SportTechBuzz at IBC 2018: Tuesday’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 Adder Technology, AJA Video Systems, Aperi, Arvato Systems, Aspera, AWS Elemental, Axon Digital Design, BroaMan, Cobalt Digital, Friend MTS, Globecast, Lawo, Mobile Viewpoint, Nagra, Ostmodern, Panasonic, Pebble Beach Systems, Primestream, Red Bee, Ross Video, Sony, The Switch, Telstra, The Telos Alliance, TSL, TVU Networks, Veritone, Vitec.

Globecast (1.A29) is doing all the media management and playout for Virgin Media’s new UHD TV channel, which launched on Monday in the UK. It is the first UHD entertainment channel in the UK, and was launched after Virgin carried out a survey and found that around 30% of its subscribers now own a 4K TV, driven in part by World Cup fever. Commented Liz McParland, commercial director for contribution and global coordination: “It is always sport that pushes broadcast technology. It’s a real driver for tech. Sport pushes the industry forward constantly, and because we’re in the content chain from origination all the way through to delivery, we see the ripple effect it has, of how technological advances get adopted by sport and impact delivery to the end user.”

During its first-ever IBC appearance, The Switch (1.F10) is highlighting its full portfolio of services, as well as an increased presence in Europe and Asia. Earlier this week, The Switch announced a partnership with China Unicom Americas to extend its global network further into Asia. According to Jessica Mintz, VP, marketing and corporate communications, the deal will provide The Switch customers with access to more than 100 stadiums and 50 broadcasters throughout China Unicom network, while China Unicom will now have access to The Switch’s 53 points of presence (POPs) around the world and 180+ sports organisations and venues. Mintz said the growing esports market in Asia is a prime driver behind its expansion.

TVU Networks (2.B28) is talking about TVU Producer, a new cloud-based remote solution  that allows anyone to produce a live event from any location, on a laptop, with no training needed. It brings together both TVU 1, its live media acquisition solution, and TVU Grid, for distribution over IP. Commented Yoni Tayar, European marketing manager: “Smaller leagues, clubs and niche sports can get this and produce their own matches. We are frame accurate as well; in sports, you don’t want to lose a frame when a goal is scored. We launched TVU Producer four months ago and we are constantly adding more features, from slow motion to replay.” It works with up to four live feeds, either regular cameras or mobile devices, and can integrate any local IP service. He added: “We aren’t going to replace the EVS guy doing the biggest events, but this gives smaller operations access to high quality production.”

Broadcast infrastructure specialist Axon Digital Design (10.A21) has announced that Euro Media Group (EMG) is adopting Neuron, Axon’s new Network Attached Processor, in its strategic move towards harmonised IP media production. The deal – signed during the public launch of Neuron at IBC 2018 — will see ten NAP systems deployed by EMG’s Dutch entity United to manage IP signal processing and provide SDI to IP gateways in new OB trucks set for rollout in 2019. Neuron, the world’s first Network Attached Processor (NAP), is Axon’s next generation of signal processing designed to address the needs of complex IP and hybrid-IP environments. It fully supports the latest industry standards, handling uncompressed SD, HD, 3G, and UHD signals based on the ST2022-6 and ST2110 specifications. Neuron is fully packed with features like edge synchronizers and converters for processing streams before they enter the core router, reducing complexity in signal routing.

China’s state television broadcaster, China Central Television (CCTV), has expanded its implementation of the media virtualisation functionality of Aperi’s (stand 2.C21) IP-based live media processing platform. Building on a successful deployment over the past year, CCTV decided to grow the platform globally, equipping its foreign locations with Aperi technologies so it can produce and distribute programming in a more flexible way. Aperi is also showcasing a live 4K production chain that relies on Aperi’s production platform to achieve true remote production. Visitors to the show can see firsthand how deploying a software-based workflow, instead of traditional hardware-only or hybrid architectures, enable broadcast functions that can be turned on or off, as needed.

Content and revenue protection specialist Friend MTS (1.A58) has announced the launch of ASiD OTT, which combines third generation, ultra-robust subscriber-level watermarking with global content monitoring. It delivers highly responsive security for the latest 4K UHD and HDR content, as well as HD and SD channels, by stopping content theft in just minutes. ASiD OTT protects live and on-demand content, and its invisibility and speed of response makes it ideal for premium live sports and entertainment, the company claimed.

Arvato Systems (stand 3.B38) is joining forces with Vidispine to showcase video editing and advertising solutions here at IBC 2018. Highlights include a new browser-based video editor, exciting new VPMS EditMate functionality, as well as profit-enhancing targeted advertising solutions. The video explosion is driving an increasing need for editing and delivering video content, the company noted. Content owners and broadcasters looking to retain and grow their audiences need to provide their production teams with fast tools efficiently creating and publishing high quality content, irrespective of location or connectivity. This IBC, Arvato Systems is showcasing a full stack solution for video editing across the enterprise.

Nagra (stand 1.C81) has announced that Cignal TV, the leading pay-TV provider in the Philippines, has reached two million subscribers. Cignal TVs next generation platform delivers multiple format TV and hybrid services on a range of set top boxes. “A pay-TV service can only be successful if its content assets are secure,” said Jane Basas, CEO of Cignal TV. “When we first launched our new platform, we chose Conax technologies because we were confident they would deliver – and they did not disappoint. Now, just two years later, we have reached the two million subscriber mark, and could not be more excited for what’s to come.”

Red Bee’s back, but twice as big,” stated Josbert van Rooijen, Red Bee’s head of market area Benelux, Central and Easter Europe. Speaking from its scarlet stand (5.B27), he added: “IBC is important as we show ourselves as an independent brand.” The company is showcasing a choice selection of its portfolio here, and in particular for the sports broadcast market, its big push into remote live production. Commented Aurelien Revault d’Allonnes, engagement manager for sports and remote production: “With remote production you need a central production venue and that’s what we have; we broadcast hundreds and hundreds of channels. In sport we’re already doing downstream turnaround services for live events. We want to increase our capability to do a lot more, hence remote production.” For the 2018 CEV DELA Volleyball European Championships in July, Red Bee connected the four Dutch venues for the production company so it could produce the event remotely. Added Rooijen: “Remote production; it’s the future.”

Following its acquisition of Wazee Digital last month, AI specialist Veritone (5.A09), has expanded the integration of its aiWARE operating system with Wazee’s Digital Core (SaaS digital asset management) and Media Hub (video captured in a central location, then made available for global access) platforms. With the integration, Veritone is creating what SVP Drew Hilles calls an “end-to-end, AI-driven digital asset management and monetisation solution in the cloud,” that can serve both live-production and archiving needs, especially for sports content. aiWARE automatically generates relevant intelligent metadata within Core and Digital Media Hub that will enhance archival search, improving efficiency, as well as content discoverability and usability.

At IBC AJA Video Systems (7.C25) debuted KONA 5, a new 8-lane PCIe 3.0 video and audio I/O card supporting 12G-SDI I/O and HDMI 2.0 monitoring/output for workstations or Thunderbolt 3-connected chassis. KONA 5 supports 4K/UltraHD and HD high frame rate, deep colour and HDR workflows over a single cable. For developers, AJA’s SDK offers support for KONA 5 multi-channel 12G-SDI I/O, enabling multiple 4K streams of input or output. The KONA 5 capture and output card is interoperable with standard creative tools such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro X, and Avid Media Composer. The card supports simultaneous capture with pass through monitoring when using 12G-SDI, and offers HDMI 2.0 output for connecting to the latest displays.

For the first time in Europe, Primestream is demonstrating the next generation of its Dynamic Media Management platform on stand 7.C18. The platform features new solutions for IP video capture and delivery covering professional and consumer formats, a cloud-based review and approval system, robust 4K workflow, public APIs to integrate third parties into the Xchange platform, and a new configuration framework for quick and easy installations.

AWS Elemental is showcasing a host of technology for content production and distribution designed to improve video quality, minimise bandwidth and storage capacity, and optimise viewing experiences, including cloud and on-premises AWS Elemental solutions that streamline ingest, production, processing, delivery, and networking as well as AWS Thinkbox to aid with content production. Visitors to stand 5.C80 can see demos of machine learning services for building AI applications, cloud-based asset management and archive solutions and cloud-based virtual workstations as well QVBR, CMAF, and HDR.

New product innovations have been introduced to ensure Aspera (7.B25) customers get up and running fast. The Aspera Streaming for Video solution, powered by FASPStream technology, now offers a new ability to quickly and easily launch and monitor connections within a simple web-based UI. The company is also previewing the new Aspera Streaming for Video Connection Manager, which offers auto-discovery, management and monitoring of streaming devices to enable quick and easy live and near-live streaming globally over commodity internet, even when facing difficult network conditions.

Vitec is demonstrating its broadcast-grade HEVC Multi-Site Video Contribution Solutions, including the fully featured MGW Ace hardware-based HEVC encode/decode solution and the company’s Playout Server on stand 7.C34. “As video management for broadcast, government, sports, and entertainment industries becomes increasingly more complex with a multitude of video streams coming in from all over the world, more and more of our customers have requested a simplified and reliable solution to deliver and distribute encoded video feeds,” said Richard Bernard, product manager at VITEC.

Adder Technology (stand 7.A17) is showcasing a new VGA addition to its ADDERLink Infinity 100T (ALIF100T) range, the ALIF100T VGA. Responding to increasing customer demand the latest version enables connectivity between legacy analogue and digital systems without the complexity and expense of additional convertors and adaptors. The company claimed the addition is ideal for customers with analogue servers looking to maximise their investment. ALIF100T VGA connects and transmits those video sources enabling them to be controlled from a single source. As a result, users can gradually migrate to digital without a major ‘rip and replace’ operation and continue to gain value from their existing technology investments. Jamie Adkin, VP EMEA, explained at the Adder booth that the ALIF100T can be plugged straight into the back of any computer and takes up zero U of rack space, making it a popular item for OB trucks looking to save on space and power.

HALLS 8-11
Panasonic (11.C45) has 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) is demonstrating its Orca virtualised 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 virtualised 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.

Ross Video (11.B08) is looking at fan engagement and the game-day experience at stadiums, and is demonstrating a 5760×2160 resolution display being driven pixel accurately with video and live, data-driven 3D graphics. Also, 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 is demonstrating the Shoutcaster control panel and other solutions Ross has created for ESports in action.

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.

Lawo (8.B50) is demonstrating 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 revolutionised 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.”

Cobalt Digital (10.B44) is hosting 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.

BroaMan (stand 8.C60) has 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.

The Telos Alliance (stand 8.D47) is showcasing 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,” saidJohn 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.”

HALLS 12-15
Telstra (14.F18) is talking to the crowds at IBC about its move into Europe. The Telstra Global Media Network has been expanded into the region through the company’s own investment and partnerships, allowing customers to access 1,000 customer end points around the globe, and 1,500 venues. Said Anna Lockwood, head of market development: “Our focus continues to be on high value live sports content. With this expansion, our Asian customers can get into Europe, and vice versa. We have hired pre-sales, sales and delivery resources in Europe, we have a new media hub in Paris, and new POPs in Paris and Frankfurt. We are going into the UK, France, Germany, the Nordics, Spain and Italy, with more to be added by the end of the year. We’ve had a lot of interest in using the network for remote production, so if people want to come to our stand and talk to us about remote production, we’d be delighted.”
The company is additionally showcasing Netcam, which debuted at the 2017 Laver Cup one year ago, and has this year been used in all four Grand Slams. Concluded Lockwood: “We’ve had great feedback with Netcam as it brings viewers to the centre of the court. Everyone wanted to use it!”

Mobile Viewpoint (14.F24) has been touting its single box automated live sports production and streaming solution, IQ Sports Producer, which launched at NAB this year. The platform is a package that allows lower tier clubs and niche sports to film, produce and distribute live and replay content with a high production value, at an affordable cost. Said Michel Bias, CEO: “In the Netherlands we have been working with AFC Ajax, who are now using the platform, and two weeks before IBC we signed up vv Bergen. The next step is we’re going into Europe, then the US.”
The company also announced the launch of 5GXLink, a 5G-ready bonding device to enable fast transmission of live content from the latest Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X smartphone devices. 5GXLink is designed to connect to an SDI camera to accelerate the transmission of content through the latest iPhone’s, allowing camera crews and journalists to transmit content instantaneously.

Ostmodern is talking about Lapwing, a live data back end that takes data from a source in a single connection and relays it to a mass of end users, all of whom connect individually. Users are able to send the server a timestamp and receive data from that specific time, allowing it effectively to sync to a stream which may be +/- a few minutes from live with the data ‘as it happened’. Currently in beta, Lapwing reflects Ostmodern’s drive to solve problems with, and discover new opportunities in, rich media. The goal is always to improve the experience of digital entertainment by looking at audiences and how they want to interact with content, the company said (hall 15 meeting suite 6).

Sony’s (stand 13.A10) Venice motion picture camera, which has been embraced by the production community, will enhance its usability and flexibility with the Venice Extension System and Version 3.0 firmware updates in February 2019. The lightweight, easy to use tethered extension system allows the camera body to detach from the image sensor block with no degradation in image quality, from nine or 18 feet apart, offering a highly configurable and portable method of operation. The new Extension System is compatible with existing and new Venice cameras. A user can quickly configure and freely use only Venice’s image sensor block to capture uncompromising imagery on site, customising the camera for specific scenarios

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