SportTech Buzz from IBC 2019: Sunday’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 SportsTechBuzz at IBC 2019, with all the top stories from our reporters assembled into one easy-to-read blog.
Today’s edition features Blackmagic, BroaMan, BT, Canon, ChyronHego, Deltacast, Digital Video Sud, EcoDigital, EVS, Genelec, IHSE, LiveU, Marshall Electronics, Matrox, MediaEdge, Multidyne Fiber Optics Solutions, Simplylive, Speedcast, Synamedia, Telestream, Tellyo, Teradek, The Switch, Veritone, Verizon Media, Zixi.
LiveU (3.B62) is showing a 5G version of its LU600 cellular transmission device. Designed for newsgathering and live sports coverage, the LU600 5G has internal 5G modems and high-efficiency antennas covering all sub–6 GHz frequencies for 5G and 4G and makes use of 4K HEVC technology. The super-low latency enabled by 5G is particularly beneficial for 4K live sports productions, according to the company. LiveU has been testing the technology in the U.S. with AT&T, trialling it on live news and sport. Also at IBC, LiveU is touting the multicamera remote-production capabilities of the LU600 and discussing the company’s dedicated offerings for live motorsport coverage.
Simplylive (3.B19) is highlighting its replay-networking capabilities, and Greg Macchia, VP, sales and operations, America, says that replay is a major focus because it is a big part of the industry. “We are also showing our first UI gateway that offers a much lower bitrate required for a remote user, as we can now work from a range of 5 to 50 Mbps, although the sweet spot is 20-25 Mbps.”
Telestream (7.C14) is showing off its new Optiq platform for managing live infrastructure in the cloud. The framework for Optiq was announced in February and is now being productised, the first application being Optiq Monitor, which was announced just prior to IBC 2019. Says Director, Product Management, Ken Haren, “We created Optiq in response to market demand to enable pop-up infrastructure. This is needed as broadcasters and sports rightsholders are looking to provide more content, to be more compelling, to gain viewership. For instance, ESPN in the States might have 30-40 concurrent events available in their key channels on any one day; before, on three or four channels, they’d have three or four events and could therefore send teams out to cover those. Now they want a smaller on-premises or at-home footprint [to cover all those events efficiently]. That’s the demand we’re looking to address with Optiq. If I have 40 concurrent events in one night, I want to test and monitor all of them at the same time; Optiq Monitor allows you to do that and use it on an on-demand basis.” The next Optiq application, Optiq Channel, will be launched by the end of the year to create streams; it will also be self-healing and self-optimising.
A new family of character generators for live sport and event production are being showcased by Deltacast (7.C01). The Delta-cg range allows users to build playlists, control graphics, and update content. Unlike previous Deltacast cards, these additions are designed to be affordable and appropriate for different parts of the market, from the low end upwards. Models include the Easy and the Sport and News, with more variants to follow. “We were very active at the high end of the sports market,” says Chief Executive Christian Dutilleux. “But now we have recognised the need for products for the lower and middle end. We have decided to bring to market a full range of products that takes our experience of the high end and applies it to [these other areas].”“ Deltacast is also highlighting its virtual offside system, which can be used as an add-on for VAR.
Updated applications for real-time data visualisation in live sports broadcasts are being showcased by ChyronHego (7.C21). The Paint telestration and analysis tool now features an automatic chroma keyer for clips, as well as style and UI updates. Controllable via mobile app, it also offers the ability to stream an output, tools, or a UI over a network in order to use Paint’s open control API for remote production. At the same time, Virtual Placement, which is used to create tied-to-field virtual graphics on live productions, has been updated with an automatic chroma keyer as well as a built-in Red Zone for in-game advertising. ChyronHego’s new chief executive, Ariel Garcia, is on the booth, sharing his vision for the company. His appointment was announced at IBC 2019 on Friday.
At an IBC Show where the rise of AI is buzzing throughout the halls, a bona fide veteran of the technology, Veritone (5.C24), is showing off its Attribute near–real-time media-attribution solution. The service was an award winner when it debuted at NAB 2019. Attribute offers a compelling option for broadcasters and other media companies looking to measure and apply valuable metrics to on-air advertising campaigns and logo placements through the use of artificial intelligence. “Essentially, we’re helping create metadata where metadata doesn’t exist,” says Drew Hillis, SVP, Veritone. “That’s where AI really shines.”
The backbone powering delivery of many major sports-broadcasting properties in the U.S. (including this past summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup on Fox Sports), Verizon Media (5.B64) is enjoying a productive IBC Show around the release of its new Media Platform. Although the service excels at many of the categories that sports clients expect from Verizon Media (delivery optimization, ad-performance visibility, content personalization, and blackout control), the real star is Verizon Smartplay, a stream-routing system that moves video traffic over multiple CDNs. According to Scott Goldman, director, product management media platform – streaming, Verizon Media Group, that’s where the elite value lies, enabling content distributors to avoid single-threaded delivery, which, in turn, gives faster startup times, lower buffering rates, and an overall better viewing experience for the customer.
IHSE (7.A09) has released new KVM extenders with 240- to 60-Hz synchronised sequential frame-rate conversion for esports events, enabling live screen display, broadcast and super-slow-motion replay direct from gaming computers. Designed in collaboration with EVS, the new extenders enable real-time recording of 240-Hz gaming streams for later review and analysis of events. To achieve solutions using standard broadcast equipment, computer-generating 1080p 240-Hz gaming signals are recorded in four parallel 60-Hz SDI streams on EVS XT-VIA servers for super-slow-motion playback. In addition to super-slo-mo action replay, the new devices enable direct broadcast of esports events via on-air transmission and online and social-media distribution.
Matrox (7.B15) and Vimeo have joined forces to showcase cloud-based, multicamera video-production workflows over public networks. This technology collaboration features the Matrox Monarch EDGE encoder delivering four Full HD camera feeds to the Vimeo Studio 6 live-production–switcher software for broadcast-quality yet cost-effective multicamera productions for live event streaming. At the show, Matrox Video has also announced that Avid’s FastServ Ingest video server now supports Matrox M264 S2 H.264 codec cards for multichannel XAVC live-production workflows. This technology collaboration allows the FastServe Ingest video servers to encode up to eight high-quality XAVC streams simultaneously from in-studio cameras, satellite feeds, and other input sources.
The Switch (5.A73), in addition to publicly debuting its new brand identity, is unveiling its latest European partnership: an agreement with EI Towers, a provider of network infrastructure and services for broadcasters, streaming services, and other rightsholders in Italy. The partnership enhances the two companies’ ability to acquire live feeds in each other’s key markets and distribute coverage of events via an extensive and reliable international network. The EI Towers deal follows a similar partnership with MTI Teleport, Germany’s leading media-backbone operator, also aimed at bolstering The Switch’s position in Europe. Through the partnership with EI Towers, The Switch’s U.S. customers now have access to games from any of the 24 stadiums in Italy’s Serie A — as they do with Germany’s Bundesliga through MTI — and Italian rightsholders will be able to broadcast live coverage of major North American sports, including NFL football and NBA basketball.
Speedcast (5.C45) has introduced SMN Mobile LTE, a low-latency, cost-effective uplink solution that bonds the bandwidth of multiple cellular services, to create a fully managed service for quick uplinking of live news, sports, and events, as well as for remote communications. Alberto Carpenè, VP, Speedcast Media Network, says the new service is 100% capex-free, eliminating expensive hardware and OB-facility costs. The 5G-ready service provides real-time video encoding and leverages Speedcast Media Network’s global hybrid network infrastructure to provide satellite-to-fiber, cellular-to-satellite, cellular-to-dedicated fiber, and cellular-to-IP extended connectivity. All live video feeds can be managed from the cloud for scalable and real-time video processing.
Blackmagic (7.B45) is featuring its new ATEM Mini. Priced at $295, the low-cost live-production switcher is designed for live streaming, producing USB output that is recognized by streaming services as the equivalent of a webcam. With 1080p/60 capabilities, according to Bob Caniglia, director of sales, Blackmagic North America, it is considered a valuable tool for small-scale production. Other introductions this year include router-control panels Master Control Pro and Smart Control Pro, which have updated design and capabilities. Also on exhibit are two new 2,500-nit HDR video-assist monitors measuring 5 in. and 7 in. and priced at $795 and $995, respectively.
MediaEdge (5.B33) is introducing the QDCAM, a high-speed box camera system comprising a micro 4/3-in. lens, camera, camera-site unit, base unit, and camera-control unit for approximately $50,000. It offers 240-fps recording of 1080p signals to external replay systems from EVS, Grass Valley, and others via quad-link SDI and remote controls can also control iris, focus, and zoom. Also on display is the QDVS-1000 super-slo-mo recorder player.
EVS (8.B90) is introducing Overcam, a software solution driven by machine learning that enables autonomous control of robotic cameras in live sports productions. With Overcam, rights owners and holders can create more-affordable and immersive productions by capturing the action from more camera angles more economically. Overcam controls multiple robotic cameras deployed around a pitch, then uses smart tracking to analyse key parameters of the game, such as player and ball positions, steering the cameras to frame the scene. Real-time processing means that it integrates with existing multicamera live-production workflows, where the robotic cameras can be mixed with manually operated cameras.
BroaMan (8.C60) has added frame-synchronisation capabilities to its Mux22 range of audio, video, and data transport-over-fibre modules. As the name suggests, the Frame Sync extension synchronises all the signals, but, unlike with other products on the market, the sync is done before routing, which speeds up the process. The 1RU Mux22 combines 3G/HD/SD-SDI I/O with Optocore and SANE digital audio networks. Also at IBC 2019, BroaMan has announced that 12G support is now included in its Repeat48 WDM media converters. Suggested uses for the Repeat48 include in-stadium point-to-point transport from commentators to the control room.
Genelec (8.D61) has added two models to its The Ones series of Ultimate Point Source Monitors. The 8351B and the 8361A are coaxial three-way monitors designed to offer “uniquely uncoloured and neutral reference-monitoring performance” from ultra-nearfield through to mastering-calibre and main-monitor applications. The largest coaxial monitor in The Ones family, the 8361A is designed for listening distances up to 5 metres, making it suitable for small to medium-size rooms. The 8351B offers increased SPL, additional room-compensation EQs, equalised delay, and enhanced HF response. The W371A Adaptive Woofer System has also been announced.
EcoDigital (8.B13), which was formed in June with the acquisition of the DIVA object-management software suite from Oracle, is making its major-show debut. According to CTO Goeff Tognetti, the DIVA system now includes dynamic support for AWS cloud storage (making the software suite cloud-agnostic) and a new partial-file restore (PFR) from cloud-storage capability. According to VP, Global Sales and Marketing, David Gonce, EcoDigital has tripled the DIVA sales team since the acquisition and created dedicated service and support offerings for the DIVA solutions suite. The company has also launched an R&D division in the U.S. and created a solutions group dedicated to integrated global support and development.
Multidyne Fiber Optics Solutions (11.D40) recently acquired Census Digital, expanding the company’s portfolio with audio products and the NanoLinx series of mini converters. “We are a fairly niche-oriented company and had the same clientele as Census Digital, so our clients use this type of product,” says CEO Frank Jachetta, referring to the C-Series embedded audio monitors and OpenGear audio-conversion and distribution modules. “In addition, the Nano Link series of mini converters are cost-effective.” The rest of the Multidyne lineup is also on exhibit.
Zixi (14.F11) is showcasing the latest ZEN Master, its cloud-based stream-management control plane, which allows broadcasters to view video as it moves through the supply chain. Besides adding 4K capabilities, ZEN Master also integrates with Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft Azure. Zixi also spoke with SVG about a pair of big wins with the Women’s Tennis Association. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles-based Tennis Channel carried a WTA event taking place in Connecticut, using Zixi to drive an at-home–production workflow. According to SVP, Marketing and Alliances, John Westcoat, Zixi connectivity also helped save a WTA event taking place in China when a typhoon struck the area, knocking out virtually all other transmission methods.
Canon (12.D60) is talking about a new wide-angle lens on its stand here in Amsterdam. The CJ15ex4.3B IASE broadcast zoom lens with 4K optical quality is new to IBC. Says Yuya Suzuki, manager, broadcast product management, EMEA, Imaging Technologies and Communications Group, “Normally, a zoom lens has a 12X ratio, but we’ve extended this lens to 15X ratio to increase the zoom capacity on the pitch side. This is now the widest-angle lens we do.” The company is also talking about last year’s big news for the sports-broadcasting market, the UHD DIGISUPER 122 UJ122x8.2B. “This is now well-accepted in the market for its zoom ratio and wide-angle lens,” Suzuki says. “It provides a more exciting, more emotional picture: if something happens in front of the goal keeper, you use this one to capture the emotion [of the players].”
Developer of cutting-edge signal-transmission tools Teradek (12.E65) has another exciting trick up its sleeve in the battle to bring wireless video delivery with zero delay. Its Obit solution helps broadcast-level content creators transmit lossless 4K HDR video up to 2 km. Integrated tally and IFB help streamline the process to simplify the overall broadcast workflow. The company is also showcasing Prism, a 4K HEVC encoder/decoder solution.
Synamedia’s (14.C41) press conference discussed where the company has taken its portfolio since it signed the deal with Cisco enabling the video-services unit to spin off from its parent company. Synamedia CEO Yves Padrines said the business has established three key priorities: “To help customers embrace the world of IP, to help customers secure their revenue streams, and to give them some revenue assurance … and help them generate revenue streams.” Many pay-TV operators, he noted, are still reliant on 1990s infrastructure to compete in the “new” pay-TV arena, so the company is working to help them utilise that technology: “The death of pay TV is clearly premature, so long life to the new pay TV.”
Digital Video Sud (DVS), a Euro Media Group company, is on the Canon stand (12.D60) with the Superloupe 4K, which is available on the market now. The camera, which runs at up to 1,000 fps, was used this year at Roland Garros and the Tour de France. Previously, DVS provided the camera only for rental, but, following the closure of its market rival, iMovix, it is now offering the kit for sale. Says Guillaume Margon, head of R&D, Superloupe, “Before, we only did rental, but now that iMovix is gone, its old customers have been coming to us to ask if we’re going to sell the Superloupe 4K, so we decided to do it. We are at IBC talking to customers and distributors to see about selling it all over the world.”
Sunset+Vine, a producer of global sports content, used the Tellyo (14.B15) platform for the recent Cricket World Cup and T20 Test matches and also to package highlights of ECB (Europe and Wales Cricket Board) Test matches, T20 games, and international matches. To produce these highlights, live streams are ingested into the Tellyo Pro platform, where the Sunset+Vine digital-production team deploy Tellyo’s Editor to provide instant clips for cricket fans globally. During the 2019 Test match, clips achieved more than 400 million impressions and more than 100 million views. The most popular Test match clip, on 21 August, yielded 11.3 million views and 164,000 engagements. The most popular overall T20 clip, on 13 August, yielded 15.3 million views with 80,000 engagements.
Marshall Electronics (12.D20) is exhibiting the CV503-WPBM weatherproof Full HD camera with 3.7mm lens. It’s a big hit at the show, according to Marketing Manager Jackson Root: “If you want a small miniature camera that has remote-control ability and is fully weatherproof and dustproof, it is a good choice. Sixteen of them were used at the Super Bowl, and it has 20% larger sensor with better color depth and sensitivity than the previous camera and more intuitive on-screen menus. We also reinforced the cable, so it is sturdier.” Also on display is the CV506, which has been a big hit at esports events, he adds.
BT (O.D02) demonstrated one of the highest-ever specification live sports broadcasts here at IBC with a broadcast of the English Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at a private, invitation-only event, which was also attended by BT Sport’s latest pundit, football legend Robin van Persie. Working with established partners, BT Sport and BT’s Media & Broadcast division delivered the broadcast in 4K HDR pictures and Dolby Atmos sound. The demonstration builds on BT Sport’s heritage in providing the ultimate viewing experience, following its debut of Dolby Atmos in 2016 and this season’s launch of one of the world’s first HDR services, BT Sport Ultimate. Partnering on BT’s live demonstration today were Dolby, which supported creation and playback of immersive stadium sound using Dolby Atmos audio, and Timeline TV and Telegenic, providing the match coverage and match cameras, respectively. Jamie Hindhaugh, COO, BT Sport, says, “BT Sport Ultimate gives you the ultimate viewing experience. We’re proud to lead the industry with world-class pictures and sound. We will continue to innovate in this area, and viewers can expect more to come around personalisation and immersive audio. BT Sport has a rich history of leading the industry with broadcast innovation, whether it’s this season’s launch of one of the world’s first HDR channels, BT Sport Ultimate, or, our 2018 world-first 5G-enabled remote-production broadcast in London.”