The Telos Alliance’s John Schur Talks Broadcast-Audio Solutions

New division will help customers of Linear Acoustic, Minnetonka Audio transition to new tech

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The broadcast-audio business constantly changes, and companies change to adapt. The Telos Alliance formed in 1985 and now comprises six brands — Telos Systems, Omnia Audio, Axia Audio, Linear Acoustic, 25-Seven Systems, and Minnetonka Audio — combined for synergy. In September, the Telos Alliance created the TV Solutions Group (TVSG). Comprising Linear Acoustic and Minnetonka Audio, the new division will oversee their products, staff, and brands working as a single entity focused on helping customers transition to new technology platforms and formats, including the AES67 AoIP standard. As president of the new division, John Schur will manage both companies. SVG asked him to elaborate on the division’s mission.

John Schur, president, TV Solutions Group

John Schur, president, TV Solutions Group

What does the new TVSG view as the key new challenges facing broadcast audio now, on the eve of ATSC 3.0?
To provide the most comprehensive implementation of ATSC 3.0 technology, including immersive audio and additional enhancements to the consumer experiences, such as second screen, audio tracking, and personalized audio.

How will this new entity address new formats, such as Atmos and MPEG-H, and interact with object-based audio formats?
Our roadmap embraces immersive audio and interactivity with the listener. We will support the carrying of object-oriented metadata and provide solutions for authoring, watermarking, and encoding.

What are the specific new challenges for broadcast-sports audio?
Being able to provide the tools that take advantage of the new audio formats in a real-time–playout environment. We don’t have the luxury of being able to work in the file domain. We need to carry rich data in real time. Linear Acoustic, part of TVSG, is well-known for its low-latency, high-quality audio processing, and we will carry that expertise forward into ATSC 3.0.

What are your thoughts on the integration of audio over IP (AoIP) by the leading sports networks?
We see the advantages in the industry to move to an IP-based distribution model and infrastructure. One of the reason we formed TVSG was to support the AoIP initiative, which includes Telos products’ crossing over to TV.

Will other elements in the Telos Alliance, such as Omnia and Axia, play a role in the TV Solutions Group?
One of the major advantages of having a family of brands as diverse as those offered under the Telos Alliance umbrella is having access to products that work across multiple platforms and applications. We don’t always have to go back to the drawing board when creating solutions for our television customers; sometimes, the products and technologies are right there on our own shelves. We also have access to a rich assortment of talented people across these brands.

One of the areas that the TV Solutions Group will focus on strategically is the AES67 AoIP standard. How does AES67 fit into its plans? Integration into product decisions (both new products and retrofitting existing products)?
As the original inventor of AoIP, we have a long history of supporting AoIP in general, and AES67 will be supported across our entire product line. We are also proud members of AIMS, MNA, NMOS, and other organizations.

How is Livewire+ expected to evolve as a result of the TVSG, and how it is doing on the spectrum of AoIP solutions given Dante’s market dominance? Has AES67 made a significant enhancement in uptake?
Dante, as a production and pro-audio standard, is making great inroads into live sound. In contrast, Livewire+ and AES67 are an evolution of a technology that has been widely accepted as a radio-broadcast standard for many years now. We see its integration into television as the next natural step in its growth across broadcast platforms.

The next frontier for sports is streaming. How does the TV Solutions Group plan to address that?
Audio processing is moving to cloud-based services and other business modules that provide scalable offline solutions for content normalization and loudness correction. These same processing solutions are also available for real-time content delivery, including streaming.

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