Convergence between IT and broadcast underlies the future of broad

2018 NAB Show highlighted some of the most imperative technologies — IP, cloud and OTT — awaiting broadcasters to exploit

By Josephine Tan

“The M.E.T. (media entertainment technology) Effect” returned once again as the theme for this year’s NAB Show, marking the increasing convergence between broadcast and IT.

On the exhibition floor, Telstra demonstrated its Distributed Production Network (DPN), which is an end-to-end IP network designed for the media industry. DPN enables media companies to produce live broadcasts at a distance from the actual event by sending multiple raw camera feeds, audio and equipment control signals over the network back to a centralised production hub.

Fox Sports Australia, for example, has selected Telstra as its network partner of choice to enhance its outside broadcasting model. The deal will see Telstra’s DPN connect 29 sports stadiums across regional and metro Australia to remote production hubs located in Sydney and Melbourne.

In response to the ratification of SMPTE ST 2110, TSL Products has added support of this new specification and Ember+ protocol to its PAM1-IP and PAM2-IP audio monitoring units, thus allowing them to be deployed within IP facilities and outside broadcast (OB) trucks.

Mark Davis, director of products and technology, TSL Products, elaborated: “The transition from SDI to IP is one of the biggest changes taking place in the industry. Integrating support of SMPTE ST 2110 and Ember+ protocol provides users with confidence in making the transition to IP, as it ensures that their investments are future-proof.”

For Omnitek, the company has included full audio support in its Ultra TQ broadcast waveform monitor. The Ultra TQ is packed with tools such as picture, waveform monitor, vectorscope, video status, video timing, audio meters and timecode logging. And with the added audio support, the Ultra TQ has the ability to analyse and decode Dolby E and D audio for monitoring and QC, de-embed SDI/2110/2022-6 audio content to AES/EBU audio outputs, as well as monitor AES/EBU audio on discrete audio connections.

Rob Arnold, vice-president of worldwide sales, Omnitek, said: “The Ultra TQ will be supporting both the ability to connect to SDI and IP environments, and the ability to monitor audio content however it has been originated. We believe that these new product enhancements will prove very popular with all those working in the ever-changing broadcast environment.”

As for Cobalt Digital, the company introduced the 9904-UDX-4K-IP advanced scaler and frame synchroniser for the openGear platform. This new offering is designed to simplify the upgrade of HD and 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) systems, enable ongoing use of existing content libraries, and provide features such as Technicolor HDR Intelligent Tone Management (ITM) that are “essential” in production and ATSC 3.0 broadcast applications.

Using the 9904-UDX-4K-IP with HDR ITM, users will be able to upgrade their existing HD and 4K/UHD standard dynamic range (SDR) infrastructures to new HD and 4K/UHD high dynamic range (HDR) systems and workflows. The 9904-UDX-4K-IP not only upconverts 6G/3G/HD/SD-SDI to either UHD1 3840×2160 Square Division (SDQS) or Two Sample Interleave (2SI) quad 3G-SDI-based formats, but also outputs SMPTE ST 2082 12G-SDI signals for single-wire 4K/UHD transport. With its 12G-SDI and quad 3G-SDI inputs, the unit can also perform the reverse processes in downconverter mode.

Apart from 12G-SDI support, the 9904-UDX-4K-IP also features dual 10Gb Ethernet ports that support uncompressed video/audio/data over IP standards including AES67, SMPTE ST 2022-6 and SMPTE ST 2110.

In an attempt to take its live 4K/UHD HEVC/H.265 product offering to new heights, LiveU has enhanced its LU600 HEVC/H.265 portable transmission product suite with the addition of an HEVC/H.265 4K/UHD-SDI card. Equipped with 4Kp50/60 streaming capability, the LU600 4K/UHD-SDI solution supports both 12G-SDI and 4x3G-SDI interfaces, and can be deployed for virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree applications, in addition to live news and sports coverage.

Ronen Artman, vice-president for marketing, LiveU, said: “4K/UHD has been gaining attention, especially in South Korea, following the success of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. In expanding into live sports broadcasting, we are expecting more than 300 of our LU600 units to be deployed for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia this June.”

As for Newtec, the company exhibited its MDM5000 satellite modem, which supports a wide range of IP services, including Internet access, voice-over-IP (VoIP), backbones for mobile backhauling and trunking, as well as contribution and multicasting services. Featuring support for DVB-S2X, the MDM5000 is packed with a symbol rate ranging from 1MBaud to 133Mbaud and coding from QPSK to 256APSK in the forward channel, enabling network operators to set up their networks on any available type of satellite, said Newtec.

Alongside the MDM5000, Newtec also displayed the MDM3100 IP satellite modem. Featuring 4Gb Ethernet LAN ports, the MDM3100 modem is able to transmit multicast support up to 21Mbps, and receive multicast support up to 80Mbps.

At the Zeiss booth, the lens manufacturer displayed Zeiss Compact Prime CP.3 and CP.3 XD lenses. Ranging from 15mm-135mm, the 10 focal lengths available in the Zeiss CP.3 or CP.3 XD series are capable of covering applications from wide-angle to telephoto. The lenses are also integrated with the Zeiss eXtended Data technology, which is designed to simplify and increase the accuracy of the image capture and processing workflow.

Zeiss eXtended Data is equipped with the ability to unify two data sets: key lens data based on the open/i* technology standards, and Zeiss lens data that contains “precise” lens characteristics. Christophe Casenave, product manager, cine products, Zeiss, added: “Besides providing information about the lens’ distortion and shading characteristics, the documentation of lens’ characteristics also enhances creativity by allowing more complex shots to be managed in post production.”

Marking its first anniversary at 2018 NAB Show was Shotoku USA, the US operation of Shotoku Broadcast Systems. The company highlighted SmartPedVR, the VR/AR-enabled version of its SmartPed, which combines built-in VR tracking capabilities with its robotic pedestal.

Already installed in some European and Central American facilities, SmartPedVR is designed for deployment in VR/AR environments, and is based on Shotoku’s SmartPed robotic XY pedestal which addresses the creative and commercial demands of on-air environments. The addition of VR tracking provides 3D position information, including orientation, and is provided in remote or local operations with “seamless switching” between modes.

At the NewTek booth, the company demonstrated LiveGraphics, a solution allowing users to author real-time graphics in Adobe Creative Cloud applications, then deliver into their NewTek live production system for output to air. NewTek LiveGraphics features support for Adobe After Effects CC animations, with real-time rendering of layer styles, motion, expressions, text and more; and manages up to 10 simultaneous channels of real-time motion graphics in resolutions up to 4K/UHD at 60fps.

ChyronHego presented the ChryonHego Live Studio Show, a three-camera studio running on software-based solutions in a virtualised environment. The studio featured Camio Universe, a news producer-driven, template-based workflow that unifies new content creation, production and playout solution.

Jesper Gawell, CMO at ChyronHego, explained: “With the Camio Universe, we’ve reinvented news production by placing software tools at news producers’ fingertips, giving them everything they need to tell stories in highly compelling ways, as cost-effectively as possible. Tools such as Live Compositor make these end-to-end, producer-driven workflows even more versatile, flexible and cost-effective.”

For Masstech Innovations, the company featured its FlashNet media object storage application, designed to enhance media organisations’ workflow efficiency. FlashNet can be deployed in the cloud, on-premise, or in a hybrid configuration, while supporting disk- and tape-based storage. This hardware-agnostic solution features automated failover and built-in redundancy, and its support for linear tape file system (LTFS) allows tapes to be mounted on a Windows file system for file access.

Masstech also brought along MassStore, its media services framework for advanced applications and workflows. Featuring a range of services that collectively provide media management functions, this Masstech solution provides service orchestration layer to facilitate interaction between media asset management (MAM), production asset management (PAM), digital asset management (DAM), newsroom computer systems (NRCS) solutions and stored media objects. Additionally, MassStore is able to support integrated transcoding capabilities, as well as codecs that allow for flexible generation and management of proxies, metadata and thumbnails.

Claiming that content without metadata has no value, Mike Palmer, CTO of Masstech Innovations, highlighted: “Sophisticated metadata can enable sophisticated search; with metadata enrichment integrated in Masstech’s solutions, media companies will be able to match consumers’ demands.”

Founded in 2011, Cleeng is an Amsterdam-headquartered company that aims to empower content owners, broadcasters and publishers to fully embrace the potential of videos. Benedicte Guichard, head of marketing and co-founder, Cleeng, said: “Seeing strong mobile video consumption, many broadcasters and telcos have launched their OTT services with flexible subscription packages. But the key in retaining viewers and reduce churn will require them to obtain more data from their viewers so that they can provide viewers with more personalised viewing experience.”

Cleeng demonstrated Churn IQ, which enables media companies to address churn at all the stages of the customer journey, starting from log-in to payment and consumption and ending with customer care. This prediction and action solution is able to break down the causes of churn in three main categories — payment, engagement and satisfaction — empowering companies to utilise data to address issues at churn.

In managing cloud-based analytics, Verimatrix offered the Verspective Analytics platform that focuses on unifying data from a variety of systems, including set-top boxes (STBs), over-the-top (OTT) and multi-screen devices, video-on-demand (VoD) services, content delivery networks (CDN), digital rights management (DRM) systems, and data enrichment sources such as programme schedules and metadata.

Verspective Analytics comprises two solutions, Verspective RT for real-time QoE analysis, and Verspective Intelligence for historical data interpretation. The Verspective Intelligence capabilities provide insights to understand the audience, content, consumption and service performance. As for Verspective RT, the visualisation tool is able to create filters automatically, allowing operators to find data in streaming patterns and audience behaviour to answer mission-critical questions.

Petr Peterka, CTO of Verimatrix, said: “Verspective Analytics bridges organisational silos, aggregating all gathered data into a secure cloud-based lake while granting controlled and role-based access to each department, where roles can be individually credentialled. For instance, Verspective Intelligence can help drive viewer engagement to increase net-positives and reduce churn, better monetise content and ad slots, and ensure that content is offered at the right price.”

At the show, Verizon Digital Media Services unveiled the Live Event Operations managed service, and demonstrated how the solution enables broadcasters and rights holders to manage the complexities of direct live event OTT streaming management.

The managed service optimises workflows in the following areas: broadcast engineering, non-linear editing, transmission engineering, Linux administration and graphic design. Furthermore, it is able to expand operation requirements to cover more events by acting as an extension of a broadcaster’s operations and engineering team, covering both pre-event preparations and day-of-show operations.

ABox42, a provider of IPTV, cloud-based OTT and STB solutions, partnered Zattoo to demonstrate a multi-screen IPTV platform. Using the joint solution, operators can launch an IPTV multi-screen service from start to finish, including testing, with built-in subscriber management. ABox42’s STB platform is pre-integrated with Zattoo’s multi-screen TV application, allowing TV viewers to watch TV content on the main TV screen as well as secondary devices such as tablets, smartphones and desktops.

ABox42 also presented its M35 series STB that offers operators an upgrade path to 4K/UHD TV. The M35 series is designed for operators wanting to support an HD and 4K/UHD platform, and offers premium content security which allows operators to meet the requirements of 4K/UHD Hollywood content.

More round-ups of 2018 NAB Show can be read in the APB May 2018 issue, which is available at

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