SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2018: Wednesday’s Latest From Vegas
A quick tour of what’s new, exciting, and interesting at the show
The NAB Show is in full swing in Las Vegas, and the SVG and SVG Europe editorial teams are onsite, covering all the latest news from the show floor. In an effort to make the tidal wave of news and announcements more digestible to our readers, SVG offers a daily “SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2018” roundup. This daily rundown provides snippets of big announcements and what is on display at more than 150 booths at the LVCC.
This edition features Arista Networks, Audio-Technica, Axon Digital Design, Calrec, Clark Wire & Cable, Clear-Com, Dalet Digital Media Systems, EVS, Focusrite, Globecast, Grass Valley, High Rock Mobile TV, Hitomi, IBM Aspera, IHSE, Image Video, Limelight Networks, Marquis Broadcast, NEP, Professional Wireless, Quantum, Radio Active Design (RAD), Sennheiser, SES, SonoVTS, SVGW, Telestream, The Studio-B&H, The Switch, T-Mobile, V-Nova, Yospace.
At NAB 2018, Clear-Com (Booth C6908) is presenting the BroaMan video, audio, intercom, and data-transport and routing solutions for the broadcast market. “BroaMan is known for its masterful engineering of fiber-based media networks,” says Simon Browne, VP, product management. The MUX22 Series products transport video, audio, intercom, and data on the duplex fiber infrastructure. The Repeat8-NANO Series are palm-size 3G-SDI or AES10-MADI signal media converters offered at an entry-level price. And the Route66 product family networks together BroaMan devices and selected third-party products into a maximum 40×40 matrix in different combinations of I/Os.
Image Video (Booth C5649) continues to enhance its TSI-4000 tally controller, introducing a new web-based interface this week. According to the company, the new interface will free truck EICs from having to spend setup time naming the TD’s monitor wall. Instead, the TD can access the monitor wall via a tablet or laptop. In addition, Image Video added multi-configuration capabilities to its tally controller, enabling trucks to switch between different shows with greater ease and flexibility, and protocols to interface with a greater number of vendors and their products.
SonoVTS (Booth C8236) is here at NAB talking about a new software function for HDQline, HDR Ready, which has been developed in response to customer requests. Tobias Kronenwett, head of business development, says, “HDR Ready has been created especially for use in mobile units, OBs, and flypacks, where people have to work in an HDR product environment but can’t use HDR reference monitors because they’re just too bright; they burn your eyes. So now users can run with our HDQline displays in HDR Ready mode.” Users can purchase the display and put the software functionality on top, he adds.
With new headphones/headsets are prevalent around the show, Sennheiser (Booth C1307) launched its 300 PRO series. Available in August, the series comprises the HD 300 PRO and HD 300 PROtect monitoring headphones and HMD 300 PRO and single-sided HMD 301 PRO communications headsets.
Audio-Technica (Booth C6012) has announced the new BPHS2 broadcast stereo headset for news and sports broadcasting. It is based on the new ATH-M60x on-ear professional monitor headphones and uses the same 45-mm large-aperture drivers. It is available in the standard BPHS2 stereo and the BPHS2S single-ear versions, both with a hypercardioid dynamic mic, and the BPHS2C stereo with a condenser mic.
Clark Wire & Cable (Booth C8012) is showing off its new extreme tactical fiber cables, which consist of four single-mode or multimode OM4 fibers encased in a stainless-steel braid and a polyurethane jacket. According to the company, the cable is able to withstand extreme bending, crushing (for example, from a truck running over it), and rodents and is impervious to water and weather elements. “We’re getting a lot of interest on that,” says President Shane Collins. “There was a need for more durable, rugged, fiber-optic cable, and the addition of the stainless-steel braid and the second jacket just takes ours to a new level.”
Focusrite (Booth C1147) has established the Focusrite Pro division, “to serve the specific needs of broadcast audio professionals.” It currently oversees three product ranges: Red multiformat audio interfaces, RedNet modular audio-over-IP solutions, and ISA microphone preamplifiers and analog signal processors. The new division is led by Richard Nevens, VP, global sales, who says, “Focusrite Pro seeks to engage with professional audio clients, both pre- and post-sale, as they transition their workflows and facilities to an audio-over-IP infrastructure.”
Calrec (Booth C7408) unveiled its Type R radio mix console, the company’s first radio desk available for sale to the industry at large. (It had previously made a custom radio console for the BBC.) The Type R is modular and IP-based. Marketing Manager Kevin Emmott credits the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) for speeding integration of IP into broadcast by “making sure its members were doing the needed R&D to make IP work for broadcast.”
Wireless RF coordinators are finding the post-reallocation landscape even more complex than it was immediately after the auction. “It’s definitely become more complicated now, with T-Mobile lighting up their spectrum all over,” says James Stoffo, CTO/principal, Radio Active Design (RAD) (Booth C1539). That has prompted development of a line of RAD UV1GN VHF-range wireless systems that work between 174 and 216 MHz. “VHF has become the bar nobody goes to anymore because it was too crowded,” he joked, evoking the famous Yogi Berra observation. “There’s plenty of space to operate in now in VHF.”
Professional Wireless (Booth C1437) has been developing its own product lines, such as the DC4R power supply shown at the show. President Jim Van Winkle, who serves as RF coordinator for the NFL and other sports leagues, notes that T-Mobile’s assertive moves into the $8 billion of RHF spectrum it bought through the FCC auction have been challenging for wireless users. Already working on frequency allocation for the Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, Van Winkle says RF planning now has to include bandwidth availability at the regional level, as well as within the venue itself. “We’re encouraging more use of wired microphones, such as for brief sideline interviews, to help free up spectrum at big events.”
Michel Suissa, managing director, The Studio-B&H (Booth C10415) sees a bridge forming between the cinema- and broadcast-camera markets. “It seems, for certain projects,” he says, “the return of cinema cameras in live configurations is making a comeback.” The major equipment reseller is showing off some of its latest camera technology, including the latest in its DynamiCam system, which was recently purchased by HBO Sports following a series of successful deployments of the aerial camera system.
High Rock Mobile TV, which set up shop in Gerling and Associates’ booth (OE2001) alongside Clark Media, has its recently completed High Rock 1, a Super Stallion Duel-Stage Expansion Class production vehicle, , on display. Designed with a compact, 40-ft. frame, it features a smaller footprint while sustaining the production quality that larger mobile units deliver. High Rock 1 features Sony cameras, including an HDC-4300 super-slo-mo; Grass Valley Kayenne switcher; Utah Scientific Routing; EVS replay servers; and a Cobalt multiviewer system.
SOUTH LOWER HALL
There are plenty of reasons to stop by the EVS booth (SL3816), such as learning more about the new Via platform that promises to transform the way the company develops and upgrades products. But one of the more attention-grabbing offerings is a demo area where attendees can get a sense of what an ESL gaming production is like. ESL production of the Intel Extreme Masters is the longest-running global pro gaming tour (12 years), and an EVS DYVI switcher with two panels is used: one panel cutting the live play from the gamers’ PCs, the other for the live programming. The demo at the EVS booth gives attendees a sense of that production as players compete live at the booth. Simon Eicher, executive producer, ESL, says that DYVI gives the ESL team the flexibility to change from one show day to the next and IPDirector provides the tools to deliver content that didn’t make it to air to fans via social-media platforms.
Grass Valley VP, Live Production, Mark Hilton encourages attendees to stop by Booth SL106 not only to check out a range of new products but also to learn more about how Belden’s acquisition of SAM (Belden is Grass Valley’s parent company) will change the course of GV product design. “One of the biggest benefits of integration is, we can leverage the best minds in engineering from both companies,” says Hilton. “It’s been fun to get together with them and learn how they work.” One of the earliest results is the decision to take the best parts of the GV Dyno replay server and integrate them with the SAM LiveTouch replay and highlight system. The goal is to ultimately create a replay system that will be attractive to production-truck vendors as well as to traditional broadcast facilities.
Quantum (Booth SL8511) is highlighting its new Xcellis Scale-out NAS, which delivers the high levels of storage performance and scalability in a cost-effective, Ethernet-based appliance. Powered by Quantum’s StorNext shared-storage and data-management platform, the multiprotocol, multiclient Xcellis Scale-out NAS appliance unites robust media and metadata management with scalability to support content creators’ most demanding collaborative workflows and ease their transition to IP-based infrastructure. Quantum says a single Xcellis Scale-out NAS system performs up to three times better than the market’s next-best NAS offering. An Xcellis NAS cluster can scale performance and capacity together or independently to reach hundreds of petabytes in capacity and more than a terabyte per second in performance.
Hitomi (Booth SL5221) is hitting Las Vegas with the U.S. debut of xFrame. Launched at IBC last year, the modular 1RU frame enabling expansion and future-proofing hosts up to four MatchBox modules of any combination. xFrame boasts a distributed frame reference and single Ethernet control interface for access to all MatchBox modules. “Customers can buy a single card and build up as their requirements grow and can even upgrade it when it’s on and live,” says Director Russell Johnson. “It’s completely hot-swappable.” The company has also launched an analog-out audio option for eight channels. It was built for CNN and is now available commercially.
“The world is going to everything streaming; OTT is going to be the future,” says Scott Murray, VP, product management, Telestream (Booth SL3316). “We are positioning ourselves to be the go-to company for everything live and VoD. We’re already there with VoD, and now we’re working on live. As part of that, we’re working with Fox Sports for the World Cup. Fox Sports is sending back live content from the World Cup to Los Angeles in real time over the public internet with just a 10-second delay, so editors can create their highlights shows. This is really killer stuff.” The solution comprises Telestream’s Lightspeed Live Capture, plus Aspera’s Faspstream, which creates a “tunnel” though the public internet. “The cost savings are staggering,” Murray adds.
Axon Digital Design and Arista Networks (Booth SL12105) are using NAB 2018 to demonstrate a live sports IP infrastructure. The showcase, in which a traditional SDI router has been replaced with an IP infrastructure, features Axon’s Synapse IP control solutions and Synview IP multiviewer, all managed by the Cerebrum control platform. Visitors to the booth can experience a scaled-down live demonstration of an operation by a leading production company for a recent major international sports event. This original setup consisted of multiple Arista 7050SX-64 switches in a leaf-spine configuration, combined with Axon’s Synapse IP bridges (NIO440) to convert to and from SDI and controlled through Axon’s Cerebrum control and monitoring system. To feed IP signals directly to Axon’s Synview multiviewer, Synapse MNU100 modules were equipped with Synapse NIO440 converting SDI signals to IP for display on the multiview wall.
IBM Aspera (Booth SL5910) is showcasing enhancements to its Streaming for Video solution. Building on its FASPStream protocol, this latest evolution enables live and near-live video streaming at high quality with no added latency over commodity internet with low-touch deployment and centralized administration using existing video infrastructure. Aspera Streaming for Video enables centralized, real-time production of high-bitrate programming, eliminating the need to co-locate costly production staff at remote venues. Also unveiled at the show is IBM Aspera on Cloud, a hosted service that provides a fast way to transfer, exchange, and deliver content from any location to anywhere with anyone. Files that need to be exchanged are often stored in multiple clouds and on-premises systems. Traditional transfer technologies bridging these environments can be slow and unreliable. IBM Aspera on Cloud overcomes the file-transfer challenges of the hybrid cloud by allowing media companies to securely and reliably move their content across on-premises and multi-cloud environments at high speed.
As part of a new partnership with EVS, IHSE (Booth SL10216) is routing a fiber link between its booth and the EVS booth (SL3816) to demonstrate long-distance connectivity using dual EVS LSM (Live Slow Motion) remote-control panels at a single workstation. An XT3 server at the EVS booth is connected via fiber to a workstation at the IHSE booth using dual LSM remote-control panels, and previews of converted SDI sources appear on HDMI displays. IHSE USA Marketing Manager Dan Holland and his team are on hand also demonstrating integrations with ChyronHego, Vizrt, and Avid, as well as several new product
Dalet Digital Media Systems (Booth SL9010) is unveiling the latest version of its Dalet Galaxy MAM and workflow-orchestration system. The Dalet Galaxy Five release enhances workflow orchestration and focuses on four core pillars: AI framework (dubbed the Dalet Media Cortex), a new social-media framework, increased hybrid cloud/on-premises workflows (including new integrations with AWS), and increased component-based workflows (including extended IMF capabilities). According to VP, Marketing, Arnaud Elnecave, the Dalet Media Cortex AI functionality provides users with new tools for cognitive content creation, content recommendation, audience analytics, and predictive analytics.
SOUTH UPPER HALL
NEP’s (Booth SU3714) offerings are designed to change attendees’ perception of a company traditionally viewed through the lens of remote production. First up is a presentation by NEP The Netherlands on the company’s advances in virtual-studio technology. With a render engine from Zero Density, the team at NEP built an integration level and has hired designers to build realistic studio environments that can also have localized virtual graphics and ad insertion, providing a way to drive new revenue from the virtual studio. Also check out NEP Media Services Norway for an overview of Media Bank, the asset-management facility that Eurosport relied on for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Media Bank’s flexibility allows customers to develop a customized system for asset management, content delivery, and much more.
Yospace (Booth SU3414) is here at NAB 2018 talking about live dynamic ad insertion and the issues involved in bringing both scale and personalization to any device a viewer wishes to watch content on. Says CEO Tim Sewell, “It can be very difficult to scale live dynamic ad insertion, as you’re bringing in personalization. However, as we have been doing this for a long time, our architecture has evolved. We are now at the point where audiences are growing and we are bought in because less experienced companies have not known what is needed.” The company is also talking about its overall stream-management focus.
Marquis Broadcast (Booth SU6225) has launched Delta Parking at NAB 2018. This new versioning of Avid project workflows means that an Avid project can be moved to shared storage or cloud, picked up by a remote freelancer or production facility, edited, then versioned back to the storage; only the changes are versioned, which means that only new media and the project metadata are moved. The project can be restored into the source project in Avid ISIS or NEXIS. Says Sales and Marketing Director Paul Glasgow, “Delta Parking enables you to do in-backup versioning of Avid projects, and then you can share the productions across geographies and time zones easily. It’s really powerful, and free with Project Parking.”
First-time NAB Show exhibitor V-Nova (Booth SU13310) is showcasing its demonstrations with partners Mainstreaming, Xilinx, and uCast at the show. uCast has integrated the Perseus Plus codec into its platform for internet TV services to improve the quality of experience for viewers and reduce the cost because it will run on a fraction of the bandwidth. The company is also talking about the addition of new machine-learning capabilities to the Perseus Pro codec, which powers the P.Link dual UHD/8HD video encoder/decoder. By incorporating machine learning and convolutional neural networks, Perseus Pro has been trained to identify common video features, so the amount of residual data required for reconstruction is reduced.
Exhibiting in the Connected Media Arena, Globecast (Booth SU10706CM) continues to evolve services and solutions for an increasingly IP-centric environment. According to CTO/COO Sylvain Merle, Globecast is developing its new products and solutions based on “a customer-centric approach.” This includes the recent introduction of My Globecast digital portal, which operates in real time and provides access to a full range of the company’s services. At the show, the company is launching its Optim’Net CDN offloading solution that integrates with any CDN vendor. Benefits include improved network performance and a reduced start time for media playback. Globecast is also showcasing its recently launched Disaster Recovery Playout Services based in its Culver City Media Center. It provides infrastructure, personnel, and expertise to manage low-cost disaster-recovery feeds for primary networks.
SES (Booth SU2010) is launching its Ultra HD platform into Latin America to accelerate commercial 4K rollouts in advance of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The new SES Latin America Ultra HD solution will be distributed over multiple satellites and open with four Ultra HD channels, including NASA TV UHD (produced by Harmonic) and the SES Ultra HD demo channel, an incubator for emerging 4K content producers. According to VP, Business Development, Steve Corda, SES plans to add new channels and content produced in Brazil, Mexico, and other Latin American countries.
This NAB Show marks a transition in the history of The Switch (Booth SU4910). According to EVP, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Rich Wolf, the company is expanding its traditional role as a provider of a deeply rich transmission network to one as a full-service content supplier. Other services are being stacked on that network to provide more value, including The Switch At-Home (which provides at-home production services) and The Switch OTT.
Limelight Networks (Booth SU11621) is helping lead the conversation and the innovation around low-latency streaming, especially in live sports production. Senior Director, Product and Solution Marketing, Mike Milligan cites the new WebRTC-based sub-second latency live-streaming solution as a major feature at the company’s booth. According to the company, the solution allows video to be streamed from anywhere in the world with just a single second of latency.
Drawing a record crowd of 80 women, SVGW hosted its annual networking lunch at NAB 2018. This year’s edition featured a highly interactive and entertaining presentation by Lisa Gillette, founder of Big Sky Coaching & Consulting, titled “Unconscious Gender Bias in the Workplace.” The lunch was sponsored by Filmwerks International and EVS.
T-Mobile is being described by many exhibitors of wireless microphones as about as considerate as a multibillion-dollar corporation can be when it comes to lighting up its new spectrum. The company has made a number of online resources available to RF coordinators, including ongoing 600 MHz-band notifications and this handy scorecard that shows the progress of the rollout.