SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2022: Monday’s Latest From Vegas
The NAB Show is in full swing, and the SVG and SVG Europe editorial teams are chasing down the hottest stories from all over the Las Vegas Convention Center and beyond. To make the flood of announcements easily digestible for our readers, SVG is sending you a daily roundup in SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2022, with all the top stories gathered in one easy-to-read blog.
Today’s edition features AJA Video Systems, Aldea, Audio-Technica, Bird Dog, Chyron, Cobalt Digital, EditShare, G&D North America, Grass Valley, Leader Instruments, Markertek, Maxon, Pliant Technologies, Puget Systems, Riedel, SimplyLive, Solid State Logic, Tedial, and VITEC.
It has been a busy three years for Maxon (Booth N5920), which has made several acquisitions since the last time NAB was held in person, in 2019. At the show, Maxon is showcasing how it has integrated the Redshift rendering solution, Red Giant editing/design/filmmaking tools, Forger mobile sculpting platform, and ZBrush digital sculpting/painting solution into its overall ecosystem. According to CMO/COO, U.S. Operations, Paul Babb, the potential of these acquisitions is realized in the new features and capabilities in the Maxon One subscription service on exhibit. In addition, Maxon is presenting its long-running 3D and Motion Design Show live at its booth.
EditShare (Booth N3008) has unveiled its new FLEX cloud solutions, a suite of MAM and storage-software solutions designed to let businesses take full advantage of cloud services and workflows. Several tools sit under the FLEX umbrella: FLEX Cloud (MAM, high-performance software-defined storage, and virtual workstations in the AWS cloud), FLEX Cloud Edit+ (adding accelerated file-transfer capabilities), and FLEX Cloud Sync (synchronizes content between local storage and the cloud). According to CTO Stephen Tallamy, these are just the first features available, and EditShare will continue to add to the FLEX platform. The company’s other key announcements at NAB 2022 include the next release of its core FLOW software, the new EFS 60NL nearline storage device, and the new EFS Multi-Site platform to serve users with multiple locations.
G&D North America (Booth N7010) is providing KVM solutions that extend further than the brick-and-mortar control room and allow content creators to work in the cloud. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company exhibited solutions like RemoteAccess-CPU and RemoteAccess-GATE, but, at NAB 2022, two new products are giving clients even more flexibility: Multiviewer PersonalWorkplace-Controller can accommodate 26 video sources on a single monitor, and ControlCenter-IP-XS, an addition to the KVM-over-IP family, permits up to 20 end devices. Director, Sales, Mid-America, Andy Coole notes that the equipment’s size — about half of a rack in a control room — allows it to fit smaller spaces and applications. On the sports front, G&D North America has provided services in two venues: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and the brand-new Moody Center on the campus of the University of Texas.
Celebrating 25 years in the industry, Cobalt Digital (Booth N3713) is spotlighting notable enhancements to broadcast audio and video. Its setup in Las Vegas is centered on a trio of products: the new +UDX-Dante-16×16 processor, Indigo 2110-DC-01 SMPTE ST-2110 solution, and the new series of BlueBox Group 12G mini converters. Prioritizing cost-efficiency and simplicity, the +UDX-Dante-16×16 processor enables users of this IP-based audio to ingest and process up to 16 audio channels into any network and to output up to 16 channels back into the network. The Indigo 2110-DC-01 will integrate native IP within the company’s 9904-UDX-4K and 9905-MPx audio/video-processor cards. Making its NAB Show debut, the 12G mini converter supports SMPTE ST 2082, ST 2081, 424M, 292M, and 259M as well as ASI and MADI audio. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to SVP, Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Suzana Brady, the company’s anticipation of supply-chain issues and its ability to adapt quickly has mitigated shipping delays.
Virtualized production is the theme for Puget Systems (Booth N6616) at NAB 2022. Working with a number of clubs and franchises in the NFL, NBA, and MLB, the company is helping game-day personnel and creatives accomplish their jobs away from the stadium or arena. Having seen an increase since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Senior Hardware Analyst Matt Bach and Marketing Manager Eric Brown are exhibiting solutions in partnership with various vendors, including Epic Games’ Unreal Engine. In addition, Puget Systems is supplying motion graphics and postproduction video editing for clients. In the venue space, these services are being used for real-time graphics seen in on-ice projections in the NHL.
NAB 2022 is a special occasion for VITEC (Booth N4420). On Monday, April 25, the company will be awarded an Engineering & Technical Emmy for its management of IP multicast video distribution in production facilities. On the exhibit floor, the headliner is the new MGW Diamond+ OG, a 4K/multichannel HD, HEVC, H.264, and MPEG-2 encoder with SDI and SMPTE 2110 input in an openGear card format. Building off the first version of this equipment, according to VP, Marketing, Bryan Reksten, enabled the team to improve the hardware in a short time and have it available for the industry. Also spotlighted are ChannelLink for delivery of content over IP from any location and awareness of the company’s GreenPEG Initiative to combat climate change. In addition, the IPTV provider is showcasing products from its acquisition of Exterity, which was finalized in April 2021. One of the products is the new PRISM Transcoder for high-performance and real-time IP video transcoding.
Chyron (Booth N2613) has revealed that its recent investment in R&D is bearing fruit at NAB 2022. “In the last year and a half, we have doubled the number of R&D engineers worldwide and added new capabilities, with cloud engineers and built out our AI capabilities and our UI teams with significant investment,” says CFO Mike Truex, adding that Chyron is 95% of the way toward its goal of building a 150-strong team of engineers. Adds SVP, Strategy, Mathieu Yerle, “We are building new products and new releases of existing products at a pace we have not had in recent times, if at all. Chyron LIVE and PRIME Edge, that we released recently, are the result of the last year’s work.” The Chyron LIVE Platform and PRIME Edge offerings are being showcased at the show.
Leader Instruments (Booth C6118) is showcasing the LV5600 waveform monitor and LV7600 rasterizer, which allow simultaneous monitoring of SDI, IP, and NMOS IP sources in multiscreen mode, whether displayed via the integral monitor on the LV5600 or the rasterizer output from the LV7600. Commented Sales Engineering Manager Kevin Salvidge, “Our whole strategy here is that, with our products, we’ve gone through a number of transitions with our partners. This is another one with our waveform monitors that support both IP and SDI. Train the staff once, use what you want to today, and, as you grow your facility or your operations evolve, the product moves with you, and you don’t have to throw it away. That’s what we’re here [to do]: to help these people make that migration to IP but at the pace they want to make the migration.”
On April 17, Audio-Technica (Booth C5826) marked 60 years since its founder, Hideo Matsushita, established the business, starting with his AT-1 phonograph cartridge, in his small apartment in the Shinjuku section of Tokyo. At NAB 2022, Product Manager Gary Dixon offered SVG a look at its new 8.0 immersive microphone. Still a few months from official launch (but with some Moto GP and other broadcast-sports experience behind it), the 8.0 Concept microphone, still known by its working title, features eight elements derived from A-T’s ATM350 cardioid condenser mic. Custom weather cover and Rycote wind cover suit it to outdoor applications. Development challenges included form factor, multichannel connectivity solution, and weatherproofing, according to Dixon. “We had a lot of good feedback from sports networks in the process,” he says, opining that it’s a vanguard product for the coming 5.1.4 immersive era of broadcast sports.
Pliant Technologies (Booth C7118) is showcasing the new CrewCom CB2 professional wireless intercom system, a full-duplex and feature-packed solution for small to mid-level applications, including academic-level sports broadcasting. Available in both 900-MHz and 2.4-GHz frequency options, the CrewCom CB2 base station can accommodate up to six CRP-12 two-channel radio packs to create a powerful but economical wireless intercom system, each with two intercom channels, as well as interconnectivity to all industry-standard two-wire and four-wire intercom systems. “It’s designed to be easy to use and affordable for a wide range of users,” says VP, Global Sales, Gary Rosen. Also on exhibit is the v1.10 software update for the CrewCom professional wireless intercom. It features the new selectable High Density mode, which allows user densities to increase more than five-fold. When implemented, this new software-selectable mode supports up to 32 Radio Packs (RPs) on a single Radio Transceiver (RT) while allowing any of the RPs to communicate using four available full-duplex talk paths. Together, CB2 and the CrewCom update reflect the industry’s need for more-efficient RF-spectrum management. “It’s still a battle for spectrum out there,” notes Rosen, adding that both ESPN and the NFL Network have deployed the CrewCom system for the upcoming NFL Draft, taking place in Las Vegas later this week.
Solid State Logic (Booth C8008) is exhibiting its System T broadcast console, launching its v3.2 software, which is intended to further integrate the desk with REMI-type workflows, including operational control of the console over lower-bandwidth VPN connections. Also included is advanced Dante AoIP implementation, featuring full routing control directly from the console with AES67 and ST 2110 integration. It further includes a pair of updated TE1 and TE2 Tempest processing engines, part of a new DSP package that are more efficient and — significantly, according to SSL VP, Technical Operations, Thomas Jensen — scalable, allowing the console to address productions from stereo through fully immersive as needed.
Tedial (Booth C1731) is introducing its smartWork Media Integration Platform, featuring an easy-to-use toolset that distills complex workflows into simplified processes. It allows users to define integrations autonomously — without vendor participation — and create workflows in a flexible and agile manner. Aligned with Movielabs’ 2030 Vision for Media Creation, the platform removes time-consuming and complex configurations via a common user interface, provides easy access to all applications and external systems (including any legacy MAM), and features self-validation. According to Tedial CTO Julian Fernandez Campon, the goal of smartWork is to allow users to concentrate on creativity and make the data-driven decisions necessary to quickly adapt to market or supply changes.
Grass Valley (Booth C2107) Chief Executive Andrew Cross has laid out his vision for the company’s AMPP (Agile Media Processing Platform), which he described as “the SDI jack of the future.” Speaking during Grass Valley’s press conference on Sunday, he said of the cloud-based SaaS platform, “Compute is everywhere, and there needs to be infrastructure that drives that compute. And that is what we are creating with AMPP.” However, he also underlined Grass Valley’s commitment to hardware: “TV stations still use hardware, and we understand that the future will be both of these and we need to build out a full ecosystem. The best analogy is to think of the iPhone: what Apple [does] that is amazing is combine software and hardware because both contribute value. If you want to understand what our strategy is, we are going to be the Apple of the broadcast industry.”
Bird Dog (Booth C5021) is offering a world’s first: the OG4, an NDI openGear card. Co-founder/CMO Eamon Drew opines that, with 40,000 openGear chassis in the world, it will be pretty popular, especially among sports broadcasters: “We can do four channels of 4K 60-fps encode or four channels of 4K 60-fps decode or four channels of 1080p 60-fps decode. And you can fit 10 of them into a 2RU chassis, meaning 40 channels of 4K in 2RU.” Also on exhibit are Core 5 and Core 7 camera-mounted monitors that also include NDI encoders, allowing streaming of video directly from the monitor. With physical buttons instead of a touchscreen, fingerprints on the screen won’t be an issue.
With fiber playing a bigger role in sports productions, the need for custom metal wall plates, Millbank boxes, and enclosures is increasingly important. Markertek (Booth C6712), which provides a wide variety of custom gear, can put custom breakout boxes wherever they need to go and with nearly every type of SMPTE or optical cable supported. Says Broadcast Sales Engineer Ryan Bradley, “We can do typical SMPTE and optical and also 24-channel MTP, 12-channel MTP, single-mode, multi-mode, and we’ll start doing expanded beam in the next two months. Our difference is, our fiber guys in the lab are top-notch, our turnaround time is good, and we can do rushes as well.”
Cutting a fiber cable is usually cause for concern, but the new expansion panel that Riedel (Booth C6925) is demonstrating for existing Riedel Smart panels eliminates that concern by providing redundancy. The demonstration includes both copper and fiber connections being used simultaneously. Up to 256 different destination keys can be available with the expansion panels. “With 2022-7 redundancy for the key panels,” says Head of Intercom Product Management Karsten Konrad, “the fiber can be cut or disconnected, and it will still run.” Incidentally, all the fiber cables cut in the demo will be used to create a sculpture at the end of the show.
SimplyLive (Booth C3923) continues to transition to contribution and cloud-based models, expanding well beyond its initial foray into instant replay with the ViBox. Says VP, Sales and Operations, Greg Macchia, “Here at NAB, we’re showing an all-in-one control room in the corner of the booth with audio mixing, cutting of cameras, replay, graphics, and now commentary.” A web-based multiviewer allows production personnel anywhere to see the multiviewer via a link and a browser, and the Venue Gateway is designed to take feeds from any site and send them to wherever the client needs. Also on exhibit is the R8, an affordable eight-channel 1080p replay box that Macchia describes as a solid fit for colleges, universities, and high schools: “And the technology is the same as the rest of the product line.”
Aldea (Booth W9700) is showcasing its Live Connect video-distribution network at NAB 2022. Now known as Vivaro Media, the company says Live Connect allows content owners to ingest and distribute sports events to multiple rightsholders over fiber and public internet while maintaining broadcast quality. Live Connect supports SRT, Zixi, and Rist protocols, as well as SDI, IP, and ASI interfaces. Regional Sales Manager Larry Tonon notes a significant uptick recently in the use of SRT for sports distribution: “We have had to tweak the network to make sure we have necessary IP gateways and POPs around the world to facilitate movement of content via SRT.” Aldea operates a fiber-based network, with points of service in North and South America and Europe. Customers include DAZN, Fox Sports, Sky Sports IMG, and ESPN.
Just prior to the opening of the show, AJA Video Systems (Booth W4230MR, W4231MR, W4331MR) announced extension of its line of H.264 streaming and recording devices with the debut of HELO Plus. The portable solution offers flexible streaming and recording along with a larger feature set. The company notes that many of the features were born directly from customer feedback. Among the features are dual streaming outputs and multi-input processing; SRT support; advanced encoding/decoding; improved scheduling options and device operation; and layouts and graphics insertion.