In-Sight

IP points the way forward for broadcast industry

The discussion on IP dominated headlines at IBC2017, which successfully concluded with a record attendance of 57,000 visitors

Visitors to the Snell Advanced Media (SAM) booth were given a chance to get on board Timeline Television’s newest outside broadcast (OB) truck, which SAM hailed as the “first” IP, 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) high dynamic range (HDR) truck in Europe.

Dubbed UHD2, the OB truck is home to a range of SAM technologies — including two Kahuna IP productions switchers and IP multiviewers — alongside SAM’s IP infrastructure technology providing the backbone. Completing SAM’s installation for UHD2 is the LiveTouch 4K/UHD replay and highlight system.

Timeline’s UHD2 is designed to support 32 Sony 4K/UHD cameras. Its two Kahuna switchers allow standard dynamic range (SDR) and HDR signals to run simultaneously with down-converted HD outputs. This set-up, according to SAM, empowers production teams to work in the VSF TR03 specification, thus enabling Timeline to work with video and audio as separate flows within an IP workflow.

Following the approval of the first standards within SMPTE ST 2110, Anthony Chan, sales manager, North Asia, SAM, said: “The endorsement shows that IP is future-ready, and technologies supporting it are becoming more reliable. And with our showcase of Timeline’s UHD2, it also signifies that IP is capable of supporting 4K/UHD HDR in a real-life scenario.”

For Riedel Communications, the company has extended its MediorNet MicroN’s capabilities through the introduction of a new app — the MicroN IP App — that creates a bridge between MediorNet and IP networks.

Supporting SMPTE ST 2110- and AES67-compliant video and audio, the MicroN IP App features audio embedding/de-embedding, free sync, sample rate conversion, audio/video delay, signal routing and on-screen display. These features, said Riedel, allow the MediorNet MicroN to support all IP-interfacing needs.

Riedel also announced that its MediorNet media network has been deployed by Sky Germany for Sky Sport HQ, a new sports broadcasting centre in Munich. The MediorNet infrastructure comprises nearly 150 frames, including Riedel’s MetroN router, MicroN and MicroN multiviewer, providing almost 1,600 video and more than 1,500 audio connections.

This, according to Serkan Güner, marketing and communications manager for Riedel, is the most extensive MediorNet backbone deployed to date, enabling Sky Sport HQ to be equipped with the “most advanced” broadcast infrastructure to support IP-based workflows and 4K/UHD live sports production.

At the Matrox booth, the company exhibited its line-up of broadcast IP cards — including the DSX LE4 IP and X.mio3 IP. The Matrox DSX LE4 IP provides IP encapsulation of HD, 3G and 4K/UHD video for IP transport protocols, along with the added security of SMPTE 2022-7 redundancy.

For the X.mio3 IP card, it expands upon the LE4 IP’s feature set by providing on-board de-interfacing, as well as scaling and compositing.

Alongside its IP cards, Matrox also presented the Monarch HDX and Monarch HD streaming and recording devices. Both devices are empowered with native integration for live streaming to social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

Particularly for Monarch HDX, the single-input, dual-channel AVC/H.264 encoding appliance features 3G-SDI and HDMI inputs with frame synchronisation. In addition to the ability to stream to two distinct destinations, the device can also be set to stream and record with independent encoder settings.

As for Monarch HD, the device is capable of taking an HDMI input from a source, such as a camera or switcher, and generate an AVC/H.264-encoded stream for live streaming.

Intelligent Prompting made its IBC debut for Autoscript, a Vitec Group brand. The IP-enabled solution is designed to provide an end-to-end teleprompting workflow, delivering the connectivity and flexibility for broadcast operations.

Available in 15-, 17-, and 19-inch configurations, the Intelligent Prompting monitor incorporates the data needed to generate scripts, enabling the monitor to produce a video output directly.

Simon Clark, business development manager – prompters (EMEA and Asia), Autoscript, said: “An IP-enabled prompting workflow creates opportunities for broadcast operations to collaborate across geographies, providing cost-effective resource allocation. One operator can control the script in another location, and instantly switch control to another operator anywhere in the world when necessary.

“Likewise, IP connectivity provides redundancy, [as] a second master software application can be installed and then take over control as required.”

Intelligent Prompting also includes WinPlus-IP, an updated version of Autoscript’s WinPlus teleprompting software. WinPlus-IP builds on existing procedures, such as shortcut keys and layouts, while incorporating improvements to the software’s ease-of-use, such as enhanced menu structures.

Nevion, a provider of virtualised media production solutions, showcased version 6 of its media network management and service orchestration software, VideoIPath.

VideoIPath v.6 is integrated with a host of new features designed to enhance the system’s management and orchestration across IP LANs (local area networks) used in facilities, and IP WANs (wide area networks) used in contribution, remote production and distribution.

Nevion also introduced software updates for Virtuoso, its software-defined media node platform. Nevion has included studio-over-IP functionality to Virtuoso’s existing WAN capabilities, including support for SMPTE ST 2110-30 standard, and extended its support for 4K/UHD transport with TICO encoding.

To enable broadcasters to more effectively create and monetise their content, Grass Valley highlighted its iTX playout solution.

Grass Valley’s iTX integrated playout platform provides IP/SDI format flexibility and scalability for future readiness, along with end-to-end workflow tools for process automation. The iTX workflow spans across ingest, quality control, content management, archiving, traffic interface, audio and video processing, graphics and subtitling, transmission control, as well as transcoding and monitoring.

To meet the demand for 4K/UHD playout, Grass Valley has introduced iTX Appliance 2+. As part of the latest iTX 2.12 software version, the Vertigo graphics option is now available in 4K/UHD, and the secondary record option has also been upgraded to capture 4K/UHD files.

At the Harmonic booth, the company demonstrated its VOS Cloud media processing platform, which is designed to transform traditional video preparation and delivery architectures into a hybrid cloud operation, thus accelerating new broadcast and over-the-top (OTT) services.

Tony Berthaud, vice-president, sales, Asia-Pacific, Harmonic, explained: “More consumers are viewing content across multiple platforms, but this adds more responsibilities to broadcasters and service providers who will have to manage the explosion of content while delivering them to a variety of different platforms. Hence, our aim of developing the VOS Cloud as a hybrid cloud platform is to empower media operators to launch new video channels faster, and run simpler operations.”

VOS Cloud features six primary functions within a media processing workflow: ingest, playout, graphics, transcoding, encryption, and delivery. As a hybrid cloud operation, the VOS Cloud software can be installed on hardware platform in the headend or data centre, or as part of a private or public cloud deployment environment.

Alongside VOS Cloud, Harmonic also exhibited its Packager X and Origin X software solutions, which are designed for OTT video distribution via on-the-fly packaging capabilities, and support for streaming formats, such as HLS, DASH, MSS and RTMP, from the cloud while generating monetisation opportunities for time-shift TV and VoD.

Get Smarter was Viaccess-Orca’s (VO) theme for IBC2017 as the company showcased three new improvements to its TV-as-a-Service (TVaaS) platform.

These improvements include analytics dashboards, which enable service providers to measure the effectiveness of various content discovery sources; a search analysis tool that provides insights on subscribers’ interests and feedback on the effectiveness of the search; and an advertising functionality, which is able to manage multiple advertising campaigns in the multi-screen environment through one interface.

VO also displayed its Virtual Arena solution for 360° virtual reality (VR) video management, interactivity and playback. Commenting on the possibility of a widespread VR viewing for broadcast applications, Chem Assayag, executive vice-president, marketing and sales, VO, said: “VR offers viewers a fully immersive experience, allowing them to really concentrate on what they want to watch.

Beyond broadcast applications, VR has also been well received by viewers for e-commerce and gaming applications.”

As for AWS Elemental, the company has taken a new approach to “frame-accurate” live-to-video-on-demand asset creation using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) powered by Amazon Rekognition.

Designed to add image analysis to applications, Rekognition is equipped with the ability to detect objects, scenes and faces, and identify content in images. Using Rekognition, users are also able to automatically search and analyse content libraries for user-supplied keywords and produce VoD clips based on the results.

Keith Wymbs, CMO for AWS Elemental, commented: “The rate of change in the video industry continues to accelerate as advancements in streaming formats, video quality and AI put remarkable new tools in place to enhance viewing experiences.

“To keep pace, video providers must expand their capabilities by making the move to cloud-based infrastructure and preparing for new and emerging media standards, such as the Common Media Application Format (CMAF).”

Another company who has incorporated AI within its solutions is Quantum, with the showcase of Veritone’s multi-engine AI platform in a Quantum StorNext-managed environment. Veritone aiWARE, a hybrid on-premise and cloud version of Veritone’s cloud-based AI platform, is offered as an integrated solution with StorNet workflow storage.

This, according to Quantum, will allow users to leverage the power of Veritone’s cognitive analysis — along with top cognitive engines in areas such as object recognition, optical character recognition and transcription — to extract new value from their on-premises video and audio content without moving it to the cloud.

Other highlights from the Quantum booth include the release of updates within the StorNext 6 platform. With a particular focus on enabling high-resolution workflows, StorNext 6 is equipped with a new quality of service (QoS) feature that empowers facilities to tune and optimise performance across all workstations, hence allowing users to manage demanding tasks, such as 4K/UHD or colour correction, while acquiring the necessary bandwidth needed.

For IHSE, the KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) solutions provider held a live demonstration of 4K DisplayPort KVM extension embedded with ExtremeUSB technology.

Using its Draco ultra DisplayPort 1.2 KVM extender with a 60Hz refresh rate in full-colour depth, users are able to operate DisplayPort video monitors, keyboard, mice and USB 2.0 flash drives at 50Mbps when enabled with ExtremeUSB over a single duplex fibre cable up to 10km and up to 480Mbps over two fibre cables.

Manuel Greisinger, head of sales for IHSE, said: “Coupled with ExtremeUSB, KVM extender solutions are key in allowing media operators and producers to manage any device from any workstations. Particularly in an IP ecosystem, KVM provides users with instant accessibility, thus simplifying workflows.”

Making its European debut for GatesAir is its Maxiva ULXTE, a liquid-cooled, IP-enabled UHF TV transmitter, which GatesAir has integrated with its Maxiva XTE exciter.

Featuring a software-defined modulator, the XTE includes native IP inputs while eliminating the need to retrofit transmitters with additional gear to enable network connectivity for DVB-T2, DVB-T2 Lite, DVB-T, ISDB-T, ATSC 3.0 and other standards.

On the RF performance side, GatesAir RTAC (real-time adaptive correction) software is designed to strengthen signal correction at the amplification stage to enhance performance and regulatory compliance. RTAC software is equipped with the ability to adjust modulation error ratio (MER) and shoulder levels to optimise performance.

Rich Redmond, CPO at GatesAir, explained: “The ULXTE brings RF performance [as well as] signal strength and quality to broadcasters who want the additional cost savings that liquid-cooling offers inside the RF plant, particularly in climates that would require very high cooling loads for air-cooled transmitters. These enhancements, alongside system maintenance and monitoring, further improve reliability and lower total cost of ownership across large transmitter networks.”

At the LiveU booth, the company extended its Solo product line of wireless video encoders to accommodate the growing needs of online content creators streaming to social media and other online destinations.

Besides the Solo HDMI encoder, Solo’s portfolio now includes Solo Studio that features cloud graphics for branding of content, and a Solo app that enables content creators to start filming live content with a combination of cellular and Wi-Fi connections.

For Dejero, the company highlighted solutions that support newsgathering and remote broadcasting as the industry transitions towards IP. For instance, the Dejero Gateway in-vehicle mobile connectivity solution allows crews working on-location to send and receive large video files, and access their newsroom or media asset management (MAM) systems, as well as cloud services used for collaboration.

Alongside the Dejero Gateway, Dejero also showcased its EnGo vehicle mount kit, which is designed to enhance the RF performance of the Dejero EnGo mobile transmitter. The EnGo vehicle mount kit provides a mounting option inside a newsgathering or production vehicle that connects to roof-mounted antennas, providing an alternate connectivity especially in situations where cellular connectivity might be challenging.

Headquartered in Doha, Es’hailSat, the Qatar Satellite Company, has been providing satellite connectivity for broadcast transmission in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region since its establishment in 2010.

Its Es’hail-1 satellite is currently positioned at the 25.5°/26° East orbital location, providing transmission and expansion opportunities for news and sports channels such as Al Jazeera and beIN Sports. Qatari cultural channel QATAR TV and Al Kaas Sport Channel have also recently launched their channels on Es’hail-1.

In addition, the satellite company revealed that its second satellite, Es’hail-2, which will be positioned at the 26°East orbital location, is scheduled for launch soon.

As for NovelSat, an Israeli technology company providing satellite transmission solutions, it exhibited NovelSat NS4 — its fourth-generation satellite waveform.

As the successor to NovelSat NS3, NovelSat NS4 provides up to 45% higher spectral efficiency compared with DVB-S2, and around 17% higher than DVB-S2X, said Ronen Sadan, assistant vice-president, marketing and products, NovelSat.

He continued: “The technical advantages of NovelSat NS4 rely on advanced features including 2% roll-off-factor, enhanced spectral efficiency algorithms, and improved tolerance for signal impairments and all types of interference.”

NovelSat also showcased NovelNet NMS, a network management system equipped with satellite service automation and bandwidth optimisation. Through the NovelNet NMS dashboard, users are able to manage and maintain services in satellite and mixed satellite-terrestrial communication networks.

At the ARRIS booth, the company unveiled a portfolio of 4K/UHD HDR set-top boxes (STBs) with Android TV. Based on Android TV Operator Tier, the STBs offer Wi-Fi connectivity and DVR options, as well as support and integration with DVB networks, and conditional access and DRM security solutions.

Duncan Potter, senior vice-president, global marketing, ARRIS, pointed out that Android is “increasingly popular among service providers as it offers fast time to market, greater control over the user interface, and subscriber access to familiar features such as YouTube, Chromecast built-in and Google Play Store applications”.

The STBs ARRIS developed for Android TV are VIP5202, VIP5402 and VIP6102W models for IPTV, ZC4515 for DVB-C cable, ZT4517 for DVB-T terrestrial, and PS5517 for DVB-S satellite.

For more highlights on IBC2017, be sure to grab the Oct 2017 issue of APB.

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