IBC 2018 SportTechBuzz in Review: Halls 12-15 and Other News

The SVG Europe and SVG Americas editorial teams were out in full force at last week’s IBC Show, covering the biggest sports-technology news and delivering daily SportTechBuzz at IBC roundups. Here is a look at the IBC 2018 SportTechBuzz from Halls 12-15.

In this post, check out what these companies rolled out at IBC: Amimon, Artel Video Systems, BT Media & Broadcast, Canon, Cooke Optics, Edgeware, Euro Media Group, Fujinon, Globecast, Grabyo, Haivision, Ikegami, Imagen, Imagine Communications, Limelight Networks, Marshall Electronics, Mobile Viewpoint, Movicom, M2A Media, Ooyala, Ostmodern, Pixellot, Signiant, Sixty, Sony, Telos Alliance, Telstra, and V-Nova.

Amimon (12.G74), creator of wireless HD Joint-Source-Channel-Coding (JSCC) technology, and Teradek (12.E65) partnered to launch Amimon Original Programme at IBC. This program aims to provide customers with the tools to recognize original products, and to fully understand the differences and risks associated with using replica and unoriginal products. The movie production, aerial filming, live broadcasting, and real-time video distribution systems require wireless video with near zero-latency and high picture fidelity. Original products are critical to avoid interruptions or unexpected cut-offs and to ensure robust, smooth production flows with top quality transmission.

Also in the IP Showcase is Artel Video Systems. Artel demonstrated SMPTE ST 2110-30 and AES67 compatibility, highlighting the interoperability and audio-over-IP accuracy of the Quarra 10G PTP Ethernet switches. “As broadcasters migrate to IP, standards-based solutions that provide service continuity, interoperability, and accurate synchronization are imperative for mission-critical media feeds,” said Rafael Fonseca, vice president, product management at Artel. “Participation in the IP Showcase validates the efforts of vendors like Artel and industry organizations in developing standards-based IP solutions and specifications to meet these needs.”

BT Media & Broadcast (O.D02) sat in the sunshine at the front of the Rai discussing its next-generation OB network, which is now in its third Premier League season of operation. Said Chris Ainger, head of broadcast technology: “We’ve been running out next generation OB network for the Premier League since the 2014/2015 season, and it is now spreading out to other grounds. It’s evolving in scale and locations. It’s been a phenomenal success. Last season we did 42,000 hours of uncompressed in HD over Premier League venues, 4,000 hours in UHD and 300Tb of data.”

Canon (12.D60) went long and wide with two new 4K lenses: the UHD-DIGISUPER 122 with a 122x zoom ratio and a focal-length range of 8.2mm on the wide end and 1,000mm at the telephoto end. Also new is the UHD-DIGISUPER 111 which has the ability to exceed 4K resolution and offers a 111X zoom ratio and a focal-length range of 8.3 to 925mm. Both lenses also have new controls that increase the operators ability to dial in the lens as needed, including a tool to control bokeh, giving the user the ability to blur part of the image and make it more visually appealing.

Canon also launched the newest addition to its XF range of camcorders, the XF705. Equipped with the XF-HEVC format, XF705 offers 4K UHD 50P 4:2:2 10-bit recording to SD cards, with superior levels of detail. Combined with a 1.0 type CMOS sensor and DIGIC DV6 processing, the XF705 delivers improved noise performance, sensitivity and cinematic depth of field. With enhanced HDR capabilities, including an advanced 12G-SDI interface and IP streaming, the XF705 is poised to influence industry UHD HDR production workflows.

Cooke Optics (12.D10) added further depth and character to its Cooke Anamorphic/i lens family at IBC 2018 as it is presenting the 50mm focal length of the new Anamorphic/i Full Frame Plus range. This addition to the Anamorphic/i range has been designed to meet the growing appetite for large format production, while applying the popular anamorphic characteristics including flare and oval bokeh.

Edgeware (14.F20) announced its first container-based software solutions, optimized for public and private cloud platforms. The solutions are being delivered as containers are its Origin products, TV Content Capture, and TV Repackager. Following these, Edgeware has also revealed plans to migrate the rest of its software solutions into Docker containers. Said Karl Thedéen, CEO at Edgeware. “It takes our software solutions to the next level and allows our customers to benefit from our technology while deploying it natively in the cloud. It also gives Edgeware the core capability to offer its technology in a SaaS model.”

In the IP Showcase, SVG’s Ken Kerschbaumer chaired a discussion on stage with Tom Giles, technical manager at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), and Ronald Meyvisch, CTO at Euro Media Group (stand 0.A01). Titled, ‘IP and Sports Production: Winning Ways’, the session looked at how IP is impacting sports production. Giles spoke about how he, with the help of partner NEP (stand 14.C48), overhauled, rebuilt, and remodeled Wimbledon, AELTC’s infamous base, starting in 2016 when AELTC took over as host broadcaster from the BBC’s 90-year reign. Meanwhile, Meyrisch went into detail on the in, outs, practicalities, and realities of the company’s OBjective 2020, aimed at designing a new concept for future media production solutions.

Fujinon’s latest offering, being shown on stand 12.B20, is a 70×8.7 lens that was on display for the first time ever and is a low-cost UHD and those looking for a 46x line will see two new lenses, the UA46x9.5 and UA46x13.5. Both are available in different configurations: lens/body only; with servo section and stabilizer; and with servo section, stabilizer, and mobilizer extender. One of the reasons for the expanded offerings? A version with just lens/body is perfect for helicopters as the drive unit can be removed from the lens as the gyrostabilized chopper housing does not require it. A version with a motorized two-times extender is also available for robotic camera system housings.

Globecast was selected by Virgin Media as its technical partner for the launch of Virgin TV Ultra HD — the UK’s first dedicated UHD entertainment channel. The channel, launched on Monday, September 17, will be available for Virgin Media’s Full House and VIP customers using its next-generation Virgin TV V6 set-top box. Globecast is supplying both cloud-based(1.A29) playout and media management services.

Grabyo (14.D22) introduced its enhanced video editing platform, Grabyo Editor, a set of browser-based editing tools for creating and distributing short video clips, highlights and social video from live streams, VOD, and mobile sources. The new service combines the speed and flexibility of Grabyo’s cloud-based platform with simple, effective tools for video editors. Accessed using a web browser, Grabyo Editor reduces the time it takes to produce high-quality video content by enabling users to produce short clips and longer-form videos with multiple video inputs, graphics, imagery, and audio.

Haivision (14.B10) reeled in another high profile member to join its SRT opensource project: Microsoft. The SRT Alliance brings new support to the video standard for low latency video transport over the internet. SRT is quickly becoming one of the more critical video streaming protocols in the industry with the support of VideoLAN’s VLC, Wireshark, FFmpeg, and the GStreamer open source projects. It has been only about a year and a half since the opensource project was announced at NAB Show 2017, and in that short time more than 140 member companies have adopted the protocol including Comcast, ESPN, the European Broadcasting Union, NBC Sports, the NFL, and Sky News.

Ikegami’s focus at IBC on stand 12.A31 was on the HDR capabilities of the new HDK-99 portable camera, the HDK-73 cameras, as well as the HQLM-3125X 4K/HD master monitor. The HDK-99 debuted at NAB so its first appearance at IBC gave those on the hunt for HDR capabilities a new option as it has three 2.6 megapixel CMOS imaging sensors and can capture full HD 1920x1080p images (processed 4K can be sourced from the camera control unit). Also check out the CV380-CS camera which has a slightly smaller form factor but a 30fps limit. Both cameras feature 6G-SDI and HDMI outputs as well as CS mount lens options.

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has chosen Imagen’s video management platform to host its in-season and archive content so that it can be more easily accessed by a range of users throughout the sporting calendar (see Imagen on stand 14.H05). The self-serve platform will improve the commercial exploitation of its video library and provide regular updates to fans. Founded in 1905, and one of the oldest international sport federations, the new fully branded IWF Media Portal will enable broadcasters, newsrooms, and media partners to access the latest content during competitions plus additional footage such as features, interviews, competition highlights, and creative content.

Imagine Communications (4.A01) worked with Italian systems integrator Chromaline to build a truck for Italian outside broadcast company, Global Production. The new truck is a first in terms of the number of true 4K Ultra HD cameras it supports and its comprehensive production capability. While there are a number of Ultra HD trucks on the road today, most rely on up-conversion of some cameras to provide the number of viewpoints that sports viewers expect. Global Production aimed for maximum quality, and asked Chromaline to investigate the practicalities of an uncompromised vehicle capable of supporting as many as 30 4K cameras. “The challenge lies in the maximum size and weight of vehicle which can be taken on the roads,” said Nicola Dall’Asta, CEO at Chromaline. “It simply would not have been conceivable to fit everything into the truck using conventional technologies and architectures. The only solution was to make everything ourselves, relying upon software solutions as much as possible to maximize space and ensure the best operational environment for the crews.”

Limelight Networks (14.B52) introduced Limelight Real-time Streaming, claimed to be the first globally scalable, sub-second live video streaming solution that’s natively supported by major browsers and devices. The new service also supports integrated real-time data, making it possible to create interactive live online experiences. Streams of live events are typically delayed from the broadcast feed by 30 seconds or more. This often results in poor viewing experiences, loss of reputation when viewers publicly express displeasure, and ultimate loss of revenue. Limelight Realtime Streaming eliminates these challenges by enabling organizations to stream live video from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world in less than a second, providing online viewers with the same experience enjoyed by broadcast viewers.

Marshall Electronics expanded its assortment of miniature HD cameras with the new UHD Marshall CV506-H12, which ws on display at IBC 2018 (12.D20). The CV506-H12 is built for capturing high-speed action for detailed, high definition, slow-motion video. “Releasing a miniature 120fps camera to 1080p and other resolutions was a natural add-on to our camera line,” said Tod Musgrave, director of cameras at Marshall. “Many of our customers are using our mini HD cameras for slow motion replay and analysis.

Marshall’s 4K POV line up was also expanded with the new CV420-CS and CV380-CS on display. Both cameras feature SDI and HDMI outputs, remote control, and support of CS-mount lenses (the CV420-CS can also handle Varifocal lenses). The big difference is the CV420-CS is slightly larger but delivers up to 60 fps recording while the CV380-CS tops out at 30 fps but has a smaller form factor. Those looking for HD support will want to check out the CV506-H12 which can shoot 1080p and 720p at 120 fps.

Mobile Viewpoint (14.F24) announced the European launch of two new products, NewsPilot and IQ Sports Producer, using AI to automate the low-cost delivery of content from remote locations. NewsPilot and IQ Sports Producer enable smaller broadcasters and brand owners to reduce cost and complexity of live content production and delivery. Consistent with Mobile Viewpoint’s full solution portfolio, NewsPilot and IQ Sports Producer meet broadcasters’ requirements for fast, simple, and cost-efficient content contribution as they adapt their strategies to meet the rapid rise in online content consumption.

Mobile Viewpoint also touted 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.

International manufacturer and provider of special cameras, Movicom, showcased its latest innovation at IBC. Robycam Compact, a new lightweight aerial camera system is being displayed on stand 12.G67 as well as on stand 0. E02, organized by Robycam Germany. Small in size and light in weight, the new system is a universal cost-effective and safe solution suitable for middle-sized venues and studios. The Movicom team is on hand to explain all the technical details, show the camera in motion, as well as show the AR integration.

M2A Media (14.H04) unveiled its new Dynamic Content Insertion product at IBC. The M2A DCI solution allows broadcasters and OTT content publishers to serve customized content, be it adverts, promos, subtitles, or audio, to different viewers depending on where they are in the world, so better localizing and monetizing live video streams. Valentijn Siebrands, solutions architect, commented: “This solution means you only have one playout to manage for multiple regions, which makes the whole process more efficient and easier to control, and cost-efficient; playout systems are usually expensive.” The new product is designed to be integrated server-side, enabling a seamless transition between broadcast and embedded content resulting in a single stream that can be deployed across all devices, including set-top boxes, mobiles, and tablets.

Ooyala (14.G02) extended support for the Interoperable Master Format (IMF) with its Flex Media Platform, a flexible and configurable content supply chain optimization platform. For content distributors, it promises to significantly reduce costs and improve efficiency of their multi-platform distribution needs. Ooyala also announced last weekend that the Flex Media Platform will optimize video operations for SUPER RTL, the joint venture between RTL Group and The Walt Disney Company.

Ostmodern demonstrated Skylark, a modern headless CMS for rich media products. Headless CMS architecture allows for more flexibility for clients looking to innovate and deploy to their existing technology stacks. “Skylark solves the problem of designing bespoke and innovative user experiences that drives higher engagement and differentiation, whilst addressing the need to deploy efficiently and quickly,” said Stuart Ferreira-Cole, commercial director, from hall 15 meeting suite 6.

Ostmodern also spoke 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.

Pixellot, a provider of automatic sports production tech, unveiled a series of next-generation features that it has added to its automated production platform (stand 14.C01). The new additions include automatic graphic insertion, automatic soccer highlights, condensed games for American football and virtual advertisement tools that will help sports organizations and media outlets to monetize their assets. With the Pixellot platform soon offering AI-triggered graphics insertion, automated production technology makes a quantum leap forward, said the company, providing a similar rich viewing experience as manually produced sportscasts.

Signiant is demonstrating advancements across its entire product line at IBC 2018 on stand 14.B23. The company’s broadly-adopted SaaS platform, which combines Signiant’s patented network optimization technology with a feature-rich global control framework for the exchange of media, can be readily adapted to support emerging industry standards and practices. Signiant also introduced a new ‘IMF Aware’ interface and is demonstrating best practices for cloud ingest portals.

Kjetil Horneland, CEO and founder of Sixty, is bringing life to TV delivery for viewers, he said from stand 14.H21. “We are changing the ‘flat’ way TV has been delivered over the last 30 years,” he commented. “OTT platforms are much more like a commodity now and there is an opportunity to make more value from that, which hasn’t been done yet. If you can figure out what users want, you can actually engage them in a two-way conversation. We’re taking all the assets of TV production and reassembling them on the user’s device so you can provide a better viewing experience, engaging viewers in new ways, and engaging them for longer on the screen so they don’t go to other devices to satisfy their needs.”

Sony returned to IBC 2018 to present its latest solutions that help customers build their brands and audiences under the banner of ‘Go Make Tomorrow’. On stand 13.A10, Sony showcased its fully integrated, end-to-end services and technologies that empower media companies to create more amazing content and more engaged audiences, more profitably. “We are returning to IBC with firm drive and motivation to help [visitors] realize the commercial and creative potential of their content in the post digital age,” said Stuart Almond, head of marketing, Sony Professional Solutions Europe.

Sony (stand 13.A10) also grew its IP Live Production System solutions with further support for SMPTE ST 2110 in both HD and 4K. This strengthens its commitment to driving interoperability based on open standards and supports wider industry adoption. In addition, Sony announced a new model to its NXCAM handheld camcorder line-up, the HXR-NX200. Lastly, Sony showcased a new 31-inch Grade 1 reference monitor, the BVM-HX310. “The industry transition to IP has been driven by collaboration,” explained Deon LeCointe, senior manager for sports and IP solutions, Sony Electronics Professional Solutions Americas. “Sony has been leading the transition and we continue to actively invest in shaping the IP landscape to offer customers the best systems, services, and support they need to unlock IP’s full potential. By enhancing our live production offering with new support for SMPTE ST 2110 in both HD and 4K, we’re giving our customers ecosystems and technologies they need for their future.”

Sony’s 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.

The Telos Alliance participated in the IP Showcase, where it demonstrated AES67 interoperability using the Axia RAQ AoIP Console, Axia QOR.32 Integrated Console Engine, and Telos Alliance xNode Audio Interfaces. The IP Showcase took place in Rooms E106 and E107. “With gear from 50 manufacturers interconnected with AES67, broadcasters and creators of media content can see how AoIP is ready for daily use in their facilities. Come see that AoIP interoperability is not a science experiment. It is real and practical to implement today,” said Marty Sacks, VP of sales, support and marketing for the Telos Alliance.

Telstra (14.F18) talked 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 additionally showcased 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!”

Video compression company V-Nova (14.C36) announced the availability of its Perseus Plus SDK for the Socionext security and broadcast solutions based on its SC2A11 processor. It combines the compression performance of Perseus Plus and the density and power-efficiency of the Socionext processor. In a broadcast environment, the joint solution enables operators, service providers, and transcoding equipment manufacturers to build and deploy an efficient and cost effective encoding and transcoding solution. Unlike H.264 or HEVC, Perseus Plus enables delivery to all devices even in bandwidth constrained conditions. On a sample 2U server with 32x CPU cards loaded, a complete ABR ladder for twenty full HD 1080p60 Perseus Plus-enabled channels can be encoded, in real time, at 300W compared to using 2x 4U appliances consuming over 4KW for lower picture quality.

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