SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2019: Wednesday’s Latest From Vegas
The NAB Show is in full swing in Las Vegas, and the SVG and SVG Europe editorial teams are chasing down the hottest stories from all over the LVCC show floor. To make the onslaught of announcements easily digestible for our readers, SVG is sending you a daily SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2019 roundup, with all the top stories gathered together in one easy to read blog from our newshounds.
Today’s edition features Aldea, Alteros, Aperi, Arista Networks, Audio-Technica, Blackmagic, Brightcove, Canon, Cartoni, CBC, Clark Wire & Cable, Clear-Com, Cobalt Digital, Deltacast, Dixon Sports, DTC Broadcast, EVS, FOR-A America, Fujinon, Fraunhofer, Genelec, Ikegami, Image Video, IMT Vislink, Intelsat, JVCKENWOOD, Multidyne Video & Fiber Optic Systems, NEP Australia, Neutrik, Nevion, NTT, Ooyala, OpenDrives, Pliant Technologies, Quantum, RT Software, Sony, Synamedia, Tedial, Telestream, Telos Alliance, Teradek, The Switch, The Switch eSports, TSL Products, UFC, Vislink Technologies, VSN, Wave Central, Zaxcom, Zype.
Arista Networks (Booth N3008) has announced that CBC and NEP Australia were just two recent clients to benefit from its expertise in production applications. The company designs and sells multilayer network switches to deliver software-defined networking solutions for large datacenter, cloud computing, high performance computing and high frequency trading environments. Robert Welch, Technical Solutions Architect, said that, “We want to be as reliable as the network and to build solutions with our many partners”. The company is showcasing its full range of switches in a range of booth demos that includes: high speed production control, open standards network control, virtual rack, monitor/manage, post production and over the top (OTT) streaming, broadcast partners and a AIMS virtual rack interoperability demonstration.
According to Genelec Marketing Manager Will Eggleston this year’s NAB show is all about, “immersive, immersive, immersive”. The loudspeaker manufacturer (Booth C4748) is demonstrating a selection of its Active Monitors in an immersive 7.1.4 Atmos configuration. “A great deal of our sales are going into immersive environments,” he said. The demo places listeners in the middle of a 3D audio environment through the addition of four overhead height channels to the more traditional 7.1 horizontal surround space. The system is composed of S360A Smart Active Monitor (L-C-R), 8341A’s (side and rear), 8331A’s (overheads), and 7382A and 7360A subwoofers (sub and bass management). These models are used to demonstrate monitoring solutions for immersive mixing for music and post in Atmos and both are being showcased at NAB for the first time. “Immersive audio is one of the most interesting trends in the industry, as it adds 3D realism to music, virtual reality, movies, gaming and more,” concluded Eggleston. “At NAB, we are giving attendees a taste of what they can experience with regard to immersive audio reproduction. It is a very compelling demo.”
Ken Truong, president of FOR-A America (Booth C5016), said the company’s offerings include not only next-generation 8K products but also an island made up of both 12Gbps SDI and IP products, showing the viability of hybrid environments for broadcasters looking to move forward. “There is also a gateway between IP formats and also the conversion of baseband to IP and any flavor of IP to baseband,” he noted. One of the product highlights is the HVS6000 production switcher with 12Gbps SDI inputs and up to 3ME with multiviewer and frame sync. “There is also an optional board for IP,” he concluded.
Wave Central (Booth C6934) and DTC Broadcast are showcasing their extensive North American partnership at their shared booth at NAB 2019. Also, Wave Central is entering into a partnership with the UFC to provide wireless capabilities throughout the arena. After a successful demo at the last main event in Wichita, KS, the UFC was satisfied with the product. In addition to this new business relationship, Wave Central’s line up of RF solutions is being showcased in a plethora of booths across the show floor. The company is catering to its vast list of clients by developing case-by-case applications that are customizable to their needs.
Canon (Booth C4425) is offering up a wealth of innovations in imaging but it is Aria, a feature that is currently available on all Canon box lenses when they are used with Sony cameras, that tops the list. Aria solves the problem of maintaining consistent brightness of an image as the camera operator zooms in on a subject. Larry Thorpe, Canon USA, senior fellow, said the feature was designed by both companies and begins with the lens sending focal length data to the Sony camera which, in turn, uses that data to ramp up the gain. “And that increase is synchronous to the zoom so if the zoom is fast or slow the gain increase is fast or slow,” he explained. “The lens also reports zoom, focus, and iris to the camera which then takes that data to create waveforms that flatten out the brightness across the image. The result is a bright, clean, flat image that doesn’t change over the focal range.”
At Fujinon (Booth C7225) the UA125x8 lens with a 125x zoom and wide angle of 8mm with an F1.7 aperture is the major buzz item at a booth designed to also educate customers on why 4K lenses matter even for an HD show. “This is the widest-angle box lens ever made as they are typically 9.5mm or 9.3mm but now we’re going even wider so not only longer images but also wider,” said Fujinon’s Gordon Tubbs, VP, Broadcast and Communication Products. Also check out the UA18x7.6 and the Fujinon UA23x7.6, 2/3-inch 4K portable lenses which bring affordability to 4K lenses. “We are heading down the road of even more affordable lenses than we did in going from SD to HD,” he added. “We know how to build new lenses better and faster and also keep the quality high at the same time.” Look for more announcements later this year as the Tokyo Olympics are an important milestone event where Fujinon is expecting to make a difference.
Frank Jachetta, president of Multidyne Video & Fiber Optic Systems, (Booth C5013) said the company has joined the IP revolution as products like the next-generation Silverback V have an IP gateway as well as a dual-camera base which helps reduce the price point and required rack space. “There are a lot of upgrades this year like a new Lightbox that is based on our original field fiber box but uses cards for ultimate configurability,” he said. “We got tired of hearing ‘great product but I need one more audio’ so now it is totally modular.” And being close to the front line of acquisition has Multidyne on top of trends like the move to IP and 12Gbps. “IP hasn’t hit the front line of acquisition in force but we’re seeing 12Gbps as a real fast and furious reality,” he added. “We’re getting into IP more at the receive side.”
Teradek (Booth C5725) is worth a visit to see Bolt 4K, the first wireless 4K video transmitter with zero delay and uncompressed transmission that slows for multiple entities in site to video camera feeds in real time. The solution boats lossless transmission of 10-bit 4K HDR video at a line of sight of up to 1,500 feet.
Clark Wire & Cable (Booth C5718), currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, is introducing a full-color touch screen update to its CWT-SMPTE cable tester. Intended for use in sports venues, the update will enable systems integrators and venue consultants to test SMPTE camera cables for loss in the fiber elements and all combinations of opens, shorts, or cross-wiring within the electrical elements. The results are displayed on a touchscreen OLED on the transmitter unit as loss in decibels and a graphical pin-out of the electrical contacts, making it simple to identify the faulty element.
Neutrik (Booth C5721) is showing off its opticalCON Dragonfly, a new fiber-optic connector series that features expanded beam lens technology. Unlike the standard physical contact of other fiber connectors, the contact area of opticalCON Dragonfly is 325 times larger, resulting in connectors that can be partially obscured and still work. This ruggedized, low-maintenance, and field-reparable hybrid cable connector can even get dirty, be cleaned off with compressed air or water, and still work; a demo in the Neutrik booth shows this off in real time. Neutrik’s opticalCON Dragonfly will be ready to ship in mid-summer.
IMT Vislink is now Vislink Technologies (Booth C6008), and the newly rebranded company is making its official debut at NAB 2019. The company has united its individual product brands under the Vislink Technologies umbrella, and all solutions marketed under the IMT and Vislink names – as well as products such as Advent, Gigawave, MRC, RFCentral, and Nucomm – will adopt the Vislink Technologies brand. The new brand reflects the realignment and refinement of the company’s overarching business strategy to one unified operation with a unified visual identity, and NAB 2019 gives the company the opportunity to connect with and educate its customers on the rebrand.
JVCKENWOOD’s (Booth C4415) Connected Cam workflow is headlined by the new 500 Series of 4K cameras. Since its debut last year, the company has expanded this product line to include the GY HC500 base model, GY HC550 with advanced streaming and graphics, and GY-HC500SPC sports production camera to further enhance low-scale productions in the high school, college, and local markets. Similar to the GY-HC900, the new line of camcorders also includes an integrated scoreboard overlay. With the help of the Sports Exchange Format in both 720p and 1080p, footage is cross compatible with software that coaches use to breakdown and analyze film. In addition, the Connected Cam line up is paired with the ProHD Studio. This system uses six IP inputs that support NDI and SRT streaming protocols as well as HD-SDI and HDMI sources these cameras with the help of a simplified user interface and a full range of capabilities such as slow-motion playback for instant replay, video transitions, and up to five simultaneous streaming locations at 20Mbps with SMPTE 2022 forward error correction and less than 500ms latency.
Cartoni (Booth C9020) is exhibiting its next line in multipurpose tripods, the new Sort 200 Heavy Duty Tripod. The duralium composition prevents typical wear and tear from extreme weather and constant travel. With the ability to hold up to 441 pounds, the tripod is able to support multiple types of fluid heads, including Cartoni’s Master 65 and Magnum. In addition, users are accommodated with mobility at a total weight of 27 pounds. For use on all sorts of fields and courts, the equipment’s base is incorporated with stainless steel spikes for soft terrain (dirt, grass) and a pivoting rubber pad for indoor flat surfaces.
Alteros (Booth C6012), an Audio-Technica company, has introduced the Direct-to-Fiber extension to Alteros GTX 6.5 GHz Ultra Wide Band digital wireless microphone system, providing enhanced range and flexibility to the versatile system, doubling the number of GTX32 transceivers that can be connected to a local area wireless microphone network system and a tenfold increase in the workable distance between transceivers and the control unit. Up to 24 GTX24 wireless microphone transmitters can work with a single 3U-high GTX3224F control unit at distances of up to two miles.
Speaking of Audio-Technica (Booth C6012), the company’s Gary Boss said that eSports gamers have been embracing the company’s BPHS1 headsets for several years but as eSports gains in stature and affluence some are moving to the more upscale BPHS2 headset.
Ikegami (C7925) is developing new products that dives deep into the vertical video space for optimal viewing on mounted LCD screens and smartphones. The company is rolling out a 9:16 cutout option for its UHK-430 4K/HD portable camera system. The vertical monitor has been in the works since last year’s NAB show and now delivers a simultaneous 1080 x 1920 portrait cutout from the 3840 x 2160 image of the 4K camera. Also on display, Ikegami will debut its optional MoIP interface for the CCU-430 Camera Control Unit. The IP interface can be a viable option for the UHK-430.
Image Video (C5349) is upgrading the software of its Tally Console system. The new Tally Console 3 is giving production teams the ability to switch gears from one production to the other with an enhanced web interface to create prebuilt configuration and present a more simplified way of making adjustments. Image Video is also highlighting a WiFi Wireless Tally Light that will be used by a major esports company for the recording of gamers and observers. The Tally Console 3 is currently on display at the Mobile TV Group set up (Booth OE100).
Pliant Technologies (Booth C8548) showed what might be the biggest little thing at the show; the Flex LR 4-pin-to-five-pin converter. The converter adds barely10-mm of space to a connection but eliminates the need for longer and more cumbersome cables to make the conversions. “It was costly to tool up for but the need was there,” said Pliant president Gary Rosen.
Zaxcom (Booth C2030) has announced Nova, a sound solution that combines a mixer, a recorder, ZaxNet remote control and wireless receivers into one compact and lightweight device. Nova can record up to 12 channels of audio to two compact flash cards. The unit has four mic/line NeverClip inputs, two line-level balanced inputs, four external AES inputs and six analog/AES output buses. Two AES42 microphones can also connect to the AES inputs and are powered by the Nova.
Clear-Com (Booth C6908) had its new IP- V-Series Iris intercom panel, which provides low-latency AES67 AoIP audio for Eclipse HX users, on display. The V-Series Iris Panel can monitor and send communications over three concurrent full-duplex uncompressed audio IP streams, enabling systems to deliver uncompressed AES67 audio from user to user with low latency. When connected to Clear-Com’s AES67 compliant E-IPA audio-and-intercom-over-IP card, users can deploy up to 64 Iris panels per card. V-Series Iris panels also feature full color user-configurable OLED displays to help users organize and locate keys with similar functions.
SOUTH LOWER HALL
Telestream (Booth SL3308) has more than made its presence felt at NAB Show with a collection of significant product launches and service enhancements. You will want to take a look at the OptiQ cloud-based channel-creation system, specifically. OptiQ attempts to cut down the processing of creating new channels from taking months or even weeks and shaving that down to a matter of minutes. The video channels feature integrated monitoring from end-to-end and make it easy to identify an issue and quickly remedy it. The transparency in the delivery process is impressive; the company’s marketing director Ken Haren raved about the platform and identified that as the demo to see for sports broadcasters hoping to get a peek at the future of delivery.
Quantum (SL4409) is making a big storage splash at NAB 2019 by introducing the F-Series, a line of non-volatile memory express (NVMe) storage arrays that are up to five times faster than traditional flash-storage/networking systems, according to Jason Coari, Director, High-performance Storage Solutions. Incorporating the latest remote direct memory access (RDMA) networking technology, the F-Series provides direct access between workstations and the NVMe storage devices, delivering ultra-fast network performance. The F-Series is the first to be built on the new Quantum Cloud Storage Platform, which is also being unveiled at the show. Outside of M&E, Quantum has also announced the VS-Series storage platform designed for surveillance and industrial IoT applications.
Blackmagic (Booth SL2016) rolled out the DaVinci Resolve editor keyboard, a USB-C keyboard with an integrated job shuttle control that allows editors to go back in time and relive how fast it was to edit in an era when a computer mouse was not an option. “It has a jog shuttle knob and mark in and out points and I really think the new DaVinci Resolve CutPage [editing system] is a perfect thing for sports because it is about slashing things together and getting it out without having to hunt through menus,” said Bob Caniglia, director, sales operations, North America. “Even the younger guys on staff get on it and think it’s great.”
Cobalt Digital’s (Booth SL9111) 9904-UDX-4K up/down/cross converter and image processor for openGear frames makes use of Technicolor high dynamic range Intelligent Tone Management (ITM) software and also enables the use of current SDR infrastructure, reducing the need for new camera purchases and other capital expenditures to produce HDR footage. “With Technicolor we have very dynamic tone management so that a camera can go from shooting in light to dark and it will autocorrect,” said Chris Shaw, Cobalt Digital, executive vice president of sales and marketing.
Deltacast (Booth SL13013) has a range of interesting graphics products for sports broadcasters on show at NAB, including a new character generator and a 3D add-on that can help with video assistant referee (VAR) decisions during soccer matches. The former, called Delta-CG, is both a character generator and a graphics playout system for live production. It can do various things, including: build 2D or 3D animations; configure and automate playlists; and control screens, ribbons and LED perimeters. For VAR, Delta-offside provides a precise, curved and 3D virtual line to help with offside decisions. It is available as a stand-alone system or as an add-on to other VAR systems. Also on show at NAB is Delta-neo N2H, a standalone NDI to HDMI converter. This new module has been designed for use in confidence monitoring and signal distribution.
TSL Products’ (Booth SL4621) new SAM-Q audio monitoring platform does what its name says it will and does it well for SDI infrastructures. But this NAB Product of the year nominee’s interface reflects the broader user and knowledge base that now interfaces with pro-audio gear. The SAM-Q’s user experience can be customized for user abilities ranging from expert to novice, maximizing operational efficiency and reducing operational error. “An audio monitoring platform designed to serve all levels of user… that also has the functional capacity to grow and adapt in line with ever changing technical requirements, all helps to protect a customer’s investment,” observed TSL Stephen Brownsill, audio project manager.
OpenDrives has teamed up with EVS to demo a live broadcast, multi-camera 4K workflow at the StudioXperience booth (SL3824) at NAB 2019. OpenDrives CTO Sean Lee says the workflow is leveraging OpenDrives Summit (a hybrid solution employing both a spinning drive for primary storage and an NVMe cache layer) as the storage backbone, as well as EVS XT-VIA production servers along with IPDirector to manage ingest, control and instant access to media for post-production.
VSN (SL7606) has partnered with Dixon Sports to integrate with its logging and ingest tool, according to Doug Wynn, North America Sales Director, VSN. The Rest API integration will allow VSN to ingest all metadata assigned to content in the Dixon Sports logging tool and automatically incorporate it into its VSNExplorer media-asset-management system. In addition, the company is showcasing its new VSN NewsConnect HTML5 plugin for news environments, which is an add-on for the VSNExplorer platform that allows users to interconnect via MOS any leading NRCS, CG, studio playout system and video servers. VSN is also debuting its new cloud-based Media Exchange content hub enhancements to its VSNCrea traffic and scheduling system.
London-based real-time graphics provider RT Software (Booth SL6125) is housed within the Great Britain and Northern Ireland pavilion at NAB this year where it is showing a brand new product for sports analysis and telestration. Tactic Advanced is one of a planned trio of “easy to use” broadcast sports graphics system. It has various features including the ability to link graphics, editable motion paths, composite graphics and camera tracking. Importantly, it does away with the need for a chroma key. Advanced is the mid-range product with a further launch due at the top end, called Pro, which includes a timeline, and at the entry level, called Light. The company is also touting a new on-air graphics offering called Swift which has an affordable price point and gives the user the ability to quickly and easily create live on-air overlay graphics at high quality. Swift is said to be suitable for text, clocks, tickers/crawls, tables and video/clip handling, among other things.
SOUTH UPPER HALL
The Switch (Booth SU3714; Esports Experience, Booth N1921) is taking an ambitious step into the future by launching a new division of its company called, The Switch eSports. This segment of the company will integrate eSports production, transmission and distribution from anywhere in the world using The Switch’s managed, private cloud services for linear and streaming. In February, the company hired Charles Conroy as its VP of Gaming and he’s on site in the North Hall leading conversations with hardcore gaming company and intrigued novices alike. Conroy comes with experience as Chief Development Officer of Complexity Gaming, which was recently sold to the Dallas Cowboys.
Aperi (Booth SU1330) is touting its skills in live sports production at NAB, highlighting both ‘at home’ services and 4K capabilities. The company provides intelligent media edge services for global contribution and various instantly re-composable media and native IP gateway and processing functions. All media functions, including re-configurable codecs and multi-viewing, IP firewalling and NATing, are available as downloadable apps via the Aperi App Store. Also at NAB, Aperi has introduced a one-slot microserver designed for smaller, efficient media edge services to the North American market. The A1101 has an integrated 10G switch and accommodates any Aperi app as part of the integrated V-Stack hypervisor layer.
Brightcove (Booth SU1920) is using NAB to talk to sports broadcasters about monetizing content. Fan engagement is a key part of this, according to director of solutions marketing Andy Wilson who enthused about social media seeding. He told SVG: “One of the most important ways of monetizing your live streams and getting people to go and buy access or subscribe to them is the ability to quickly get a message out there about a critical event that is taking place. If I can start sending goal clips out to all the social channels, quickly, and in real-time I can get fan engagement on those platforms and then I can get those fans back to my platform and monetize it.” Brightcove offers a live tool that creates clips of live sporting events and then automatically promotes them on social media. Also at NAB, Brightcove is discussing its acquisition of Ooyala which completed on April 1.
Nevion (Booth SU5510) is taking a slightly different approach to NAB this year by letting its customers do the talking. The stand is dedicated to client stories and case studies, and in particular those that emphasize Nevion’s strength and reputation in other parts of the world with a view to growing its presence in the US. Among the examples being cited is a remote production set-up that was devised for the Finnish Ice Hockey League. At the same time, on a similar theme of trust and reputation, Nevion is also highlighting Virtuoso. The software-defined media node recently achieved the SMPTE ST 2110 standard for essence-based transport of media over IP. This benchmark is designed to give broadcasters and other media companies an independent reassurance that products will work in a multi-vendor environment in an IP media network. “There are some quite well-known vendors that don’t go to interops but they still claim to support ST 2110. But how do you know for sure unless you try it with others?,” said Olivier Suard, Marketing Director at Nevion.
Tedial’s (SU1924) Smartlive AI-powered automated live-sports-production system is now shipping with systems expected to go live this summer, according to Jay Batista, GM, US Operations. The automated-production solution, which debuted at NAB 2018 (taking home a best of show award), uses its unique metadata engine to automate highlight creation and distribution, including tight integration with digital platforms and social media. Jermome Wauthoz, VP, Products, said Smartlive automates the event metadata ingest process, automatically provisions a production environment for the production team, manages multi-venue feeds, automatically generates personalized content of games (or an entire season of highlights), and feeds campaigns to social media platforms.
NTT (Booth SU4321) is showcasing its 4K HEVC high frame rate coder and decoder in prototype form on its booth in the Upper South Hall. Business Development Manager Marco Fabi hopes that the next Olympics will drive up the demand for increased picture quality and will enable the product to come to market. “We are ready,” he said. A number of products being presented are designed to facilitate remote production, reflecting an increasing trend, said Fabi. One of these is Smart Contribution Live Sports Event Production for the company’s viaPlatz suite. The software-based tool allows users to construct remote production networks. Features include automatic network switching if there is a failure of a primary connection and automatic bit rate adjustment to fit to the available network bandwidth. The unit is SRT protocol supported and also allows priority control when available bandwidth decreases and dynamic bitrate assignment to each encoder without glitch and efficient use of the IP network. NTT is also presenting its HC11000 multi channel unit which can code 1UHD for HD channels in one box.
Aldea (Booth SU11321) struck a critical partnership at this NAB Show, joining forces with Intelsat. The goal being to further fortify the relationship between satellite and fiber for video contribution and distribution. Aldea’s international fiber network (with media locations in 35 cities worldwide) will marry with Intelsat’s video neighborhoods of about 5,400 channels. Aldea is also gearing up for a very active summer in sports. Its solutions will support the Pan Am Games in Peru, providing contribution from all 17 venues back to the IBC and from the IBC out to international rightsholders and broadcasters. Aldea will also have its tech at the Copa America in Brazil.
Synamedia (Booth SU10125) has launched a new automation capability for its Virtual Digital Content Manager. Called Smart Rate Control, it makes use of machine learning and Stream Video Quality, Synamedia’s patented technology, to automatically set bandwidth quality levels and cap bitrates. This is said to minimize costs but still provide consistently high video quality, all without impacting on the encoding computational complexity. The company believes that it could save operators up to 50% of bandwidth and storage costs.
On the digital front, Zype (Booth SU11312) is showing its Zype Playout platform that was just introduced last week. It enables video product teams to build and launch broadcast-quality linear live IP-based streams using existing video libraries. Zype Playout looks to transform playlists of videos into IP-delivered linear live streams, even adding slate and ad timing management, scheduling, packaging, and broadcasting linear channels for distribution to the package.
At Telos Alliance (Booth SU3921), the word was audio over IP (AOIP), including: the next generation of Telos Infinity IP Intercom solutions with the new Infinity Link for site-to-site connectivity over WAN, plus the Internet; the new Linear Acoustic ARC, a SMPTE ST 2110-30-compliant next-generation television loudness processor for stereo and mono programming; and the Linear Acoustic UPMAX ISC, a SMPTE ST 2110-30-compliant dedicated hardware upmixer supporting the immersive audio capabilities of ATSC 3.0. AOIP. “ST2110 and virtualization through software are all major trends we’re seeing at the show this year,” observed Telos President John Schur.
Fraunhofer (SU4816) needed a basket to hold all of its news, including Sony’s inclusion of its MPEG-H codec in its 360 Reality immersive-music service, announced at CES, and MPEG-H’s integration into the Android 9 OS, allowing variable bit rates from 16Kbps to 500Kbps and built-in loudness normalization. But the bigger news was an ongoing effort to include MPEG-H editing and authoring tools in the Fairlight audio subsystem of Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 16 Studio platform. MPEG-H mixing and panning, as well as basic metadata authoring, is already supported, allowing creation of immersive MPEG-H programming using the MPEG-H control track format.
iRacing, a premier motorsports racing simulation company for eSports, is using Limelight Networks’ content delivery network (CDN) to accelerate large software updates delivered worldwide. Members of iRacing, which organises, hosts and officiates races on virtual tracks all around the world, update their software for the latest track and car information at the start of each 12 week racing season. Software updates range from 4GB to 5GB for existing players and up to 30GB for new members, however customers had complained of inconsistent download performance. To solve this issue, iRacing implemented Limelight’s CDN to improve performance and ensure all quarterly updates run smoothly. In addition, Limelight’s peering relationships with major global ISPs ensure that regardless of where players are located or how they connect to the internet, they have the fastest download possible.