NAB Reflections: PSSI Global Services/Strategic TV’s Matt Bridges, Rob Lamb Discuss Rise of REMI, 4K
Companies focus on upgrades and ‘exploding’ opportunities
PSSI Global Services got off to a busy start in 2017, serving as the exclusive transmission provider for ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. As the first company to manage both satellite and fiber technologies for ESPN, PSSI engineered 24 outbound and six inbound feeds via satellite and also provided encoding and multiplexing services moving 44 paths over fiber while bundling content up to 600 Mbps via three outbound circuits and delivering 20 inbound feeds using 400 Mbps.
Since 1979, PSSI Global Services, along with Strategic Television, has specialized in coordination, production, and distribution of domestic and international live programming and is a leading provider of mobile satellite, production, and IP streaming services. At NAB 2017, SVG caught up with Strategic TV President Matt Bridges and PSSI Global Services/Strategic TV CEO Rob Lamb to discuss PSSI’s presence at the show, the company’s perspective on industry trends like REMI production and 4K, and more.
Why is it important to have a presence at the NAB Show?
Matt Bridges: Strategic and [PSSI have] been around since 1979, so we’re obviously doing something right. We’re extremely excited about the new opportunities that we’re offering now going into the rest of 2017 and into 2018, the opportunities that are exploding around us. We have a lot to offer here, so, hopefully, people will come by and chat us up.
Rob Lamb: Being a solutions provider, whether it’s satellite and managing events, whether it’s fiber and trying to provide everything for our customers, it’s kind of exploding [now]. But we have some particular big deals that we’ll be talking about very soon. Growing our company further, in the past year, we’ve added Satcom Scientific out of Orlando, [and we’re] building up our own fleet: getting them better and better, making them newer and newer, and 4K-capable.
MB: We’re upgrading at every turn, and we put out three or four new trucks — rebuilt trucks through our Satcom facility — that will be on the road in the next 30-60 days. [And] we’re expanding beyond the U.S. We originated a dozen or so broadcasts outside the United States, which has been expanding every year. So we’re very excited about that.
RL: We’re very excited. We have a great team, great staff, and, we think, the best field engineers there are in satellite communications. We’re excited about our relationships that are just growing with our vendors and our customers.
You mentioned upgrading your fleet. Are there specific types of upgrades that you’re making or that customers are asking for?
RL: In some cases, we are upgrading [to support] the REMI/at-home productions, [which] means we have to add a lot of encoding capability. We’re converting some Ku-band to C-band; in some cases, adding a second dish or dual dish and just more production capability.
It’s a pleasure for us to [work with] Golf Channel, NASCAR, WWE, Ultimate Fighting, and all those big packages. We’re really pleased with our reputation … [and we look forward to] providing an end-to-end solution for our customers, whether it’s fiber, satellite, IP, SD, HD, whatever it takes. And 4K, which we can also do.
REMI has been a huge buzzword at the NAB Show for the past few years. How are you seeing the rise of at-home production, and how are you positioned to handle it?
RL: We have more satellite trucks than anybody, so we’re doing more of them than anybody in general. And we’ve got them around the country, so we can do seven- or 10-channel REMIs anywhere in the country. And we think we have the strongest engineering team to pull it off.
How about 4K? Are you receiving many requests to accommodate 4K?
RL: More and more. We work with Fox, we just did NASCAR, and we’ve interfaced with [DirecTV SVP of Content Operations] John Ward [on some of their content]. It’s been great. Hopefully, it’ll keep going, so we’re excited, but we’ll have to be at the end of that a little bit to support our customers.
What are your goals for NAB 2017?
RL: One of them is HDR, to find out more about it, find out how are we going to stay ahead of the curve. I don’t think the answers are there yet, so we’re waiting.
MB: It’s constantly trying to position ourselves [as a leader in the industry]. It’s good to come to a show like this and talk with the community at large and understand how to position ourselves, and we’ll continue to do that.