Live from IBC 2022: Monday’s latest from Amsterdam
The SVG Europe and SVG Americas teams are onsite in Amsterdam for the triumphant return of the IBC Show. With the production and broadcast industry gathered at IBC 2022 to launch new products and reconnect, the SVG team is out in force in the exhibition halls of the RAI to gather and share the latest news with the SVG community.
Today’s issue features Adder Technology, AJA Video Systems, Amagi, Appear, Arkona Technologies, Ateme, Blackmagic Design, Brightcove, Broadpeak, Disguise, Edgio, Evertz, Hitomi, IP Showcase, Lumen, Microsoft, Newsbridge, Pixotope, Pliant Technologies, Q5X, Red Bee Media, Riedel, RTS Intercom Systems, RT Software, Sennheiser, Signiant, Sony, Telstra Broadcast Services, and TeraVolt.
Adder Technology (Stand 7.B18) is boosting the KVM game with its presence at IBC 2022. To serve current trends in the industry, the company always adapts products to match the requirements of the client base. This week, Adder Technology is showcasing solutions that cater to the growing need for remote production and utilization of cloud-based workflows. Whether it’s a production hub in a traditional broadcast facility or a newly minted control room inside a professional sports venue, users are able to tap into the physical workspace from the comfort of their own home. In-venue shows and live broadcasts alike are being prepared properly from anywhere in the world.
The move to HDR production is one of the newest challenges in the industry and AJA Video Systems (Stand 7.C19) aims to make the process easier than ever with ColorBox, priced at U.S.$1,995 and shipping now. The box, four of which can fit side by side in one traditional rack unit, is a converter for color-managed workflows for broadcast, live, or on-set needs. A 33-point 3D LUT processor with tetrahedral interpolation can make use of internal LUTs from Colorfront, NBCU, and AJA Color Pipeline as well as licensed versions of BBC HLG and new ORION-CONVERT. Latency is less than one line; a set of web-based controls (which can also be controlled by controllers from CyanView and Skaarhoj) offer increased flexibility; and built-in presets make things even easier. Said AJA senior product manager Tim Walker, “The presets allow you to create a look and then, with the push of a button, create the exact mathematical inverse so that you have two matched presets for going from SDR to HLG or HLG to SDR or whatever conversion you need.”
Amagi (Stand 5.C76) has rolled the latest versions of its Amagi LIVE low-latency live-orchestration solution and Amagi CLOUDPORT channel-playout platform. Amagi LIVE, which was used by NBC Sports Group for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, dynamically manages a variety of live productions for linear and VOD channels. A new enhanced user interface combines such functions as playlist view/edit and management of file-based and live content. Meanwhile, the latest version of Amagi CLOUDPORT features an enhanced user interface for more-efficient operation by a single user, and playlist additions — editing layout, viewing of past/current/future items, search/replace of assets, search filters, playlist versioning, show and break management, and missing-asset identification — make programming simpler and faster.
Oslo-based media-processing and -delivery–technology firm Appear (Stand 1.C61) has its sights set on the U.S. Chief executive Thomas BostrØm JØrgensen is keen for it to take a “significant position” in the country: “For the first time, we are marketing the Appear brand in the U.S. The speed of maturity and adoption of networking technologies are different to the U.S. than in Europe, and that is a big thing for us.” Appear products related to mezzanine compression and the adoption of ST-2110, he added, are ripe for the U.S. market. Former Nevion senior architect Geoff Bowen, who joined Appear this year, is the company’s technology lead and solutions architect in the U.S. Also at IBC, Appear is sharing details of its three-year project with Deutsche Telekom to reduce latency on the telco’s OTT platform to where it is on a par with the latency of satellite and cable delivery.
Arkona Technologies (Stand 10.B10) is exhibiting the AT300 dual 100GE edge compute processor. Said Former Lawo SVP Erling Hedkvist, who joined Arkona shortly after NAB 2022 to lead sales and marketing efforts, “With up to 96 UHD instances per rack unit, the AT300 is the highest-density 4K HDR solution on the market while being more energy-efficient than the previous generation.”
Ateme (Stand 1.D71) and Viaccess-Orca have partnered to offer a new service for creation of VOD-to-live and personalised live channels with targeted ads. Ateme is providing its NEA offering for streaming, integrating server-side ad-insertion technology with VO’s AI-based content-discovery and targeted-ad product, which is driven by usage data, viewing preferences, and subscriber consumption patterns.
Blackmagic Design (Stand 7.C49) is showing four new models of the Ultimatte 12 real-time compositing processor, with different versions at different price points and qualities available depending on the scope and level of the sports-broadcast graphics or virtual sets required or the television standard used. The SDI input Ultimatte 12 HD, Ultimatte 12 4K, and Ultimatte 12 8K models are accompanied by an HDMI input Ultimatte 12 HD Mini model. Designed specifically for live production, Ultimatte 12 features one-touch keying that analyses a scene and automatically sets more than 100 parameters so that customers get useful keys without having to do a lot of extra work. Also announced at IBC is a new Ultimatte Software Control app for Mac and Windows that’s available for download free of charge. This software lets users control all Ultimatte 12 models without the additional cost of a hardware control panel.
Low latency capabilities and better audience insights are two themes for Brightcove (Stand 5.B34) at IBC. With sports broadcasters and streamers in mind, the company is not offering the ultra-low latency required for sports betting but, instead, is putting its efforts into providing solutions to what it calls the “Twitter problem,” where a viewer might find out on social media that a goal has been scored or a wicket has been taken before it’s shown on the live stream they are watching. The latency required between 3 seconds and 8 seconds for a multichannel experience. There are trade-offs, the company notes. DRM is difficult with speeds this low, for example, and so stream encryption is used instead. At the same time, the company is offering its customers improved insights so that they can better understand how people engage with their content and how that content is performing and then are able to automate strategies to increase further engagement.
Broadpeak (Stand 1.B79) has added dynamic ad insertion as a service for users via Broadpeak.io, the company’s API-based SaaS platform, which launched in January. The monetisation tool is the third offering on Broadpeak.io, which also includes a content-replacement tool and a pop-up–channel service known as Virtual Channel.
Disguise (Stand 2.A35) has turned its attention to live productions, with sport a particular area of focus following the March acquisition of Polygon Labs. At IBC, the company’s stand is dominated by an XR stage and highlights integrated hardware and software comprising the new Porta 2.0 cloud app and px hardware for creating and controlling real-time XR, AR, CG, and ticker graphics via a web browser.
Edgio (Stand 5.A73) is focusing on speed and security at IBC, especially when it comes to how sports organisations provide web services to viewers and fans. Subsecond payloads are crucial, especially when it comes to e-commerce applications, but also speed to market with D2C OTT workflows via the company’s streaming division. Both topics are key for the edge-enabled–solutions provider, which is exhibiting at IBC for the first time since being rebranded from Limelight. This year, Limelight Networks entered an agreement to acquire Yahoo’s Edgecast in an all-stock transaction worth approximately $300 million. The relaunched company is being reintroduced to media companies at IBC.
Evertz (Stand 1.F76) is reintroducing its Studer range of audio products in Amsterdam. After Evertz acquired Studer in early 2021, Mo Goyal, senior director, international business development, live media production, said it became apparent at NAB 2022 that some in the industry needed a little reminder of the addition to the Evertz range. At IBC, Evertz is highlighting its investment in the Studer lineup, which has been refreshed to include IP functionality and integration into Evertz live-production workflows, with Studer Vista digital consoles and Infinity Core audio mixing and processing now part of Evertz Software Defined Video Networking (SDVN) solutions.
Hitomi (Stand 10.A42) is demonstrating its established MatchBox timing-alignment tool to show how it can help measure latency as well as lip sync. The European debut of MatchBox’s latency capability is powered by the addition of use of time of day as the measurement reference, on top of the existing lip-sync capability, which uses signal as a reference point. Said Hitomi co-founder Russell Johnson, “There are more and more immersive experiences in sports coverage; all sorts of things get added in to make it look nice for the viewer. Also, the number of cameras being used for broadcast has risen. All of that adds delay, so we’ve given broadcasters a tool to enable them to measure latency differences caused by all these additions and have the evidence to prove it.”
The IP Showcase (Room G102) continues to be an important piece of the IBC experience. It is closing out the show with four presentations that begin at 10:30 a.m. and conclude at 1:30 p.m. Highlights for Monday: “Managing Audio in IP Production” at 10:30 a.m., “Expanding Your Production Remotely or to a Public Cloud”, and sessions on cybersecurity and MNMS (Media Network Management Services). “The education sessions have taken over the spotlight,” says Andrew Starks, chair, AIMS marketing work group. “They’ve been well-attended so we’re going to double down on that next time around. And we still want to keep the demos going and highlight what some of the manufacturers are doing.”
Besides showcasing its new name and branding to the European market for the first time in-person, Lumen (Stand 5.B32) is highlighting its core media products, including the next iteration of its CDN interface, which has improved UX. Formerly known as CenturyLink, the network, edge cloud, security, and communication company is also touting its work with Disney on the standardisation of data models and interfaces. This is particularly important because content providers like Disney employ multi-CDN and open-caching strategies and want to avoid bespoke configurations and integrations with each vendor. Lumen and Disney have been doing this through the Streaming Video Technology Alliance (SVTA) and the IETF CDNI Working Group.
Microsoft (Stand 1.D25) has teamed with several partners on a sports-centric demo that features live sports commentary produced on the convention floor. According to Simon Crownshaw, director, worldwide M&E strategy, Microsoft, the company is showcasing a variety of “camera-to-cloud” workflows. In addition, demos include highlighting, clipping, timeline management, conversion, monitoring, and other production needs in conjunction with Evertz, Cinnafilm, swXtch.io, and Support Partners.
Newsbridge (Stand 7.B09) is celebrating after raising €7 million in a Series A funding round that will help it continue an expansion in the U.S. and hire additional AI and media-engineering talent. The company’s Cloud Media Hub platform for live and archived content uses multimodal AI Indexing to manage media assets. Unlike traditional AI, which relies on a single source for indexing, Newsbridge’s tech merges detection results from face, text, objects, pattern, and transcription to produce more-accurate metadata and search results. Among Cloud Media Hub’s modular features new at IBC is advanced speech-to-text recognition for subtitling, which deploys a technique called “AI diarization” to identify who speaks and when, recognising that there are people on screen and that their lips are moving.
Pixotope (Stand 7.D08) aims to democratize extended-reality productions with the debut of its XR Edition at IBC. With LED volume use in virtual production becoming more commonplace, Pixotope’s XR Edition comprises a range of tools to simplify setup and operation by reducing the technical complexities and associated resource costs of XR production. XR Edition features multi-wall support with one input and three outputs to render one virtual scene, enabling users to drive several large LED volumes from a single server/workstation. In addition, in-software camera switching allows users to synchronize AR elements and LED walls without a hardware-based switcher.
Pliant Technologies (Stand 10.C53) is exhibiting new audio hardware to serve this sector of the sports-video–production landscape. Making its IBC debut, CCU-08 CrewCom Control Unit is the latest addition to the CrewCom family. Offering features seen on the CCU-22 and CCU-44 product, this new iteration gives clients the chance to use up to eight 4-wire ports. The CCU-08 CrewCom Control Unit is capable of monitoring and maintaining any device across CrewNet regardless of radio-frequency bands in use. In addition, according to VP, global sales, Gary Rosen, new challenges confronting the company in the current age of production include the need to monitor individual frequencies so as not to interfere with other RF activations.
With everyone looking to bring fans closer to the action, placement of miniature microphones on players and officials is a growing trend. According to Q5X (Stand 8.B47) CEO Paul Johnson, IBC 2022 is the first time his company has been able to demonstrate digital player microphones in Europe. “It’s a result of our collaboration with Shure, and it has been very popular with the NBA, which adopted it for their coaching microphones,” he said, “It’s attractive for two reasons: it allows encryption, which is important, but also, with the density of signals in the spectrum, we can put in more frequencies and channels.” The company is also exhibiting a new clip that makes it easier to quickly connect miniature mics.
Red Bee Media (Stand 5.H48) is using IBC to re-engage with customers and develop partnerships rather than demonstrate services and solutions, but the company is also focused, especially in London, on preparations for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Red Bee is providing various services, including playout and accessibility, to public-service broadcasters, ahead of (and during) what is a global television event. This month, it was also revealed that BT Sport is using Red Bee Media’s automated subtitling service, ARC (Automatic Real-time Captioning), to increase the amount of subtitled sports content it provides viewers by around 200 hours per month.
Riedel (Stand 10.A31) is showcasing its new Bolero 2.4 wireless intercom system. Although Bolero has been successful in taking intercoms from the often congested 2.4 GHz spectrum to the 1.9 GHz DECT band, the company is combining technologies to make 2.4 GHz a possibility for sports broadcasters: RF diversity, provided by a real-time processing DSP engine for multi-path reflection suppression for 2.4 GHz, with a multi-retransmit mechanism on top. “Bolero 2.4 GHz allows OBs to move across regions, unconstrained by DECT frequencies,” said Riedel executive director, product management Jake Dodson. “While DECT 1.9 GHz is a global standard, you can’t use it in places like China or South Korea. Before, 2.4 GHz never had the stability; you’d have congestion problems in stadiums or other close environments with more interference as it’s close to Wi-Fi. Not now.”
RTS Intercom Systems (Stand 10.B48) is using IBC 2022 to promote their work in multiple facets of the industry: efforts in IP, the cloud, and wireless capabilities and providing a digital interface for all clients. On the IP front, the company is diving headfirst into creating SMPTE ST 2110-enabled products that offer channel-by-channel selectivity, backwards compatibility, simplified native implementation, and OMNEO media-network architecture. Other solutions on hand at the RAI address glitch-free communications, redundancy, VLINK Lite, and more.
Faster speed to air and the ability to analyse football matches in a more compelling way are key developments offered in version 6 of Tactic Pro by RT Software (Stand 7.B11). The sports-telestration product now incorporates Next Gen Analysis, which delivers faster workflows for regular analysis and enables creation of more in-depth complex sequences using data gathered from professional-football coaching analysis. Several AI-assisted features in Next Gen Analysis enable a graphics sequence to be set up quickly, allowing an operator to invest more time building the more compelling analysis demanded by knowledgeable audiences and thereby helping take football “punditry” beyond the banal. At the same time, illustrating RT Software’s commitment to cloud deployment, the stand’s technical infrastructure is running in AWS. Experts are on hand to talk through the challenges customers should consider when adopting a cloud architecture, such as which GPU-enabled AWS Instance to use or, for private data centres, how to get the most out of shared GPU resources using vGPUs.
Along with plenty of microphones and other gear, Sennheiser (Stand 8.D50) is showcasing its efforts in transforming immersive audio. The big offering is AMBEO, a two-channel spatial audio unit that translates an original immersive mix into a two-channel mix. “We’ve licensed it to Netflix,” says Renato Pellegrini, AMBEO project leader, Sennheiser, “and they use it to take Dolby Atmos mixes and bring it to two channels for people that listen to content via their TV speakers, laptop, or tablet. This can also be useful for sports and be a big game-changer because it brings the work done for an immersive production to everybody rather than just those who have an Apple spatial audio system.” Also on exhibit is a workflow for mixing audio for VR while wearing a VR headset, ensuring that the audio mix best meets the viewer’s experience. Adds Pellegrini, “It’s a very easy way to do the mix properly where there are moving sources and other things.”
Signiant (Stand (5.B82) is offering attendees a look at Media Engine, a media-management service built into the Signiant Platform. The SaaS product allows users to search, preview, and act on media assets across all their Signiant-connected storage from anywhere in the world. It enables federated searches across multiple content repositories, both on-premises and in the cloud. Cloud I/O is a big thing for the company this year, too. The firm is discussing how its software is used to move petabytes of valuable content to and from AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud every month. It says that the volume of data that its software moves monthly to and from the cloud has grown 11-fold since IBC 2019.
Sony (Stand 13.A10) has announced that, since 1 September, its mobile division — home of the Xperia — has moved under the Imaging Product Solution division alongside digital imaging and media solutions under the Connected Content Acquisition umbrella. The move is part of Sony’s consolidation of services that include Creators Cloud and Networked Live, putting connectivity at the heart of its offerings. The company is reinforcing the connectivity and capabilities of its cameras, allowing users to do more with their content at the point of acquisition, supporting development of remote operations. On the move to bring mobile into the Connected Content Acquisition fold, Norbert Paquet, head of live production solutions, said, “Everything is now interconnected so a mobile isn’t just being used as a [content]-acquisition tool; it’s also a connectivity tool. We see that everywhere. The BBC, for instance, is using smartphones as modems to get content into the cloud. At IBC, we’re just trying to get our customers a workflow solution that will enable them to put their workflow together in the simplest way and get content to viewers as fast as possible.”
Telstra Broadcast Services (Stand 5.B72) is highlighting its Media Production Platform, demonstrating the new cloud-based production and playout service’s full capabilities, and unveiling features to enhance remote production. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering brings traditional on-premises broadcast workflows into a fully virtual environment and gives users remote control and management through a web browser and the public internet. The managed-services provider is also showcasing the next generation of its IDN (Internet Delivery Network), which is designed to cater to the specific needs of international broadcasters delivering major events. The latest iteration features more automation, greater network flexibility, higher bandwidth, and lower latency. IDN is considered an alternative to satellite for both contribution and distribution of sports content.
TeraVolt (Stand 5.G14) treated fans of Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart to live coverage of their teams’ Bundesliga match on Saturday afternoon, but it was not your standard run-of-the-mill match action. During a live demo, the German company showed how its technology can allow broadcasters and federations to make data and statistics available to viewers to create an immersive first-screen experience. Using the Bundesliga as a case in point, the demonstration showed that it was possible during the game to call up live real-time match data, add picture-in-picture video of a second concurrent live game, and access an interactive timeline for highlights. Personalisation options were available, too, including customisable alerts for goals scored at other games. The technology works on iOS, Android, the web, set-top boxes and Android TV.