IBC 2017

SportTechBuzz at IBC 2017, Day 3: Sunday’s Latest News From the Show Floor

Midway through the 2017 IBC Show, the SVG Europe and SVG Americas editorial teams are out in full force, covering all the latest news from the show floor. In an effort to make the tidal wave of news and announcements more digestible to readers, SVG is providing a daily “SportTechBuzz at IBC 2017” roundup. This daily rundown provides snippets of big announcements and what is on display at hundreds of stands at the RAI this year. Here is the Day 3 (17 September) SportTechBuzz roundup, featuring news from Sony, Videlio, Verizon Digital Media Services, Wowza, TVU Networks, Convergent Design, Canare, Riedel, Aperi, Blackmagic Design, Avid, EVS, the Telos Alliance Group, NeuLion, Vizrt, Media Links, and Snell Advanced Media (SAM). 

Proxies make multicam remote a live reality

Sony’s (Hall 13) new Low Bandwidth Remote Production tool, developed with Suitcase TV, uses proxies to enable remote multicam production using low-bandwidth connections.
Bandwidth is a key element in determining the number of cameras that can be used on a remote production. Delivering lower-quality proxy streams makes it possible to work with five cameras, using just 1 GB of bandwidth and with minimal latency, says Nicolas Moreau, Sony product marketing manager.
“Typically, this application enables remote production for sports,” he explains. “It makes it affordable to do live coverage for second-league or less popular sports.”

IP and 4K courses launch with Videlio

Videlio (Stand 10.A16) is developing two training academies, one for 4K and one for IP, to help bring engineers, broadcasters, and media professionals up to speed on the realities and practicalities of these technologies.
On the IP side, Operations Director Malcolm Robinson says that there will be a one-day course covering technology and the business benefits and implications of IP. The three-day course will be more technically based. “For the 3-day course,” he explains, “we are looking at the level of technical knowledge needed for us to fully engage with them.”  Plans are in place to grow this course into a formal eight- to 10-day Cisco IP training accreditation.

Verizon expands Latin America OTT strategy

Verizon Digital Media Services (Stand 7.C11) is showing off its Smartplay one-to-one session-management system and Volicon Media Intelligence service, which records and stores broadcast content across multiple interfaces and now features the proprietary Slicer application, which enables delivery, monitoring, and clipping of live OTT content.
SVG got the chance to speak with Verizon Digital Media Services regarding its burgeoning OTT strategy in Latin America, where, according to the company, 65% of adults now have connectivity to the Internet and where streaming services are seeing tremendous growth.
The Mexican movie-theater company Cinépolis offers a streaming service called Cinépolis KLIC, a VOD subscription for at-home streaming. Recently, the company began exploring the sports business, striking a deal with the popular Liga MX soccer club Chivas of Guadalajara. Verizon Digital Media Services turned around a high-end pay-per-view streaming service for the company in less than two weeks.
“What we are seeing in the region,” says Jossi Fresco, regional director, Latin America, Verizon Digital Media Services, “is that sports — soccer, in particular — are so popular that many of the clubs and customers that, before, found [it beyond their means to engage] with their customers to provide live good-quality streaming experiences now can deliver that because our platform is end-to-end.”

Wowza breaks into hardware with Clearcaster

Wowza Media Systems (Stand 14.C08) is making company history at IBC 2017 with the debut of its first piece of hardware. The Clearcaster appliance is a purpose-built 1RU encoder for quick and easy direct publishing to Facebook Live in 1080p30 and even up to 4K UHD, when it is supported. It’s not designed for entry-level broadcasting (it’s very much for major broadcasters and mid- to high-level productions), but it should certainly help improve the quality of live content that publishers push to the social platform.
“It was a lot of fun,” Wowza VP, Engineering, Barry Owen says of working on a solution with the Facebook team. “We have a really interesting interface where we use an IoT-like model: the device with a service at Wowza.com and all of the messages between Wowza, the box, and Facebook go through this service. So you don’t really ever need direct access to the box. It’s an indirectional way to do it that’s really cool.”
Clearcaster includes features like the ability to see live reactions and to incorporate comments from viewers on-screen for the host to acknowledge. It includes inputs for SDI and HDMI.

TVU tackles multicam and multi-destination TVU Producer

Among the many solutions available at TVU Networks’ stand (2.B28), TVU Producer is making its debut at a major trade show. The solution is a web-based application for producing and streaming live content to social-media platforms. Publishers can push multicamera productions to multiple destinations simultaneously, including Facebook Live, Periscope, YouTube Live, Akamai, UStream, and Livestream.
“This will be a tremendous value for sports especially,” says TVU Networks CEO Paul Shen. “This helps enable [game coverage] that normally would never be produced. The sports industry is moving so far, and this platform enabled a lot of content to be produced cost-effectively.”
TVU Producer also features an AI-based closed-captioning system and offers API integration with the Associated Press ENPS news-production–management system. On the sports side, Pac-12 Networks is already deploying this solution for supplemental programming and for live coverage of some smaller games.

Upgrading Apollo, Convergent Design enhances multicam recording/switching

Sports producers can look to Convergent Design (Stand 12.A34) for upgrades in its offerings for live multicamera-recording and -switching technology. The company’s Apollo portable multichannel monitor/recorder/switcher can capture up to four HD (1080p) streams while recording isos and a live output. It can also do two 4K inputs in up to 60p.

Canare focuses on 4K and 8K with 12G-SDI

Connectivity specialist Canare (Stand 12.G64) has its focus firmly on 4K, 8K, and the future of broadcast, putting its 12G-SDI products in the spotlight here at IBC 2017. Those offerings include coaxial cables that can extend to 100 meters, fiber camera cables, video patchbays, and BNC connectors.
Specifically, the company’s new L-5.5CUHD coaxial cable is capable of transmitting 12G-SDI signals as far as 100 meters, bringing a major improvement over the previous L-5CFB model, which was 100 meters long but could transmit 12G-SDI signals only to around 68 meters.

IP leap for Reidel with MediorNet IP

Riedel’s Mediornet MicroN has taken the leap to IP via MediorNet IP, a new bridge that allows Mediornet to connect to IP networks via the SMPTE 2110 standard. “We’ve been talking about it for so long that to see it finally come together has been pretty cool,” says Riedel’s Joe Commare. The MicroN IP App includes support for up to four SMPTE inputs and outputs plus four baseband 3G-SDI signals and eight 3G-SDI outputs. Four of those are dedicated to monitoring SMPTE 2110-20 streams. In addition, it supports four MediorNet high-speed links, AES67 audio, two optical MADI ports, and sync I/O. And it supports NMOS-device discovery and connection or manual configuration for non-NMOS devices.

Machine and processing virtualization for Aperi

A visit to Aperi’s stand (2.C21) provides a chance to glimpse into a future that is here today: moving toward a virtualized-machine environment where the Aperi live-media-processing–virtualization platform allows content-creation and -transport applications to be dynamically spun up and down as needed via field-programmable gate arrays that offer 10 times the speed of traditional CPU and GPU processors. “IP is a stepping stone to virtualization, and the technology allows the most prestigious sports events to be done with IP and software,” says Aperi CEO Joop Janssen. “The question is how fast will that penetration and acceptance happen.” CCTV recently signed a deal with Aperi to use the platform to deliver more than 1120 bidirectional links of high-bandwidth, low-latency 4K, 3G-HD, and SD media. In 2018, a major 29-stadium project will help the concept take a big step toward wider adoption.
“With this, you pay for the edge equipment only when you need it,” says Janssen. For example, if an organization has sports productions occurring at different locations and different times, there is the possibility to share one equipment license for, say, graphics software and spin it down in one location and then up in another one for the next match.
“Setting up the infrastructure for a new program can take months of planning before it actually goes on-air,” he points out. “With this approach, you can reduce the implementation cycle to a matter of weeks. Operational agility is important, and, when you are competing for eyeballs, you need to offer more-creative content.”


Blackmagic Design announces Ultimatte 12 compositor

Blackmagic Design (Stand 7.H20) has unveiled Ultimatte 12, a hardware compositing processor for real-time broadcast-quality keying, adding augmented-reality elements into shots, working with virtual sets, and more. Ultimatte 12 features entirely new algorithms and colour science, edge handling, greater colour separation, colour fidelity, and better spill suppression than before. The 12G-SDI design gives customers the flexibility to work in HD today and switch to Ultra HD when they are ready. Customers get sub-pixel processing for image quality and textures in both HD and Ultra HD. Priced at US$9,995, Ultimatte 12 is available immediately from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

Media Central evolves with IP graphics and cloud at Avid

Avid Media Central continues to evolve. According to Avid CEO Louis Hernandez, it is currently in use by more than 50,000 users with 600 enterprise-level deployments, and 20,000 members of the Avid Customer Association (ACA) now have the ability to vote on how Avid’s R&D budget is put to use. “They focused on four key areas: IP, UHD 4K, graphics enhancements, and cloud,” says Hernandez. “Fifty percent are considering hybrid SDI and IP and 27% all IP.” In addition, 65% say that 4K is in their future, and more than 70% plan to make use of the cloud (only 5% say they are going all-in on cloud-based operations). Highlighted at the stand are two Media Composer announcements: Media Composer VM enables a user to access a cloud-based version of Media Composer from a tablet or computer, and Media Composer Cloud Remote allows the application to be run from the computer but be able to access content located in the cloud. Says Avid Chief Product Officer Dana Ruzicka, “We believe this is a journey to the cloud and customers will want to run some services on-prem and some in the cloud. But the decision is up to them.” Also new from Avid is the FastServe video-server family. “It completes our end-to-end 4K workflow,” says Ruzicka. Three versions are available — Ingest, Live Edit, and Playout — each optimized for their respective production and distribution areas.

AI focus for EVS Sports production tools

The EVS stand (8.B90) is a must-stop for anyone involved in sports production. According to CEO/Managing Director Muriel De Lathouwer,work in the EVS innovation lab has focused on use of artificial-intelligence developments, and the first results of that work are on display at IBC 2017. “You need to adapt content to the platforms,” she points out. “Thanks to AI, we can adapt the content with framing and zooming for snackable content on small screens. That will be the first use of AI in our products.” EVS has also rolled out the S-CORE Master, a new system designed to give engineers a way to manage latency-sensitive live media and communicate with the entire IP infrastructures at once. And, when IP leads to further deployment of virtualized services, implementing S-CORE Master enables users to deliver live flows wherever needed within a network. Completely interoperable with third-party systems, S-CORE Master will initially be made available to operators on a standard EVS backend-app server and allows users to control the system via a browser-based application. The look and feel of its network overview is designed to be familiar to broadcast engineers rather than requiring them to have a complete expertise in IP-network management.

Intercoms go IP with Telos

The Telos Alliance Group took the wraps off an IP-based intercom that takes advantage of AES67 to provide optimum interoperability and does not use a matrix, making it infinitely scalable. The system includes the Telos Infinity BP-2 wired dual-channel partyline beltpack, an intercom master panel, desktop station, and dashboard software that can display the entire system as a single page view without tabs or embedded menus. The goal is to make it easy for the operator to create unlimited groups, partylines, and IFBs via drag-and-drop functions.

AI comes into play at Globecast for VOD content creation

Globecast (Stand 1.A29) is discussing its liveSpotter live-VOD packaged-content service, which also has an AI function to automatically detect highlights like goals and publish them to VOD.
“We are launching it here at IBC, and it will be available from the end of the year,” says Liz McParland, commercial director for contribution. “We have been using it in an initial stage on some live football, and we have this intelligent-detection API so we can detect when there has been a goal, edit, clip it, and publish down to social media.”

Cloud-enabled virtual commentary tool from Neulion

Implemented in August for the English Football League, Neulion’s (Stand 14 F34) Virtual Announcer cloud-based commentary tool is being launched at IBC 2017. It can be used to add alternative language or alternative content commentaries synced with live video.
“In the cloud,” explains Executive VP Chris Wagner, “we can set up broadcast commentary teams anywhere, overlay that audio, and stream it out to the fans.”

Field-side ad boards virtualised, regionalised with Vizrt Eclipse

With the new Eclipse, Vizrt (Stand 7.A20) has virtualised field-side advertising boards, enabling different ads to be broadcast in different regions.
“This is the first image-based virtual-ad–replacement system on the market,” says Dr. Remo Ziegler, VP, product management, sports. “It opens up completely new revenue streams for image-rights holders, and the first has already been installed at VfL Wolfsburg.”

Media Links intros compact Media Gateway

Media Links’ (Stand 1.C31) new compact IP Media Gateway, the MDP 3020, is at IBC 2017. The standalone edge encoder/decoder is a small-footprint gateway for simultaneous video, audio, and data services.
“It was built out of the need by customers for a small or portable unit for production-type work,” says Media Links Managing Director John Smith. “We have designed the unit around the  same resilience platform and compatibility but in a more convenient format.”

SAM reveals strategic collaboration with Cisco

Snell Advanced Media (SAM) has announced its collaboration with Cisco to integrate Cisco’s IP Fabric for Media solution into SAM’s existing IP networking solutions. SAM (Stand 9A01) will design-in Cisco solutions with professional services as part of its IP solutions and resell the Cisco solutions, including Cisco Nexus 9000 series switches and Data Centre Network Manager (DCNM) software-defined networking solution, as part of its IP market strategy covering studio, playout, OB trucks/flypacks, and remote production. SAM recently completed IP projects with UEFA as well as deployments with BCE, Timeline Television, and Vista Studios.

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