NAB 2018 in Review: Sports-Venue Industry Plots Future of IP Production, Finds Plenty To Excite in Vegas

Support for SMPTE ST 2110 standard was evident around the show

As the sports-venue industry booms, broadcast-technology vendors continue to get in on the action by positioning their offerings for broadcast and venue video-control rooms alike. And, although this has been the case for the past several NAB Shows, the recent publishing of the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards for IP production further strengthened this connection between broadcast and venue technology at NAB 2018.

Although SMPTE ST 2110 and IP were frequently discussed on the show floor, their impact on the sports-venue industry remains a work in progress. Leading systems integrators Diversified and BeckTV — both of which had a presence at the show — described some of the challenges that early adopters faced as well as what teams looking to go IP in the future can expect.

Diversified, responsible for the video-control rooms at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Little Caesars Arena, listed IP and HDR among the top requests it is currently hearing from customers.

“It is all trending toward IP, but it is still a cost analysis for many teams,” explained Diversified SVP Duane Yoslov. “They’re still trying to evaluate, if I spend this much more for an IP solution that will take me in the future, what does that really do for my fanbase? If I do this as an SDI system today and it lasts me another seven to 10 years, will that get me through the transition where we’re solidly in an IP world after that?”

The BeckTV team, which counts University of Notre Dame’s Campus Crossroads among its most high-profile IP projects, explained that the prospect of IP is exciting for anyone seeking increased router capacity and 4K production but the process remains complicated for all involved.

“It’s going to take a new type of engineer that’s really savvy with IT but also understands TV,” noted Brendan Cline, system engineer and project manager, BeckTV. “To this point, it’s been, I’m an IT guy or I’m a broadcast guy. As the integrator, probably the biggest thing that we’ve learned was how we close these two sides.”

Elsewhere on the show floor, there was plenty of interest for the sports-venue industry. Read on for the latest sports-venue video-production offerings for Ross Video, Sony, Grass Valley, and many other companies.

Ross Video
The sports-venue industry continues to be a key focus for Ross Video, and, at NAB 2018, the company unveiled the latest addition to its sports-venue–production portfolio. Carbonite Mosaic, its first multiscreen image processor, is designed to work in tandem with its XPression Tessera to drive the massive displays found throughout North American sports venues. “Ross has moved workflow forward in major venues, not just driving the main display — which are bigger and higher-resolution every year — but also driving LED ribbon boards, water fountains, audio systems, mechanical devices, light systems,” said Ross Video EVP/CMO Jeff Moore. “We can drive an entire stadium with one button push.”

Sony took the wraps off some additional products, including the HDCU-3100 camera-control unit, which adds SMPTE ST 2110 support for the HDC and HSC families of studio cameras, and the world’s first 4K three-chip camcorder with ½-in. Exmor R CMOS sensors. According to Deon LeCointe, marketing manager, production switchers, Sony Electronics, the move to the SMPTE ST 2110 standards is a major focus for Sony, with the company working with standards bodies on finalizing standards around features like device discovery (identifying what model or type of equipment is being connected via IP) and connection management for things like redundant failover.

Grass Valley
Grass Valley’s NAB 2018 press conference served as a coming-out party for the company’s acquisition of SAM (Snell Advanced Media). With SAM’s product lines now under its umbrella, Grass Valley revealed what this newly integrated product portfolio will look like, including several new-product announcements. Chiefly, Grass Valley has no plan to discontinue any products from either company immediately. “There won’t be discontinuation of any products, and we will let products go through their natural life cycle,” said VP of Global Marketing Neil Maycock. “The message is, we are not going to cut anybody off. If you’re invested in a product, we will continue supplying and supporting it.”

Canon announced several lens introductions, including a UHD-DIGISUPER 66X box lens, a second tier of UHD portable zoom lenses, and the UHDgc line, designed to be a solid fit for 2/3-in. UHD lower-cost cameras that increasingly deliver UHD images. “With 4K cameras at a remarkably low cost, we wanted a second tier in 2/3-in. UHD portable lenses and similar to what we did when we launched the HDgc line of HD lenses [during that transition],” explained Larry Thorpe, senior fellow, ITCG Professional Engineering and Solutions Business Planning Division, Canon U.S.A.

Quantum highlighted its new Xcellis Scale-out NAS, which delivers high levels of storage performance and scalability in a cost-effective, Ethernet-based appliance. Powered by Quantum’s StorNext shared-storage and data-management platform, the multiprotocol, multiclient Xcellis appliance unites robust media and metadata management with scalability to support content creators’ most demanding collaborative workflows and ease their transition to IP-based infrastructure.

One of the exciting developments worth checking out at the Panasonic booth, according to Senior Product Manager Steve Cooperman, was the support of ProRes RAW, which brings much more flexibility to sports-production teams looking to maximize image quality without having to suffer large file sizes and slow transfer speeds. The booth also featured a demonstration of the use of a single 8K camera coupled with a Fletcher control panel to enable extraction of simultaneous zoom and wide images.

Clear-Com presented the BroaMan video, audio, intercom, and data-transport and routing solutions for the broadcast market. MUX22 Series products transport video, audio, intercom, and data on the duplex fiber infrastructure. The Repeat8-NANO Series are palm-size 3G-SDI or AES10-MADI signal media converters offered at an entry-level price. And the Route66 product family networks BroaMan devices and selected third-party products into a maximum 40×40 matrix in different combinations of I/Os.

Having extended the EZTV IPTV platform to include digital signage last year, VITEC 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 spotlighted a number of its most recent sports-venue projects, including the IPTV installation at the Minnesota Vikings’ new Indoor Practice Facility in Eagan, MN.

More From the NAB 2018 Show Floor…
Following its acquisition of Click Effects prior to last year’s NAB Show, ChyronHego continues to invest in the sports-venue space. At this year’s show, the company demonstrated the capabilities of Prime for sports venues and integrated it with both Click Effects gear and EVS’s DYVI production switcher. “Fans could stay home and watch these games on television, so all these venues and stadiums have got to be able to offer that better experience to the fans,” noted ChyronHego Chief Product Officer Boromy Ung. “They’re willing to invest all that money in new technology that will keep the fans engaged.”

Speaking at the Evertz press conference at the show, Marketing Manager Bob Fung described 2018 as the year of IP and announced the debut of the Scorpion smart media-aggregation platform, which uses both dark fiber and managed IP. “IP as a technology has come of age. If you’re putting in an infrastructure now, your first consideration will be IP. At Evertz,” he said, “we’ve been deploying full IP infrastructures at scale since 2014, and, over that time, we’ve got a lot of feedback from our customers [on how to further develop these IP networks]. You can do things better and differently with IP. You’re almost doing yourself a disservice if you only do the same with IP as you did with SDI.”

Partnering with technology providers, EVS introduced the Unified Stadium, which gives sports teams and venue operators the ability to produce enriched video content and control its delivery to multiple screens on game day. When that is done in a straightforward and effective way, venues can create the most engaging in-venue experiences for fans. Unified Stadium comprises multiple integrations of EVS’s industry-leading live-production tools and several technology providers, including ChyronHego and Trans-Lux.

Adder Technology 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.

EEG Enterprises showed 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 was also on display.

Responding to customer requests for KVM over IP, G&D North America has introduced the ControlCenter-IP. In addition to the existing point-to-point connection of IP extender systems, ControlCenter-IP is a centralized KVM matrix that enables switching of all connected computer and workstation modules.

As part of a new partnership with EVS, IHSE routed a fiber link between its booth and the EVS booth to demonstrate long-distance connectivity using dual EVS LSM (Live Slow Motion) remote-control panels at a single workstation. An XT3 server at the EVS booth was connected via fiber to a workstation at the IHSE booth using dual LSM remote-control panels, and previews of converted SDI sources appeared on HDMI displays.

Marshall Electronics’ booth featured a live demo of its Full HD miniature broadcast POV cameras, including the new CV502-WP miniature, waterproof HD IP67 camera that’s ideal for outdoor applications, such as golf tournaments, where unique camera angles are expected and space is at a premium. The company also showed off the Super Bowl LII pylon cameras (alongside partner Admiral Video), which feature the CV502-WP cameras.

Optical Cable Corp. addresses the 6-in. depth restriction in some JBT boxes with the introduction of a 4-in. JBT enclosure that separates the SMPTE fiber from the copper inside the JBT. The 4-in. unit accommodates splicing as well as discrete connectivity and is available in eight-port and six-port versions. And, because the unit is only 4 in., users can still fit a 2-in. service loop behind the enclosure.

For the latest audio-production offerings, CLICK HERE.

For more of SVG’s coverage of NAB 2018, including news, product, and video interviews with key personalities, visit SportsTech@NAB Show blog.

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