SportTechBuzz at IBC 2018: Saturday’s Latest From Amsterdam

IBC is in full swing here in Amsterdam and the SVG Europe and SVG editorial teams are chasing down the hottest stories from all over the Rai convention centre. To make the onslaught of announcements easily digestible for our readers, SVG Europe is sending you a daily SportsTechBuzz at IBC 2018, with all the top stories gathered together in one easy to read blog from our newshounds.

Today’s edition features Aerial Camera Systems, Akamai, Broadcast RF, BT Media & Broadcast, Canon, Clear-Com, Cooke Optics, Edgeware, Evertz, Fujinon, Globecast, Grass Valley, Harmonic, Imagen, Imagine Communications, IMT Vislink, Lawo, Marshall Electronics, Maxon, MediaKind, NCam, Panasonic, Quantum, Riedel, Signiant, Simplylive, Tektronix, Vizrt.

At its IBC 2018 press conference, Evertz (stands 1.D31 and 1.F29) put a major focus on how its ecosystem of software defined video networking (SDVN) tools can serve the changing needs of broadcasters as IP continues to mature, as well as announced a new entry-level version of its Dreamcatcher replay system. With 400+ IP installations already up and running and the industry’s continued adoption of the ST-2110 and IS-04/05 IP standards, Evertz sees the next year as a turning point for IP and will showcase how new features in its SDVN solutions – such as Magnum orchestration, VistaLINK PRO network management, VUE Intelligent operations and control, and InSite big data analytics – can serve the needs of IP-based facilities. Evertz is also preaching the power of virtualisation with its evEDGE virtualisation framework for services to run in the cloud.
In addition, Evertz unveiled a new entry level, low cost version of its Dreamcatcher replay system, dubbed DreamCatcher ONE. The new replay system offers the same key features of other DreamCatcher systems, up to eight channels of 3G/HD, and an easy five-step configuration process. Evertz also announced a the new 3RU DreamCatcher 200NZ Series IP-based low bit rate content recorder (adding ingest, storage and compute capabilities to Dreamcatcher clusters).
On the sports-specific side of things, Evertz announced that the Baltimore Ravens’ have installed an Evertz IP router and upgraded its DreamCatcher replay cluster to IP in order to drive its new 4K workflows and larger video displays at M&T Bank Stadium.
As broadcasters bandwidth requirements increase beyond what 10GbE pies, Evertz is also high on 25GbE and 100GbE, rolling out a full range of 25GbE solutions, including a new EXE 2.0 25/100GbE switch, a 25/100GbE gateway to interface with legacy baseband systems, a 25/100GbE modular switch fabric, and a 25/100GbE IP multiviewer.
Also on hand at the jam-packed Evertz booth in Amsterdam are several other new products including the low cost Atom HD digital recorder (which records right onto USB thumb drives), Scorpion dark fibre and managed IP transport solutions, and the XRF4 high-density RF router that was previewed at NAB in April.

Harmonic (stand 1.B20) is all about the Cloud and SaaS here in Amsterdam, putting its VOS360 Video SaaS platform front and centre at IBC 2018. Among the major VOS 360 Video SaaS announcements at its IBC press conference on Thursday were the launch of a new NASA UHD HDR channel on Roku using VOS 360, new dynamic ad insertion (DAI) and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) capabilities for the platform, and a partnership with Verimatrix’s new Viewthority content distribution platform to simplify the delivery of live and VOD content. “The cloud has definitely emerged as an efficient and agile medium for video processing and delivery,” said Stephane Cloirec, senior director, encoding, transcoding and distribution product lines, Harmonic. “And, with our VOS 360 platform, Harmonic is at the forefront of this change important change.”
On the sports-specific side, Harmonic revealed that VOS 360 Video SaaS powered Indonesian mobile network operator Telkomsel’s Maxstream OTT service during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Telkomsel’s concurrent viewership grew from 24,000 concurrent viewers to a peak of 550,000 during the tournament, highlighting VOS 360’s high scalability.

IBC 2018 is serving as a coming out party for MediaKind (stand 1.D61), which officially rebranded from Ericsson Media Solutions in July. The newly renamed company is using IBC as the launch pad for the new MediaKind Universe, consisting of five solutions each named after constellations: Cygnus (Contribution and Distribution), Aquila (Direct to Consumer), Pictor (Video Delivery Networks), Orion (consumer experience), and Vega (services and support).
Over the next week at the RAI, MediaKind’s booth will feature four demonstration areas based around four core themes: the immersive experience (using next gen codecs like HEVC and machine learning to enhance picture quality); engagement through analytics (social influencer content sales with blockchain); new applications for the cloud (using a cloud contribution network to complement – or potentially replace – satellite applications); and beyond broadcasting (focused on smart cities and smart homes applications).
New MediaKind CEO Angel Ruiz also revealed that Ericsson’s divestment of 51% of its Media Solutions business to new majority owner One Equity has not yet closed (it is officially scheduled for Q3 2018). “It’s not anything to do with the operations or business side of the equation,” he said. “It’s more to do with the complexity of…setting up a new company. Our focus is more on making sure we do it right…rather than focusing on the exact date we close. But it will be imminent.”

At this year’s IBC Show Simplylive is presenting its full product portfolio in hall 3.B19. The company is showcasing the latest developments in its range of products including the ViBox production system. With its modular approach consisting of three hardware models combined with one common backend software, the ecosystem offers different applications, including an all-in-one live production system. For the first time in Europe, Simplylive is showing new addition to the product family, the Mini versions.

Akamai TV is live on air from IBC in glorious 4K, showcasing a range of technical innovations that deliver the best and most uncompromising experience for viewers across simulcast and on-demand video on stand 1.D35. Edge technology solutions deliver the highest levels of fidelity, agility, intelligence, and security, said the company.

IMT Vislink is showcasing its joint collaboration with Panasonic on stand 1.A69. IBC is a first for this partnership, which pairs IMT Vislink’s external wireless HCAM camera system with the Panasonic studio camera range. In addition, IMT Vislink is débuting its upgraded HCAM/ULRA platform. The latest HCAM transmitter improves latency to one frame on all formats, including 4K UHD. With its recently announced software upgrade, Panasonic’s AK-UC4000 will include the capability for 4K output via one of the 12G-SDI outputs from the camera head.

Earlier this year at the NAB Show, Imagine Communications (4.A01) CEO Tom Cotney, who came on board in December 2017, announced that he was splitting the company into two organisations: one focused on playout and networking and the other on advertising technology. Cotney’s vision, which is heavily reliant on the broadcast industry’s migration to IP-based systems, continued to take shape at Imagine’s IBC press conference on Thursday. With 100 channels launched using IP technology over the past 90 days and a projected 58% CAGR in its IP playout business, Cotney proclaimed that ‘our big bet on IP is finally paying off”. “We made a big bet at Imagine on IP based technology and that is starting to feel a little more like a return on investment,” he continued. “So it’s nice to see those headwinds into tailwinds and getting some momentum behind you.”
In terms of playout, Imagine is demoing its cloud-native microservices-based Versio Platform, Versio IOX storage solution designed, and Nexio+ AMP highest-density media server with hybrid SDI/IP and H.265 capability. Imagine will also demonstrate various transition scenarios for migrating from traditional to next-generation playout operations at a pace that works for each individual customer.
In addition to playout, Imagine is showcasing its latest innovations for live production, including high capacity 100GbE network links, an intuitive live sports control panel that provides enhanced automation break manipulation, and SMPTE ST 2110-capable processing for HD, UHD and IP.

On stand 7.D02, NCam is demonstrating Real Light, which makes augmented graphics look real. Real Light, launched at NAB in April, captures real-world lighting and renders it onto augmented graphics in real time. Said Nic Hatch, CEO: “Real Light means you can start integrating CG into the real world. We’ve got a top tier UK broadcaster using our Unreal Engine plug-in that works with Vizrt for its Premier League shows to create a virtual set. The benefit of using a gaming engine is you have much higher fidelity in terms of ultimate quality; virtual sets will start to look real.”

Maxon (7.A59) has unveiled the last version of its signature VFX and motion graphics platform, Cinema 4D Release 20 (R20). According to Maxon president Paul Rabb, the new MoGraph toolset and volume-based modelling tools apply directly to motion-graphics creators in the sports-video sector. The MoGraph Fields feature makes it possible to efficiently control the strength of the effect using any combination of falloffs, from simple geometric shapes to shaders and sounds to objects and mathematical formulas. In addition, the OpenVDB-based Volume Builder and Mesher in Cinema 4D R20 offer an entirely new procedural modelling workflow. Any primitive or polygon object (including the new Fields objects) can be combined to create complex objects using Boolean operations.

Vizrt (7.B01) has unveiled the latest version of its MAM including cloud infrastructure zones. The new version extends Viz One with higher resource efficiency across multiple cloud infrastructure zones and increased automation, while using cloud technologies to improve video production workflows and IT return on investment. Viz One 6.1 introduces a new smart transfer system, optimised search for millions of assets and extended media support.

Tektronix has announced the expansion of its Prism hybrid IP/SDI monitoring line with the addition of a 10G operations unit, integrated audio, and dual-screen extension capabilities, as well as a 25G upgrade path for all Prism products (5.A73). “Our focus with Prism was initially to help the early adopters solve the hardest problems associated with IP deployments,” said Charlie Dunn, general manager, video product line, Tektronix. “Now that the market has become more mature, we’re dialling in the features that the larger set of customers most need.”

Quantum (7.B07) has announced Avid MediaCentral | Asset Management now supports Quantum StorNext archive solutions. The combination of MediaCentral and StorNext is designed for production environments facing exponentially accelerating content growth, increasing resolution, and expanding avenues of content distribution. Avid MediaCentral customers can now utilise StorNext archive capabilities to store and protect content cost effectively and keep it readily available for monetisation. “Media producers need fast access to all of their content to generate revenue,” said Ed Caracappa, senior director of global alliances, Avid.

HALLS 8-11
It’s been seven months since Belden completed its acquisition of SAM (Snell Advanced Media) and merged its portfolio under the Grass Valley (stand 9.A01) brand. Grass Valley CEO Tim Shoulders took the stage at the company’s IBC press conference Thursday 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.
Grass Valley will also dedicate 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 will highlight Grass Valley’s efforts in the esports sector, which include a major technology role at the new Esports Stadium Arlington. Grass Valley has 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.

Broadcast RF (11.D12) is demonstrating 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 has also launched BeltpackRF here in Amsterdam, a 200g transmitter, battery and antennae that can be fully controlled remotely.

Meanwhile Aerial Camera Systems is showcasing 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.”

Riedel’s stand (10.A31) offers 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 stop by and learn 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.

Lawo’s IBC presence on stand 8.B50 gives 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.

Clear-Com has a plethora of enhancements to its portfolio on stand 10.D24, 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.”

HALLS 12-15
Signiant (14.B23) has its head in the clouds here at IBC. John Finegold, CMO, commented: “2018 has become the year of the cloud. Signiant has become the strategic partner for how people simplify and abstract access to their content. One of the real benefits of Signiant is that your processes can be on-premise or in the cloud and we can make it work seamlessly. Sports broadcaster, teams and Federations are embracing Signiant technology to manage those workflows. Almost every major sporting event in 2018 has used Signiant.”

Canon (12.D60) is going long and wide with two new 4K lenses: the UHD-DIGISUPER 122 with a 122x zoom ratio and a focal-length range of 8.2mm on the wide end and 1,000mm at the telephoto end. Also new is the UHD-DIGISUPER 111 which has the ability to exceed 4K resolution and offers a 111X zoom ratio and a focal-length range of 8.3 to 925mm. Both lenses also have new controls that increase the operators ability to dial in the lens as needed, including a tool to control bokeh, giving the user the ability to blur part of the image and make it more visually appealing.

Fujinon’s latest offering, being shown on stand 12.B20, is a 70×8.7 lens that is on display for the first time ever and is a low-cost UHD and those looking for a 46x line will see two new lenses, the UA46x9.5 and UA46x13.5. Both are available in different configurations: lens/body only; with servo section and stabilizer; and with servo section, stabilizer, and mobilizer extender. One of the reasons for the expanded offerings? A version with just lens/body is perfect for helicopters as the drive unit can be removed from the lens as the gyrostabilized chopper housing does not require it. A version with a motorized two-times extender is also available for robotic camera system housings.

Edgeware (14.F20) has announced its first container-based software solutions, optimised for public and private cloud platforms. The solutions are being delivered as containers are its Origin products, TV Content Capture and TV Repackager. Following these, Edgeware has also revealed plans to migrate the rest of its software solutions into Docker containers. Said Karl Thedéen, CEO at Edgeware. “It takes our software solutions to the next level and allows our customers to benefit from our technology while deploying it natively in the cloud. It also gives Edgeware the core capability to offer its technology in a SaaS model.”

Cooke Optics (12.D10) is adding further depth and character to its Cooke Anamorphic/i lens family at IBC 2018 as it is presenting the 50mm focal length of the new Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus range. This addition to the Anamorphic/i range has been designed to meet the growing appetite for large format production, while applying the popular anamorphic characteristics including flare and oval bokeh.

Marshall Electronics is expanding on its assortment of miniature HD cameras with the new UHD Marshall CV506-H12, which is on display here at IBC 2018 (12.D20). The CV506-H12 is built for capturing high speed action for detailed, high definition, slow motion video. “Releasing a miniature 120fps camera to 1080p and other resolutions was a natural add-on to our camera line,” said Tod Musgrave, director of cameras at Marshall. “Many of our customers are using our mini HD cameras for slow motion replay and analysis.

BT Media & Broadcast (O.D02) is sitting in the sunshine at the front of the Rai discussing its next generation OB network, which is now in its third Premier League season of operation. Said Chris Ainger, head of broadcast technology: “We’ve been running out next generation OB network for the Premier League since the 2014/2015 season, and it is now spreading out to other grounds. It’s evolving in scale and locations. It’s been a phenomenal success. Last season we did 42,000 hours of uncompressed in HD over Premier League venues, 4,000 hours in UHD and 300Tb of data.”

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has chosen Imagen’s video management platform to host its in-season and archive content so that it can be more easily accessed by a range of users throughout the sporting calendar (see Imagen on stand 14.H05). The self-serve platform will improve the commercial exploitation of its video library and provide regular updates to fans. Founded in 1905, and one of the oldest international sport federations, the new fully branded IWF Media Portal will enable broadcasters, newsrooms and media partners to access the latest content during competitions plus additional footage such as features, interviews, competition highlights and creative content.

Globecast has been selected by Virgin Media as its technical partner for the launch of Virgin TV Ultra HD – the UK’s first dedicated UHD entertainment channel. The channel, which launches on Monday (September 17), will be available for Virgin Media’s Full House and VIP customers using its next-generation Virgin TV V6 set-top box. Globecast is supplying both cloud-based(1.A29) playout and media management services.

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