IBC 2018 SportTechBuzz in Review: Halls 8-11

The SVG Europe and SVG Americas editorial teams were out in full force at last week’s IBC Show, covering the biggest sports-technology news and delivering daily SportTechBuzz at IBC roundups. Here is a look at the IBC 2018 SportTechBuzz from Halls 8-11.

In this post, check out what these companies rolled out at IBC: Aerial Camera Systems, Arista Networks, Audinate, Axon Digital, Broadcast RF, Broadcast Solutions, BroaMan, Calrec Audio, Clear-Com, Cobalt Digital, Eurovision Media Services, EVS, Gearhouse Broadcast, Genelec, Grass Valley, Lawo, Leader Electronics, Panasonic, Pebble Beach Systems, Riedel, Ross Video Slomo.tv, Tedial, Telos Alliance, TSL Products, Wave Central, and WorldCast Connect.

Aerial Camera Systems showcased a joint project with Broadcast RF on stand 11.D12, the RF Polecam Pico. Said Matt Coyde, sales director: “This was driven by one of our engineers who had the idea for a roaming live polecam, then we thought it would be a great idea to combine that with the capability of Antelope Pico. We did a couple of tests at events for golf and got great crowd shots and were able to follow the golfers around the course. As well as offering live output, we can also provide a second channel for record, replay and high frame rate output; it’s a really efficient operation.” Added Broadcast RF’s Chris Brandrick: “The beauty is the cameraman can wander around doing his thing and we can trigger replays and control the camera from the truck.”

“This is the year that we can truly say ‘IP is real,’” said Ed Chapman, VP business development, alliances, and sales at Arista (8.E30). Arista showcased its scalable switching platforms, which Chapman says have been increasingly adopted by live sports producers, including NEP (in conjunction with Wimbledon), Timeline TV, and others. In addition to participating in the AIMS IP interop at IBC and showcasing IP workflows at its booth with partners like Lawo, EVS, Axon, and Nevion, more than two dozen companies utilized Arista switches at their booths throughout the RAI.

IP audio leader Audinate (8.A19) previewed a new feature in Dante Controller at IBC2018. Dante Updater allows devices to easily update with the latest firmware, adding to Dante’s innate interoperability. To be installed with new versions of Dante Controller, Dante Updater will automatically scan the Dante network, identifying devices for which it has new firmware or manufacturer software available, and download the required files from its own managed database.

Axon Digital announced the latest release of its Cerebrum control and monitoring platform, which provides the comprehensive third party device control. New protocols featured include support for Audinate Dante, Ross Ultrix, Harmonic, Wohler, Vislink and Blackmagic. On stand 10.A21, Axon demonstrated why this control and monitoring platform is useful for mobile production, news and studio live production, master control, and remote production.

Broadcast RF (11.D12) demonstrated Velo4G, its new onboard-bicycle camera platform, following the success of its second trial held recently at the Tour of Britain. Chris Brandrick, commercial director at Broadcast RF, said: “4G onboards are in their infancy, but we are confident this is truly a game changer for road cycling and other applications requiring cost effective remote POV camera solutions.” The company also launched BeltpackRF here in Amsterdam, a 200g transmitter, battery, and antennae that can be fully controlled remotely.

Broadcast Solutions took two stands at IBC 2018, including the show’s largest outdoor display space. Focusing on systems integration, the outdoor stand (O.E02) was accompanied by an indoor stand (8.D74) where Broadcast Solutions is presenting its answer to today’s and future challenges in managing media infrastructures. Based on more than 20 years’ experience in system design Broadcast Solutions has developed hi, an intuitive and easy to use control layer for media appliances.

BroaMan (stand 8.C60) further extended its successful Mux22 series of devices, with the announcement of the Mux22 FrameSync8, which provides a superior upgrade to traditional frame sync technologies. By using advanced timing and transport techniques, the new FrameSync option allows zero-delay frame syncs, and auto-adjustment of its embedded audio. This addresses a number of problems which began with the use of digital equipment, notably the infamous lip sync issues and highly irritating delays for actors and conductors in live situations, BroMan said.

Calrec Audio revealed two new IP products on stand 8.C61, the H2-IP Gateway and the AoIP Modular I/O controller card. Both products are SMPTE 2110/AES67-compatible and expand the range of AoIP solutions Calrec now offers. These two new solutions build on Calrec’s new Impulse core, a native-IP core for use with Apollo and Artemis surfaces. The H2-IP Gateway provides an interface between a Hydra2 network and an AoIP network. It also awards an extra control level that allows audio labels to be passed in both directions between the two networks along with control data.

Clear-Com (10. D29) highlighted the high density audio-and-intercom-over-IP connection card for the Eclipse HX digital matrix intercom family, called E-IPA. Natively AES67 compliant and SMPTE2110-30 ready, the E-IPA card provides 64 streams of low latency and high audio bandwidth connections for linking existing and new IP-based Clear-Com products, including the new FSII IP transceiver (IPT) and is ready for interoperating with other AES-67 compatible Clear-Com products. The E-IPA IP Connection Card is making its European debut at IBC 2018.

Also, Clear-Com had a plethora of enhancements to its portfolio, as well as the brand new V-Series Iris, panels that are, according to Simon Browne, VP of product marketing, “very adaptable to live sporting events”. He went on: “V-Series Iris can work on LAN, WAN, and the internet, so particularly at large sports events you can move it to wherever there is an internet connection. That’s something we’ve been doing at events like the Olympics.”

Chris Shaw, Cobalt’s executive VP of sales and marketing, revealed at IBC that the company is working closely with Technicolor on a new SDR to HDR range of converters. Shaw has recently re-joined the company after three and a half years. In addition, the company showcased its full range of conversion technologies at the show. This includes its 9904-UDX-4K-12G UHD/3G/HD/SD-SDI Up/Down/cross converter, a multi viewer, a UHD streaming encoder, the OG-PC computer card, and new 9914DA-4Q-12G distribution amplifier. Cobalt also demoed RIST, its Reliable Internet Stream Transport solution which allows interoperability between different content streaming system.

Also, Cobalt Digital (10.B44) hosted a demonstration of the Reliable Internet Stream Transport (RIST) specification, created by the Video Services Forum (VSF) to serve as a common industry specification for low-latency video contribution over the internet. The first version of the new specification, the RIST Simple Profile, is nearing completion, and members of the VSF RIST working group have used Cobalt Digital equipment to demonstrate the protocol in action.

Eurovision Media Services (10.F20), the business arm of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), has developed a remote graphics solution to allow sport federations to adapt TV graphical overlays for different geographies to get closer to key audiences and maximize the event value for sponsors and partners. Using one single signal, uplinked at the origin and distributed across different geographical zones, sports federations can remotely insert different graphics for each destination. For example, the name of an athlete could be shown in Latin, Cyrillic, Chinese, or Arabic characters depending on the country of reception and the sponsor’s logo could also be adapted to a nationally known entity. The whole process is centrally controlled by the production crew onsite to ensure a full alignment with the predefined graphical chart.

Partnering with eSport company ESL, the EVS stand (8.A96) was a playground for live eSports competition, featuring two ESL One championship players competing in a game of Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). Around them, demonstrations showed how ESL uses EVS technology for live switching, live replays, and fast turnaround content production to output engaging live content to multiple online platforms.

EVS also announced that Fox Sports Australia would be producing all of its upcoming cricket broadcasts in 4K UHD. NEP Australia will be delivering the content from its four 4K UHD production trucks. NEP has recently taken delivery of 18 XT-VIA and 4 XS-VIA servers for the project. The first match will be broadcast on 4 November. EVS also revealed how it has recently equipped NEP’s two Andrew’s Production Hubs, based in Sydney and Melbourne, with 27 XT servers, enabling it to produce over 500 events each year via remote production from 30 venues. Mark Segar, NEP Australia director of technology, said: “All cricket that will be broadcast on Fox will be 4K UHD. It is captured in 4K and replayed in 4K.” He went on to explain how EVS technology is enabling NEP to develop its anyone, anywhere, approach to remote production. EVS also showcased its successful 4K strategy by highlighting high profile sports productions undertaken in Switzerland and Germany.

Introduced at the NAB Show, Via from EVS s a new technology platform built with a microservice-based architecture and founded on three pillars: Via Flow, Via Mind, and Via Opengate. Via Flow uses modular services to simplify media management and create customized workflows, Via Mind uses the power of AI to create smarter workflows and Via Opengate uses an open API for easy integration with third party systems for every business service. Throughout IBC, visitors to the EVS stand were able to see several presentations of how Via forms the foundation of EVS’ latest products, including X-ONE, Xeebra, DYVI, and the new version of IPDirector. The stand will also feature a demo of Via Flow Monitoring, a service which extends the capabilities of our C-Next contribution solution used for multisite production workflows. Company representatives can also discuss a number of recent deals, including La Liga’s use of 20 Xeebra video assistant referee systems for the 2018/2019 season. Xeebra continues to get wins in the sports market, including its use by the Union Cycliste International (UCI) on the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a Espana.

Gearhouse Broadcast announced it has partnered with Spidercam to bring its new SC-Light solution to IBC 2018. Located on the Gearhouse stand (10.B39), the suspended camera system designed to work in smaller venues like TV studios or indoor sports arenas was in action throughout the show. This is part of Gearhouse’s continued commitment to working with the latest production technologies, in order to deliver maximum value to its customers.

On stand 8.D61 Genelec international project manager Howard Jones, said there has been, “a huge amount of interest,” in its new high SPL SAM products, the two-way S360 monitor and the 7382 subwoofer. Both models have been developed to suit professional applications where there is a particular requirement for high acoustic power or listening at a distance, including immersive set ups. On a related note, Genelec also highlighted the recent publication of its Genelec Immersive Solutions guide to making better use of immersive audio.

Grass Valley showcased its newly enhanced product portfolio at IBC 2018, using the best innovation and expertise to give customers the ultimate selection and service. Visitors to the Grass Valley booth (9.A01) saw how this extensive portfolio delivers real world solutions to the challenges that broadcasters are facing, and how the acquisition of SAM earlier in the year provides additional value for Grass Valley customers.

Alos, Grass Valley CEO Tim Shoulders took the stage at the company’s IBC press conference to declare the integration between the Grass Valley and SAM product lines to be complete, with the fruits of this integration on display at the show in the form of new features for GV Stratus, GV Convergent, GV Flex, ICE automated channel playout, and other products.
“We are substantially complete with the integration activities related to SAM,” he said. “The majority of it is behind us and we are moving together — as of this show — with one foot forward. R&D and sales resources have been combined into one team. We are happy to report that we are moving forward together as one team.” One of the most notable announcements to come out of Grass Valley’s presser was the public launch of a new R&D initiative dubbed “Core Technology”. Led by VP of Core Technology Mike Cronk and conceived internally back in 2016, the initiative will take a more collective, agile approach to R&D across and embrace what Cronk called a ‘lean engineering’ philosophy that will allow Grass Valley to take product development time “from weeks to minutes.” The Core Technology initiative will deliver common cores, platforms, engines and interfaces across Grass Valley’s entire portfolio, including video processing, IP connectivity, cloud technologies, and software-defined solutions. According to Cronk — who called Core Technology “one the most exciting and impactful things that I’ve ever been a part of” — the initiative will set the direction for the Grass Valley portfolio moving forward and take a modern ‘build once, integrate to many’ approach.

Lastly, Grass Valley also dedicated a portion of its IBC Stand to eSports this year, partnering with FACEIT to produce a demo featuring professional gamers in a full-scale eSports competition environment. The demo highlighted Grass Valley’s efforts in the esports sector, which include a major technology role at the new Esports Stadium Arlington. Grass Valley also introduced the new LDX 86N RF head — a wireless, shoulder-mounted 4K RF head that provides a single solution for transmitting HD, 4K and High-Speed HD over the same link, even simultaneously transmitting high-speed phases (up to 3x1080p) with a separate 3G video channel.

Lawo’s IBC presence on stand 8.B50 gave Europeans a first chance to look at smartDASH and smartSCOPE, two tools that are designed to bridge the gap between IT and traditional video engineering. Both are now full integrated with Lawo’s VSM control systems, offering control and monitoring for the V Matrix and Power Core infrastructure. smartDASH, for example, will visualize connectivity and bandwidth usage and also discover and trace live media flows from origin to destination. And the smartSCOPE Deep Packet Inspection & Network Analyzer — a media-agnostic, high-density 24/7 analysis platform for IP flows in live production and delivery networks, monitors networks for packet loss, jitter, and other errors and makes it easy to identify them.

Also, Lawo demonstrated its latest innovation for radio; mixing consoles compliant with the SMPTE 2022-7 network-reliability standard. Michael “Catfish” Dosch, senior product manager, Radio OnAir: “Networked audio has revolutionized broadcasting, but network stability remains a concern. If the network fails, you’re out of business. The SMPTE 2022-7 standard was created to solve this problem in video plants, but it’s also the perfect solution for radio broadcasters.”

Leader Electronics Corporation expanded its ZEN series of test and measurement instruments with the LV5350 portable 12G/3G/HD/SD-SDI waveform monitor and its LV7300 rasterizing equivalent. Both products continue Leader’s heritage of providing products that support operational and engineering requirements within a single instrument.

Leader Electronics also announced two expansion modules for the LT4610 sync generator. Designed for use in broadcast studios, mobile production vehicles, post production companies, and broadcast equipment maintenance facilities, the Leader LT4610 provides a wide range of capabilities within a 1U x 400 mm deep footprint. The new LT4610SER03 Precision Time Protocol option can operate as both a grandmaster or slave clock. It supports ST-2059-2, AES67 and General profiles, and incorporates 10Gb Ethernet (SFP+) and 1Gb Ethernet (RJ-45) interfaces. This option enables the LT4610 to operate in a hybrid IP and SDI environment, allowing all systems to be accurately timed to the same source reference.

IBC 2018 visitors had the opportunity to witness the fruits of a partnership between Panasonic and Videosys that entails the showcase of an integrated 4K camera solution featuring Panasonic’s AK-UC4000 camera and Videosys’ 4K camera control unit. According to the two companies, Panasonic’s AK-UC4000 and Videosys’ new 4K camera control unit system combine to reduce the complexities that broadcasters face when setting up a live event and broadcasting in 4K UHD. The demo can be seen on the Panasonic stand (11.C45).

Panasonic also showcased a new 8K ROI (Region of Interest) multi camera system at IBC 2018, changing the landscape of broadcast production by allowing up to four different HD images to be produced from a single 8K camera. Available from the summer of 2019, the system improves operational efficiency, by allowing four separate crops from an 8K image canvas, reducing operating costs on a multitude of potential production applications. Featuring automated picture correction technology, the camera system also ensures that any distorted images are corrected and cropped with a natural, cut out, Full HD image from within the main 8K image. Multiple cameras can be integrated across the system, with a main operator controlled camera linked to further sub-cameras, which can also be pre-programmed prior to the event. As a result, a single operator can control multiple cameras each with several pre-set crops for versatile, yet cost effective multi-camera operation.

Pebble Beach Systems (8.B68) demonstrated that uncompressed IP is ready for playout. In its IP playout pod, the company is running Arista, Tektronix, Vizrt, Embrionix, AJA, and Suitcase TV together to showcase the SMPTE 2022-6/7, SMPTE 2110, SRT, NDO and NMOS suite of standards. Alison Parvitt, marketing manager, said: “We had a few customers worried that IP wasn’t ready for playout; that the solutions available weren’t mature. So we’ve got IP playout interoperability on our stand with a number of providers that show uncompressed IP is ready to go.”

Pebble Beach Systems (8.B68) also demonstrated its Orca virtualized playout solution in a full cloud-based Business Continuity application, with one channel running locally on the Pebble stand, and the backup channel running in the AWS public cloud. Pebble’s solution ensures there is no difference between the main and the virtualized DR systems; operators have access to the exact same interface, features and devices, using what is effectively a software playout layer. Most importantly, this means that viewers will not experience any difference in their programming should the need to switch between sites arise.

Riedel’s stand (10.A31) offered IBC attendees a chance to demo the high-end audio capabilities of the SmartPanel courtesy of a phone booth that allows listeners to select from a variety of sources like music, speaking voices, and film soundtracks. Also, attendees learned more about how Bundesliga tapped into Riedel’s Managed Sports Services to provide a special version of Bolero S for referee communications and VAR support. Other MSS clients include F1 and Red Bull Air Races.

Ross Video’s David Ross spoke at a press conference about a plethora of launches and enhancements to the company’s portfolio being launched here at IBC (stand 11.C10). Among the highlights were Newt, an IP ST2110 point of use gateway, with V2.20 offering UHD at 2160p 50 with redundancy, that Ross said, “We’re doing especially for UHD in Europe”. The company also announced Iggy, a broadly interoperable AES67 and ST2110 to Madi audio converter. Ross noted that, “some of the people in our industry seem to have almost forgotten audio,” but that Ross had not and Iggy was the rather cool answer. The company also announced the launch of BACH Liberty and XPression V.85.

Ross Video is also looking at fan engagement and the game-day experience at stadiums, and demonstrated a 5760×2160 resolution display being driven pixel accurately with video and live, data-driven 3D graphics. In addition, the production of live ESports for online audiences is very much a trend and Ross has been part of this growing market since the beginning. It demonstrated the Shoutcaster control panel and other solutions Ross has created for ESports in action.

Slomo.tv (8.B40) showcased a new integrated content creation and capture solution that combines its Simple RII server and what is billed as the world’s smallest true HD camera: Lux Media Plan’s HD1200. This production solution integrates slomotv’s 1U compact 8-channel Simple RII replay server with Lux Media Plan’s HD1200 mini-camera. LMP’s camera shoots 120fps progressive Full HD. It provides high performance 50% speed slow motion video and meets all the requirements of a modern progressive Full HD video world.

Tedial’s (8.B41) SmartLive automated production system, which launched at NAB in April, made its European debut at IBC. According to VP of products Jermone Wauthoz, the SmartLive system marries AI with a unique metadata engine to automate the production of highlights packages, media logging, and clip creation and distribution (including social media campaigns). Tedial also integrated Speechmatics speech-to-text technology and added a new AI-powered auto-logging tool.

The Telos Alliance (stand 8.D47) participated in the IP Showcase, where it demonstrated AES67 interoperability using the Axia RAQ AoIP Console, Axia QOR.32 Integrated Console Engine, and Telos Alliance xNode Audio Interfaces. The IP Showcase is taking place in Rooms E106 and E107. “With gear from 50 manufacturers interconnected with AES67, broadcasters and creators of media content can see how AoIP is ready for daily use in their facilities. Come see that AoIP interoperability is not a science experiment. It is real and practical to implement today,” said Marty Sacks, VP of sales, support and marketing for the Telos Alliance.

The Telos Alliance also showcased its new Linear Acoustic Automatic Real-time Control (ARC) television processor and Infinity IP Intercom here at IBC 2018. ARC is specifically designed to meet the needs of television broadcasters around the world by offering critical features at an affordable price point with no compromise in audio quality. “Much of the world’s television audio is still stereo, and we believe high quality loudness control shouldn’t be out of reach in regions where multi-channel audio, high channel density, and coded audio aren’t needed or required,” said John Schur, president of The Telos Alliance TV Solutions Group. “Linear Acoustic ARC is our next generation television processor that delivers the perfect combination of high performance and economy for myriad users worldwide. It provides all the right features at the right price while maintaining the highest levels of performance and quality that broadcast professionals expect from the Telos Alliance.”

TSL’s range of audio monitoring products (10.B41) provide broadcast operators with flexible options capable of integrating into current and future infrastructures. In response to the industry’s adoption of ST2110, TSL Products’ PAM1-IP and PAM2-IP products now support ST2110 and ST2022-6. The PAM-IP also now supports Ember+ protocol for edge device control within IP networks. With two 10Gig/E SFP+ ports included on the PAM1-IP and PAM2-IP, customers can monitor audio carried within ST2110 and ST2022-6 multicast streams. Both units also display the accompanying video content on the front panel of the unit, providing a full confidence monitoring experience.

Wave Central’s Axis integrated 4K/HDR/HFR slo-mo RF system is on display at the Grass Valley stand (9.A01) tied into the Grass Valley LDX-86 universal camera. The system allows the user to switch from 4K or HDR mode to 1080p/180fps mode and the system also offers paint control and makes use of h.264 or MPEG2 encoding.

Software solutions provider WorldCast Connect (8.C58), a spinoff of WorldCast Systems, made a splash at IBC this year with the introduction of WorldCast Manager, its enterprise NMS/OSS software. The platform is scalable and multi-faceted, centralizing the monitoring and management of all connected devices across one or multiple networks. The company is also offering a follow up look at its Mobile SureStreamer that first launched back at NAB Show. Designed by WorldCast Systems’ APT Codec division, it can be used to maximize the uptime and broadcast quality of existing hardware or software audio codecs over 3G/4G networks.

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