NAB 2019 SportsTechBuzz in Review: South Lower Hall
The SVG editorial team was out in full force at last week’s NAB Show, covering the biggest sports-technology news and delivering daily SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2019 roundups. Here is a look at the NAB 2019 SportsTechBuzz from South Lower Hall.
In this post, check out NAB 2019 news from Blackmagic Design, ChyronHego, Vizrt, Grass Valley, Ross Video, Quantum, Cobalt Digital, Signiant, Slomo.tv, Pebble Beach Systems, Disguise, Akamai, Imagine Communications, M2A Media, Spectra Logic, Hitomi, Open Broadcast Systems, Telestream, Deltacast, TSL Products, OpenDrives, VSN, RT Software, IBM Watson Media, Cloudian, Adder Technologies, SquareBox Systems/CatDV, Infortrend Technology, SportZcast, and FingerWorks Telestrators,
XNet-VIA, EVS’s Ethernet-based live media sharing network that facilitates ultra-fast sharing of high-resolution content between XT-VIA and XS-VA servers, has been introduced at NAB (Booth SL3816). As 1080p, UHD-4K (both SDR and HDR), as well as IP workflows become more prevalent, fast, efficient and secure Ethernet media sharing provides critical bandwidth and speed. The easily configured bidirectional network gives operators three times the bandwidth of EVS’ legacy SDTI-based network to move high-resolution recorded media between EVS’ latest generation of production servers at greater speed.
F&F Productions has selected the latest VIA technology from EVS (Booth SL3816). Moving into production of Full HD 1080p and 4K UHD HDR content, the mobile-production-facilities provider is equipping three of its signature GTX series units with EVS XT-VIA and XS-VIA production servers and the recently announced XNet-VIA Ethernet-based live-media-sharing network. The units can be transitioned to IP at a later date, with the VIA-based solutions already benefiting from enhanced live IP support of industry-tech stack standards like ST 2110 and NMOS. As part of the deal, which was agreed to at the 2019 NAB Show, F&F Productions will also upgrade its existing fleet of EVS live production servers to the latest Multicam 16.00 operating system.
AJA (Booth SL2416) announced new solutions and updates that streamline how broadcast, production, post, and A/V professionals produce dynamic, multiformat content. Topping the new lineup is the Ki Pro GO H.264 multichannel HD/SD recorder/player. Also new are 14 openGear converter cards featuring DashBoard software support, two IP video transmitters that bridge HDMI and 3G-SDI signals to SMPTE ST 2110, and the Corvid 44 12G I/O card for AJA Developers. AJA also introduced updates featuring improvements for its FS-HDR HDR/WCG converter, desktop and mobile I/O products, AJA Control Room software, HDR image analyzer, and HELO recorder/streamer. The Ki Pro GO is a genlock-free, multichannel H.264 HD and SD recorder/player with a flexible architecture designed for live production, sports, corporate events, training, houses of worship, and other applications. The portable device allows users to record up to four channels of pristine HD and SD content from SDI and HDMI sources to off-the-shelf USB media via 4X USB 3.0 ports, with a fifth port for redundant recording.
Blackmagic’s (Booth SL216) Bob Caniglia, director, sales operations, North America, said that the ATEM Constellation 8K and UHD live production switcher cannot be overlooked for what it delivers for those working in 4K. “For 8K it has 10 inputs and one ME but it is also a 40-inputs (at 12Gbps each), 4 ME switcher when it is in UHD,” he stated. “It’s an economy of scale thing, and that also allows it be used today for one thing and then tomorrow for something else.” And priced at $9,995 it proves that 8K production options don’t need to break the bank.
ChyronHego (Booth SL1208) is using NAB 2019 to showcase a new graphics rendering product for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Fresh is based on the Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4, allowing it to deliver photorealistic AR and VR images. It includes a text rendering layer and supports Camio newsroom workflows. The company has also released version 3.5 of its Prime platform which now features HDR graphics creation capabilities.
The big customer news from ChyronHego at NAB involves the Dallas Cowboys. The NFL team is refreshing its in-stadium AV screen capabilities at the AT&T Stadium in Texas, moving to 4K and buying ChyronHego’s Paint and Virtual 1st products to use for telestration so that fans inside the ground get a similar viewing experience to those watching on TV at home. Click Effects Prime will play a key role in the new setup, eventually driving 4K graphics to more than 3000 displays including a huge center-hung LED and two levels of ribbon boards.
Vizrt (Booth SL3308) is continuing to discuss its acquisition of Newtek at NAB, outlining the benefits of the merger to customers. When attempting to answer his own question about what happens next, however, CEO Michael Hallén had to admit that, “we haven’t really decided yet”. Yet he did set the combined R&D teams a challenge, asking them to invent “the next big thing” once they start working together. It was noted that the two companies have $200m in combined sales, with 40% coming from the US and 40% from Europe.
On the product side, Vizrt is touting version 4 of Viz Engine. The update to the render engine includes a choice of three render pipelines: a new Reality Fusion render pipeline for “added effects of realism”; an existing render pipeline to ensure full backward compatibility with previous work; and integration with third party technology such as Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4. Version 4 can be used in either an IP-based or SDI-based workflow and features brand new Fusion Keyer.
Quantum (SL4409) is making a big storage splash at NAB 2019 by introducing the F-Series, a line of non-volatile memory express (NVMe) storage arrays that are up to five times faster than traditional flash-storage/networking systems, according to Jason Coari, Director, High-performance Storage Solutions. Incorporating the latest remote direct memory access (RDMA) networking technology, the F-Series provides direct access between workstations and the NVMe storage devices, delivering ultra-fast network performance. The F-Series is the first to be built on the new Quantum Cloud Storage Platform, which is also being unveiled at the show. Outside of M&E, Quantum has also announced the VS-Series storage platform designed for surveillance and industrial IoT applications.
Grass Valley (Booth SL106) is debuting a new camera shading system, dubbed Grass Valley Creative Grading (GVCG), at NAB 2019. Comprised of a new control panel and a companion touchscreen application, GVCG combines color-grading and shading applications into a single common user interface. Camera shaders can now easily and quickly manage adjustments, such as transitions from indoor to outdoor lighting. The new system also makes it easier to dynamically control the complexities of HDR, WCG, and 4K in real-time. Using GVCG, camera shaders can also use a WiFi-enabled tablet in the front of house to establish visual matching between physical and digital elements.
Grass Valley is also beefing up its LiveTouch replay system at NAB, incorporating 4K slow-motion replay, direct playout, and full super slow-motion support (2x, 3x, 4x, 6x, 8x), integrated color mapping for HDR, and an advanced audio editing suite. For at-home production applications, LiveTouch panels can be used either at the event site while the LiveTouch server remains at home, or in a production facility with the server in an engine room miles away.
Other major announcements at the show for Grass Valley include the launch of the new Grass Valley Technology Alliance (GVTA) and the launch GV Fabric, a high-speed commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) IP switch tuned expressly for open architecture broadcast environments. Grass Valley is also hosting a live esports competition at its booth (in conjunction with FACEIT) that is utilizing its new Grass Valley Stratus One product, which takes the full capability of Grass Valley’s Stratus content management platform and packages it in a compact two RU footprint that can be deployed in hours.
Ross Video (Booth SL1805) delivered all of the pomp and circumstance expected from its NAB Show Sunday afternoon press conference. Among the highlights includes the launch of Voyager, the company’s new graphics rendering solution for augmented reality (AR) and virtual studio applications. It is powered by Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games.
Ross Video’s replay solutions also got a jolt in the arm on Sunday with the company announcing a bevy of upgrades across the Abekas Replay and Video Server product lines. Visitors to the booth this week can expect new channel configurations, new media storage capacities, and new codecs. Re-branded to Mira+, this upgraded system is fitted with AVC-Intra hardware and is offered in 6-, 8- and 12-channel models. In addition, Mira+ media storage capacity is increased to 280 hours or 580 hours.
Cobalt Digital (Booth SL9111) offers up a couple of reasons for current customers and those who want to learn more about the company to stop by. Topping the list is a prototype of a decoder that Chris Shaw, Cobalt Digital, executive vice president of sales and marketing, said answers the needs of current customers and those who have been holding off on purchasing a Cobalt Encoder because there was not a decoder component. “It’s going to increase our business,” noted Shaw of the ability to offer a comprehensive system. “It can auto decode h.264 and h.265 and also has 4K capability.” And with respect to encoders the 99920-ENC series of HEVC/h.264/MPEG-5 encoders for OpenGear frames is also on display. It has low-latency 8-bit and 10-bit 4:2:0 encoding and for high-end contribution optional license keys support HEVC and 4:2:2 encoding.
Another reason to stop by the Cobalt booth is to learn more about the RIST Working Group which was born out of the Video Services Forum (VSF). It is comprised of a number of manufacturers, including Zixo, Net Insight, Evertz, Nevion, and more, and the goal is to make it easier to use the Internet as a cost-effective contribution link for broadcasters. Ciro Noronha, Ph.D, Cobalt Design, director of technology, said that many products can do that but that, until RIST, they were not interoperable. “Now you can have a mix-and-match of equipment from different vendors and it will all play nice,” he said. To check out a real-world demo visit YouTube and search for RIST at NAB 2019.
Signiant (Booth SL10216) has launched Jet, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that is said to make it easier to automate and speed-up the transfer of large files between geographically dispersed locations. Targeted at simple “lights-out” use cases, Jet is an alternative to scripted FTP and makes use of Signiant’s SaaS platform, which also underpins the company’s Media Shuttle. Marketed at small and mid-sized businesses, it is based on a proprietary transport protocol that optimizes network performance under all network conditions.
At NAB Slomo.tv (Booth SL3829) is demonstrating what it claims to be the world’s smallest video broadcast grade replay server and videoReferee system Ripley Plus in the form factor of the replay controller. The new Ripley Plus supports a 6Rec+6Search+2Play channels configuration, and can work as an 8-channel videoReferee-R video judging system that meets the minimum FIFA requirements for VAR. Ripley Plus provides simultaneous recording of six HD video inputs, playing two channels with transition effects and searching on all six recorded channels. The maximum capacity of the built-in SSD storage is now up to 133 hours of 100MB HD video.
Pebble Beach Systems (Booth SL4528) is demonstrating some emerging solutions for replacing – and surpassing – wired GPI capabilities in modern broadcast facilities as they migrate to IP. Pebble Beach Systems has been a key contributor to the IS-07: NMOS Event & Tally Specification (‘IS-07’) which is under development by the Advanced Media Workflow Association as part of the Networked Media Open Specifications initiative. It defines a mechanism for emitting and consuming states and state changes in an IP environment, allowing equipment from multiple vendors to be connected using open standards, and for those connections to be easily and simply remapped.
An interesting newbie to NAB this year is Disguise (Booth SL9324). The London-based company has huge experience in the music touring market and is now bringing that expertise to the broadcast sector where it is looking to disrupt in augmented reality (AR) and virtual sets, particularly within sports television. Exhibiting alongside its certified solution provider WorldStage and Roe Visual, Disguise is showcasing extended reality (xR) at the show. The technology gives production teams the ability to deliver AR and mixed reality within a studio environment. With no need for a green screen, benefits include talent immersion, interaction with CG elements, real lighting information on actors and real objects. xR is still in development, alongside a beta development group.
Akamai (Booth SL3324) is touting Cloud Wrapper, a newly available development for its live and on-demand streaming media service Adaptive Media Delivery. Cloud Wrapper optimizes the connectivity between public cloud infrastructures and the Akamai Edge in order to remove common barriers to over the top (OTT) delivery in cloud environments. It serves as a custom caching layer that wraps around centralized cloud providers, shielding them in order to improve origin offload. The upshot is more end user requests for live or on demand video content are served from Akamai, resulting in lower cloud egress charges and a more consistent, high quality viewing experience, the company said.
Imagine Communications (Booth SL1516) has announced its evolving role in Nine Entertainment’s9Galaxy automated TV trading platform. As one of the largest free-to-air broadcasters in Australia, Nine is changing the game for how audience buying takes place across its programming, helping media agencies remove 80 percent of the workload associated with trading TV by moving away from spot-based sales. Nine is using Imagine’s xG GamePlan cloud-native booking optimiser to take an audience-based approach to ad inventory management to deliver campaigns as efficiently as possible. The rollout expands Imagine’s long-standing work with Nine in support of multichannel playout.
M2A Media (Booth SL5121) is using NAB to discuss Dynamic Content Insertion (DCI), a development that allows over the top (OTT) live event streaming content to be localized without the need to run multiple local playout systems. Based on public cloud technology, DCI both replaces video segments in all formats and rewrites manifests in order to localize ad break content while maintaining compatibility with different connected TVs and operating systems. Static content is inserted in a live stream as if it was live. That means for each inserted fragment, M2A Media manipulates the replacement content timecode to match the original one. To maintain compatibility, all encoded static video content is encoded using exactly the same encoding profile as the live stream.
Spectra Logic (Booth SL11516) has introduced a new data mover feature, dubbed Spectra RioBroker, to its BlackPearl converged storage platform. According senior vice president Hossein ZiaShakeri, Spectra RioBroker version 1.01 acts as a data mover to speed file transfers, streamline workflows and scale out BlackPearl in both performance and capacity to accommodate growing amounts of digital assets. Spectra’s RioBroker software is available now. In addition, the company introduced Spectra Swarm, which adds Ethernet connectivity to Spectra LTO tape libraries. Spectra Swarm will be available in July.
Hitomi (Booth SL5221) is providing NAB visitors with sneak preview of an upcoming iOS app that can be used to do lip sync alignment on an outside broadcast or location news report. Matchbox Glass works with existing Matchbox analyzer software and allows users to wirelessly synchronize microphones with cameras by simply holding an iPad or iPhone in shot. The Analyzer at the other end of the broadcast chain then gives a measurement of AV alignment.
Open Broadcast Systems (Booth SL5624) has updated the encoding and decoding software on its C100 contribution device, giving it the ability to offer a latency rate of just 60 milliseconds with 1080p 60 video. The C100 is built on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) IT hardware and promises to achieve that level of latency with no reduction in picture quality. “It will get even lower,” said managing director Kieran Kunhya. “It’s taken 18 months of R&D and a major investment to get to this point. It’s a game changer.”
Telestream (Booth SL3308) has more than made its presence felt at NAB Show with a collection of significant product launches and service enhancements. You will want to take a look at the OptiQ cloud-based channel-creation system, specifically. OptiQ attempts to cut down the processing of creating new channels from taking months or even weeks and shaving that down to a matter of minutes. The video channels feature integrated monitoring from end-to-end and make it easy to identify an issue and quickly remedy it. The transparency in the delivery process is impressive; the company’s marketing director Ken Haren raved about the platform and identified that as the demo to see for sports broadcasters hoping to get a peek at the future of delivery.
Blackmagic (Booth SL2016) rolled out the DaVinci Resolve editor keyboard, a USB-C keyboard with an integrated job shuttle control that allows editors to go back in time and relive how fast it was to edit in an era when a computer mouse was not an option. “It has a jog shuttle knob and mark in and out points and I really think the new DaVinci Resolve CutPage [editing system] is a perfect thing for sports because it is about slashing things together and getting it out without having to hunt through menus,” said Bob Caniglia, director, sales operations, North America. “Even the younger guys on staff get on it and think it’s great.”
Cobalt Digital’s (Booth SL9111) 9904-UDX-4K up/down/cross converter and image processor for openGear frames makes use of Technicolor high dynamic range Intelligent Tone Management (ITM) software and also enables the use of current SDR infrastructure, reducing the need for new camera purchases and other capital expenditures to produce HDR footage. “With Technicolor we have very dynamic tone management so that a camera can go from shooting in light to dark and it will autocorrect,” said Chris Shaw, Cobalt Digital, executive vice president of sales and marketing.
Deltacast (Booth SL13013) has a range of interesting graphics products for sports broadcasters on show at NAB, including a new character generator and a 3D add-on that can help with video assistant referee (VAR) decisions during soccer matches. The former, called Delta-CG, is both a character generator and a graphics playout system for live production. It can do various things, including: build 2D or 3D animations; configure and automate playlists; and control screens, ribbons and LED perimeters. For VAR, Delta-offside provides a precise, curved and 3D virtual line to help with offside decisions. It is available as a stand-alone system or as an add-on to other VAR systems. Also on show at NAB is Delta-neo N2H, a standalone NDI to HDMI converter. This new module has been designed for use in confidence monitoring and signal distribution.
TSL Products’ (Booth SL4621) new SAM-Q audio monitoring platform does what its name says it will and does it well for SDI infrastructures. But this NAB Product of the year nominee’s interface reflects the broader user and knowledge base that now interfaces with pro-audio gear. The SAM-Q’s user experience can be customized for user abilities ranging from expert to novice, maximizing operational efficiency and reducing operational error. “An audio monitoring platform designed to serve all levels of user… that also has the functional capacity to grow and adapt in line with ever changing technical requirements, all helps to protect a customer’s investment,” observed TSL Stephen Brownsill, audio project manager.
OpenDrives has teamed up with EVS to demo a live broadcast, multi-camera 4K workflow at the StudioXperience booth (SL3824) at NAB 2019. OpenDrives CTO Sean Lee says the workflow is leveraging OpenDrives Summit (a hybrid solution employing both a spinning drive for primary storage and an NVMe cache layer) as the storage backbone, as well as EVS XT-VIA production servers along with IPDirector to manage ingest, control and instant access to media for post-production.
VSN (SL7606) has partnered with Dixon Sports to integrate with its logging and ingest tool, according to Doug Wynn, North America Sales Director, VSN. The Rest API integration will allow VSN to ingest all metadata assigned to content in the Dixon Sports logging tool and automatically incorporate it into its VSNExplorer media-asset-management system. In addition, the company is showcasing its new VSN NewsConnect HTML5 plugin for news environments, which is an add-on for the VSNExplorer platform that allows users to interconnect via MOS any leading NRCS, CG, studio playout system and video servers. VSN is also debuting its new cloud-based Media Exchange content hub enhancements to its VSNCrea traffic and scheduling system.
London-based real-time graphics provider RT Software (Booth SL6125) is housed within the Great Britain and Northern Ireland pavilion at NAB this year where it is showing a brand new product for sports analysis and telestration. Tactic Advanced is one of a planned trio of “easy to use” broadcast sports graphics system. It has various features including the ability to link graphics, editable motion paths, composite graphics and camera tracking. Importantly, it does away with the need for a chroma key. Advanced is the mid-range product with a further launch due at the top end, called Pro, which includes a timeline, and at the entry level, called Light. The company is also touting a new on-air graphics offering called Swift which has an affordable price point and gives the user the ability to quickly and easily create live on-air overlay graphics at high quality. Swift is said to be suitable for text, clocks, tickers/crawls, tables and video/clip handling, among other things.
Just as NAB concludes on Thursday, The Masters will tee off from Augusta National and, for the third consecutive year, IBM Watson Media (Booth SL5005) is delivering AI-powered highlights. A new feature this year will be highlight reels that capture a player’s entire round in three minutes. Senior Product Manager, David Kulczar explained that IBM Watson Media analyzes video from every player and scores every stroke based on characteristics that may indicate a significant or exciting moment, including player hand gestures and crowd noise. These excitement factors are scored, combined and ranked to create a highlight clip. The service is being showcased at the IBM Watson Media pod at the company’s NAB Booth.
Cloudian (Booth SL6821) and Telestream (Booth SL3308) have combined their Cloudian HyperStore and Telestream Vantage technologies to provide advanced intelligence for search and analysis of media files by using automated enriched metadata tagging. Under the joint offering, Telestream Vantage creates a media-aware overlay on the Cloudian HyperStore object storage platform. According to Cloudian CMO Jon Toor, Vantage processes and analyzes media files, providing services such as auto-transcription and captioning, keyword analysis, ingest workflow and asset QC automation, and active library management functions. It also automatically creates enriched metadata that is stored with the associated content in HyperStore.
Adder Technologies’ (Booth SL8620) Infinity Series is going 4K at this year’s NAB Show, with the launch of AdderLink Infinity 4000 (ALIF4000); a dual-head, high-performance 4K IP KVM matrix over a single fiber. The ALIF4000 delivers pixel-perfect picture quality to single or dual 4K screens over a single fiber link. And, because the ALIF4000 is fully compatible with the existing Infinity range, it can be phased in to an existing Infinity KVM matrix without the need to rip and replace. Following the show, the AdderLink Infinity 4000 will be available as a demo unit, with general availability planned for July.
SquareBox Systems (Booth SL5421) has introduced a new affordable, entry-level version of its CatDV asset-management system – dubbed CatDV Essential – specifically aimed at smaller organizations looking to launch their own MAM. According to VP of Business Development for North America, Jeremy Strootman, CatDV Essential brings the primary collaboration and search tools of the traditional CatDV system to smaller workgroups of up to eight users. Upon launching the out-of-the-box platform, CatDV Essential automatically ingests, catalogs, and creates proxies for all assets in the new user’s library. Then the user can evolve their MAM as its content library grows. VP of Business Development for North America Ryan Servant said the system is ideal for high-school athletics and smaller sports organizations.
Infortrend Technology is debuting a high-bandwidth 2 x 25-Gb iSCSI SAN solution at the Atto Technology booth (SL7624). Infortrend CTO Bart Harrison believes that as 4K becomes the norm and with 8K on the horizon, this new 25GB iSCSI SAN system will serve media organizations that require faster and more efficient I/O to exchange data across networks. A single 25GB Ethernet (GbE) lane offers 2.5X bandwidth and is backward-compatible with 10GbE. With two 25GbE ports per host board, the storage system offers high bandwidth over Ethernet networks. A dual-controller GS 3000 system can support up to eight 25GbE ports with two host boards per controller. In addition, Infortrend is highlighting a “SAN in a box”, featuring a portable SAN storage system housed in a Pelican case.
SportZcast (Booth SL5616) is prioritizing the expansion of scorebots into every and all sports venues possible. ScoreHub, the company’s next generation of the Scorebot 4000, is off to a fast start with live data implementation in over 2,800 venues. In addition, the company is moving towards an even bigger push into the new world of legalized sports betting with real-time updates of odds, spreads, and much more. SportZcast’s live production solutions are currently being deployed in JVCKENWOOD’s (Booth C4415) live demonstration at NAB Show 2019.
FingerWorks Telestrators (Booth SL6412) is emphasizing its push toward more player tracking, implementation of ReVu/Neo360 virtual reality graphics, and a new user interface that is adaptable to the individual’s tendencies and workflows. Also, the company’s recent partnership with Sportradar is being showcased in the form of new interactive stats that add an extra layer of storytelling. In addition, the player-tracking and identification applications will soon be in play during the upcoming NFL season.