Coping with corona: Cobalt Digital’s Chris Shaw on what his company is focussing on during the lockdown

Cobalt Digital executive vice president of sales and marketing Chris Shaw outlines his company’s priorities during the COVID-19 lockdown and highlights some of the technologies, new and existing, that sports broadcasters might benefit from in these strange and difficult times.

What is the most important message from your company to customers and partners around Europe in light of the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic?

Throughout this pandemic, Cobalt Digital’s major priority is to the health and well-being of our customers, vendors, staff, and everyone’s families and friends.

At Cobalt, we are closely monitoring the global COVID-19 situation and adhering to the guidelines issued by health organisations as well as regional governments. We are committed to continuing the high level of service and communication customers expect from us. Our Engineering, Support and Sales staff are operating remotely at full capacity and are available to support customers and answer questions through normal channels.

We are maintaining our manufacturing and testing capabilities even as we practice safe social distancing in our facilities and continue to deliver products as per customers’ requests.

Is there a way your company’s technology or services can specifically help sports media organisations and their workers to continue to produce content in more remote and collaborative ways at this time?

When Cobalt Digital was founded in 1997 the initial product line was a number of small throwdown boxes, A to D, D to A, etc. These were designed and developed specifically at the request of a large production truck (OB) company focusing on sports and live events. This laid the foundation for future Cobalt products.

In 2006 Cobalt Digital co-founded openGear with Ross and Ward-Beck. This is an open frame format available to multiple manufacturers to enable terminal gear cards to fit in a single frame with the same control system, Dashboard. This again was an extension of the Cobalt technology to be used in a 2RU frame for use in production trucks and studio facilities for all manner of live events.

Progressing to today, the company now provides HEVC Encoders/Decoders for compression (streaming), as well as multiple openGear cards for up/down/cross-conversion, frame synchronization, auto-changeovers, and a new range of 12G DA cards and 12G router cards – as a small example, all compatible with openGear frames and controlled by a common Dashboard system.

Working with Technicolor, Intelligent Tone Mapping (ITM), Cobalt has developed HDR 4K production products to meet the demands of sports and live events across the world. To meet a variety of HDR technical and budget needs, Cobalt can provide equipment for Static HDR, Dynamic HDR and Intelligent HDR.

It has always been the company’s intent to provide first class quality products that incorporate the latest industry technology. This has been achieved by constant communication with end-user engineers and systems integrators across the world.

Cobalt equipment has been used internationally at Summer and Winter Games, Golf and Tennis Tournaments, American and European football matches, and with every sport that can be imagined.

Combined with a superbly talented engineering team and a 24/7 support and service group (vital for any live event), Cobalt has been able to offer the equipment and reliability assurance that is required in the sporting arena.


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