In-Sight

IBC2018 marks continuation of IT and media convergence

BY JOSEPHINE TAN

Last month, IBC welcomed more than 55,000 visitors globally to its 2018 edition while continuing the discussion on the future of media, technology and entertainment.

On the exhibition floor, Arista Networks demonstrated the advantages of implementing IP and cloud-scale networking infrastructure within a broadcast ecosystem. For instance, the company’s solutions have been installed as part of the foundation for two NEP UK IP-enabled outside broadcast (OB) trucks — Venus and Ceres — which had made their debut at this year’s Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

At the heart of the IP switching infrastructure in each truck is an Arista 7504R, 7RU chassis with capacity for up to four 36x100G line cards to form a “high density, low power non-blocking” Ethernet switch. Additionally, two 7508 Arista switches and additional 7280 switches were installed within the Wimbledon broadcast centre.

Ed Chapman, vice-president for business development and alliances, and US West sales, Arista, said: “IP for broadcast is now a reality. All these efforts, from proof-of-concepts to actual implementations, are enhancing the overall broadcast IP ecosystem.”

Meanwhile, Imagine Communications emphasised its focus across three major solution pillars — ad tech, live and playout. Particularly for playout, the company showcased the Versio platform, which offers a complete playout and media workflow solution, from ingest, prep and playout to automation, graphics, master control and branding. Designed as a cloud-native, microservices-based playout solution, Versio supports baseband, IP and hybrid IP/SDI scenarios, and can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud environment.

Jason Li, sales director, North-east Asia and South-east Asia, Imagine Communications, added: “IP in Asia is taking off. We are seeing strong growth in Japan, South Korea and China, and other countries like Taiwan and Thailand are starting to adopt IP technologies as well.”

Besides IP, Li also pointed out that technologies such as 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) and high dynamic range (HDR) have also garnered much attention from both vendors and broadcasters. For instance, True Visions, a cable and satellite operator in Thailand, relied on Imagine’s playout solution for the broadcast of this year’s worldwide football championships in 4K/UHD.

True Visions’ enhanced playout solution features Imagine’s Nexio+ AMP software-defined media servers to provide six HD ingest channels in both a main and a hot standby installation. The Versio platform upconverts the HD clip for 4K/UHD playout, while redundant Versio IOX systems support the high-bandwidth storage needs of the 4K/UHD workflow. Completing the Imagine ecosystem for True Visions were the Platinum VX router, which is used to switch the live 4K/UHD feed; and D-Series playout automation, which provides control of the high-capacity media environment.

Pebble Beach Systems exhibited its Orca virtualised playout solution, which is now capable of running in a full cloud-based business continuity application. Orca is a software-only all-IP virtual implementation of Pebble Beach Systems’ Dolphin integrated channel platform, running under the control of its flagship Marina automation software, deployed in a virtual machine (VM). Channels can be launched and integrated into a running Marina automation system, and can be deployed for temporary and event-based services.

The company also brought IP into action with its initiative of the IP Playout Pod, which showcased SMPTE ST 2022-6/7, ST 2110, NDI and the NMOS suite of standards in a playout chain. As part of the demonstration, Pebble Beach Systems showcased a new open standard event and tally protocol for signalling events in real time. Under development as part of the AMWA initiative, this is a vendor-agnostic protocol that allows for the exchange of signals across a network, much as GPI triggers have traditionally been used.

Another company innovating in media over IP transport technology is Media Links, which debuted the MDP3040 IP media gateway. The multi-channel device is a two-channel 4K/UHD TICO lightweight compression encoder/decoder, supporting several configurations. Two 12G-SDI inputs can be TICO-encoded and transmitted over dual 10GbE network truck interfaces or two TICO-encoded network streams can be simultaneously received and decoded as two 12G-SDI outputs.

Media Links also demonstrated the second-generation MDP3020, which is now integrated with support for both 3G/HD/SD uncompressed, as well as J2K compressed video, two channels of bidirectional hitless data, and both 10GbE and 1GbE dual network trunk interfaces. The unit’s trunk diagnostic and keep-alive mechanism now interoperates with Media Link’s MD8000 product family, MDX switches and other MDP3020 units.

TAG Video Systems, a provider of IP monitoring and multiviewer solutions, celebrated its 10th anniversary with the launch of MCM-9000, an IP-based 4K/UHD multiviewer and monitoring system. Running on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, the MCM-9000 provides a complete monitoring solution for all the transmission layers of both uncompressed content and compressed MPEG-TS HLS/MPEG-DASH, starting from the TS packet header through to the encoded video content and its quality.

Capable of high server density, the MCM-9000 can receive large quantities of uncompressed sources and display them on the same screen, creating and displaying more “tiles” and potentially reducing the number of monitors and interface devices for greater hardware efficiency, said TAG.

At TSL Products’ booth, the company displayed the latest capabilities for its PAM1-IP and PAM2-IP audio monitors, which are now integrated with both ST 2110 and ST 2022-6 support. Both solutions are equipped with two 10GbE SFP+ ports, allowing users to monitor audio carried within ST 2110 and ST 2022-6 multicast streams. Furthermore, users can employ the solutions to monitor audio-only content, such as Dante or AES67 audio flows when connected to an IP network infrastructure.

Alongside PAM1-IP and PAM2-IP, TSL Products presented its Advanced Broadcast Control System, which demonstrated the ability to provide interconnected solutions for traditional, IP and hybrid networks. New functionality includes edge device routing in remote production environments, as well as playout and automation functionalities.

Mark Davis, director of products and technology, TSL Products, said: “The adoption of IP, following the approval of ST 2110, has been very encouraging, especially in Europe and Asia. More Tier 1 broadcasters have either started to plan or have already adopted a certain degree of IP technology within their infrastructure to streamline their workflows.”

Meanwhile, Clear-Com previewed the forthcoming V-Series Iris panel that provides Eclipse HX users with AES67 audio-over-IP (AoIP) capability and new colour displays. The new V-Series Iris panel can monitor and send communications over three concurrent AES67 uncompressed audio IP streams. When connected to Clear-Com’s E-IPA card, users can deploy up to 64 Iris panels per card.

The V-Series Iris panel is designed for productions that have fully converted to IP-based communications for distribution of video and audio, enabling them to leverage the AES67-based V-Series Iris panels to support intercom on a network. Live production teams can also take advantage of the full-colour OLED displays for viewing and processing channel information.

And linking all workstations together in a broadcast ecosystem are keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) solutions like the Draco vario Remote IP-CPU extender module from IHSE. The device enables the integration of virtual machines in KVM environments into existing Draco tera KVM switch systems, resulting in a remote desktop solution leveraging the benefits of the Draco KVM system.

Draco vario Remote IP-CPU can be deployed in control rooms with virtualised process automation, network operation centres that require real-time access to virtual target devices, as well as in the TV and film industry, where virtualised desktops are increasingly used. With the extender module, users can access virtual machines from their KVM-connected workstation via Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or operate PC remote maintenance.

Meanwhile, Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) showcased the R&S SpycerNode storage solution. As the company’s first storage product on the M&E market to feature high-performance computing (HPC), R&S SpycerNode features IBM Spectrum Scale, which simplifies and optimises storage workflows using features such as single namespace, online scalability and information lifecycle management.

The R&S SpycerNode stores files “intelligently” based on performance requirements. All R&S SpycerNode storage tiers are presented under a single namespace, which simplifies file handling. The storage solution can be scaled accordingly to users’ specific needs, even during operation. According to R&S, the R&S SpycerNode provides scalability irrespective of the system size, starting with the smallest unit up to large systems. As a result, users need not exchange or replace existing units.

The R&S TMU9evo transmitter also made its debut at IBC2018. Designed as an air-cooled transmitter for UHF applications, R&S TMU9evo features R&S Multiband Doherty for medium-power transmission applications providing efficiency while lowering energy costs.

Masstech’s demonstration centred on FlashNet, its media object storage application. Designed as a “scalable and secure” cross-platform content management system, FlashNet optimises content management using programmable, rules-based movement workflows to ensure content is stored in the operationally efficient location.
Also on display was MassStore, Masstech’s media services framework for advanced applications. MassStore features a collection of services that together provide media management functions and workflow automation. Built-in integration management also simplifies accommodation of disparate systems from multiple vendors.

The flexibility of MassStore can also be seen in the Masstech News workflow, which simplifies how news content is archived, searched and retrieved. By integrating with newsroom computer systems (NRCS) and production asset management (PAM) systems, MassStore automates the archive process, attaches metadata to news assets, and enables users to search and view their video archives from their NRCS user interface.

In an attempt to take broadcasters’ content global, Telstra Broadcast Services expanded the reach and scale of the Telstra Global Media Network (GMN) in Europe by building out its partner ecosystem to include GlobalConnect, TDF Group, NEP, MTI Teleport Munchen and SIS Live, with more partners due to join by year-end.

The expanded network, which includes existing partners The Switch and AT&T, will deliver feeds across Europe, the US and Asia connected by fibre, enabling the creation and delivery of new services such as 4K/UHD. The company added that the expansion will also open international markets for customers of Telstra’s partners, who will be able to acquire and distribute content across national boundaries, allowing a new customer and viewer experience.

Trevor Boal, head of Telstra Broadcast Services, added: “Telstra has significant strength in Asia, owning a network that serves up to 30% of Asia’s Internet traffic. This, combined with a solidified European presence with investments in two new points of presence (PoPs) in Paris and Frankfurt, in addition to a new office in Paris, mean we are positioned as a valu-adding service provider for rights holders and broadcasters.”

Ooyala, a US-based subsidiary company of Telstra, has extended support for the Interoperable Master Format (IMF) with the Ooyala Flex Media Platform, a content supply chain optimisation platform designed to automate tasks and simplify workflows for content creators and distributors. With the integration of IMF support, users of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform is able to reduce costs while improving efficiency of their multi-version, multi-platform distribution needs, said Ooyala.

One user of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform is ODMedia, a The Netherlands-based video-on-demand (VoD) company offering content management, encoding and distribution services to enable VoD, linear TV and catch-up TV. The deployment of the Ooyala Flex Media Platform has enabled ODMedia to streamline time- and resource-consuming workflow processes. In addition, the solution also allows ODMedia to automate and manage internal media workflow tasks that are multiplying along with the company’s growth.

For SeaChange, the company announced the launch of its cView user experience software, which empowers pay-TV operators and video service providers to introduce new offerings across a broad range of viewer devices. cView is the complementary end-point software element of SeaChange’s cFlow portfolio of video management solutions, and is designed to support a “gradual viewer-driven” migration from traditional set-top box (STB) platforms to enhanced services offered on hybrid and OTT-enabled TV devices, such as Apple TV and Android TV.

The cView client presents a consistent look and experience across browsers, mobile devices running on iOS, Android, traditional STBs operating on Linux and RDK, connected TVs and devices running on Apple’s tvOS, and hybrid STBs running on Android TV. In addition, by combining cView with SeaChange’s cBridge solution or the PanoramiC end-to-end IP management and delivery platform, operators can launch new features and services in response to viewers’ demands.

Over at the Primestream booth, the company highlighted the next generation of its Dynamic Media Management platform. The platform features new solutions for IP video capture and delivery covering several media formats, a cloud-based review and approval system, 4K/UHD workflow, public APIs to integrate third-party applications into the Xchange platform, and a new configuration framework for quick and easy installations.

Additionally, Primestream demonstrated the enterprise-grade media asset management (MAM) in the cloud through a cloud-based version of Xchange MAM solution in conjunction with Tata Communications’ cloud storage platform and Video Connect network. The service also features advanced file acceleration and an expandable object storage, making it ideal for disaster recovery or content archiving.

Making its European debut for Tedial is the SMARTLIVE live sports solution. SMARTLIVE combines artificial intelligence (AI) to a metadata engine, allowing the solution to automate media logging, clip creation and distribution, including social media pitches. The solution also features Speechmatics speech recognition technology, which enables speech-to-text integration by annotating incoming live media.

Interra Systems introduced Winnow, an enhancement that encompasses the company’s innovations in AI and machine learning (ML) techniques. Designed as an ML-driven enhancement, Winnow can be integrated with Interra Systems’ Baton QC solution for users to deploy in both cloud and on-premises environments.

Some features of Baton Winnow include classification of audio-visual content based on specified criteria, such as explicit scenes, violence and profane language; and using user-defined rules sets to automatically check compliance and identification of content against regulations in different countries, regions and organisations.
Kanishka Tongya, director of sales, Interra Systems, elaborated: “Winnow is powered by AI/ML algorithms implemented using widely adopted TensorFlow framework and state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms. Both AI and ML have garnered much attention from players in the industry, and broadcasters are starting to discover new use cases. With the addition of Winnow, Baton’s feature-rich toolset now covers the whole spectrum across the OTT chain.”

Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services (AWS) highlighted AWS Elemental MediaConvert with quality-defined variable bitrate (QVBR) control, which encodes and packages VoD in the Common Media Application Format (CMAF). Developed by AWS, QVBR is a video compression technique that automatically adjusts to the complexity of source content, maintaining high-quality video while reducing storage and distribution costs.

Alongside AWS Elemental MediaConvert was the demonstration of AWS Elemental MediaPackage cloud DVR services. Designed to create an end-to-end cloud DVR workflow, the solution allows content providers to deliver DVR-like experiences, such as catch-up and start-over functionality for viewing on mobile devices.

UK-based systems integrator Megahertz unveiled an all-electric newsgathering vehicle. The ev-SAT concept vehicle is built on a Nissan e-NV200 electric van, and has entered trial service with BBC News in London.

The new vehicle provides the facilities for news crews to get to a story quickly, capture footage, transmit live and edit on site while forwarding the content via satellite or bonded cellular. ev-SAT contains the same standard equipment as diesel-powered units, and aluminium racks and fitting are optimised to reduce weight and cable runs. The vehicle is also fitted with the AirPro 75cm Ka-band dish from Vislink. In service with the BBC, though, the vehicle will be fitted with a 1m Ku-band dish from AVL, to make the unit compatible with the rest of the fleet.

For Newtec, the company displayed the MCX7000 multi-carrier satellite gateway that includes the concept of channel bonding. Equipped with the DVB-S2X standard, MCX7000 allows a large 4K/UHD transport stream to be carried in parallel over up to three satellite transponders. For 4K/UHD TV specifically, a 20% gain in channels is possible. And if channel bonding takes place over three transponders, the operator may even achieve “bigger efficiency gain”, said Newtec.

Besides MCX7000, Newtec also exhibited the MDM2510 satellite modem that supports a wide range of IP services. From Internet/Intranet access, voice-over-IP (VoIP), backhauling, contribution and multicasting, the modem can be deployed for the mobility market, including maritime, where cruise ships are pushing the limits of traditional satellite platforms. The MDM2510 addresses wideband high throughput satellite (HTS) transponders up to 500MHz, proving further efficiency and operational gains.

Satellite operator Intelsat announced the launch of the Horizons 3e satellite, which successfully lifted off on September 25. The launch of Horizons 3e marks the completion of Intelsat EpicNG’s global coverage, and is expected to commence service in Q1 2019.

Located at 169ºE orbital location, Horizons 3e will bring HTS solutions in both C- and Ku-bands to Asia and the Pacific Ocean region. The satellite is also the first Intelsat EpicNG satellite to feature a multi-part amplifier, which enables power portability across all Ku-band spot beams. With the multi-part amplifier, power can be adjusted to each beam to meet customer throughput demands.

More round-ups of IBC2018 can be found in the APB October issue, which is available at here.


Josephine Tan is news editor of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting (APB), which has been monitoring the technologies and trends impacting the broadcast and media industry for the past 35 years
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