SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2018: Thursday’s Latest From Vegas
A quick tour of what’s new, exciting, and interesting at the show
The NAB Show is in full swing in Las Vegas, and the SVG and SVG Europe editorial teams are onsite, covering all the latest news from the show floor. In an effort to make the tidal wave of news and announcements more digestible to our readers, SVG offers a daily “SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2018” roundup. This daily rundown provides snippets of big announcements and what is on display at more than 150 booths at the LVCC.
This edition features Adder Technology, Adobe, Aldea, Arvato Systems, EEG Enterprises, FingerWorks, FOR-A, IBM Watson, IPtec, iStreamPlanet, Mobile Viewpoint, Ncam, Net Insight, Nevion, PSSI, Q5X, RME, RT Software, Scale Logic, SHOTOVER, Shure, Slomo.tv, SSL, VITEC
Ncam (Booth C5629) is launching new products to enhance lighting and depth within AR platforms for a naturalistic look. The showstopper is Real Light, designed to solve the common challenge of making augmented graphics appear to be part of a real-world scene. Says CEO Nic Hatch, “We are reconstructing lighting in real time; this is a world first. If you want your computer graphics to look realistic, one of the hardest things to do is lighting. Getting the blend of real and not real to be seamless is very hard, but Real Light is in real time and doesn’t require any calibration. This will save millions for CG artists and content creators.” Ncam is now working on using Real Light for digital product placement at sports events.
Mobile Viewpoint (Booth C2807) has introduced the IQ Sports Producer platform, an intelligent, low-cost all-in-one suite for live production and streaming of field sports. Says CEO Michel Bias, “We have tried to make a low-cost automated solution for second- and third-tier leagues for complete remote production of games.” The solution consists of a single 180-degree camera that stitches together four separate images in real time and, for live and on-demand web broadcasting, a single box featuring built-in SIM cards for connectivity redundancy when no other link is available.
Shure (Booth C6015) has extended its wireless rebate program through Oct. 31. The rebate offers up to $500 per channel on the purchase of new Shure wireless microphones and personal monitor systems accompanied by the trade-in of wireless systems operating in the 600 MHz frequency band (614-698 MHz). Products from Shure and from other wireless manufacturers are eligible for the trade-in program. “Many users still need more time to get used to what’s transpired in RF reallocation,” a Shure spokesperson says.
Paul Johnson, CEO of Q5X (Booth C1539), notes that a new version of the company’s QT-5100 RefMic transmitter has been undergoing beta testing by the NHL for use by referees, deployed this season in four arenas. The device operates within the 500 MHz range and is fitted with an integrated mute switch with a protective shield so that the mute can’t accidentally be turned on and off. Johnson also highlights a version of the PlayerMic adapted for use in swimming and rowing competitions. It sits atop a balanced buoy and can pick up what he understates as “the really amazing sound” of a scull’s coxswain’s exhortations at the finish line.
SSL’s (Booth C3026) System T-S300 compact broadcast console, already a fully networked production environment with Dante AoIP-based routing and I/O, integrated AES67 transport standard, and SMPTE 2110-30–ready, now has updated software that adds 7.1+4 immersive object-based mixing capability.
Interface developer RME (Booth C7506) launched its new Digiface Dante and Digiface AVB interfaces. The Digiface Dante mobile audio interface enables transmission of up to 64 Dante channels and 64 MADI channels via a single USB 3.0 connection. The Digiface AVB mobile audio interface is based on the AVB standard and enables the transmission of up to 256 networked audio channels between a Windows computer and other AVB devices within an audio Gigabit network via a single USB 3.0 cable.
Slomo.tv (Booth C9815) has launched the Fulcrum AT/12G here. A budget solution for 4K/60P, it is priced at €60,000, or $60,000 on an NAB special, according to CEO Michael Gilman. Fulcrum has four record, four search, and two play channels as 12G (4K), 3G, HD, and SD. With up to four GUI screens, SSD storage of up to 533 hours of HD video, and four DMR racks for 3.5-in. SATA HDD, this is a bit of a bargain, he reckons: “This is a price per channel of $15,000; no one else can match that.”
FOR-A’s (Booth C5117) FT-ONE 4K UHD high-speed–camera demo offers a chance to see a new touchscreen-based “region of interest” functionality that not only can extract two areas of interest from one image but also provides image tracking, according to President Ken Truong. Frame rates can hit 1,000 fps (there is also an 8K demo at 500 fps), and the demo is joined by other new products: the HVS-6000 production switcher (with 12-Gbps SDI support of 80 inputs and 32 outputs) and the MFR-6000 routing switcher, which can support 144 12-Gbps inputs and outputs.
Aerial-robotic-camera specialist SHOTOVER (C1313) is showing off its entire — and impressive — lineup of acquisition toys. Highlighting the offering is the debut of SHOTOVER M1. The six-axis gyro-stabilized gimbal offers capture in up to 8K resolution and is designed to be affixed to the bottom of an aircraft, providing spectacular views of scenes below.
SOUTH LOWER HALL
FingerWorks (Booth SL4606) has developed a new version of its traditional telestration product specifically for VR and AR productions, allowing content creators to add live graphics to any VR broadcast in real time. At the company’s booth, Bryan McKoen demonstrated how the tool, which is already being used by NextVR, ingests Live 360 cameras, creates a flattened UI so that the operator can view the telestrator elements without having to wear a VR headset, and outputs the VR content in real time with telestration and graphics elements placed at proper depth. In addition to the new VR system, the FingerWorks Fusion system now allows Twitter and Instagram feeds to be imported into the system from any device connected to the network, enabling broadcasters to integrate social-media content directly into the live telecast.
RT Software (Booths SL5825, SL5516) is showcasing its tOG-Sports Graphics AR system, which can be used as a regular analysis system during a game and can also be repurposed for AR graphics during the subsequent studio show. The AR graphics comprise video walls and giant screens that can play out analysis clips prepared earlier. tOG-Sports AR is a single PC and works with a static SDI or IP (NDI) studio camera. It comes with a complete set of popular graphics that users can customize. Installation is a simple process, and users can be operational within minutes. The package provides a comprehensive range of soccer graphics, including league tables, head-to-heads, and weekend fixtures. The style for each is configured through a web interface where multiple styles for numerous shows can be stored.
Having extended the EZTV IPTV platform to include digital signage last year, VITEC (Booth SL6821) has taken its flagship product a step further this year with the addition of video-wall capabilities. Now users can leverage the IPTV system on both digital signage and video walls within their venues. In addition, VITEC is spotlighting a number of its most recent sports-venue projects, including the IPTV installation at the Minnesota Vikings’ new Indoor Practice Facility in Eagan, MN.
IBM Watson (Booth SL5305) is here talking about its work with artificial intelligence (AI) in the media and entertainment space and its recently launched closed-captioning product, Watson Captioning. “Closed captioning is really important for live sports,” says David Kulczar, senior offering manager, IBM Watson Media. “There is definitely a trust issue to get through with AI, but the people we’ve been talking to over the last year are now starting to see real value in it. Closed captioning is a good first step into AI for clients; it’s such a manual job normally, and Watson Captioning provides an average of 50%-70% ROI.”
With SMPTE ST 2110 finally a reality, the IP standards suite has been the talk of NAB 2018. EEG Enterprises (Booth SL7610) is showing off its iCap Alta IP video-caption encoder, which powers closed captioning/subtitling in IP video-production environments. The virtualized technology is compatible with SMPTE 2110 and ASPEN for IP video workflows and supports native 2110 audio/captioning exchange. Designed to bridge the gap between SDI and IP, the HD492 caption encoder is also on display. In addition, EEG is showcasing its cloud-hosted Lexi Automatic Speech Recognition Captioning, which creates a custom vocabulary based on information that users can upload.
Adobe (Booth SL4610) is unveiling a major update to its Adobe Creative Cloud platform, highlighted by several new automation features powered by its Adobe Sensei AI platform. According to Steve Forde, GM, emerging products, digital video and audio, the new Color Match for Premier Pro CC matches two shots at one click, applying editable Lumetri adjustments from one clip to another to achieve visual consistency across the whole project. On the audio side, the new Sensei-enabled Autoducking feature automatically adjusts soundtrack audio around dialog, whether for a single clip or an entire Premier Pro project. In addition to the new AI functionality, the Adobe Immersive Environment VR/360 editing environment is now available in After Effects CC.
Adder Technology (Booth SL4227) used NAB 2018 to make a “big little announcement” that its flagship product, the ADDERLink Infinity 100T IP-based KVM transmitter, is now available in a zero-U dongle. With the new form factor, users do not have to give up precious rack space to the servers and transmitters that generally power KVM. Instead, they can fit the dongle anywhere. The transmitter began shipping prior to the show and is available immediately.
Scale Logic (Booth SL8716) has introduced proactive health monitoring across its entire Genesis storage platform. All Genesis systems now report to Scale Logic’s 24/7 Networks Operations Center, providing information on drives, RAID sets, motherboards, heat, fans, and so on. All Scale Logic products will now ship with health monitoring, and existing customers will gain the feature in the near future. “This is an enterprise-level feature that this industry has never seen at this level of storage,” says CEO Bob Herzan. “In order to get this type of 24/7 operation, you would have to be buying IBM or EMC, and you would be paying massive amounts. But we don’t even upcharge for this service.”
At its booth, wTVision (SL6827) is highlighting its end-to-end software capabilities at NAB 2018, from sports productions to MCR to PCR. Headlining a host of demos at the booth (including cloud playout in partnership with ATEME, sports scouting, on-air graphics and video controllers, media asset management, ingest, virtual graphics) is wTVision’s first augmented reality demonstration at NAB. At the booth, wTVision has deployed a Blackmagic camera on a jib outfitted with Stype tracking technology and integrated AR graphics into the feed using its core graphics engine. “This is a great example of what we can do with our engine, which is already AR compatible, to add augmented reality,” says wTVision CEO Mario Sousa. “And it can be integrated any camera, any lens, any crane, any tracking [system]. So everything that we can already do on the real time graphics side, we can do now AR.”
SOUTH UPPER HALL
Nevion is dedicating its booth (SU5510) to the message “The IP revolution: seize it, lead it, live it.” With the help of real-life case studies, it is focusing on standards and formats, IP LAN/WAN convergence, and virtualization. Center stage is the latest versions of Nevion’s flagship products, which are featured in all demos: Virtuoso, the software-defined media node, and VideoIPath, the orchestration and SDN-control software. Both products are designed for an environment in which the distinction between LAN used in a facility and WAN used in contribution, remote production, and distribution is becoming blurred. They are key to delivering infrastructure and media-function virtualization.
Net Insight (Booth SU3821) has launched its new media-acceleration solution, enabling flexible deployment of high-performing virtual-media functions in an all-IP world. The first application is a hybrid JPEG2000 encoder/decoder providing what the company says is the industry’s highest-density video compression for remote production and live contribution. “To meet the demands of new flexible production workflows, future media networks need to be a lot more agile, and virtualization is the obvious answer. That’s why we’ve been providing software-based media functions for several years now,” says Martin Karlsson, CTO/VP, product portfolio. “Our new media-acceleration module is another testament to our virtualization commitment, enabling highly demanding applications that previously required dedicated hardware for each and every function to become virtualized.”
PSSI (Booth SU3406) has partnered with AT&T to launch its Saber (Satellite + fiBER) service, which is designed to create a redundant double-platform approach for contribution that uses a combination of C- and Ku-band satellite and fiber (leveraging AT&T’s fiber network) as well as IP public internet. PSSI’s C27 truck (equipped with a MediaLinks encoding shelf) is already deployed at NASCAR tracks each week, providing the service to NASCAR Productions and Fox Sports. According to PSSI CEO Rob Lamb, the Saber workflow operates out of a single truck and uses the mode of connectivity (fiber or satellite, depending on the situation) that delivers the highest bandwidth as the primary feed and then can failover to the other medium or to the public internet IP as a backup.
IPtec’s booth (SU10221) offers a chance to check out the VNP-400, the newest addition to the video-network–processor product line. VP, Sales, Glen Green says that the processor supports JPEG2000, H.264, and MPEG2 contribution-quality video codecs for the transmission of real-time video and audio signals over IP networks. “It’s very flexible and supports 1080p and also has 16 channels of audio and a built-in frame synchronizer,” he adds. Also on display is the SMMT Service Management & Monitoring software, which makes it much easier for personnel to make sure IP networks are functioning properly.
Aldea’s (Booth SU9817) presence at NAB 2018 is highlighted by a pair of new products: a 4K contribution network, which will be used extensively in various applications for the summer’s FIFA World Cup, and the Aldea Media Cloud platform. CEO Lionel Bentolila describes the solution as an “all-encompassing platform” that includes transcoding and social-media interfacing.
Arvato Systems’ (Booth SU6714) Media Logger is making its NAB Show debut. The solution adds segmented data to a media asset. The search tool, Media Portal, is also at the booth. The company’s big announcement, though, is the launch of a self-service SaaS edition of VPMS EditMate. It’s in beta testing now and is expected to be available early this summer.
For a telco provider like PCCW Global (Booth SU10501CM), having a presence at the NAB Show is about more than simply showing off new gear. It’s about meeting with customers, both existing and prospective, as well as other vendors and technology partners in order to get a sense of the trends and technologies that affect telco providers. In addition, the company continues to make forays into the OTT, esports, and VR markets. “All of this requires data,” says Ramy Hamid, business development manager, enterprise, PCCW Global. “Data has to be transferred somewhere – it’s going to be fiber optic or satellite or IP – so, as a telco that provides all three, it makes sense that we’re the backbone to all this content. You can have all the content you want, but if you can’t get it anywhere, what are you going to do?”
iStreamPlanet (Palazzo) recently launched its new direct-to-consumer streaming platform, Orbis. In addition to high-quality video support for content owners, the platform provides deep data-driven analytics. Orbis is the backbone to Turner’s new live sports-streaming service, B/R Live. The platform is free until June, when it will become a subscription-based product that will offer live streaming of major sports events, including the UEFA Champions League (English-speaking U.S. rights).