industry heading and what is Vislink’s plan?
Ben McCleod: A number of important
trends in broadcasting are likely to shape
the future direction of our industry.
Broadcasters are placing an increasing
emphasis on business metrics and the
requirement to justify capital purchases
based on demonstrable return on investment. From a vendor perspective this
means demonstrating increased efficiency,
improved productivity and ever increasing
levels of automation; plus the need to position business advantage in addition to technical merit.
On the technology front we expect a
relentless push towards TCP/IP based
ingress, content management and playout.
And with this shift will come the widespread
adoption of standard IP protocols such as
SNMP for management, enhanced FTP for
video file transfer and more modular product architectures. MPEG4 (H.264) encoding
is becoming more prevalent, particularly for
satellite communications links that exploit
its efficient use of bandwidth. Cellular
Ben McCleod: ‘Broadcasters are placing an
increasing emphasis on business metrics and
the requirement to justify capital purchases
based on demonstrable RoI’
diversity central receivers will likely supersede sites with directional antennas, and
1080 high definition content acquisition will
become the norm.
Talk about what has changed at Link Research,
Advent, MRC and their development teams?
Ben McCleod: The R&D teams at Link
Research, Advent and MRC continue to
develop products for terrestrial microwave,
satellite communications and wireless camera systems; plus solutions that address the
trends discussed above. The engineering
Video engineering business
Continued from page 20
of keeping itself relevant to the video content
creation market. Given the commoditisation
of the storage and editing market and the
headway that Apple is making among the
professional creative community, what areas
of the business are best for Avid to target?
Patrick Jocelyn says, “Avid truly understands service and perhaps there are other
companies who do not. When a customer
has a deadline and something goes awry they
are frankly not going to be happy fighting
the crowds on Regent Street,” [he refers to
London’s Apple Store].
“A big portion of Avid’s business is selling
editing and storage products and this hasn’t
changed but the underlying strength of our
business is our understanding of workflow,”
he adds. “We are a video engineering company,
not a hardware manufacturer. Our focus is
professional quality audio and video and
the workflows associated with that. To my
knowledge Interplay [Avid’a asset management software] is quite unique in terms of
how it connects all the dots together. You can
almost certainly get a cheaper solution but it
almost certainly won’t work as well.”
Avid has successfully staked out territory
in asset management at post production and
enterprise level for news and archive systems
winning considerable contracts from the
BBC (Pacific Quay), RTE and most recently GMTV.
“Five years ago a single terabyte of storage
was used to store certain items by a facility and
teams are now unified under a single leader
– John Mulcahy, MD of Vislink
Technologies – responsible for Vislink’s
forward technology strategy and R&D
teams across Europe and the United States.
The Link, Advent and MRC brands
and product portfolios will not change, and
the sales, marketing, product management,
systems engineering and customer support
functions at these companies are now part
of the market focused business units.
What does the new Vislink News and
Entertainment business look like?
Ben McCleod: Vislink News and Entertainment is marketing secure communications solutions for broadcasters worldwide.
News and Entertainment brings together
Vislink’s three established broadcast
businesses of Advent Communications,
Link Research and MRC. Most of the
world’s broadcasters are customers of one
of our companies.
Vislink News and Entertainment will
continue to support and develop the product
portfolios of all three companies: Advent’s
satellite communications solutions, Link’s
radio frequency and wireless camera systems, and Microwave Radio Communications’ electronic news gathering and
microwave solutions.
I have transitioned from my prior role
as vice president of marketing and business
development at MRC in the US, to become
managing director of Vislink News and
Entertainment. I shall be relocating to our
main campus location in the UK. This new
broadcast centric business unit includes
sales teams for the Americas, Europe,
Middle East, Africa and Asia.
the capacity seemed enough,” Jocelyn says.
“Now facilities are loading everything into
disc-based storage and it represents a huge
change. Storage is incredibly cheap so that’s
not the issue. The question is how you find
material, how you determine a project’s
naming conventions and how the project will
be made available in future.
“The difference between those facilities
who make money and those who don’t is
down to efficient project management,” he
insists. “For example, if a facility wins a
£300,000 drama series and the project originally takes 12 weeks with 10 people, efficient
workflow management may be able to finish
that project on time using six people. This
doesn’t bring in a pound more revenue from
that project but it does mean the facility has
the capacity to take on another project at the
same time.”
At the time of Krall’s departure Avid’s strategy was presented in three phases: One, get
healthy; two, build core momentum lock
spending margins; and three, unlock new
sources of growth. It also intended to work
these phases in tandem.
2008 was about putting these building
blocks into place, most notably its reorganisation as one integrated company. Speaking
to the market in January Gary Greenfield
said he believed the necessary steps have
been taken to strengthen the company.
“We’ve redefined the markets we’ll serve as
one company, towards how our audio and
video technology can empower all of our customers, from education, home enthusiasts,
artists and creative professionals to small, medium, and larger enterprise businesses,” he said.
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
Page 1
23-24 June, 2009
Hotel Russell, London WC1
Presented by:
Supported by:
Digital TV Group
Save £50 by booking
before the 1st May 2009
Over 40 international HD visionaries including:
Technical topics include:
Danielle Nagler, Head of BBC HD, BBC
HD case studies
Adam Brodziak, Technical Director, Telewizja Polsat
IT file-based production
Walter Demonte, Head of Department, WDR Germany
David Carr, Operations Director, Media City UK
Surround sound
John Luff, Television Technology Consultant, and SMPTE Fellow
Marco Pellegrinato, Deputy Director - R&E, Videotime Mediaset Group
David Roth, Manager - Engineering, HD Suisse
High frame rate HD
Chris Johns, Chief Engineer - Broadcast Strategy, BSKYB
Sissela Andrén, HD Coordinator, Swedish Television SVT
Equipment interoperability
To view the full programme please refer to the brochure enclosed in this
issue of TVBEUROPE or visit
TVBE_Apr P24-29 TVBE360news
Page 24
Free to air mobile TV
As the United States launches mobile digital television services,
Anne Schelle, executive director at the Open Mobile Video Coalition tells
Heather McLean why she thinks it will fly despite market doubts
Mobile TV
The Open Mobile Video
Coalition (OMVC), a group of
more than 800 broadcasters
whose mission is to accelerate the
development of mobile digital
television (DTV) in the US, has
joined US industry analysts in
recognising the potential of free
to air mobile TV to act as a
driver for the adoption of mobile
TV. At CES 2009, the OMVC
demonstrated its DTV solution
and said that it was unlikely that
such a solution would cost consumers anything.
Revenue generating opportunities for mobile TV in the US
exist within a free-to-air model,
says the OMVC, thanks to the
Advanced Television Systems
Committee (ATSC) standard that
dominates the country. An ATSC
tuner, often called an ATSC
receiver or HDTV tuner, allows
reception of ATSC DTV signals
broadcast over the air by TV stations in North America.
The ATSC Mobile DTV
Candidate Standard supports
over the air delivery of digital
broadcast content to devices such
as mobile phones, laptop computers,
Anne Schelle: “Mobile DTV
eliminates the need to supply
DVB-H or MediaFLO networks”
handheld PDAs, portable media
players and consoles. The standard also extends a variety of
automotive opportunities, ranging from factory installed invehicle entertainment systems to
dealer installed and aftermarket
entertainment systems, as well as
GPS systems enriched with local
broadcast receiver capabilities.
The ATSC European equivalent is DVB-H, states Anne
Schelle, executive director at the
OMVC, talking exclusively to
TVBEurope. However, she comments: “The difference is ATSC
DTV will be broadcast over existing spectrum for terrestrial and
mobile digital TV, unlike DVB-H.
Broadcasters in the US have
already moved to digital today.
What’s great about the way we are
doing digital in the US is it’s
backwards-compatible to the
existing broadcast structure, so
no one needs to buy spectrum and
the build out is very affordable
for broadcasters.”
Schelle says the average cost
for a US station to retro-fit for
mobile DTV is $50,000 to
$150,000, a figure that is a pinch
of sand compared to the vast
amounts broadcasters are used to
spending. Because of this low
price, the phrase ‘build it and they
will come’ is particularly applicable for mobile digital TV in the
US, as the return on that initial
investment is set to be simple and
fast, she claims.
She continues: “Here, with
back-compatible infrastructure,
mobile TV is affordable to get
into. This is a market where consumers are used to free-to-air and
premium services, and live local
content is highly desirable. Unlike
other markets, mobile TV is
something consumers here want.”
Favourite TV shows
US launches of mobile DTV are
set to start happening in the
fourth quarter of 2009, says
Schelle. At the beginning of the
year the OMVC announced that
66 stations have committed to
launching mobile DTV services in
2009 across 63 stations in 22 markets, covering 35% of US television households. The new technology will provide live, local and
national over the air digital television to consumers via next
generation portable and mobile
devices at pedestrian and vehicular speeds. Of the 63 stations,
there will be 14 NBC affiliates,
nine ABC affiliates, nine CBS
affiliates, five FOX affiliates,
nine ION Television affiliates,
four CW affiliates and four
MyNetworkTV affiliates, along
with nine additional PBS stations
that are in discussions with the
OMVC to join the 2009 launch.
existing signals and push local
content into mobile,” Schelle
explains. “This is currently content that is not being offered by
mobile TV operators in the US
as they would need to get it
direct from local broadcasters,
which is complicated.”
On scheduled mobile TV over
made for mobile content, Schelle
says: “Research shows consumers
want VoD, pay-per-view and
scheduled TV on the go in the US.
BCAST rich media, IP-based,
non-real time services can be
made available on top, with an
electronic services guide. The full
interactivity of mobile TV, with
the ability to do things such as
purchase tickets, read up on
sports athletes while you watch,
and vote for contestants on shows
like Dancing with the Stars can
all be done with free to air services
on ATSC.
“Made for mobile TV shows
are doing very poorly here,” she
continues. “Our research in the
US shows consumers want what
they get at home. They are
“What’s great about the way we are doing
digital in the US is it’s backwards-compatible
to the existing broadcast structure, so no one
needs to buy spectrum”
Scheduled TV is the market’s
desire, says Schelle, and particularly locally produced scheduled
TV, which, in such a vast country as the US, enjoys a strong
following throughout each state
in a way that is not seen in the
UK and Europe. “Broadcasters
in the US will be able to take
perfectly fine watching a full
length programme on the little
screen; they just want their
favourite TV shows, plus pay-perview, which can all be delivered
on this standard (ATSC).”
Purely by increasing eyeballs
on a programme, an ad model for
mobile TV works, states Schelle.
“Different models will be rolled
out based on consumer use and
acceptance. We don’t promote
business models, but I would
expect a free-to-air model to
come out first,” she adds, referring to the fact that free-to-air will
get more end users onto the service, which can be supplemented
with interactive services like VoD.
As to what mobile DTV does
to the argument for separate
mobile TV networks, the answer
is it eradicates them. Schelle
explains: “Mobile DTV eliminates the need to supply DVB-H
Broadcasters will have to work
with operators as handsets aren’t
unlocked here, so this will
add onto the mobile operator’s
offerings and increase viewership. It’s all about just driving
consumers to watch more of
their favourite programmes.”
Eventually, mobile DTV will
be just another feature that is carried on mobile devices, much like
the ubiquitous camera on today’s
mobile phones, Schelle adds.
She sums up: “For the first
time, we have the opportunity to
implement interactive TV, and
this is a relationship to the consumer that the broadcaster hasn’t
had before. It’s very exciting.”
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
TVBE_Apr P24-29 TVBE360news
Page 25
Fetch TV promises iPlayer
By Adrian Pennington
Fetch TV, the hybrid DTT and
VoD by broadband service which
launched in December, is in
advanced talks with the BBC about
porting iPlayer to its set-top box.
According to Marketing Director
Peter Cox, “Our technology was
used by the original BBC team to
develop some of the iPlayer’s initial
applications. We now have a fully
working beta on the box. Our
intention to have as much of the
catch-up community on our box as
possible, since access to free content is most likely to drive additional rental of exclusive content.”
Fetch TV is an HD-ready settop box that combines Freeview
with downloadable content over
broadband. Unlike BT Vision and
Tiscali TV which requires users to
be hooked into the relevant phone
lines, it can be accessed via any ISP
and users pay for VoD on a per use
basis. UK firm IP Vision markets
the service, backed by the French
STB firm Netgem, and features
1,200 hours of programming from
distributors including Paramount,
ITV and Turner Broadcasting.
“VoD is delivered by progressive
download whereas BT Vision
streams VoD,” says Cox. “The reason we’ve done that is that we are
confident we can deliver internet
content to any broadband connection no matter the quality of service.
A progressive download will deliver
a high quality video file, perhaps
taking slightly longer to do dependent on the internet connection,
whereas streaming with a poor quality line leads to a poor experience.”
As well as working with the
BBC on iPlayer Fetch TV is
monitoring the broadcaster’s
plans to develop an open platform for delivery of IP content to
the TV. “We certainly support
Project Canvas but we also
believe that we already have this
service. We use open standards
and Windows DRM so we’re
asking the BBC to come and see
what we’ve got.”
Cox adds, “Our plan is to
stabilise our launch offering
first, get iPlayer and other platforms online and then market
our other capabilities including
converged broadband and
broadcast applications and
home networking since our
product is DLNA certified.”
Product Launch
Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: NAB, Las Vegas, USA
Stand: C7637
Jog for delivery
Smartjog, a secure digital delivery
service provider with over 600
members in 65 countries, is showcasing new products are NAB
2009. It will announce enhancements to SmartDAM, its digital
asset management solution.
Clients can ingest, retrieve,
share, preview and distribute
assets to post houses, theaters, TV
stations, and VoD/IPTV platforms worldwide. The solution
combines the secure storage of
digital assets, including metadata,
at two mirrored data centres, with
preview streaming of video assets,
automatically generated from the
master assets.
Stored assets are immediately
accessible for digital delivery
across the SmartJog network,
upon reception via SmartTools
(which now supports HD/SD
format conversion).
NAB SL10812
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
TVBE_Apr P24-29 TVBE360news
Page 26
KOBA show next
The 19th edition of the annual
KOBA Korean broadcast, audio
and lighting equipment will be
commencing at May 26 for its
four-day market. More than 650
exhibitors from 32 countries,
including 100 companies from
Korea, will be gathered together
to optimise business success in
17,649m2 of exhibition space —
even in the recent global
economic downturn. The
expected number of products
exhibited during the show is
more than 30,000 of the latest
broadcast, audio and lighting
equipment. During the KOBA
2009, more than 40,000
domestic visitors and 1,000
international buyers are
expected to visit and expected
sales generated during the
KOBA show is 15 billion Korean
Won domestic and $7 million of
international sales consultation.
Forward expansion
To accommodate rapid growth
and increased global demand for
its digital video recorder (DVR)
products, Fast Forward Video
(FFV) is relocating to a larger
headquarters while staying in
the Southern California
technology centre of Irvine.
FFV’s new facility triples the
company’s production capacity
and accommodates its 40%
increase in engineering
resources over the past year. In
addition, the new headquarters
provides expanded facilities
for FFV’s recently doubled
sales staff, including a new
demonstration and training
room. “These are exciting times
for our company; the new
headquarters will support our
current momentum as well as
future growth,” said Hal .
Reisiger, president and CEO
of FFV.
Gefen expands to 3G
Two new video converters from
Gefen offer the ability to easily
connect different video formats
and output HD video resolutions.
They support the expanded
formats of 3G-SDI and HDMI
v1.3, offing plug-and-play
methods of interconnecting
consumer and professional
equipment in the studio. The
HDMI v1.3 to 3G-SDI converter
solution allows a direct
connection between a consumer
audio/video source, such as a
set-top box or gaming system,
to any 3G-SDI display for
integration of diverse formats.
Video is output in the 3G-SDI
format and supports all
HD resolutions.
NAB SL4205
Adrian Pennington reviews the latest market analysis emanating from IPTV World Forum
A merging of content distribution
Conference Analysis
Traditional linear services via
cable, satellite and terrestrial are
playing catch-up with telco-led IP
services forging ‘hybrid’ digital
television packages which may be
more indicative of the future of
information and entertainment
than pure IPTV.
“I expect to see more traditional pay-TV operators offering
hybrid solutions that incorporate
personalisation features and
incremental revenue generation
Verimatrix Chief Sales Officer
Steve Oetegenn, told an audience
at London’s IPTV World Forum
last month. “In five years I believe
no one will be talking about IPTV
as a standalone technology, but
rather as an implicit part of the
digital TV experience.”
The term IPTV is itself misleading, meaning many things to
many people, having emerged to
describe a business model of
delivery by controlled private
network that is rapidly being outmoded. Alcatel Lucent’s VP
multimedia, Rik Missault was
among those wanting to redefine
the phrase: “We are not talking
about telco TV or web TV but a
merging of content distribution.”
Amino CEO Andrew Burke,
who at BT helped build BT
Vision, thinks “interactive personalised TV” is a better descriptor. Disney’s European VP technology and operations Myles
MacBean revealed that internally
the studio referred to IPTV as
“connected interactive media”.
“It’s a new medium in its own
right which melds the production
values of TV and film with the
interactivity of the PC and the
community of the Net,” he
declared. “VoD over IPTV is last
generation. Only when kids who
have never known anything but the
internet go into our studios will we
truly see what connected interactive media means to our business.
But it’s beginning here now.”
Toby Russell, CEO of consultancy 3Vision, wasn’t alone
in pouring a little damp water
on the ambitions of IPTV
providers. “The cable guys are in
a strong position rolling out new
high speed 50-100Mbps broadband based on DOCSIS 3 technology. They are not concerned
about IPTV.”
Russell observed that with
convergence happening at the
consumer device and network
technology level it was becoming
“increasingly difficult to define
specific sectors of the industry as
people begin to consume content
in ways that suit them rather than
technology dictating to them.”
The mobile, PC, STB and
console “should be treated as
one client-server environment,”
observed MacBean. “Cross platform, cross media, cross business
models. It’s an ecosystem where
the customer is king. That
sounds like a platitude but our
core audience wants games,
video, music and community and
they want to be at the centre of
that connected space.”
Disney’s target is of course four14 year olds who overwhelmingly
see the PC as the most important
media for entertainment. But
MacBean’s overriding message,
that people don’t buy platforms,
“but content and entertainment”
was echoed strongly elsewhere.
BSkyB for example spends
£1.7 billion a year on programming. “Technology is nothing
without content but their marriage is more valuable still,” Sky’s
Director of On-Demand Griff
Parry told delegates. Although
BSkyB is on target to net 10 million subscribers by 2010 the real
prize is the 14 million UK households that rely exclusively on
free-to-air. The satellite operator
already has push VoD and a
The term IPTV is itself misleading, having emerged to describe a business
model of delivery by controlled private network that is rapidly being outmoded
“It’s an ecosystem where the customer is king.
That sounds like a platitude but our core audience
wants games, video, music and community and
they want to be at the centre of that connected
space” — Myles MacBean, Disney Europe
Amino CEO Andrew Burke, who at
BT helped build BT Vision, thinks
“interactive personalised TV” is a
better descriptor than IPTV
strong PVR base but plans to use
the ethernet connectivity inherent
in its Sky+ HD box to deliver pull
VoD as part of its vision of the
connected home.
IP and scheduled
“IP delivery will enhance our STB
service by offering long tail content
while facilitating search and discovery,” explained Parry. “Secondly IP
allows us to extend Sky TV onto a
new range of devices.”
The end-game is to exchange
media from PC to mobile to TV
with the minimum of fuss and
with a continuity of viewing experience. “You should be able to
watch the media you’ve paid for
regardless of screen,” Parry
stressed. “BSkyB’s online VoD
portal, streaming video, push
VoD to the PVR and mobile TV
services must be viewed as part of
a whole subscription experience,
and not in isolation.”
BSkyB views IP as complimentary to and no substitute for the
scheduled broadcast. Figures from
Sky+ households show almost 80%
of viewing is still ‘live’ with the
ability to timeshift actually boosting overall TV consumption. That’s
partly why Sky’s work on ‘targeted
substitutional advertising’ intends
to serve tailored ads into existing
commercial breaks in the linear
schedule planned for 2011, as
opposed to purely targeting ads in
association with on-demand.
“On-demand in the living
room won’t be a complete game
changer,” added Parry. “IP also
lags behind satellite when it comes
to HD. HD over IP services will
be limited by bandwidth, in the
mid-term at least, but the demand
for HD is here right now.”
Describing a successful IPTV
deployment in Sweden, Jukka
Helin, director TV content &
digital home for Nordic telco
TeliaSonera said it required 56Mbps to the home to serve a
bundle of SD channels. In the UK
such bandwidth is a luxury.
Informa Telecoms & Media’s
latest figures for IPTV adoption
worldwide total 19.96 million.
What is significant is the fact
that of the four main multichannel TV platforms, IPTV and
DTT are increasing their share
of the market and now hold
10% and 30% of the global market, respectively.
“It is a fair observation that
IPTV has not made the sort of
inroads into broadband homes
which operators might have
expected, but it is wrong to
declare that the concept is
doomed to fail,” noted Informa’s
principal analyst Julian Herbert.
“In markets where the bandwidth
is available (France, Hong Kong,
Portugal) and the marketing and
pricing are attractive, IPTV is
helping operators to improve
retention rates and attract big volumes of new customers.”
VoD, catch-up, network PVR,
HD and multi-room TV will all
drive IPTV growth but operators
must look to multi-service convergence to differentiate themselves.
“It’s time to redefine the IPTV
experience,” urged Alan Delaney,
IPTV business development director at Tandberg. “The digital
natives are growing up. They
expect what they want, where they
want it and they want it yesterday.”
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
TVBE_Apr P24-29 TVBE360news
Page 27
SysMedia partners for iTV
By Adrian Pennington
SysMedia, a subtitling and content management specialist for
interactive TV and teletext, has
allied with Finland’s Icareus
which develops TV-centric interactive services and technologies.
The duo will become technical
partners for interactive digital TV
and mobile TV. Specifically this
involves the integration of
SysMedia’s multi-platform Gold
content production and management system with Icareus’ playout
solutions across MHP, tru2way,
DVB-H and MHEG-5 platforms.
Andrew Lambourne, CEO,
SysMedia commented, “For our
customers, the benefits of this cooperation are clear: a closely inte-
grated end-to-end solution for new
digital text-based services and other
interactive TV applications backed
up by comprehensive market experience. With broadcasters across
the world looking for competitive
advantage, iTV is a proven way of
achieving increased brand penetration and this alliance makes those
opportunities truly accessible.”
In related news SysMedia has
installed its newsroom-to-web automation technology NewsWatch into
UAE satellite news and entertainment channel Alaan TV. The integration was overseen by regional
partner Wecom Global and is
intended to segue Alaan TV’s website with updated news stories from
its Avid iNews newsroom system.
Mobile field cables
Mantis is in its Element
By David Fox
Element Technica’s new Mantis
Hand-Held Kit is a configurable
and innovative shoulder-mounting
solution for film and digital motion
picture cameras. It is fully compatible with the Red One, the forthcoming Scarlet and Epic, or any
camera equipped with an Arri bridge
plate. The most significant feature
of the system is its multi-axis adjustment which provides a variable relationship between the shoulder-pad
and the dovetail to accommodate
any operator’s shoulder angle.
An extremely low-profile 2-axis
gimbal connects the shoulder-pad
and dovetail allowing fore/aft
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
linear as well as pan/roll adjustments. By simply adjusting the angle,
the weight of the camera package
can settle into a very stable equilibrium with a level horizon and
low CG (Centre-of-Gravity) making frame-tips after directional
changes a thing of the past.
The Mantis also offsets the
pan-axis angle of the shoulderpad relative to the camera so that
the LoS (Line-of-Sight) of both
operator and camera become perfectly parallel, eliminating neck
and torso twisting or side-stepping. The adjustments are so easy
they can be tweaked in between
takes. And you can go from tripod
Manoj Bhatia, of Wecom
Global, explains, “The customer
wanted the easiest way to publish
stories from its TV newsroom on
to its website, helping to expand
its audience reach and coverage.”
NewsWatch tracks a dedicated
running order in a broadcaster’s
newsroom system, watching for
stories that are highlighted for
republishing by an editor. It automatically extracts the text from stories
as they are updated, isolating the title
and editorial content and converting
it to XML for republishing without
any additional editorial effort.
to hand-held in just 20 seconds.
Element Technica’s hand-held rig
uses standard bicycle-style grips
on rosette mounted handles.
These include a home for the
ViewFactor Origo remote start/
stop button and are connected to
the rosette cross bar with telescopic handle extensions.
NAB C9549
opticalCON line of pre-assembled
mobile field cables to include a costeffective camera link set up,
opticalCON Low Voltage Camera/
Single mode Hybrid cable. Ideal for
any broadcast application including
mobile broadcast studios/trucks,
touring staging productions and live
performances, Neutrik’s newest
addition to opticalCON’s preterminated cable offerings will be on
display at N7929.
opticalCON cable connectors
are pre-assembled with a choice of
six mobile field cables. The range
of cables includes rugged hybrid,
robust and lightweight mobile field
cables with two multi- or singlemode fibres.
TVBE_Apr P24-29 TVBE360news
Page 28
ADVision revenue
Orad has released the next
generation of ADVision, a
turnkey virtual advertising
system. The patent-pending
system potentially opens new
revenue streams from various
sports productions. ADVision can
be adapted to any type of sport,
including soccer, basketball,
American football, and extreme
sports; operated from a studio or
an OB VAN; and used to support
both HD and SD productions.
ADVision substantially increases
the amount and the visibility of
an ad’s exposure. Broadcasters
now have the option of
integrating dynamic and
animated advertisements,
thanks to ADVision’s automatic
frame recognition.
Waveform update
DK-Technologies has announced
an important software update
for its PT0760M HD/SD
multichannel video waveform
monitor. The software update
has resulted in a much simpler
menu structure, making it easier
for users to navigate the
PT0760M’s video and audio
features. The unit also now has
plug-and-play capability and
incorporates Dolby Digital and
Dolby E decoding, either from
embedded audio within the
HD/SD video or through
separate AES inputs via a Dolby
decoder module.
Adrian Pennington appraises the online strategies of the UK’s major broadcasters
Establishing cross-platform presence
360 Cross Platform
Although they were launched as a
defensive measure against the
threat of piracy and the rise of
longform video portals like Joost,
the UK’s online TV landscape is
now dominated by the major terrestrial broadcasters. More people
now use broadcasters’ online
services — including ITV.com,
Channel 4’s 4oD, MTV.co.uk and
iPlayer — than YouTube, according to commercial TV marketing
body Thinkbox.
And the popularity of independent sites, including heavily
hyped ‘content aggregators’ like
Joost, is tiny by comparison. In
part this is due to the ability of
broadcasters to cross-promote
their on-demand services on TV
and the familiarity viewers feel by
accessing online content from a
trusted brand. It is also a function
of a strategy designed to extend
their players across device and
service platforms.
There is clear correlation
between greater accessibility to
an online service and greater volumes of traffic. Joost claims
audience numbers to its website
grew 20% after it launched on
iPhone; an astonishing third
(95 million) of iPlayer’s views last
year came from Virgin Media;
3% of iPlayer views come from
mobile devices and another 1%
from Nintendo Wii, illustrating
Ben McOwen Wilson: “Finding a way to make our
archive accessible is the next challenge”
that some platforms deliver
greater returns than others.
Channel 4’s 4oD has been
present on all three closed VoD
TV platforms (Tiscali, Virgin
Media and BT Vision) since
shortly after launch and receives
over 80 million of its 135 million
2008 views from them although
the broadcaster expects PC views
to draw level this year. C4 content
is also syndicated on iTunes and
downloadable to iPod and iPhone.
“We’ve been absolutely clear in
our strategy that the success of our
own application and URL is part
of a wider distribution business,”
says Sarah Rose, Channel 4’s head
of video-on-demand. “Distribution
is about scale and reaching people
that don’t actively come to you.
You can’t assume they will come
through your own website.”
Moving to Silverlight
Channel 4 and ITV have arguably
been most exposed by the guillotining of Kangaroo with questions asked about whether the
time and expense of developing
the joint archive sales venture
“We think there’s a vacuum in this space for
some leadership so that the internet hits the
living room in the right way, rather than in a
fragmented way” — Anthony Rose, BBC Vision
would have been better concentrated closer to home.
“We’ve invested hugely in
ITV.com as a destination for the
big shows close to broadcast, but
in terms of the exploitation of
our archive it’s a fair criticism,”
says Director of ITV Online Ben
MuxXpert – Real-Time Multiplexing Redefined
• Exceptionally flexible and cost-effective software-based approach
• Re-multiplex live Transport Streams and local content from disk
• Automatic PSI and DVB-SI extraction, re-generation and insertion
• Runs on a standard PC with all DekTec input and output adapters
• Adaptation of PIDs, service IDs, tables, descriptors, etc.
High Definition reference monitor
3 ways to stand out from the crowd
As the first true Grade-1 LCD with this level of image quality, Barco’s
RHDM-2301 High-Definition reference monitor offers three ways to stand
out from the crowd:
• Colors that last
• Excellent motion handling
• Accurate colors
Find out more at NAB, Booth SL5008
McOwen Wilson. “Finding a way
to make our archive accessible is
the next challenge.”
Last month ITV Player gained
access to Virgin Media’s 3.5 million subscribers, who as iPlayer as
proved, are heavy users of ondemand. ITV is also working on
an iPhone application.
Arguably the biggest impact
on the success of online TV services to date has been the transition
from Windows Media-based
downloads to streaming technologies that permit access on PCs
including Mac and Linux. The
BBC was the first to achieve this,
in December 2007, but commercial broadcasters were forced to
make the switch much later. They
were constrained by the US
majors who insisted on the sole
use of Windows Media DRM to
safeguard premium movie and
entertainment programming.
Ironically, when NBC and
Fox launched Hulu using Flash,
the studios began to relax their
attitude toward streaming adsupported video and then
streaming paid-for content. The
Mac universe may be small
(around 3.5% worldwide, 2% in
the UK) but users are “disproportionately heavy consumers
of entertainment,” explains
Blinkbox. “Flash unlocks that
market.” 10% of iPlayer views
come via Macs.
Last November ITV and
Sky relaunched versions of
their players with Silverlight,
Microsoft’s Mac-compatible web
browser programme (which still
uses Windows Media Player as
its DRM).
“Progressive downloads were a
difficult user experience,” admits
Ben McOwen Wilson, ITV’s
director of Strategy. “We’re happier now we’re on Silverlight.”
4oD remains inaccessible to
Mac users although its channel4.com/catchup service is Mac
compatible since March 30 after
transitioning to Flash. It will be
hoping for similar volumes that
Five achieved in January when it
switched to Flash and saw
Demand Five traffic grow more
than 75% in three weeks.
“We initially launched as a
transactional only site offering
VoD of CSI and Grey’s Anatomy.
It didn’t work. We were being left
behind,” says Head of Digital
Media Jonathan Lewis. “The
focus is now about free and catchwww.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
TVBE_Apr P24-29 TVBE360news
Page 29
up. The second focus is to distribute Demand Five on as many
platforms as possible.”
It arrived on BT Vision last
October, is ‘re-engaging’ with
Joost and has Virgin and Tiscali
in its sights. “We have to make
our digital business profitable,
and we can’t pour millions into
it,” says Lewis. “We’re very
focused on broadband delivery to
PC, then STB. Mobile is further
down the line for us.”
iPlayer has the most spread. It
has been extended to multiple 3G
and wi-fi phones, MP3 players,
consoles PS3 and Wii and Virgin
Media. The latest version of
iPlayer’s download manager,
iPlayer Desktop, has been developed using Adobe’s AIR technology enabling the download of
content to Open Source or Mac
computers for the first time.
iPlayer now supports three separate
Microsoft, Adobe, and OMA
for mobiles.
BBC Vision & Online Media
Group Controller Anthony Rose
stresses that making the iPlayer
work on PC platforms remains
the main priority. “Over 90% of
iPlayer consumption is to PC
platforms, with the balance to
mobile devices, portable media
players and gaming platform.
We need to be platform neutral,”
he says. “We’ve been looking to
drive the market for online
mobile as well as the new generation of consoles and STBs. We
pick those that meet our quality
and impact goals in the most
cost-effective way.”
Hi Tech assigns control panels
Hi Tech Systems is showing for the
first time the complete range of its
new asigN configurable control
panels. Already in use at several US
broadcasters, the panels allow
MAC or Windows applications’
controls to be allocated to LCD
key switches or a control wheel.
The advantage is that operators have a clear and quick
interface to a computer application without the need for
keyboard and mouse, and multiple applications on multiple
computers can be allocated
to just one panel. The LCD
keys can be configured for
colour, brightness, text or icon
and a wealth of operational
functions – grouping, GPI triggering, a string of keyboard
shortcuts or the launch of
Java scripts, to name but a few of
the possibilities.
The beauty of the system is the
i-asigN software, which runs as a
service on the connected computer(s) and allows drag-anddrop of any control button normally accessed by a mouse to the
chosen asigN panel LCD key or
control wheel. Applications can
be opened with one asigN keystroke, and can be controlled even
if not in screen focus.
IPTV delivery
The ultimate step for all these
services is the living room, and it
is IPTV delivery that will take
online TV and the broadcasters’
catch-up services mainstream.
The BBC has set itself the task
of devising a single framework
(Project Canvas) for it and others to launch services on set-top
boxes, internet-enabled TV sets
and other gadgets. The move
comes as consumer electronics
manufacturers begin retailing
sets that connect viewers to the
Internet via Ethernet cable or
USB Wi-Fi dongle.
Select Samsung HDTVs have
launched powered by the Yahoo
Widget engine that allows users
to track things like the weather
and news feeds. Similar interactivity is available through
Sony’s Bravia Internet Video
Link. Panasonic has Viera Cast,
which brings YouTube and HD
movie rental from Amazon to
the TV. LG promises to stream
movies from Netflix.
“The question is should the
BBC support a dozen different
brands or should we help shape
the industry so that there is one
common standard,” asks Rose.
“We think there’s a vacuum in
this space for some leadership so
that the internet hits the living
room in the right way, rather
than in a fragmented way.”
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
Page 1
si at ll b
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s AB ex
on 2 hi
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an 9 in
Why visit IBC2009?
Network with over 1,400 exhibitors
Industry led conference programme
Attracts 49,000+ actual attendees, from over 130
FREE - Participate in the Show Floor Training areas
FREE - IBC2009 Zones: IPTV, Mobile and Digital Signage
FREE - Business Briefing Sessions
FREE - The IBC Big Screen Experience
FREE - New Technology Campus
FREE - The prestigious IBC Awards ceremony
the content
creation • management • delivery
Conference 10 - 14 September
Exhibition 11 - 15 September
RAI Amsterdam
IBC Fifth Floor International Press Centre 76 Shoe Lane London EC4A 3JB UK Tel: +44 (0) 20 7832 4100 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7832 4130 Email: show@ibc.org
TVBE_Apr P31-44 NAB v4
Page 31
New monitoring and signal
integrity ranges from Argosy
Argosy’s new LCD HD video monitor range, providing high quality
video monitoring in a choice of
composite, component, SD and
HD formats, will have its inaugural
showing at NAB. These units
include tally lights and an easy to
use scroll menu accessible from the
front panel that enables the users to
select aspect ratio, contrast, colour
and sharpness. The monitors are
available in a number of screen formats and feature a rack mount
chassis that is able to be tilted to
improve the viewing angle.
Also to debut at NAB will
be Argosy’s new SDI fibre video
converter. This converter offers
greater distances for the transmission of SDI signals — up to 20km
depending on bit-rate being used
— at one of the lowest price points
available on the market. It works
by receiving an HD-SDI electrical
input and converting this into a
single mode optical signal and
supports the transmission of SDSDI (143-540Mbps) and HD-SDI
(1.485Gbps). Both transmitter
and receiver provide automatic
equalisation and input re-clocking
to ensure signal integrity.
The Argosy Power Manager
Mains Distribution Unit (MDU)
will also be shown for the first time
at NAB. The intelligent Power
Manager range offers a unified
global power management solution.
These MDUs are designed to provide the full flexibility required by
technical operations for a range of
applications from television and
radio broadcasting to recording
studios, IT and telecommunications
facilities. They offer full SNMP
alarm monitoring, the ability to
administers all the control of input
and output locations, and 16 GPI
inputs for the remote management
of non-networked rack hardware.
So you didn’t make it out to NAB this year? Not to worry, we’ll bring you
the best from the show over the next three issues! In March issue we
already previewed over 50 brand new innovations from NAB exhibitors,
and this issue we’re pleased to bring you over 50 more in Part II of
our NAB Product Preview. Through our pages (and our weekly TVB-e
electronic newsletter) you can keep a check on what’s of most interest
to your facility, ahead of possible first European showing at IBC in
September. — Fergal Ringrose
Marquis and Bycast
for media workflows
Ultra slow-motion HD
By David Fox
SprintCam V3 HD is claimed by
i-movix to be the first full HD native
broadcast integration solution for
ultra slow-motion that allows the
user to capture from 500 to 1,000
frames per second, with instant
replay. Producing slow-motion output equivalent to 20 to 40x slower
than normal speed, the SprintCam
V3 HD system offers the unmatched combination of very high
frame rates, exceptional image quality and light-sensitivity, instant
replay, broadcast integration, and
ease of installation and use.
The SprintCam V3 HD system can be operated out of the
box as a complete system, in conjunction with an EVS LSM server
for sequence storage, or with any
SDI recorder. The system is made
up of a high-speed HD camera,
an operational control panel, a
slow-motion remote, and the
camera control unit. SprintCam
V3 HD will be ready for sale in
June 2009 through i-movix’s
network of distributors. The
i-movix SprintCam range encompasses now three new products
for a whole set of slow-motion
applications: the SprintCam Live
V2.1, the V3 HD and the
SprintCam Basic.
Marquis Broadcast and Bycast
will show the results of their
recently announced joint technology integration partnership at
NAB 2009 for the first time in
booth SU6925. The companies
will demonstrate Bycast’s integration of Marquis’ Medway
media transfer and format conversion software with its
StorageGRID storage virtualisation software. This integration
enables users to achieve improvements in the speed and efficiency
of file-based workflows when
transferring media between a
variety of post production and
broadcast applications. It also
allows users to create highly efficient workflows across multiple
remote sites.
At NAB, Marquis and Bycast
will demonstrate a post production and broadcast workflow by
moving media between capture,
edit, and distribution sites, all connected to a global StorageGRID
repository. Medway will capture
digital content from cameras in
all popular formats including
From this content, Medway will
create multiple editable formats
for a range of editing systems
including Avid and Apple Final
Cut, storing them in the
StorageGRID repository.
Gold Mount for the EX3
By David Fox
Anton/Bauer, a brand of The
Vitec Group, is unveiling its new
QR-EX3 Gold Mount for the
Sony PMW-EX3 video camera
at Booth C6021. The QR-EX3
on-camera Gold Mount allows
Sony’s model to work with
Anton/Bauer’s Dionic 90 or
Hytron 50 batteries, extending
the camera’s run-times and
improving balance.
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
In addition, the QR-EX3 comes
standard with an Anton/Bauer
PowerTap connector, which allows
the powering of an on-camera
light, wireless receiver, or any other
12v accessory. The Dionic 90 battery provides up to 6.5 hours of run
time while the Hytron 50 battery
offers up to 3.5 hours. For optimum results, the ideal package
from Anton/Bauer includes the
QR-EX3 Gold Mount, the Dionic
1051 triax
SD/HD signal compliant
OB, Studio and Stadium
Fast assembly
Easy installation
Field maintenance friendly
Integrated cable bend relief
High strength and rugged
Watertight IP68 (2m/24h)
Gender reversible
Improved RF performance
Integrated connector and
cable assembly solutions
NAB, Las Vegas
April 20-23, 2009
Booth C9114
Fischer Connectors SA
Saint-Prex – Switzerland
Phone +41 21 800 95 95
90 — 90Wh 14.4v Lithium Ion battery, the Tandem 70 Gold Mount
70 watt charger/power supply, and
the UL2-20 Ultralight 2 camera
mounted light with integral 20-inch
PowerTap cable (optional).
TVB_EN_1051_111x314_11_08.indd 1
31 17:01
TVBE_Apr P31-44 NAB v4
Page 32
TVBEU R O PE N A B 2 0 0 9 P R E V I E W
Chyron central
At NAB, Chyron is targeting the
centralisation process of the
broadcast environment by
providing flexible and contentrich workflow solutions for all
operations. AXIS with OMS
(Order Management Solution) is
an effective and organised
method to customise, centralise
and output the most creative
digital content. Offering both
self fulfilment of templated
graphics and order placement
for original content, AXIS with
OMS provides realtime
reporting at all stages of
production. iRB (Intelligent
Rundown Builder) is a
revolutionary, browser-based,
tool for the creation,
modification and deletion of
running orders which allows you
to have a newsroom-style
workflow without the newsroom
system (NRCS). Channel Box
v3.0 offers superior ROI with an
enhanced feature-set including
self-adjusting ‘Content
Awareness’ and VDS’s
PromoLite, making automated
promo generation simple and
efficient. In addition, it supports
BXF and EAS (Emergency Alert
System). MicroClyps is a video
server that defines a new
price/performance paradigm for
graphics technology. Virtually
instantaneous clip recall and
playout makes MicroClyps a
perfect match for demanding
live applications.
New performance quality range for camera price
Panasonic to raise P2 bar
By Andy Stout
Panasonic has unveiled the “world’s
first affordable” professional camcorder with 10-bit, 4:2:2, individual
frame recording and native 2.2
megapixel imagers. Incorporating
an innovative, low profile shouldermounted design, the 1/3-inch AGHPX301E P2 HD camcorder offers
the flexibility of an interchangeable
lens but comes standard with a 17x
HD Fujinon lens.
The AG-HPX301E imager
incorporates advanced 1/3-inch
2.2-megapixel 3-MOS technology
to acquire full native resolution
HD images. With a redesigned
optical block and a high-precision
prism bonding technology, these
advanced 3-MOS imagers provide
exceptional image quality while
minimising any flare and chromatic aberration. A new 20-bit digital
signal processor (DSP) also
enhances the HPX301E’s image
performance. The solid-state 1/3inch HPX301E offers the security
of a five-year warranty program
Sachtler, a Vitec Group
brand, is introducing to NAB
the Reporter 8LEDim
which was formally
launched at IBC2008.
This new on-camera
LED lighting fixture can
be dimmed continuously
from 100 to 30%, to
provide just the right
amount of light for any
shooting situation,
particularly for
interviews or stand-ups. The
robust camera light is equipped
with innovative LED technology,
that not only offers an
extremely long bulb life, but also
provides significantly higher efficiency than
comparable halogen or HMI lights. Ideal for ENG use, the extremely
robust Reporter 8LEDim features an input voltage ranging from
6-24V, which allows it to be powered off the same battery or power
supply the camera is using, including Sachtler’s FSB CELL. At just 8W
of power consumption, the unit can provide 250 Lumens of light. The
Reporter 8LEDim features a removable 45˚ rotatable four-leaf barndoor
and a PowerBase connection.
(one year, plus four additional
years with registration), ultimate
quality and flexibility in an affordable, full-size HD camcorder.
“The HPX301E establishes a
new benchmark for performance
within this price range,” said Nela
Pertl, European Provideo product
manager at Panasonic Professional & IT Systems Europe (PBITS).
“It not only captures full native
1920x1080 HD resolution, but it
allows professionals to record at
a quality level that no other
Annoyance at inconsistency increasing
Audio loudness problems are nothing new. For years broadcasters
have had the challenge of providing
audio and video content to their
target audience while minimising
complaints about the drastic variations in audio loudness between
programme and commercial.
As more and more channels
with inconsistent audio levels are
distributed to the home, public
annoyance has increased. Some
recent studies have shown up to a
17dB deviation in perceived loudness of programming between
channels. Home listeners have
had to tolerate this problem by
either muting the commercials or
adjusting the volume as they watch
their programmes.
Evertz has recognised this
dilemma and presents IntelliGain
Creating solutions. Together.
Efficient, multi-functional 150+ modules, including dual channel
cards, for a 1000 3Gb/s, HD, SD-analog audio & AES/EBU
solutions in a single form factor.
Highly sophisticated embedded HD/SD audio processing and
Teranex® powered HD format converters.
A full modular Dolby® solution.
The fast track to legally required 24/7 analog and digital compliance
Control and monitoring software.
9140087_Adv_181x121.indd 1
Everz tackles the audio issues
See us at NAB2009,
booth SU11410
camcorder in this price range can
equal. Superseding the compromise of 8-bit, long GOP, 4:2:0
recording, the HPX301E provides
master-quality, 10-bit, 4:2:2 individual frame capture using our
award winning AVC-Intra codec.
Video professionals will immediately realise that this camera is in
a field of its own.”
Delivering the quality of
AVC-Intra 100 and AVC-Intra
50, the HPX301E also records
individual frame images in
100Mbps DVCPRO HD and
in standard definition in
which provides faster workflow
and less degradation in multigenerational rendering.
By Fergal Ringrose
as the solution. This technology
can be applied to a number of
Evertz products, including frame
synchronisers, protection switches,
audio embedders and de-embedders
just to name a few. It offers consistent audio loudness levels within a channel and/or programme;
automatic detection and level
adjust for loud commercials;
gain control within a programme
interval to preserve audio dynamic range; and artifact-free
transitions between programmes
and commercials
IntelliGain processes long term
trends in the audio content and
uses a multi-minute time coefficient, which applies a smooth
attack producing the final target
loudness output.
Blue tapeless
workflow 3.3
The core element of Blue Order’s
exhibit will be Media Archive 3.3,
a MAM solution that can easily be
configured and scaled to suit the
needs of evolving media organisations. Media Archive makes access
to content quick and easy, automates workflows and enables content users to reuse, repurpose and
resell their content more efficiently.
Media Archive allows for integrated
and consistent workflows throughout the production process chain,
transforming production silos into
a fully integrated enterprise wide
production platform.
Media Archive now allows
Application Service Providers (ASP)
to offer computer-based services to
their customers over a network. Its
open architecture and extensive
interfaces to third-party systems
support ASP providers in offering a
solution tailored to the needs of
their clients, while significantly
reducing their total cost of ownership. Media Archive’s software
architecture supports multi-tenancy.
06-04-2009 15:57:39
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
TVBE_Apr P31-44 NAB v4
Page 33
TVBEU R O PE N A B 2 0 0 9 P R E V I E W
Yellobrik fibre interface launch by Lynx Technik
By Fergal Ringrose
Distance limitations of 1.5GHz signals over copper are restrictive, and
now with 3GHz (1080/60p) distance
issues are even more problematic.
Lynx Technik’s small affordable
‘Yellobrik’ signal processing products
overcome the distance limitations
and allow the transmission and
reception of pristine uncompressed
HD-SDI video, including full 1080/
60p signals, up to 10km (6.2 miles).
They can be connected to any product with HD-SDI inputs and outputs.
For fibre transmissions, connected SDI input signals are automatically detected and re-clocked.
The SDI to fibre-optic transmitter
module is suitable for any SDI signal up to 1080/60p, with support
provided for DVB-ASI signal
streams. The fibre-optic to SDI
receiver module converts the fibre
signal back into SDI video for
transparent error-free transmission
up to 10km (6.2 miles).
For bi-directional applications,
Lynx is introducing a fibre trans-
ceiver, which combines a fibre transmitter and receiver in a single compact package. Users can place a Lynx
transceiver at each location and
transmit and receive HD-SDI video
signals up to 10km (6.2 miles).
All three models use LC optical
connectors and include AC power
brick, and wall mounting brackets.
The fibre cable is not included.
Onboard recorder
for digital cameras
S.two will show its new OB-1
onboard recorder with removable
FlashMAG solid-state digital film
magazines for the first time at NAB
2009 (SL-12005). OB-1 is designed
to give filmmakers unprecedented
freedom; it is compact, lightweight,
affordable, and requires no manual
or instruction to operate.
OB-1 reliably records uncompressed images (2k, 3k, 4k, Dual
HD 444). It records from up to four
cameras simultaneously using solidstate magazines with capacities of
at least 30 minutes, requires minimal energy (runs from camera output, less than 2.5kg; fan-less, silent
operation), and provides variable
frame rate to 60P, 3D 444; realtime
on-the-fly de-Bayer, user look
management and full monitoring
support, analogue audio input, Ext
TC with true Jam Sync-24 hr internal clock, and much more.
DFT arises from
Bones of Thomson
By Andy Stout
OptiPin (Optical Pin Registration)
from DFT is a film guidance and
image stabilisation option for the
DFT Spirit 4k/2k/HD family of
telecines and scanners. The OptiPin
solution addresses the major difference between film scanning systems
— the type of film transport.
A capstan-driven film transport provides realtime and gentle
film handling and can accommodate shrunken film or damaged
perforations. Pin-registered film
transports are slower and place
stress on the film by forcing pins
into the perforations. The new
OptiPin solution merges the
advantages of both types of transport methods resulting in stability
that is comparable to frame-byframe pin-registered transport
with realtime, continuous motion
‘touch-free’ capstan methods.
Version 4.0 provides enhanced
features to the Bones Dailies Linuxbased software platform, a solution
that significantly enhance the
throughput of dailies.
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
TVBE_Apr P31-44 NAB v4
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TVBEU R O PE N A B 2 0 0 9 P R E V I E W
Omneon expands with MediaDeckGX
Strategic moves into graphics and audio processing
By Fergal Ringrose
Open MXF support
NAB sees the world launch of
MediaDeck GX, a channel-playout
solution that combines video server
playout, world-class graphics, and
advanced audio processing — all of
which operate under the control of
the user’s preferred automation system. Offering rich branding and master control functionality, MediaDeck
GX makes it easier and more affordable for broadcasters to launch new
services or to make incremental additions to their existing channel lineup.
OpenCube will be presenting new
MXF software features for
enhancing tapeless workflows at
NAB 2009. OpenCube has
acquired significant experience in
HDTV standards and MXF file
format over the years, and has
developed innovative equipment
and easy-to-use software
applications that allow users to
make the most of these new
technologies. The company’s
MXF product range offers costeffective tools for highly
productive, hassle-free
workflows. OpenCubeHD/SD v2.2
servers are robust DDRs able to
ingest all types of MXF footages —
whether HD or SD — and print
them back to tape.
Geoff Stedman, Omneon senior
vice president for products and
markets said, “unlike other singlebox playout systems that tie users to
an embedded automation system,
MediaDeck GX delivers best-ofbreed performance across playout,
graphics, and audio processing while
giving users the flexibility to choose
the automation system that best
meets their requirements.”
MediaDeck GX unites three
key components of a typical channel
chain: the MediaDeck transmission platform from Omneon, a
leading branding and master control module, and template-based
graphics software (developed by
Pixel Power). The MediaDeck GX
system plays out stored stills and
animations while enabling mixing
and playout of voice-overs, promos,
and stingers, with optional encoding and decoding of AC-3 and
Dolby E audio. Also among the
system’s branding and master
well as
high definition tri-level sync.
All active circuit elements are
front loaded and hot-swappable.
The unit can be equipped with
single or dual internal power supplies and internal single or dual
system controllers are available as
options. The unit supports a
10/100 Ethernet control interface
in addition to our standard
QuStream PRC, four wire, RS422
for compatibility with existing
systems. The Cougar 3GEN is
the perfect add-on to existing
PESA or QuStream systems providing 3G, 1080p switching.
All units feature auto-equalisation on inputs and auto reclocking on all outputs. SMPTE
standards 259M, SMPTE 292M
and SMPTE 424M to 3Gbps are
supported and Cougar 3GEN is
compatible with 3500PRO or
PERC2K system controllers and
the full line of control panels.
post production or audio post
production studio.
Launched at IBC 2008, t:player,
the ToolsOnAir automated
playout solution, completes the
ToolsOnAir product range.
t:player manages playout from
video servers, studio feeds and live
feeds and has the capability to
easily integrate realtime graphics,
including corner logos, realtime
tickers linked to RSS feeds, and
remote databases.
t:manager works tightly with
t:player and CompositionBuilder,
the ToolsOnAir Apple-based realtime graphic solution. Templates
built in CompositionBuilder can
easily be brought on air in realtime,
including last time change capabilities. Additionally, t:manager
can be used to playout videos or
graphics in an on-air environment
and is able to automate complex
processes in all studio playout.
QuStream Cougar leaps to 3G
QuStream is announcing the new
Cougar 3GEN, a high performance, medium-sized router which
extends the success of the original
Cougar SD range, on booth N3421.
The Cougar 3GEN is a one
rack unit video router offered as
a 32x32 or 16x16 which supports
all SMPTE standard data
rates from 143Mbps to 3Gbps
with auto-equalisation on all
inputs. Auto-rate sensing and
reclocking capability is standard
on all outputs.
Bridge to DVB-S2
Bridge Technologies is
introducing the VB270, a new
QPSK module with both DVB-S
and DVB-S2 demodulation. Up
to two VB270s can be
supported by the VB220 and
VB120 IP-PROBES for TR 101
290-based monitoring and
alarming in satellite-based
distribution networks. The
VB270’s QPSK capabilities
include DiSEqC 2.x compliance,
SNR and BER monitoring,
analog RF carrier signal level
measurements, built-in general
purpose alarm relay (GPI), and
configurable round-robin
transponder testing.
In addition, nonSMPTE standard data rates from
143Mbps to 3Gbps are supported
in non-reclocked or bypass mode
and DVB-ASI is fully supported on
every path. Two independent reference inputs are provided, each
capable of accepting analog black
burst in NTSC or PAL formats as
ToolsOnAir Station in a Mac
By Heather McLean
Since its inception, ToolsOnAir
has remained focused on its goal
of creating a complete TV Station
in a Mac for broadcasters, IPTV
and web TV stations. As a result
Analog Way, partner of TFWM Pavilion at NAB 2009 – Booth C12337
of that focus, the company is
releasing the two new products
that complete its TV Station in a
Mac solution at NAB 2009. The
most recently finalised product is
the Quicktime-based ingest solution, Just:In. Just:In is an Apple
Quicktime-based ingest solution
that fits perfectly into the production process of any TV station,
control capabilities are wipes,
fades, pushes, and other transitions
typical of presentation mixers, as
well as dual DVEs for squeezeback
and other DVE effects.
The channel-playout system
accepts data feeds from XML,
VANC, and serial sources to enable
creation of data-driven graphics
including tickers, ratings slides, and
EAS alerts. By reading VBI/VANC
metadata, MediaDeck GX also can
update AFD information and
apply templates based on the active
picture or V-Chip data.
Zaxcom adapts stereo transmission
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Now shipping, the STA150 allows
ENG audio professionals to transform an existing single-channel
Zaxcom TRX900 or TRX900AA
wireless transmitter into a 2-channel
transmitter for an instant sound
bag-to-camera link. With all connections mounted on the side of the
unit, the STA150 is designed specifically for use in sound bags to provide instant, on-the-go ease of use.
The STA150 stereo adaptor
provides a balanced stereo audio
input that eliminates
ground loop problems.
With a dedicated time code
input, the new adaptor
enables an exact match of
audio recorded on the TRX
and audio/video recorded
on-camera by synchronising the time code generator
inside the TRX unit and
loading of audio onto
the TRX’s CompactFlash
Tektronix TG700 for 3G
Significant upgrades for the
successful TG700 modular multiformat precision video signal generator include the addition of
1080p SDI signal generation on a
single link. This capability is added
through the new 3Gbps HD3G7
module that supports both Level A
and Level B 1080p SMPTE formats.
The 3Gbps HD3G7 modules assist
video equipment designers and
manufacturers to get to market
quickly and efficiently and facilitate early 3Gbps services roll out
for broadcasters and post production operators.
The TG700 is a modular platform that offers great flexibility for
memory card. The new
STA150 interface also features an output that can be
used either as an audio
monitor for playback from
the memory card or as
a time code output to
jam other devices. The
STA150 includes an external power input for
connection to a 12-volt
external power source.
customers to choose precisely the
output signal types that they need,
and provides an immediate upgrade
path for those who wish to purchase
a signal generator now but add
3Gbps outputs at a later date.
The GPS7 module allows the
TG700 to act as a master clock
and synchronisation system,
including video reference and time
code, for broadcast and post production operators.
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Venice serves DVS launch in Las Vegas
By Fergal Ringrose
Kicking-off a new product line
specially for the broadcast market,
DVS for the first time will present
its new Venice video server at NAB.
Broadcasters worldwide can now
benefit from the experience which
distinguishes DVS in its core competencies of video, storage and IT.
By optimising workflows Venice
combines the reliability and performance of the established DVS
systems with the demands of
future-proof broadcasting.
NAB visitors to booth SL6920
will experience ways to optimise
workflows in post production, broadcast and the presentation business
by using DVS’s high-performance
systems. Clipster, the DVS flagship
product, once again demonstrates its
role as the core of a DI workflow.
Clipster generates Digital Video
Packages by processing the preferred
versions of video formats, audio files
and subtitles. The Digital Video
Packages function as digital master
for all possible output formats.
When it comes to your digital content workflow,
one company gives you the
Power of Choice.
DCI Mastering for 3D projects
will also be presented at the DVS
booth. Clipster transforms stereoscopic film data to Digital Cinema
Packages in realtime and according
to DCI specifications. Moreover
Clipster now supports the MXF
formats typically used in a broadcast environment such as DVCPRO
and XDCAM in SD and HD. The
Pronto family of disk recorders
now processes these formats as well.
DVS presents new possibilities
for its central media hub SpycerBox,
which can be used as NAS solution
as well as high-performance entrylevel SAN solution. This ‘SAN in a
box’ offers all the features of a comprehensive realtime SAN. Its Ingest
Option allows the direct ingest or
play-out of uncompressed video
and audio data for film and broadcast projects.
Codex adds
new Station
By David Fox
Accelerate and customize your digital workflow with the platform that enables
best-of-breed solutions. The power of choice is yours with Omneon.
Only Omneon delivers a complete content platform optimized for your digital content workflows. Our
comprehensive portfolio of media servers, active storage and applications accelerate your workflow –
eliminating bottlenecks and improving efficiencies. And Omneon’s heritage of innovation and commitment
to service is unmatched across the industry. If you’re looking for a scalable, flexible and reliable digital
content platform, the choice is clear: Trust Omneon.
For more information, go to www.omneon.com
©2008 Omneon, Inc. All rights reserved. Omneon and the Omneon logo are trademarks of Omneon, Inc.
With the US debut at NAB (c/o
BandPro C10408) of the Codex
Transfer Station to complement its
Portable – a combination that is
shipping – the company says it is
setting new standards for end-toend workflow.
“Production and post have traditionally been separate, artificial
activities, in need of a unified flow,”
remarked the company’s co-founder
Paul Bamborough. “We bridge that
gap, making production and post
seamless. New at NAB we’re showing a complete portable recording
and dailies transfer system.
“These products allow you to
record whatever you want, compressed or uncompressed, to rapidly
turn that material into whatever
files you want on a daily basis, and
deliver more conveniently than
ever to whoever needs it in production or post.
“When you record to film or to
tape, you’re faced with roadblocks
rather than a workflow – processing, copying, recopying, ingesting,
synching, logging. These are all
time-consuming, costly steps.
With Codex you get all the deliverables you want – like take-home
copies, effects and editorial finishing files, complete metadata,
archive copies – all on-demand, all
faster than realtime, and all for
free. Our Portable and Transfer
Station abolish the traditional
delays and intermediate steps that
hamstring productivity.”
Codex systems have been used
on a diversity of productions. In
broadcast these include BBC kids
TV series Grandpa In My Pocket,
spots for Apple’s iPhone and
Lincoln cars, and most recently a
‘live’ show by stand-up US comedian Dane Cook for HBO. Codex
has featured on major studio
pictures such as Warner Bros.’
Speed Racer and Walt Disney’s
Alice In Wonderland, with
Lucasfilm’s Red Tails and
Disney’s TRON 2.0 in production.
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Cable-free viewer for studios
By David Fox
New IP Concert is Clear
Clear-Com Communication Systems
is showcasing the latest version of
its software-based intercom solution,
Clear-Com Concert V2.0 on booth
C6521. Via its ‘soft-panel’ mode,
Concert V2.0 provides access to a customisable user interface that emulates a traditional intercom station.
When combined with ClearCom’s Eclipse digital matrix system,
Concert V2.0 forms what is claimed
to be the industry’s first hybrid
Time-Divisional Multiplexed (TDM)/
IP server network, blending the
reliability of traditional TDM-based
architecture with the flexibility of IP.
Building on the recently debuted
standalone version, Concert V2.0
directly connects over Ethernet to
the Eclipse matrix system (upgraded V5.1) with Clear-Com’s IVC-32
high-density IP card. Each IVC-32
card provides 32 IP connections,
and four IVC-32 cards can be slotted into an Eclipse frame, allowing up
to 128 new Concert soft-panel users
to be added onto the intercom network without additional investment.
The Floorman from BAL (now
part of Claratech) is a personal
wireless quad split multiviewer,
allowing four picture sources to
be viewed on one cable-free handheld screen. The hands-free device
allows the director or any member
of the production team the flexibility of viewing a shot from any
camera wherever they are on the
studio floor.
The Floorman is switchable to
either quad split or full screen by
a convenient touch screen control.
The personal handheld screen
device allows programme set up
and direction from the studio
floor, leading to enhanced creativ-
ity while reducing production
time and costs. The Floorman
incorporates technology licensed
from the BBC.
Diversity reception and licensed
UHF channel transmission (selectable from 21 to 68) make the trans-
Brick House and ARG news Multiple new technologies
mark Autoscript anniversary
ARG Brickhouse is set to unveil its
high definition vision switcher
along with a 3-input Micro SD version at NAB 2009 in Booth SU
6307. The company, the result of the
merger of ARG Electro Design and
Brick House Video, will also introduce the latest version of its Inverse
Multiplexer that makes the most of
bandwidth usage, and its REMON
(REmote MONitoring system) that
allows non-SNMP equipment to be
managed in an SNMP network.
Callisto-HD will debut at NAB
as a true multi-format asynchronous switcher that offers upconversion with Super Resolution
Bandlet Technology for the
smoothest upgrade path to HD.
Legacy formats have not been forgotten; Callisto-HD also offers a
full range of analogue inputs thus
allowing the user to handle analogue, SDI SD and SDI HD signals
seamlessly in a single unit. Two
layers of DSK are provided, and
the entire unit is contained in a
1RU chassis. Users of the existing
Callisto-RC will be pleased to find
that their existing control panels
will work with Callisto-HD.
NAB attendees will be among
the first to witness the latest version
of ARG Brickhouse’s Inverse
Multiplexer, the I-MUX, with full
IP connectivity and SNMP. The
I-MUX grooms multiple E1 2Mbps
or T1 1.55Mbps circuits to match
the required bandwidth for DVBASI MPEG transmission with IP
or for IP alone. This is in contrast to
many other broadcast telecommunications products on the market
that waste spare bandwidth.
By Fergal Ringrose
Autoscript celebrates its 25th
anniversary at this year’s NAB with
three new-technology introductions:
high-brightness LED (lightemitting-diode) TFT-Plus flat screens
for all Autoscript prompter systems;
the debut of the compact (5.6-inch),
lightweight (1lb) Miniscript portable
on-camera TFT monitor featuring
all of the standard connectors of
larger Autoscript displays; and the
MFC-1 Magno Foot Control for
magnetic, frictionless presentercontrol convenience and long life.
Leveraging recent and considerable advances in LED technology,
Autoscript has decided to offer this
next-generation illumination techno-
logy at no extra cost over its current
TFT (thin-film transistor) display
range. The move makes Autoscript
the first and only manufacturer to
do so. Autoscript says LED technology has major advantages for
display longevity, performance, reliability, and ‘green’ energy savings.
Autoscript has also developed a
1lb on-camera 5.6-inch flat screen
monitor with all of the standard
functions of its larger cousins, including connections for composite BNC
and Hirose power inputs. Known as
the Miniscript 5.6, Autoscript developed the monitor in cooperation
with veteran British camera supervisor Phil Piotrowsky, who noted an
increasing use of hand-held cameras
mission system extremely robust
even in noisy studio and OB environments. This prevents losing the
picture at a vital moment.
The combiner/ encoder accepts
four composite or SDI signals and
feeds the modulator/ transmitter
with an ASI signal. It also has a
DVI-D output for standard studio
monitoring. The combiner and
transmitter are each housed in 1U
high 19” unit for flexibility of
installation. Only one transmitter
and combiner is needed for an
unlimited number of the handheld
Floorman monitors, allowing a
whole team to be able to view the
four camera shots at the same time.
for live and studio-based entertainment production. Outfitting portable cameras with teleprompters
provides a ‘safety net’ for on-air presenters, who refer to a prompter as
they move freely about the set. More
importantly, this style of production
delivers a ‘live’ feel that provides an
intimacy between presenters and
their audiences, increases creative
options for producers, and draws
viewers into the action.
From the world of advanced
automotive engineering comes
another innovation. Known as frictionless magnetic technology, it
employs a Hall effect encoder to
overcome one of the main handicaps
of existing prompter-control devices,
which use torsional-spring mechanisms. Autoscript has integrated frictionless magnetic technology into its
new MFC-1 Magno Foot Control
and companion MFC Desk Pad.
Media shared
across GlobeCast
GlobeCast will partner with recently
acquired subsidiary Netia to
demonstrate the progression of
content from contribution to playout and delivery using a broad
selection of products and services.
GlobeCast’s Content Exchange,
Netia’s Hypercast Warehouse as
well as GlobeCast’s playout and
delivery services will be in the spotlight at stand C55237. The demonstration highlights GlobeCast’s position as an integrator of broadcast
technology and a leading service
provider. Customers will experience
some of these services firsthand
from the unique perspective of both
the producer and broadcaster,
from selection, sharing and indexing content, all the way through to
simulated playout and delivery.
International content takes the
spotlight again at NAB, with a
showcase of WorldTV’s broad
range of international channels.
Representatives from WorldTV,
will be on hand to discuss opportunities for broadcasters looking to
reach ethnic communities throughout the continent.
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Master control with graphics for channel branding
Pixel Power launches BrandMaster
New business Pivot
SintecMedia is using NAB 2009
to introduce OnAir Pivot-NL, the
business solution for media
companies in the emerging
nonlinear marketplace. An
extension of the successful
OnAir, Pivot-NL manages all
aspects of nonlinear content
over multiple platforms, enabling
media companies to control
linear and nonlinear media
business operations within the
same operations system.
Networks today not only face
economic turmoil but also
employ traditional management
systems that cannot handle new
media business operations.
OnAir Pivot-NL solves both of
these challenges by controlling
costs, maximising assets,
and increasing potential
revenue opportunities.
Nucomm 7 Series
Nucomm, part of The Vitec
Group’s RF Extreme business
unit, is showcasing its 7 Series
HD and HD ready products at
NAB Booth 3707. Nucomm’s
entire ENG/OB product line is
now capable of HD operation
using built in encoding/decoding
technology. Presenting today’s
broadcast arena with the
convenience of field
upgradeability, all 7 Series
products can be delivered with
HD capability or delivered as SD
and can be easily field upgraded
to HD via a software key.
Pixel Power has introduced
BrandMaster, a world’s-first that
integrates a complete master control
switcher with broadcast graphics for
channel branding. BrandMaster
injects sophisticated graphics capability for branding where it belongs:
directly at the point of transmission,
while simultaneously reducing the
complexity of the signal path and
streamlining the channel branding
process. BrandMaster is deployed
for single or multichannel environments and is available for both SD
and HD channels. BrandMaster will
have its first public demonstration
at NAB on booth SU10012.
It is available for immediate order
for a special NAB introductory price
starting at US$20,000, lower than
competing master control switchers
with limited or no graphics capability.
“The Branding Switcher is a
new concept in our industry,” said
Pete Challinger, CEO of Pixel
Power. “Broadcasters have to deal
with an ever increasing number of
channels, each of which is ideally
expected to present its own unique
brand. To deal with this, broadcasters have either made do with
the limited, yet premium priced
graphics capability in a traditional
master control switcher, or they had
to deal with the cost and complexity of a separate island of graphics
resources. BrandMaster puts a
complete suite of automated
broadcast graphics tools and full
master control functionality inside
a single, integrated device, making
it easier to deliver a consistent, fully
realised identity for a channel.”
As the final step before transmission, master control is the
logical place to add the graphical
identity that defines the overall
persistent look of a channel. In the
past, graphics were seen as an element that feeds a switcher, but
today it is increasingly likely to
also find Pixel Power graphics
systems such as LogoVision downstream of master control.
The conservation of energy
TSL’s new MDU12-PMi is a system and energy management solution that gives the user complete
control over and visibility of equipment racks — no matter how geographically spread their locations.
With power measuring plus
remotely switchable outputs the
MDU12-PMi will play a central
role in the conservation of energy
in new broadcast installations.
The MDU12-PMi energy management system provides remote
Ethernet control and monitoring of
12 individually switched IEC outputs via secure web browser with
SNMP and email alarms for fuse
fail, power fail, over/under current
alarm and power measurement all
alongside 16 GPI inputs. Its
Current Sensing feature monitors
the total or individual outlets power consumption, plus the operating
temperature of the rack; providing
clear warnings if variables rise
above, or fall below, fully programmable limits.
Compliant and redundant: Axon is launching its brand new compliance recording
system TRACS2 at stand SU11410. The new TRACS is built on custom-developed
1RU frames, which include redundant power supplies and three RAID
5-configured, front-removable hard disks. The newly designed front panel has a
display that is controlled using a simple rotary dial. The display shows systemalerts, and you can adjust system-settings using the rotary dial. The new
PCI-express card can perform simultaneously as an input/output card, making
separate play-out units unnecessary. The new I/O card can also record up to 16
audio channels per input. The GUI has been completely redesigned, making it
easier to use, yet more powerful than before. It is now a ‘thick’ client application,
enabling simultaneous access for multiple users, with free-of-charge download of
the interface application and on-going updates. The monitoring view has been
extended, and this is now a completely user-definable environment. Every user
can look at its own tile-set of thumbnails, which are all scalable in size per tab.
Vislink innovation for studio-to-transmitter
Vislink News and Entertainment
is launching its brand new MRC
DXR5000 and DXR8000 units.
These are compact, high performance microwave systems to push
HD signals and high bandwidth
data over limited channels.
The DXR5000 and DXR8000
are the latest developments from
MRC, a business founded on building microwave communications links
for broadcasters.
The DXR5000 systems are
intended to support long haul
applications while the DXR8000
systems are for short haul and ‘last
mile’ applications. The systems are
completely compatible and may be
networked together, but operate at
different frequency bands.
Key features of the units are as
follows: Four user addressable,
interface ports are built in. The personality of each port is controlled
by software to customer needs,
including ASI, DS3/ E3, T1/E1, and
Ethernet There is also a built in
multiplexer to combine the four
transport streams. Every microwave
link situation is different, so MRC
has designed the DXR5000 and the
DXR8000 to be adjustable. Their
data rates and modulation are scalable to fit their environment.
The DXR5000 or DXR8000
include a single carrier digital modem,
and transmitter or receiver RF components in an integrated unit.
Gekko’s Holy Grail
News and Entertainment
New applications and solutions for the demanding and changing
Broadcast world – fixed and mobile microwave links, wireless
camera systems, cellular receive city centre networks, satellite
uplinks and IP data transfer.
Professional broadcast equipment and support services for news, sports and Outside
Broadcast. Quick set up, effective operations and superb performance for 24 hour live
news, sensational sports and creative camera work.
Secure Communications from Vislink.
UK: +44 1923 474060
Middle East: +971 4886 5226
Singapore: +65 6248 4676
USA: +1 978 671 5700
Gekko Technology announces an
advance in lighting with the development of kleer colour, claimed to be
the world’s first adjustable, focusable single source multi-colour
light. Gekko’s kleer colour light
engine uses a single array highpower light-emitting diode which
can be tuned under software
control to produce millions of different colour temperatures.
“The kleer colour light engine
represents something of a Holy
Grail in the lighting world,”explains
Gekko Technology’s founder
and Managing Director David
Amphlett. “Designed specifically for
the needs of image capture, it gives
unprecedented control of colour
temperature and illumination level.
“Unlike multi-source RGB
colour-mix devices, kleer colour
delivers a broad spectrum of light
that can be adjusted by the operator
to match a vast array of hues across
the visible range. Self-monitoring
sensors are paramount to ensure
stable colour across a range of output levels and correct changes in
performance caused by ambient
temperature and component ageing.
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TVBEU R O PE N A B 2 0 0 9 P R E V I E W
Tapeless workflow gets Curator
A proxy-based tapeless workflow
environment running on both PC
and Apple Mac platforms, the IPV
Curator system is designed to
allow communities of media professionals to add value to their content and efficiently fulfill tasks such
as desktop editing media annotation, review and approve and
general media browsing. It is a
complete solution that can efficiently ingest, encode or transcode,
at low bitrate, proxy SDI or filebased media, which can then be
used concurrently by multiple users.
Curator can now capture third
party externally generated event
metadata such as logging systems
for the live generation of sub-clips,
complete with annotations, speeding up operations such as highlight package creation. It can
ingest graphics and audio files and
associated metadata into the
Curator library for use within the
Media Desktop providing the
browse viewer an enhanced roughcut viewing experience of proxy
material. Additional independent
audio tracks allow for elements
Increased Audio Precision at NAB
The new audio test and measure
updates at NAB from Audio
Precision are a new digital serial
I/O which provides multichannel,
chip-level connectivity for designers of HDMI receiver/ transmitter
chips, A/D and D/A converters,
codecs, and other audio ICs; and
version 2.0 of its successful High
Speed Tester (HST) application
for the 2700 Series and ATS-2
audio analysers.
Cache-A enters the archive
The new Prime-Cache LTO-4 ASeries drive is Cache-A’s entry network-attached archive appliance
for the digital film and professional video industry. Cache-A’s
A-Series archive appliances provide source masters for digital
acquisition and project archives
for post production in easy to
deploy and low-cost configurations based on industry standard
LTO tape.
A-Series drives provide networked storage direct to data
tape. This solves a critical need in
the entertainment industry by
providing an economical, archivequality media on which to store
such as voice-overs and different
language tracks to be created.
The new version provides a
complete file-based workflow
solution for integration with craft
editing and conforming engines.
Curator ensures that both the
rough cut EDL and the correct
high resolution file-based assets
are transferred to the required
craft editing system, whilst
automating the process of file rewrapping and EDL translation
as required.
AP is also demonstrating the
testing of a 4-channel automotive
head-unit receiving an RDSencoded audio stream over an
FM transmitter using the new
4-channel APx526 and the APx
LabVIEW driver in a simulation
of an automated head-unit production test station.
The multichannel APx Digital
Serial I/O option allows engineers
to test audio devices at the level of
individual ICs rather than being
limited to evaluating only the external inputs and outputs of a device.
file-based content. Every tape cartridge contains a directory of its
own content, making it a self-contained asset repository that can be
shipped around the world and
stored for long periods of time.
The content can be retrieved
regardless of the application or
software environment that recorded it. This is important for both
portability and longevity.
At NAB booth N4031
Solid State Logic (SSL)
will showcase the C300
HD Master Studio
System. Designed for
the full spectrum of
film and post
production applications,
the C300 HD Master
Studio System is a
compact, assignable
console for fast and
efficient sweetening and mix creation. The C300 HD fully addresses the
requirements of nonlinear film and TV production, delivering the ultimate
in operational efficiency in a cost-effective, scalable solution. It controls up
to four DAWs simultaneously, and monitoring matrices allow multi-format
monitoring on several sets of speakers. There is serial control of HD VTRs
with tri-level sync support, and includes SSL’s sonic signature reproduced
in 40-bit floating point algorithms.
Hamlet flexible up to 3G
Building and maintaining HD systems requires careful checking of
the signal integrity at each step of
the way. With 1080p systems and
their 3Gbps data rates, the challenge is even more intense. The
Hamlet Flexiscope is popular
among engineers working in this
environment, because its ready
portability means that the precision
test tool can be constantly to hand.
On display at NAB2009 are the
latest modules that provide for
3Gbps testing and now include the
EYE pattern, the most widely used
test for digital signal integrity. The
same module is used in the
Flexiscope, its smaller cousin the
MicroFlex, and in Hamlet’s fixed
installation tools the MicroScope
and the DigiScope. All the new
modules are deliverable today.
As broadcasters move towards
file-based systems and exchange
content over IP, the ingest process,
and its realtime quality control inspection, has disappeared. Hamlet’s
ReelCheck is a software product that
performs quality control tests on filebased content, faster than realtime.
The latest release of ReelCheck
software, unveiled at NAB2009, performs more than 30 different video
checks simultaneously. The user sets
up tolerance levels for each attribute
and how failures are reported and
actioned. The new release now supports SD and HD content in all the
common formats and IMX, MXG
and Quicktime wrappers.
VidScope uses the same software
routines, running on a standard
Windows computer, presenting test
results on screen in realtime, with
up to six concurrent displays on a
single monitor. It supports all formats from SD and HD up to 2k
and 4k digital cinema, including 12
and 16 bit video.
Front Porch solo
with Samma
Making its international debut
at NAB is Front Porch Digital’s
DIVAsolo, the first all-in-one
migration path from legacy
videotape to content storage
management (CSM) and archiving on secure, high-density data
tape. DIVAsolo is a turnkey
solution that joins four technologies: Samma Solo, which
performs large-scale, realtime
videotape migration to multiple
essence formats; DIVAworks,
which combines with a data-tape
recorder Front Porch Digital’s
flagship product, DIVArchive,
for managing storage and security of digital files; and
DIVAdirector, which enables the
intuitive search, browse, and
management of stored digital
content from user desktops.
DIVAsolo enables content
owners to rid themselves of the
headaches associated with storing
assets on videotape and to develop instead an infrastructure that
preserves assets and makes them
easy to access and repurpose.
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
TVBE_Apr P31-44 NAB v4
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TVBEU R O PE N A B 2 0 0 9 P R E V I E W
Jünger touch of Magic
Dynamics processing specialist
Jünger Audio will be attending
this year’s NAB Convention with
a complete suite of DSP and
interface cards for its groundbreaking C8000 Level Magic
automated audio loudness control system for production and
broadcast. For the first time ever,
the company will be showing
Level Magic in a complete set-up
that offers a fully integrated
workflow solution for managing
surround sound and Dolby coded
5.1 audio signals in production,
ingest and playout.
Peter Pörs, managing director
of Jünger Audio, says: “Our aim
is to offer an outstanding integrated workflow solution that
incorporates signal acquisition,
monitoring, processing and smart
5.1/2.0 fail over switching, including programme metadata management. These new additions to
the C8000 Level Magic system
will provide our customers with a
solution for managing 5.1 audio
and Dolby coded streaming that
is far more effective than anything
else on the market.”
Level Magic is an adaptive
level control algorithm that is
designed to adjust the level from
any source at any time, with no
pumping, breathing or distortion.
It is based on a simultaneous com-
bination of an AGC, a Transient
Processor for fast changes and a
‘look ahead’ Peak Limiter for continuous unattended control of any
programme material, regardless of
its original source. It now complies
with the ITU’s BS.R1770 loudness
control specifications as level
detection can easily be switched to
ITU mode.
FOR-A ready
for roll-out
By Fergal Ringrose
For the first time in the United
States, FOR-A will showcase its
1M/E, multi-format HVS-300HS
HD/SD switcher at NAB.
Introduced at IBC2008, the HVS300HS features a compact 1RU
main unit, making it suitable for
use in flight packs, mobiles or
small production facilities.
Several features make the
HVS-300HS switcher a choice for
broadcasters and production
companies that have not fully
upgraded to HD. Standard resizing engines on all inputs of the
HVS-300HS make it possible to
mix SD and HD signals in a full
HD production. Optional analogue and DVI/WUXGA input
modules enable the use of legacy
SD equipment. Standard frame
syncs, available on each input,
eliminate the timing issues
involved with mixed signal installations. Plus, optional output
modules each contain one channel of down conversion to feed
existing SD systems.
While the smaller design
offers advantages, it does not
limit the options and versatile
functions in the HVS-300HS.
The switcher provides a robust
array of features suitable for
applications, including live productions. The HVS-300HS supports 1080/60i, 59.94i, 50i, 24PsF,
23.98PsF, 720/60p, 59.94p, 50p,
525/60 (NTSC), and 625/50 (PAL).
It also contains an internal,
10-bit processor for broadcastquality 4:2:2:4.
The HVS-300HS also provides versatile control options.
One version of the HVS-300HS
is available with a traditional
operation panel, and a second
version offers a mini panel for
control, PC Software GUI and
aux remote control. The simple
mini panel can be attached to
the main unit or used as a standalone panel. The PC Software
GUI connects via IP and offers
all the features of the full size
control panel.
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
connection system
• Professional broadcast’s
preferred choice
• Hybrid configuration
- 2 fibre optic contacts
- 2 power contacts
- 2 signal contacts
• Conforms to standards:
• Over 20’000 mating cycles
• Cable assembly service
• Sony Green Partner
• No epoxy - no polish
• Easy and fast assembly
• Field repair kit available
Triax to fibre optic
LEMO SA - Switzerland
Phone: (+41 21) 695 16 00
Fax: (+41 21) 695 16 02
Contact your local partner on www.lemo.com
TVBE_Apr P31-44 NAB v4
Page 42
TVBEU R O PE N A B 2 0 0 9 P R E V I E W
Shotoku Broadcast Systems will present two innovative
new control systems at NAB2009 in booth C8314. The
TR-T system is the latest generation of touch control
panel capable of controlling both Shotoku and third-party
robotic cameras systems. One single operator position
can control up to 16 cameras resulting in operational
improvements and significant cost benefits. The TR-T
panel style uses multicolored illuminated keys to
communicate system status and control settings, with
the same high precision joystick for ultra-smooth on-air
control which has become the trademark of a Shotoku
system. The flexible Type-S is a high capacity remote
control panel that expands to support up to 16 camera
channels making it ideal for even the largest parliament, legislature, or TV studio systems. It uses
the same advanced features and intuitive interface as the Company’s standard TR-8S but includes
state-of-the-art panel keys, clear, bright LED illumination displays, and a high contrast LCD that
indicates the current status of all cameras in the system.
Fasp file transfer from Aspera
By Fergal Ringrose
Light Work
Photon Beard is a major provider
of studio and portable lighting for the
professional broadcast market
worldwide, as a result of the proven
build quality and reliability of our
equipment. With our recent growth,
we are now in a position where we
are continually developing new
innovative products, all designed and
manufactured at our UK factory.
and bandwidth infrastructure, as well as their
community of transferring users.
A series of presentations will be given
on the Aspera booth throughout the show
by some of their partners on a variety of
solutions which use Aspera software. These
include the IBM Media Hub and Amazon
web services. In addition ongoing demos
will include FileSociety, the file transfer
service for creative professionals built
exclusively on Aspera transfer technology,
and Rising Sun Research, the review and
approval tool for the film industry from the
makers of cinesync pro software, which
now integrates Aspera technology for
moving media at high speed.
APT WorldNet steps into the video domain
APT, traditionally an audio codec specialist, will be launching a new video module
for the WorldNet Oslo Broadcast platform at NAB. A platform for the delivery
of audio, voice and data over IP networks,
the WorldNet Oslo now adds the ability to
transport high quality JPEG2000 content
for video over IP applications. Hartmut
Foerster, product manager for APT’s
Video Products said: “We have chosen to
support the Motion JPEG2000 video
format on the WorldNet Oslo platform
as it offers the three key benefits that
have become synonymous with our system: professional quality content, low
delay coding for realtime delivery and an
Our most recent introduction is a
range of compact Tungsten studio
Fresnels, from 300W to 2kW, featuring
our customary dependable design
and construction, and incorporating
an innovative application of lamp
technology and optical design.
Full details of our extensive range
of fluorescent and tungsten lighting,
and our studio design and installation
service are available from our
ability to work well with the packetised
approach of IP transport.”
Motion JPEG2000 technology works
together with the low latency, Enhanced
apt-X audio algorithm to provide broadcast-grade audio and video with
minimum delay while still ensuring bandwidth efficiency.
August delivery for portable, dockable high-def model
Se e
NAB - us at
Centr 8042
al Hal
Photon Beard Limited
Unit K3, Cherry Court Way, Stanbridge Road,
Leighton Buzzard,Bedfordshire, LU7 4UH, United Kingdom.
Tel: +44 (0)1525 850911 Fax: +44 (0)1525 850922
Aspera’s fasp transport technology is an
emerging standard for the quick and
efficient movement of large files over wide
area networks (WANs). Hollywood studios,
major broadcasters, sports leagues, government entities and corporations use Aspera
software for the business-critical transport of
their digital assets on a daily basis — some of
them moving in excess of 1TB per day over
their WAN infrastructure.
The ever-expanding scale of global
file transfer workflows and the need for
global collaboration has called for a
centralised management solution. This allows
organisations to holistically monitor and control the movement of data, the supporting IT
Hitachi world camera launch
By David Fox
Hitachi is unveiling the new Z-HD5000
portable, dockable HDTV studio and EFP
camera, with native scan in 1080/59.94i or
1080/50i, at NAB. The Z-HD5000 is the first
HDTV model camera in the company’s
affordable Z Series product line. A fully
functional, pre-production Z-HD5000
camera will be displayed at Hitachi’s booth
C4310 at the NAB show, and deliveries will
begin in August 2009.
Targeting a diverse customer base —
spanning TV stations, educational institutions, corporations, religious and cable
facilities — the Z-HD5000 is a two-piece
dockable camera offering the versatility and
flexibility necessary for multipurpose applications including studio, field, and mobile
video production. The camera can be docked
to an optical fibre, triax, RF wireless adapter,
or a P2 HD recorder for standalone recording.
Offering high light sensitivity coupled with
low vertical smear, the Z-HD5000’s three
2/3-inch native 1080i CCD sensors produce
800 TVL of resolution, F10@2000 Lux, and
HD Signal to Noise (SNR) level of 58db for
a sharp, clean HD picture. These specifications compare favourably with Hitachi’s highend SK-HD1000’s 2/3-inch progressive CCDs
producing 1100 TVL resolution, F11@2000
Lux, and 60db SNR. While the SK-HD1000
has a motorised filter wheel, the Z-HD5000
has a manual filter wheel. But both camera
models utilise the same 14-bit A/D converters
and accessories.
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
TVBE_Apr P31-44 NAB v4
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TVBEU R O PE N A B 2 0 0 9 P R E V I E W
The future’s not random, it’s Bright
BrightDrive supports variety of file-based workflows
Bright Systems is debuting its
BrightDrive G2 file-based recording system incorporated with the
company’s BrightClip recording
technology at NAB. Designed
specifically to address the
performance stability simply not
found in conventional IT
approaches, BrightDrive G2
allows creative talent to remain
focused on the client experience
and requirements while satisfying
unprecedented operational efficiency and predictability.
BrightDrive G2 is compatible
with all leading file-based media
applications and file formats, and
supports a variety of file-based
workflows including commercials,
animation, DI, dailies and VFX.
Autocue prompted into innovation
By David Fox
Autocue’s improved range of
Master Series panels, SDI compatible prompting systems,
Ethernet-based controllers, and a
new software-based communication system for on-air talent, are
designed to enable broadcasters
to improve their existing systems
through incremental investment.
The next generation of
Master Series CCFL panels have
a higher contrast ratio, higher
transflectivity, brightness and
reading angles. These panels have
been rigorously tested against
new LED backlit technology
by Autocue’s in-house design
and support team, comparing
favourably in terms of weight,
power consumption, contrast
ratio, brightness and cost.
Autocue is enhancing its
unique IP-based QMaster QBox
system by launching a new range
of controllers with Ethernet
connections. The Ethernet multibutton and foot control will
negate the need for long and
potentially unreliable cable runs
from the PC to the presenter or
operator position. Combined
with the QBox’s ability to
connect to the PC over IP, it
creates an entire prompting
system without any geographical boundaries.
By Fergal Ringrose
Further efficiency gains are made
with the BrightClip Accelerator
API now supported by many of
the industry’s leading post applications from companies including
Digital Film Technologies, da
Vinci, LaserGraphics, FilmLight
and ARRI.
The company says BrightClip
permanently overcomes the limi-
tations of IT-oriented approaches
such as NAS and SAN where
media files become naturally
‘randomised’ during the course
of normal production operations. This randomisation causes
erratic and degrading system performance, frequently bringing
projects to a standstill and
adversely affecting revenues and
facility reputation.
Unlimited AdCert offers
commercial TX assurance
At NAB 2009, IdeasUnlimited.tv is
demonstrating its new AdCert solution. The product has already been
in use for six months at a major UK
broadcaster, which plays out eight
channels from the UK.
AdCert allows broadcaster to
monitor the correct transmission of
TV commercials and generates
Media FingerPrint data of all advertisements added to a broadcaster’s
server. The AdCert box recognises an
advert and logs it into a database
every time it is played out as well as
making a recording of the broadcast.
The recordings act as a certified proof
of transmission and include a digital
signature giving the exact date, time
and channel ID of each airing.
AdCert allows broadcasters to
flag differences between playout ‘as
run’ logs and actual transmissions
and discrepancies can be visually
checked by viewing the AdCert
recording which is available instantly.
This provides a secure method of
minimising billing disputes by providing proof that the advert has been
screened in full at the scheduled time.
Complex Dalet HD
Dalet Digital Media Systems is
unveiling its full HD and multiformat DaletPlus version 3.0
media asset management
platform at NAB on stand
SU3702. DaletPlus is a
purpose-built enterprise media
asset management platform
designed to facilitate complex
HD production workflows and
archiving for news, sports and
programmes, as well
multimedia content creation
and distribution to web, mobile
and VoD platforms. Integrated
powerful production tools to
ingest, produce, playout and
archive are packaged into four
offerings — Dalet Enterprise
Edition, Dalet News Suite, Dalet
Media Library and Dalet Radio
Suite HD — providing flexible,
end-to-end editorial workflows
and metadata management.
Version 3.0 Dalet solutions will
showcase integrated CG
production in the Dalet timeline;
a new Dalet Dashboard for
system-wide monitoring and
analysis; native integration with
SeaChange video servers; and
new ingest technology.
Scheduling emotions
on TV, Radio, VOD, PC, IPTV, Web, Mobile, ...
WHATS’On Generation 3
Station-wide integrated broadcast planning and scheduling
NAB Sus at
Booth how
: N22
WHATS’On Generation 3 is the multi-user software backbone for TV and Radio stations, Telco’s
and Platform Operators, covering the whole process of schedule management for an entire station, from
rough budgeting, press communication and scheduling, to broadcasting and beyond. WHATS’On Generation 3 is
the backbone of over 100 channels all over Europe and is the answer to both operational and strategic needs of all MediaGeniX’s
customers, who themselves are involved in ground-breaking projects.
more information on www.mediagenix.tv
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
TVBE_Apr P31-44 NAB v4
Page 44
TVBEU R O PE N A B 2 0 0 9 P R E V I E W
PAG economic and enhanced
PAG will use NAB to highlight its
budget broadcast battery, the new
PAG L95e. The PAG L95e has been
designed and manufactured to cost
less, whilst maintaining high safety
and quality standards. The battery’s
new five LED display indicates
remaining run-time, on-load. The
L95e is a 14.8V 6.5Ah, 95 watt-hour
Li-Ion battery, available in PAGlok
and V-Mount formats. It incorporates the same branded Li-Ion cells
as the company’s premier L95 Time
Battery, and features the same elec-
tronic protection circuit. The circuit
is protected against electrolyte leakage, which could result from severe
damage to the cell pack. PAG guarantees the battery for 18 months.
A major cost saving has been
made with the battery’s new five
LED capacity indicator. It displays
charge status in terms of percentage using five LEDs. Each LED
represents approximately 20% of
available capacity. When the battery is on-load the display will also
provide an estimate of run-time. It
uses the five LEDs to indicate the
remaining hours and minutes.
The battery has a self-recovery
feature that enables it to be reset
after the protection circuit has
been tripped, by simply pressing
the display button.
The PAG Cube is an ultracompact, high-power, simultaneous
V-Series charger. The 4-channel
Cube features PAG’s unique Intelligent Parallel Charging software,
which uses current efficiently for
fast, fully-automatic charging.
Ste-Man C8720
Driving IPTV revenues: Amino
Communications is showcasing its
latest IPTV entertainment solutions
at NAB Booth C2054 including
innovative new features for its set-top
box range plus its AssetHouse digital
proposition management technology.
Amino delivers digital entertainment
solutions for IPTV, internet TV and
in-home multimedia distribution for
telecoms, broadcasters, and
hospitality companies — including over
80 US-based network operators. The
new features to be demonstrated on
Amino’s AmiNET STBs (pictured)
include PiP (Picture-in-Picture), UPnP
(Universal Plug and Play) and Pause
Live TV/PVR (Personal Video
Recorder). Amino will also
demonstrate its AssetHouse
technology that enables content
producers, telecoms, broadcasters and
web TV companies to maximise
opportunities and monetise assets.
Unique platform
from TeamCast
TeamCast and its Chinese partner,
Digital Horizon, are announcing the
launch of the MCX-2000 modulator, dedicated to support both
DTMB and CMMB technologies
on the same platform. After having
successfully addressed the CMMB
and the DTMB market segments
with two separate products, TeamCast has decided to merge these two
technologies onto a unique hardware platform called ‘MCX’.
“Despite the fact that the
CMMB and DTMB are focusing
on separate service usages with different technologies, it makes sense
to design a common digital modulator platform, as many features
are very similar — for example: the
stream input interfaces; the stream
redundancy management; the
1PPS and 10MHz signal loss management; the RF up-converter
characteristics and performances,
etc,” said Eric Pinson, product line
manager at TeamCast.
The MCX product comes as an
OEM solution which is very easy to
integrate into clients’ transmitters.
It delivers a RF signal output with
best of class performance, providing a high MER value and extremely
low phase noise.
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
TVBE_Apr P45-46 N&A
Page 45
Carolyn Giardina charts A-list 3D release progress from West Coast USA
3D and ‘Monsters’ invade theatres
3D Analysis
All movies will be made in 3D
“within a reasonable period,”
boldly predicted Dreamworks
Katzenberg during IBC2008. Via
his historic transatlantic 3D
broadcast to the conference, he
also previewed his company’s first
digital 3D title Monsters Versus
Aliens, which recently opened
around the world.
It’s been clear that 2009 would
be a pivotal year for digital 3D,
and it has been so far, albeit not
exactly as planned. Stakeholders
remain generally optimistic that
digital 3D represents an exciting
new opportunity for the theatrical
community. Theatre owners and
studios are seeing increased
demand for 3D, as well as an audience’s willingness to pay in some
cases a 20% premium for a 3D
movie ticket.
Meanwhile interest in 3D is
rapidly building in the consumer
electronics space. It is estimated
that over 2 million 3D-ready TVs
are already in the market, and the
2009 Consumer Electronics Show
floor — and whisper suites —
featured a range of 3D TVs, glasses
and related technologies from
manufacturers including Dolby,
Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Nvidia,
Philips, RealD, Samsung and
Sensio. Gadgets such as a Novo’s
3D webcam and Vuzix’s head
mounted 3D display took the dialogue in new directions.
For these and other reasons,
critical current activity includes
3D-for-the-home standards initiatives from groups such as
SMPTE, and efforts to understand and roll out 3D from
groups such as the Consumer
Electronics Association.
Economic conditions
But while the potential is evident,
the disastrous economic downturn
has had a penetrating impact on
the d-cinema transition. Estimates
at press time suggest that there are
roughly 1,320 theatres in North
American with at least one 3Dready screen — and totaling
roughly 2,000 screens.
This is considerably lower than
many pundits had predicted for
this point in time, as it was not so
long ago when stakeholders estimated that there would be 5,000
screens for the Monsters Versus
Aliens opening. But economic
conditions essentially stalled the
conversion plans of key organisations Digital Cinema Implementation Partners, a joint
venture owned by AMC Entertainment, Cinemark and Regal
Entertainment Group that represents 14,000 screens in North
America; and Cinedigm (formerly
www.tvbeurope.com A P R I L 2 0 0 9
3D at IBC2008: Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg boldly told this session that in future ‘all’ movies would be made in 3D
AccessIT), which has already converted roughly 4,000 screens in the
market and is beginning a ‘Phase
2’ program for an additional
10,000 screens.
Last fall as the economic crisis
became evident, both organisations
had virtual print fee deals in place
with most of the Hollywood studios, but they were still in the
process of raising the remainder of
the capital funding needed to begin
their wide digital cinema transition.
Disney’s president of domestic distribution: “Many (theatres) are
doing installations on their own
while they wait for the capital market to open and for DCIP and
Cinedigm to start their rollout.
Then they will expand really quickly.
Rumour has it we might seen this
expansion start over the summer.”
That would be extremely good
news for the industry, as additional
3D content has entered production and more than a dozen titles
will open during 2009.
Content is King
In Hollywood, the release of
Monsters Versus Aliens has been a
closely-watched step in the digital
3D movement, as DreamWorks
Animation made a commitment
that, starting with this animation
film, all of its future titles will be
made in 3D. Disney has made the
same commitment for all of its animated movies, including its Pixar
Animation Studios’ titles, which will
include this year’s Up and a rerelease
in 3D of its classic Toy Story.
Also coming soon in 3D are
Fox/Blue Sky Studios’ Ice Age 3:
Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Sony
Pictures Animation’s Cloudy with
a Chance of Meatballs and Final
Destination 4.
Robert Zemeckis is bringing
the classic A Christmas Carol to
3D screens for the holidays. The
performance capture-based film
stars Jim Carrey as Ebenezer
Scrooge and the three ghosts.
And at the end of the year, Fox
will release the widely anticipated
digital 3D Avatar, which is James
Cameron’s first major motion
picture since Titanic.
Looking further ahead, the
A-list pair of Steven Spielberg
and Peter Jackson started production on their mocap-based The
Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the
Unicorn, which is expected to be
the first in a trilogy that will feature effects from Jackson’s
Wellington-based shop Weta. The
cast includes Daniel Craig, Simon
Pegg, Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis.
A 2011 release is planned.
Upcoming 3D productions
that are also generating buzz
in Hollywood are Disney’s
Tim Burton-directed Alice in
Wonderland as well as Tron 2.0 —
a sequel to the 1982 scifi classic
known as one of the first studio
films to make extensive use of
CGI. The Tron 2.0 cast includes
Jeff Bridges, star of the original;
and Digital Domain (The Curious
Case of Benjamin Button) was
hired to lead the VFX work.
A notable recent production is
director Patrick Lussier’s indie
My Bloody Valentine 3D, which
made on a budget of US $16 million (11 million GBP), sent a loud
message that 3D production and
post tools are becoming more
accessible to filmmakers. My
Bloody Valentine, which opened
earlier this year, has already
grossed more than $50 million
(£34.5 million) — with a 6:1 ratio
in favour of the 3D screens.
Home Improvement
My Bloody Valentine 3D is already
slated for a DVD and Blu-Ray 3D
release in the spring, with packaging that includes glasses for
anaglyph viewing. The promise of
additional revenue from a 3D
home entertainment industry is a
key consideration as stakeholders
and standards organisations work
to develop this market.
To assist in the process, the
Entertainment Technology Center at
the University of Southern
California (ETC@USC) — which
was active in D-Cinema development
— recently opened a Consumer 3D
Experience Lab, designed for testing,
focus groups, and conversations and
meetings amongst stakeholders.
ETC@ USC is also exploring
additional efforts. Explains CEO
and executive director David
Wetheimer: “We need to have content that stresses the developing
3D systems and help us to understand their limitations.”
To that end, ETC@USC began
initiating conversations with stakeholders about the possibility of creating stereoscopic test material — a
sort of 3D equivalent to Digital
Cinema Initiatives and American
Society of Cinematographers’
Standard Evaluation Material
(STeM), which was created in 2004
for digital cinema assessment.
The STeM mini movie — a
scene from an outdoor wedding in
an Italian village — has been
widely used in demos from digital
cinema projectors to colour grading systems. This footage featured
a series of scenes with a variety of
lighting conditions, colours, and
variables including confetti and
rain. A 3D test movie would similarly offer technically challenging
test material.
TVBE_Apr P45-46 N&A
Page 46
MPEG-4 AVC newsgathering comes of age
AJA www.aja.com
Analog Way
Anton Bauer
Argosy www.argosycable.com
Axon www.axon.tv
Barco www.barco.com
BCE www.bce.lu
Chroziel www.chrosziel.com
Data Video www.datavideo.nl
Dektec www.dektec.com
Digital Rapids
Dolby www.dolby.com
DVS www.dvs.de
Echolab www.echolab.com
Evertz www.evertz.com
10,37 EVS www.evs.be
For-A www.fujinon.de
Fujinon www.fujinon.de
HD Masters
IBC www.ibc.org
Lawo www.lawo.de
Leader Europe
Lemo www.lemo.com
Link Research
Lynx www.lynx-technik.com
Miranda www.miranda.com
Network Electronics AS
Neutrik www.neutrik.com
NTT www.ntt.co.jp
Omneon www.omneon.com
Photon Beard
24,40, Playbox
Riedel www.riedel.net
Tandberg www.tandberg.com
Tedial www.tedial.com
TV One www.tvone.com
Viewcast www.viewcast.com
successful MPEG-4 AVC DSNGs
will be those able to provide the best
bit rate savings at operating delays
comparable to what we are used to
in MPEG-2. A 100ms encoder, not
using B-frames or a decent buffer
size simply cannot.
Guest Opinion
By Fabio Murra,
SNG product manager,
Tandberg Television
Following NAB last year I remember reading a few articles highlighting a general lack of innovation in satellite newsgathering. The
mood before this NAB seemed to
be slightly different, especially with
respect to the impact of MPEG-4
AVC in contribution applications.
The move from analogue SNG
to MPEG-2 delivered bandwidth
savings, enabling transmission costs
to drop. So successful was the
technology that a few years ago
virtually all contribution was done
using MPEG-2 encoding and
DVB-S modulation over satellite.
The same equipment could operate
through an ample range of bit rates,
could switch between 4:2:0 and
4:2:2 subsampling modes, and even
between SD and HD. One could go
out and capture news in the morning and high-quality premium sport
events in the evening, on the same
day, with the same truck.
New technology advances are
now promising more efficient methods to encode and deliver signals.
DVB-S2 improved error correction
already proved that up to 30% of
satellite bandwidth can be saved
compared to DVB-S transmission.
Its implementation is simply ideal in
green field applications and small to
medium receiver networks.
Likewise, the spread of fibre
networks and the flexibility of
transmission over IP mean these
are quickly becoming an obvious
alternative to satellite, especially for
equipment supporting the resilient
SMPTE 2022 (ProMPEG CoP #3
FEC). On the other hand, while
MPEG-4 AVC already proved to
be able to deliver around 50%
bit rate saving in DTH (direct-tohome) applications compared to
MPEG-2, it hasn’t established itself
within contribution yet. Why? And,
is it ever going to displace the dominance of MPEG-2 in this area?
The resistance to wide adoption
of MPEG-4 AVC for contribution
has been partly blamed on a lack of
equipment, with the majority so
far not being able to cover the
News and sports
Fabio Murra: ‘Not moving to MPEG-4 AVC can leave an
operator irredeemably behind in the newsgathering market’
range of applications or the standard of integration of existing
MPEG-2 devices, while providing
fundamentally un-usable latencies.
The subject of latency, in particular, is not an easy one. Both
MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC were
developed principally for nonlatency critical applications (such
as DTH). This is evident, for example, in the concept of B frames (the
bi-directionally predicted pictures)
that are an extremely powerful tool
for the exploitation of temporal
redundancy, both in the past and in
the future. However, holding references of past and future images
requires re-ordering the sequence
in which the incoming frames are
encoded and this adds a latency
that is intrinsic within the algorithm and cannot be avoided.
Its value is tightly correlated to
the input video frame rate and is
independent of the processing power
available. MPEG-4 AVC further
extended this concept and certain B
frames can themselves be used as
references for other B frames. The
improved efficiency, however,
comes at the price of having to reorder more frames and hold more
references. This increases latency.
The type of content being captured is also very important. As
MPEG-4 AVC improves upon
MPEG-2 in its ability to exploit
spatial and temporal redundancies,
it should come as no surprise that
the biggest efficiency gains are seen
for video streams with inherently
redundant content. News shots
intrinsically require less bits to be
described than complex sports
scenes with highly detailed content,
pans, zooms and scene changes.
So, is there ultimately a case for
the utilisation of MPEG-4 AVC in
newsgathering? Certainly! The
benefits that MPEG-4 AVC can
provide, especially when coupled
with DVB-S2, are actually quite significant. The algorithm is tailored
to exploit the higher redundancy in
newsgathering content and the
lower bit rates involved enable the
benefits offered by MPEG-4 AVC
to have great statistical significance
compared with MPEG-2.
An MPEG-4 AVC DSNG using
DVB-S2 modulation can undoubtedly provide overall bandwidth
savings of over 50% compared to
the equivalent MPEG-2 and DVB-S
pairing. With satellite bandwidth
at a premium this constitutes a concrete business case for the technology
and will ensure that broadcasters
effectively push for its adoption.
Moreover, there are encoders on
the market today that offer operating latencies comparable to (and
scarily sometimes even lower than)
those of MPEG-2. As mentioned
already, care must be taken in reading these delay values as a measure
of performance as reducing latency
beyond a certain threshold can only
be done at the expense of the efficacy
of the MPEG algorithm. The
With broadcasters pushing for
bandwidth savings, operators will
start to equip their trucks and flyaways with MPEG-4 AVC capable
equipment. And although the
argument for a business case for
HD news still ensues, I think it is
valid to note that one could revert
to the bandwidths currently used
for SD services to provide newsgathering in HD.
I want to add a quick consideration for those operators that
today use their equipment to cover
both news and premium events (eg,
sports). The higher complexity of
images from these events and the
higher bit rate and quality demands
mean that the intrinsic advantages
of MPEG-4 AVC over MPEG-2
naturally decrease. Although
MPEG-4 AVC does provide quality
enhancing features (grouped into
‘fidelity extensions’, such as 4:2:2
support and 10-bit sampling support) these are far from common
and still belong in the realm of
early adoption, with greater costs
and high interoperability risks
to match.
This added level of complexity
can clearly leave SNG operators in
a big predicament. We’re at a stage
now in which not moving to
MPEG-4 AVC can leave an operator irredeemably behind in the
newsgathering market. At the same
time, MPEG-2 will continue to be
the standard of choice for premium
content where the high bit rates, the
4:2:2 sub-sampling, the intrinsically
lower latency and the proven interoperability mean it can still perform
really well at a much more competitive price point.
Supporting two standards at
both transmit and receive end is definitely less than desirable and it is
easy to predict a move to MPEG-4
AVC across the board. But it will
take time. Until then, operators
willing to serve both applications
will need to support both standards.
News at NA
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