NAB 2019 Reflections: AJA's Bryce Button Sees HDR, IP Transition Topping Trends List
AJA Video Systems is one of those NAB exhibitors that always offers up some interesting new products (some as simple as a converter card) that can make a big difference in a production. The company also finds itself at the center of a wide range of users, meaning its executives have a chance to glean some of the wider market trends.
AJA’s Bryce Button, AJA Director of Product Marketing, says HDR was a top theme at NAB this year and that the HDR-related announcements were received really well across the board from customers.
“At this point in time we are one of the leading companies that takes a holistic view of HDR,” says Button. “In the past, the conversations were around confusion over how to approach HDR throughout a pipeline, but that has settled down, and products like our FS-HDR are a big success in bridging transition points. And we have HDR Image Analyzer, which we rolled out at IBC, that is becoming a go-to device for guiding HDR production throughout the chain with realistic analysis and guided monitoring for the new dynamics involved in a wider dynamic range and expanded color space world.”
Also well received was the Ki Pro GO, a genlock-free, multi-channel H.264 HD and SD recorder/player. It can record up to four channels of HD and SD content from SDI and HDMI sources.
“It has found a sweet spot for recording and that is a testament to the rise of OTT services and strong interest from the proAV markets for live events and integrators serving that market as well as broadcasters.”
For many exhibitors the move to IP was a big theme and Button says that this was the first NAB where he felt there was solid weight behind the transition to IP.
“We were showing the IPT-10G2-SDI and HDMI SMPTE ST-2110 transmitters at NAB, mini-converters which are baseband-to-IP converters that allows the user to take a current SDI or HDMI source infrastructure and integrate it with IP,” says Button.
AJA’s efforts with 12G-SDI development were also on display as it offered up Corvid 44 12G, an I/O card that supports 12G-SDI connectivity.
“We started on that path a few years ago and accelerated in the past 18 months,” he says. “For point-to-point needs, especially in sports where 4K is being looked at more seriously as a means of capture, it simplifies the production process.”
AJA also introduced cross-platform support for Apple ProRes for AJA Control Room, answering a bunch of headaches for professionals. Button also saw excitement around integration of Unreal Engine and virtual sets, while AJA expanded support for Unreal Engine across its video I/O products including the KONA 5.
Button believes that a world where IP and SDI co-exist will be around for some time so the single-cable simplicity of 12G-SDI will continue to be very important, even if down the road it simply feeds a source delivered via 12G-SDI into an IP switcher environment.
“The cost of IP at higher bandwidths has been a headache and it is still an expensive exercise in part of the practical equation,” he says. “And there is also a natural need for engineers from the IP and Baseband far ends to combine their deep set of knowledge skills to bring the best together for Video over IP with the least latency and sacrifice of image integrity.”
Button says that getting the IP and baseband worlds to meet with these considerations in mind along with developments like NMOS, and auto-discovery of IP-connected devices will make a difference.
“Another interesting trend at NAB I kept an eye on is machine learning and AI,” he says. “It will be interesting to see how quickly AI implementations become pragmatic and start to gain more attention.”