SportTech Buzz from IBC 2019: Saturday’s latest from Amsterdam

IBC is in full swing, and the SVG Europe and SVG editorial teams are chasing down the hottest stories at Rai Amsterdam. To make the onslaught of announcements easily digestible for our readers, SVG Europe is sending you a daily SportTechBuzz from IBC 2019, with all the top stories from our reporters assembled into one easy-to-read blog.

Today’s edition features AJA Video Systems, Avid Technology, CenturyLink, Cobalt Digital, Eurovision Services, For-A, Grass Valley, Haivision, Lawo, Limelight Networks, MediaKind, Net Insight, Panasonic, Professional Show, Quantum, Red Bee Media, Riedel, Ross Video,, Sony Professional Europe, Spectra Logic, Square Box Systems, TVU Networks, White Light.

During the 2019 Champions League final in Madrid, several For-A (2.A51) ultra -high-speed FT-ONE-SS4K cameras were deployed for critical slow-motion replays as part of the live broadcast. The same camera is on display at the FOR-A booth this week. The FT-ONE-SS4K is being demonstrated with the ZE-ONE 4K zoom extractor. Specially designed for live instant replay in ultra-slow motion, it supports UHD shot at up to 1,000 frames per second. It provides a continual, real-time 4K live output. A native 2/3-in. image sensor enables the use of a B4 bayonet broadcast lens directly on the camera.

TVU Networks (2.B28) is showcasing new 4K capabilities in its TVU One range of mobile transmitters. Making use of an H.265 hardware encoding chip, the TVU One 4K sends full broadcast-quality 4K, 10-bit true 60-fps HDR video at bandwidths as low as 3 mbps with just 0.5-second latency. “The quality is very high. It makes newsgathering and sports production possible,” says Paul Chen, chief executive, TVU Networks. “It is a significant low-bitrate 4K and has 5G. For sports events, it is very efficient, too.” The company is also highlighting the TVU G-Link 4K rack-mounted point-to-point contribution encoder and the cloud-based TVU Talkshow, an all-in-one solution for multicamera production that enables producers to incorporate audience participation into their programmes using video.

The new Nimbra 400 from Net Insight (1.B40) has been designed from the ground up to meet the demand for live media internet transport for premium applications. The x86 COTS building practices and software-based architecture of the Nimbra 400 series give users flexibility. Net Insight has also announced the launch of new Nimbra Virtual Functions, which reduce connectivity costs and media-networking complexity for remote production and IP media delivery. Virtual Functions are software applications that run on standard hardware platforms, allowing addition of new VNFs to an existing network without installing or replacing hardware. New functionalities can be added and upgraded, without the costs of site visits and without capex investments in new hardware.

CenturyLink (5.B61) announced its acquisition of Streamroot earlier this week, and, here at IBC, the two companies are discussing how the merger of a traditional CDN and a peer-to-peer (P2P) provider will improve content delivery within bandwidth-constrained areas. Bill Wohnoutka, VP, global internet and content delivery services, CenturyLink, said, “We’re trying to give broadcasters the confidence to use the internet to introduce the highest bitrates, the highest-quality technology possible.” Streamroot CEO Pierre-Louis Theron commented, “To replace traditional TV tech with OTT tech, you need good P2P technology.” Streamroot worked on the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 with TF1 to meet streaming challenges, he said: “This was the biggest streamed World Cup ever. TF1 was scared they’d kill the French internet, though; when you have 3 million to 4 million people watching the stream and you want to push 4K UHD, you’re going to hit the internet.” Wohnoutka added, “Now, if you’re a CDN and you don’t have P2P assisted, you’re behind.”

Spectra Logic SVP Hossein Ziashakeri

Spectra Logic (7.B50) continues to expand its product portfolio beyond tape libraries, unveiling the intriguing new StorCycle storage-management software. By creating a Perpetual Tier of storage, StorCycle can reduce the overall cost of storing data by up to 70%, while still giving users full access to their data, according to Spectra Logic SVP Hossein Ziashakeri. He notes that most media organizations store their data on an expensive Primary Tier of storage even though up to 80% of this data is inactive — costing both space and money. StorCycle automatically scans this Primary Tier for inactive files and migrates them to a secure Perpetual Tier (which can include any combination of cloud storage, object storage disk, NAS, and tape) — reducing costs and increasing overall performance.

AJA Video Systems (7.C25) has announced the new HDR Image Analyzer 12G, bringing 12G-SDI connectivity to its real-time HDR monitoring and analysis platform developed in partnership with Colorfront. The new product streamlines 4K/UltraHD HDR monitoring and analysis workflows by supporting the latest high-bandwidth 12G-SDI connectivity. HDR Image Analyzer 12G offers waveform, histogram, and vectorscope monitoring and analysis of 4K/UltraHD/2K/HD, HDR, and WCG content for broadcast and OTT production, postproduction, QC, and mastering. AJA also unveiled the KUMO 6464-12G, a new SDI router featuring 64X 12G-SDI inputs and 64X 12G-SDI outputs for high-quality signal routing. KUMO 6464-12G suits a range of broadcast, production, post, and pro-AV environments and allows professionals to take advantage of the scalability and increased bandwidth that 12G-SDI provides. AJA President Nick Rashby reminded an IBC press conference that 6464-12G is the company’s seventh KUMO router, “which have been spectacular products for us.” KUMO 6464-12G will ship in the autumn.

New features and enhancements announced for Limelight Networks’ (5.B52) Video Delivery Services include expansion of the company’s global network to almost 50 Tbps of egress capacity and its edge-server capacity by more than 40% since January. This increased capacity ensures that critical quality metrics — such as rebuffer rate, startup time, and bitrate viewed — are improved when Limelight’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) is deployed for live and on-demand video delivery. Live Push Ingest (LPI), a new service functionality available in Q4 for live streaming over HTTP, will allow customers to send their packaged HLS and DASH streams directly to the Limelight CDN for onwards delivery to the end user.

MediaKind (4.A01) has launched its first range of application-specific packaged solutions in its MediaKind Universe portfolio: Aquila Streaming, Cygnus 360° Events, Cygnus Contribution, and Cygnus Distribution. The solutions address specific needs for core broadcast contribution and distribution applications and for delivering immersive OTT streaming services, multichannel HD or single-channel UHD, remote “at-home” production, and 360-degree video content, particularly around live events. MediaKind also introduced a pre-integrated low-latency solution for broadcasters and operators delivering live content to consumers using ABR technology for OTT or streaming services. The solution leverages “direct path” technology between encoder and packager to reduce the time to move content from one media-processing function to the next.

Quantum Global Director, Product and Solution Marketing, Jason Coari

After debuting the F-Series at NAB 2019, Quantum (7.B07) has brought its ultra-fast F-Series NVMe storage array across the pond to IBC. According to Jason Coari, global director, product and solution marketing, the F-Series uses NVMe flash drives for reads and writes up to 5X faster than traditional flash-storage/networking systems, delivering fast real-time editing and rendering of 4K and 8K video. The latest versions of Quantum’s flagship StorNext file system and series of StorNext appliances are also on hand, featuring redesigned appliance hardware with 2X faster performance, editing and coloring of 8K content in real time, new predictive data movement and analytics capabilities, new ways to integrate with cloud, and a simplified user experience.

Square Box Systems (7.A51) is debuting a completely new web experience, Web3, for its flagship CatDV media-asset–management system. According to CEO Dave Clack, the new web-browser client features a wholly redesigned mobile/tablet-friendly user experience and includes scrubbable video previews, CatChat collaboration with avatars, auto saving, and portrait as well as landscape media support. With Web3, CatDV can function as a DAM, as well as a MAM and PAM across both creative and business teams.

HALLS 8-11
Panasonic (11.C45) has teamed up with SimplyLive to put together an all-in-one production and SloMo Replay system designed specifically for entry-level and mid-tier sports broadcasters and content producers. The combo comprises SimplyLive’s ViBox and the Panasonic AK-UC4000 studio camera. “With its high-quality output, innovative workflows and functions, and significant cost advantages, the combination is the perfect entry-level solution for smaller companies and productions,” the company says. Arrow III replay server (8.B40) is using IBC 2019 to demo a new 3G/HD broadcast-grade production server for slow-motion replays; it is also capable of recording for non-linear editing (NLE). Designed to be a “workhorse for broadcasting sports events of any level of complexity” but particularly at entry-level, the Arrow III offers up to seven recording and seven search functions alongside two playback channels and effects. The 2RU-size server records for NLE without the need for external equipment using removable hard drives. Also at the show, the company is touting its affordable VAR systems, the Dominator AT/12G production server, and the Ripley Plus. The last is a compact multichannel recording and slo-mo server built into a replay controller.

Panasonic (11.C45) is demonstrating 8K Organic Sensor technology designed for capturing wide-camera-angle shots. The company expects the sensor technology, which includes wide dynamic range, to “revolutionise commercial sports and live event coverage.” Its first commercial use will be at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Panasonic is also showcasing an 8K ROI (Region of Interest) multicamera system capable of producing four different HD signals or “virtual cameras” from a single 8K output.

Grass Valley (9.A10) is giving attendees a chance to check out an all-IP truck from NEP (Ceres) as well as to learn more about various approaches to remote production, says Mark Hilton, VP, live production products, Grass Valley: “We are showing how to enable remote production and showing how different options work together.” Also, attendees can check out Kula, a new all-in-one production system that fits in 2RU and has RT Software graphics integrated into it. “It’s a nice package to go along with the GV Stratus One,” adds Hilton.

A 12G-SDI–compatible compact 4K live switcher, the AV-UHS500, is being previewed by Panasonic (11.C45). Designed for broadcast studios, live entertainment, and sporting events, it provides 4K/3G/HD multiformat support and allows the same number of HD inputs and outputs to be maintained even when operating in 4K. The switcher is also equipped with up/downconversion, HDR-SDR conversion, and ITU-R BT.2020/BT.709 conversion. It is due for release in February.

Riedel’s (10.A31) Smart Panel is increasingly embracing the “there’s an app for that” philosophy, thanks to an API that has allowed manufacturers like Broadcast Solutions, Pebble Beach, Data Miner, and others to place their products under control of the Smart Panel. The goal, says Joe Commare, marketing manager, Riedel North America, is to allow the 2RU Smart Panel to put extra capacity to use by allowing other manufacturers to make use of the panel’s dials and customizable buttons and screens to create an interface for a task. Also new is Mediornet’s ability to handle embedded timecode and for a Mediornet multiviewer to support portrait mode. The Bolero intercom system, meanwhile, is rocking along and now will run over AES 67 SMPTE ST 2110 networks without the need for a matrix.

Cobalt Digital (10.B44) is talking about colourful subjects this week. The company has been working closely with Technicolor in the U.S. on HDR conversion, which Chris Shaw, executive VP, sales and marketing, Cobalt, describes as “becoming very important in live production”. Shaw adds that the technology is ideal for improving colour and perception for viewers: for instance, in an outdoor event, when sunlight comes and goes behind cloud, making cameras struggle to adjust. He notes that the company has already used this new technology with Major League Baseball in the U.S. and TV France at the French Open and that the project is also being tested out by several broadcasters in advance of what he describes as “a major athletic event next year,” which we at SVG Europe call the Olympics.

Lawo (8.B50) is showing a new version of its V__matrix software suite. Iteration 1.10 of the software-defined IP routing, processing, and multiviewer platform includes HDR-to-SDR colour-space conversion in the vm_udx UHD/HDR up/down/crossconverter. “It has the ability to look up tables and support required standards,” says Andreas Hilmer, director, marketing and communications. “We also introduced the V__matrix silent frame, which can be placed in more noise-sensitive environments. It has 2RU: one can house two C100 cards, and the other rack has large, slow-spinning fans above those cards to cool them.” Also on display, the vm_dmv app, Lawo’s expandable IP UHD/HDR multiviewer, now has support for ST 2022-7 stream redundancy.

Although focusing strongly on recent success stories, including installs with Game Creek Video in the U.S. and Medialaan in Belgium, Lawo (8.B50) is highlighting the tweaks and improvements to its audio range. Among them is the Xtra Fader Version of its mc²96 Grand Production Console. This has 16 faders instead of eight in the Central Control Section, a layout option that can be retrofit into existing consoles. The company has also added to its A__line series of WAN-capable audio-over-IP nodes. The A__digital64 node supports 32 AES inputs, including sample-rate conversion, and 32 AES out in a 3RU footprint; the A__madi6 node bundles three independent MADI-IP bridges onto a single rack unit. A software application for monitoring AES67 audio streams on a Windows PC has also been unveiled.

Eurovision Services (10.F20) has reached an agreement with the Asociación de Clubes de Baloncesto (ACB) to distribute the Spanish basketball league matches for the 2019-20 season to rightsholding broadcasters worldwide. The agreement covers the Liga Endesa, Copa del Rey, and Super Cup for a total of some 100 matches between September 2019 and May 2020.  “We are pleased that ACB has chosen to deliver their events over the Eurovision Global Network to rightsholders around the world. Our satellite and fibre network, complemented by internet and wireless technologies, is renowned for bringing top-quality live events to the media community,” says Head of Global Sales Michele Gosetti.

Ross Video (11.C10) has launched Gator-Toolbox, an innovative UHD signal-conversion problem solver. It adapts “any-to-any” HD, UHD, and HDR signals in a compact openGear card, with optional fast and adaptive standards converter. Gator-Toolbox includes all the tools needed to adapt UHD and HD signals to a broadcast production and live event workflows where low latency and quality UHD, HDR, and WCG are required. Ross has also launched Ultritouch 4, a 4RU version of the 2RU Ultritouch facility-monitoring and control panel. The new version features a larger touchscreen area and front-facing loudspeaker for audio monitoring but also includes a front-panel headphone jack and USB port for peripherals. The new SkyDolly from Ross leverages Furio’s technologies to unleash the creative potential of ceiling-mounted cameras. SkyDolly delivers smooth, repeatable on-air quality presets and movements, suitable for live, automated, and virtual or augmented-reality productions.

Avid Technology (7.B55), according to Ray Thompson, director, broadcast and media solutions marketing, Media Central has taken big steps forward with functions like resizing and changing aspect ratios of video as well as with support for ad insertions and expanded support of social-media platforms (up to 15 from four). “We baked in features to speed up the distribution of content as people can monetize content by getting it out first and having a fast impact,” Thompson says. “Media Central also has a new logging tool for live content that can support any sport with improved search algorithms across multiple libraries in the background.” In addition, Media Composer is making its European debut; also on display are two smaller versions of the S6 audio console designed to make the console more suitable for use when audio demands are smaller.

White Light (8.B15) is showcasing an immersive SmartStage environment that replaces the traditional green-screen element of a virtual studio with LED video walls that make up the studio and can display content so that presenter and audience can see the virtual content. Eurosport used the technology for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics in South Korea. Improvements this year include advances in the system’s tracking and lighting alongside external graphics-workflow integrations.

HALLS 12-15
The highlighted launch at Sony Professional Europe (13.A10) is its first XDCAM camcorder featuring an advanced 6K full-frame sensor and Fast Hybrid Auto Focus (AF) system. The new flagship camcorder features impressive bokey and slow-motion capabilities, thanks to its newly developed sensor, which offers wide dynamic range with high sensitivity, low noise, and more than 15 stops of latitude that can be recorded internally in 4K 4:2:2 10-bit. Two new IP extension adapters, HDCE-TX30 and HDCE-RX30, transform the current HDC series of SDI system cameras into IP-enabled cameras with SMPTE ST 2110 interface. Through their compact size, at one-third the standard width, the IP extension adapters offer advanced IP Live remote production and resource sharing, creating new efficient workflow patterns for existing HDC system cameras. The new MKS-R4020 and MKS-E1620 remote-control panels further strengthen the reliability, speed, and accuracy of commands through Live Element Orchestrator.

Red Bee Media CEO Steve Nylund

Red Bee Media (14.D26) has announced it has been working with Cisco and 7fivefive to create a media-centric hybrid-cloud environment designed to streamline media-production, playout, media-processing, and distribution services for global broadcast customers. It demonstrated the technology at IBC 2019 with a live feed of a UK match played in East London by under-18 teams from Leyton Orient and Cambridge United and remotely produced in Amsterdam. Said Red Bee Media CEO Steve Nylund, “This is for sports broadcasters, newscasters; anyone streaming live events. The platform also allows companies to experiment. It allows a higher volume of testing, and I think that’s why efficiency of deployment is really key.” Said Chief Product and Technology Officer David Travis, “The media landscape has changed forever, and this cloud platform, with best-of-breed software coupled with our own micro services, will allow us to significantly change the way managed services are offered in the market. It allows for commercial and technical flexibility while addressing the cost challenges all our customers are facing.”

Haivision (14.G27) is previewing a new cloud-based service said to offer sports broadcasters the opportunity to intelligently and securely route live video across the Microsoft Azure network with low latency. Based on the SRT protocol, SRT Hub is software-as-a-service that uses the internet and Azure containers to move media across the Azure backbone between any of the 54 Azure regions around the world. Inputs from different encoders are available along with content processing “hublets”. For sports broadcasters, it could be used as an alternative to satellite or fibre for contribution, production, or distribution workflows.

Outside Exhibits
Professional Show
(O.C03) is featuring unitELEVEN, a completely closed structure measuring 2.4 metres wide, 3.1 metres deep, and 2.5 metres high and comprising a 4K mobile unit ready to be deployed almost anywhere. At its core are an Evertz EQX16 router, four GV Korona video mixers with X-Frame, and four Lawo audio consoles providing four individual galleries. Replay-device options are Evertz DreamCatcher, EVS XT3/Via, or GV Dyno/Summit replay servers. Vizrt graphics and a Clearcom router are also included.

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