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IBC2017 indicates IP shaping the future of broadcasting.

IBC marked its 50th anniversary with a record attendance of more than 57,000 visitors walking the halls of the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands from September 14-19 this year.

One key announcement at this year's show was the approval of the first standards within the ST 2110 specifications from Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). Designed to deliver media over managed IP networks, the new standards suite specifies the carriage, synchronisation and description of separate elementary essence streams over IP networks in real time for the purpose of live production, playout and other media applications.

Calling the approval a "big milestone" for the broadcast industry, Howard Lukk, director of engineering and standards for SMPTE, stressed that the approved standards will give broadcasters the confidence that equipment will interoperate from one manufacturer to another while providing reliability for broadcast applications.

He further revealed, in recent times, SMPTE has fast-tracked its development of software standards. "The speed of software and software development is faster compared to hardware," Lukk explained. "Today, users are able to develop software within a week, and have it out as a product."

He added: "It also means that we have to look at our standards process, and explore possibilities to keep pace with the industry, which is now moving faster than ever."

Acknowledging Lukk's point on the speed of evolution sweeping the broadcast industry, Joe Khodeir, vice-president sales, Asia-Pacific, Imagine Communications, urged traditional media players to be "more reactive" in adapting to changes in the media landscape.

He explained: "The future of TV will become even more targeted and fragmented--with data and analytics playing a critical part in reaching and retaining audiences. Hence, the agility to launch new channels quickly and react to what the market wants will be key."

At IBC2017, Imagine Communications unveiled additional enhancements to its Open Zenium programme, which allows media companies to design and deploy "next-generation" workflows and services while gaining access to a software community backed by teams of developers, architects and DevOps (a software engineering practice) engineers.

The company also demonstrated its Selenio Network Processor (SNP). The SNP platform offers IP-to-IP processing capabilities, managing uncompressed 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) signals based on the SMPTE ST 2110 specification. Along with IP-enabled video processing, the SNP offers advanced audio processing, timing, synchronisation and conversion capabilities, such as HD to 4K/UHD upconversion, and 4K/UHD to HD downconversion.

Another company who showcased IP interoperability at its booth was Axon Digital Design. While IP is now a reality, Jean-Pierre Nouws, senior product manager at Axon, pointed out that there are still some challenges to overcome, including switching and network management, as well as IP control and monitoring.

To help broadcasters migrate their legacy SDI equipment to IP, Axon presented the Synapse NIO440 module, an eight-channel, bidirectional Ethernet/SDI bridge. SDI sources will able to be converted to IP through the NIO440, from 3G/HD-SDI to uncompressed Ethernet video transport with decentralised routing, or via Embrionix's small form-factor pluggable (SFP) SDI to IP gateways.

Also part of this hybrid IP environment is Axon's SynView modular multiviewer, which is capable of managing 4K/UHD and IP video formats. Available in two versions--SDI I/O and Ethernet I/O--these versions can be combined to build a hybrid multiviewer.

How do we allow our customers to do things faster and more efficiently? This is one of the key questions that Ross Video continues to answer as the company presented its now familiar Smart Production theme.

Making its IBC debut is the Graphite production solution, which combines the capabilities of Ross Video's Carbonite production switcher, XPression 3D motion graphics, two channels of clip servers and the RAVE audio engine --all within a single 4RU chassis.

And while Ross Video is also keen to highlight its IP and interoperability initiatives this year, Andrew Tan, director of sales, Ross Video, stressed: "We want to help our customers understand what are the benefits of going to IP for them, so they can make a proper transition."

In an increasingly IP world, consumers will demand new, diverse types of content, and will expect opportunities to interact with their content. Instead of dying, live TV is beginning to shift to connected devices and globally, IP-based video services will be the next big revenue pool for content makers. And for video services to have a successful future, artificial intelligence (AI) will have a key role to play.

These key findings were revealed in a recent white paper released by Parks Associates and sponsored by Ooyala. The only definite is the digital world we live in, said Belsasar Lee, founder and SVP of products and solutions, Ooyala. Otherwise, content consumption patterns continue to evolve; currently, long-form content is dominating time spent across devices, even as more premium content is being streamed, he added.

In five years' time, everything might be in IP. The question is, how do we get there?, asked Tom Flaherty, director, field marketing, Arista Networks.

Working with partners such as Lawo, Snell Advanced Media (SAM), Imagine Communications, Riedel, Grass Valley and EVS, among others, Arista Networks demonstrated an interoperable IP workflow process enabled by the Arista Extensible Operating System (EOS) and Arista Universal Cloud Network.

Founded in 2004 to pioneer and deliver software-driven cloud networking solutions for large data centre storage and computing environments, Arista Networks has in recent years, Flaherty revealed, adapted its APIs to work with broadcasters, and to provide the ability to run existing protocols over existing networks.

A congratulatory mood surrounded the Lawo booth, as the company celebrated its [mc.sup.2]96 Grand Production Console winning the IABM Design and Innovation Awards in the 'Audio' category.

"At last, a console that takes account of the fact that audio mixing for TV requires the ability to see, as well as hear an incoming source before taking the audio to air," said the jury of the awards.

Designed to provide "optimal performance" in video production environments through native support for all relevant IP standards--SMPTE ST 2110, AES67, Ravenna and Dante--the [mc.sup.2]96 console is available in frame sizes with 24-200 faders.

Other highlights from Lawo include the vsmSOUL orchestration and unification layer, which adds an overarching orchestration service for IP-based production environments to the VSM control system.

For TSL Products, the company has updated a number of its control, audio monitoring and power management solutions to support media operations during this IP transition. For instance, TSL Products' MPA1 Dante audio monitoring series is now equipped with support of AES67, which is the IP audio transport layer for SMPTE ST 2110.

Additionally, its PAM-IP audio monitoring devices, which feature twin Ethernet ports, can also be deployed either in Dante or AES67 modes.

Commenting on the development of IP in the media industry, Mark Davis, director of products and technology, TSL Products, said: "We're seeing more media operators testing proofs-of-concept; however, the fear of shortage of skills to bridge between the migration is one reason why the implementation of IP solution is progressing at a slower pace."

Cobalt Digital presented its 9934-AUD-PRO 3G/HD/SD-SDI audio processor. The hardware features Dolby Real-Time Loudness Leveling (RTLL) automatic loudness processing, Dolby E/D/D+ encoding and decoding, and Linear Acoustic UPMAX automatic upmixing.

The company also exhibited the 9902-UDX-DSP-CI Channel Integrator, a 3G/HD/SD-SDI/CVBS up/down/cross-converter. Channel Integrator provides the signal conversion and processing tool set required to conform analogue and digital A/V inputs, alongside their metadata, to meet content- and channel-delivery requirements.

For video, enhanced video processing abilities include up/down/cross-conversion with noise reduction and detail enhancement. And for audio, features such as analogue and AES audio embedding and de-embedding, with multiple mixers and per-channel delay, are incorporated in the Channel Integrator.

In any IP-based facility, KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) solutions will provide the flexibility to enhance workflow efficiencies and distribution of signals, said John Halksworth, senior product manager for Adder Technology.

He continued: "Even if broadcasters are not using IP now, they will be in five years' time, simply because IP is a perfect carrier. Asia is not different compared to the European or North American markets, as broadcasters should take advantage of what IP may bring."

Adder Technology showcased the Adder-Link XDIP matrix solution that runs on IP technology over a CATx network cable, enabling users to extend and manage their workstations. XDIP nodes can be configured as an extender, distributed KVM switch, KVM sharer, or any combination up to eight computers and eight users.

Another KVM solutions provider, Guntermann & Drunck (G&D), highlighted the DP1.2-Vision extender, which is compatible with G&D's digital matrix switches, allowing extension, switching and distributing of 4K/UHD video signals through the matrix systems.

The KVM extender system is equipped with G&D's HDIP compress technology, which is in the latest development stage--Level 3. This compression mode, according to G&D, allows the loss-less transmission of video signals with a resolution of 4K/UHD at 60Hz, thus requiring less bandwidth to transmit signals.

Alongside DP1.2-Vision, G&D exhibited another KVM extender --DP1.2-VisionXG--that is able to transmit 8K resolutions at 60Hz. Available in variants with up to four video channels, the DP1.2-VisionXG uses optical fibres for dedicated transmission of signals, thus providing sufficient bandwidth for high-resolution DisplayPort 1.2 video signals, keyboard/mouse, RS232, USB2.0 and audio.

Over at the sonoVTS booth, the Munich-based systems integrator (SI) shared some insights about the company's recent outside broadcast (OB) truck project for Swiss broadcast service provider tpc. Dubbed UHD1, the IP OB truck is designed to support uncompressed HD and 4K/UHD signals over IP based on the SMPTE ST 2110 standard.

Tobias Kronenwett, head of business development for sonoVTS, commented: "Almost everything is different in an IP world. Although the general workspaces within the truck are somewhat similar, the infrastructure required for an IP-based workflow is radically different.

"It's challenging to plan such a truck because the planning necessarily runs ahead of the technology, but the technology is changing, too, and sometimes goes in a different direction, which may require the planning to be revised, or completely changed."

Additionally, the SI also introduced a remote control app for its HDQLINE of broadcast displays. The control app is a graphics-orientated tool that controls all parameters on individual displays, as well as pre-defined groups of monitors in a larger system or OB van. Using the app, display walls can be created by dragging and dropping application icons into a layout to provide an overview of the settings of each monitor.

Another SI at the show is Megahertz, who has been tasked to deliver more than 25 newsgathering OB vehicles to a European broadcaster. Designed to combine VSAT (very small aperture terminal) satellite-based IP connections that can be switched between Ku- and Ka-band, the OB truck is fitted with bonded cellular connectivity via a 3G/4G cellular roof-mounted IP connection, creating its own Wi-Fi network and the option to be powered while the vehicle is in motion.

Robert Stopford, sales director for Megahertz, said: "IP is taking off, but a widespread roll-out is hindered by questions over standards and latency issues. Nonetheless, we're seeing more IP solutions being implemented in the news environment for remote production, especially in the UK."

Also enhancing satellite newsgathering (SNG) connectivity through IP is Newtec, a manufacturer of equipment for satellite communications. Its Newtec Dialog solution allows operators and service providers to leverage the advantages brought forth by IP, and offers a variety of services in a single platform. The platform, which combines the Mx-DMA return technology, allows satellite links to "dynamically scale" to higher bandwidths when terrestrial bandwidth becomes congested.

Another highlight at the Newtec booth is the MCX7000 multi-carrier satellite gateway, which supports DVB-S2X and Channel Bonding. Kerstin Roost, director, strategic marketing and public relations, Newtec, said: "Consumer expectations are increased by the widespread availability of 4K/UHD TV sets. And as more programmes are now available in 4K/UHD, the higher bitrates required to deliver this service mean increased efficiency gains will be crucial."

Channel Bonding is one such method of optimisation, Roost pointed out. Using the DVB-S2X transmission standard to split a transport stream into two or three parts over the satellite and recomposing it on the receive side allow multiple carriers to be combined into one, to manage the rigours of 4K/UHD transmission.

For Caton Technology, the company provided a taste of Asia by screening live TV feeds from Singapore, Beijing and Taiwan through the Caton engine. "We have been developing IP-based transmission technologies for the past six years," said Eric Hamilton, COO, Caton Technology. "IP-based distribution is becoming more and more common as more broadcasters see the need to consider IP."

Caton Technology's solutions to power open Internet broadcasting include the IVP-300 integrated video processor, a broadcast and transmission platform; and the R2TP, a distribution server designed for Internet video transmission.

Lynx Technik highlighted its 12G-SDI portfolio that is optimised for 4K/UHD broadcast applications and video processing.

Highlighting the company's offerings is the greenMachine Titan, which accepts either 4x 3G-SDI (quad-link) or 12-SDI (single-link) inputs. Users can also use green-Machine apps to convert between single-link and quad-link 12G-SDI signals. For Lynx Technik's highly recognisable yellobrik series, the new DVD 1417 universal 12G-SDI reclocking distribution amplifier is suitable for SDI video up to 12G for carrying 4K/UHD video on a single cable.

For those preferring IP over SDI, Lynx Technik also demonstrated how its green-Machine platform can support an IP-based infrastructure over the SMPTE ST 2022-6/7 and SMPTE ST 2110 standards.

Moving in parallel with where the media industry is going is AJA Video Systems, who has released a new v2.0 firmware for the Ki Pro Ultra Plus multi-channel HD recorder and 4K/UHD/2K/HD recorder and player. The new update adds support for the latest high dynamic range (HDR) formats with hybrid log-gamma (HLG) and HDR10 playback, alongside enhanced capabilities, such as recording and playing ProRes 4444 XQ up to 2K60p.

AJA Video Systems also exhibited FS-HDR, a 1RU converter/frame synchroniser, which is designed to meet the HDR and wide colour gamut (WCG) needs of broadcast, over-the-top (OTT), post and live event A/V environments. Developed in partnership with Colorfront, the FS-HDR's HDR/WCG functionality is powered by Colorfront Engine video processing algorithms.

AJA Video Systems also announced HDR10+ SDK support for its KONA 4, Io 4K, Io 4K Plus, and Corvid 4K developer cards. HDR10+, enhanced from HDR10, delivers dynamic metadata and more, allowing for scene-by-scene or even shot-by-shot variation.

ARRI is one company who has been integrating HDR support across all its cameras since 2010. The company has released an Amira SUP 5.0 software update that further enhances the Multicam mode.

Available across all Amira models, the Multicam mode provides the image quality of ARRI's Alev III sensor--also used by Alexa--to power productions within the multi-camera broadcast sphere. Through a Multicam set-up, the Amira's dynamic range and colourimetry are capable of capturing a cinematic look for live broadcasts, music concerts, TV series and other multi-camera productions.

This year, ARRI is marking a significant milestone as the company celebrates its centennial birthday with numerous celebrations taking place across the globe, from Germany to Amsterdam.

Augustine Cheung, senior sales manager, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, ARRI Asia, said: "With 100 years of experience, ARRI is a leading manufacturer specialising in professional motion picture equipment. We have endeavoured to bring unsurpassed image quality for the entertainment industry for all segments. This spirit, I am confident, would bring ourselves forward in another 100 years."

Another company who demonstrated its HDR-equipped camera is Datavideo, a Taipei-based manufacturer of equipment for the broadcast, A/V and live production environments. Datavideo's Night Hawk series of cameras are equipped with a 4/3-inch CMOS sensor, and HDR with sensitivity settings that are designed to capture shadows and highlights in detail.

Available in two versions--NH-10 with HDMI outputs and NH-20 with SDI outputs--the Night Hawk cameras are integrated with real-time messaging protocol (RTMP) streaming over 4G networks, enabling users to stream directly to their choice of content delivery network (CDN).

Going "beyond definition" is Sony, who exhibited the UHC-8300 8K camera system. Equipped with three 1.25-inch 8K sensors, the UHC-8300 is capable of managing all the features necessary for "premium" productions, including live broadcasts, entertainment and documentaries. Its 8K 120p capture format delivers high-resolution footage within a deep depth of field and wide dynamic range for HDR footage for both S-Log3 and HLG, supporting ITU-R BT.2020 colour space.

Sony also debuted Venice to the European market. The full-frame digital motion picture camera system is designed to expand filmmakers' creative freedom through "large-format, full-frame image capture of filmic imagery with natural skin tones and expressive dark areas".

Hiroyuki Takahama, assistant general manager, content creation solutions marketing, professional solutions company (PSAP), Sony Corporation of Hong Kong, elaborated: "Sony pioneers digital motion picture production technology with the first 24p digital camera system, HDW-F900; the first RGB recording systems, HDC-F950 and SRW-1; and the Super 35mm image sensor camera, the F35.

"Venice, the latest addition to the CineAlta family, demonstrates Sony's commitment for innovation and creative freedom for feature filmmaking and drama productions."

At the ChyronHego booth, the company showcased an integration of its Silver robotic camera head with the RoboRail straight camera rail system from Mo-Sys Engineering. Together, the two companies' products form a "complete" solution for camera tracking of augmented reality (AR) graphics and virtual set in news broadcasting.

Silver is part of ChyronHego's family of virtual studio and AR tracking solutions that provide camera motion within 2D or 3D computer-generated backgrounds. Installed on the compact and economic RoboRail, and mounted vertically or horizontally on a wall, ceiling or floor, the camera rail system simplifies news production and enlivens an anchor's newscasts with AR graphics, said the company.

ChyronHego also announced that its TRACAB image-based tracking system has been chosen as one of the technologies in Microsoft's Sports Performance Platform--a "Microsoft Garage" project. Using TRACAB's tracking and image-processing technologies to determine the position of all-moving objects in the field of play, data can be streamed in an open format to a multitude of virtualised platforms, such as broadcast graphic systems, and online or mobile platforms.

Meanwhile, Vizrt is building "The newsroom of the future" with the Viz Pilot, a template-based system for journalists to create, manage and deliver high volumes of top-quality content. Its newsroom component integrates with major newsroom systems, including Dalet, ENPS, iNews, Octopus and OpenMedia.

Other highlights from Vizrt include Viz Story 1.3, which aims to provide the best audio tools for controlling and editing multiple audio channels; and Viz Eclipse, a tool that allows sports rights holders and broadcasters to virtually replace field-side advertising boards. Initially focused on football, Viz Eclipse has been rolled out for the 2017-2018 football season in Europe.

IBC2017 was a first for Masstech Innovations, a new entity born from the merger of Masstech and SGL. Marking the debut with good news, Masstech Innovations announced that it has recently sold a number of archive and asset management systems to five new customers.

These include the University of Arkansa, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Russian film studio MosFilm, the American University in Cairo and Dinamalar, a news organisation in Chennai, India.

And it is Asia which is moving faster than any other regions when it comes to technology adoption, suggested Mike Palmer, CTO, Masstech Innovations. The merger of Masstech and SGL, he added, allows the companies to draw on each's area of strength to address not only the increasingly complicted media asset management (MAM) needs of their customers, but also to help those moving their key media assets into the cloud.

A year ago, two companies--Dell and EMC--came together and formed Dell EMC. At IBC2017, Dell EMC presented the Isilon All Flash Array, which is aimed at creating, managing and delivering content.

For instance, the Dell EMC Isilon F800 all-flash NAS storage, powered by the OneFS operating system, is designed for computing, media and entertainment 4K/UHD streaming, and interactive analytics workloads. Each Isilon F800 chassis houses 60 SSDs (solid-state drives) with a capacity of choice, with storage ranging from 96TB to 924TB per chassis.

As more media content is now being created, the demand for more data storage is growing. Thus, it is vital for media companies to utilise high-volume storage solutions to archive their content, according to a LTO Program spokesperson.

Jointly formed by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), IBM and Quantum, the LTO Program highlighted the Linear Tape File System (LTFS), which simplifies the viewing and accessing of tape files. With LTFS, one partition holds the content and the other stores the content's index, allowing the tape to improve archive management.

With the operating system's graphical file manager and directory tree, utilising data on an LTO Ultrium tape cartridge "is as easy as dragging and dropping the file", according to the LTO Program.

Over at the Interra Systems booth, the company showcased the hybrid capabilities of its Baton QC solution. Already supporting a variety of languages, Baton is further enhanced with audio language detection. The enhancement allows Baton to be equipped with multi-language detection capability for subtitles and closed caption files, as well as new multi-language checks of audio tracks. Baton also supports new codec and formats such as IMF App2 Extended, iTunes Subtitle, CineCanvas Subtitles, and Kodak Cineon.

Alongside Baton, Interra Systems demonstrated its Orion monitoring solutions family. Orion-OTT is a software-based OTT solution for monitoring of adaptive bitrate (ABR) content for multi-screen service delivery over networks. In addition, the company announced that it has entered into a partnership with Verimatrix to improve QoS and QoE for digital video content.

Under the partnership, Interra Systems' Orion content monitoring suite will be integrated with Verimatrix's ViewRight Web security client solution, hence empowering users to deliver their content in a more secured manner.

Anupama Anantharaman, director, product marketing and sales, Interra Systems, elaborated: "We are truly excited to be partnering with Verimatrix. We expect operators that are using the Verimatrix DRM solutions to benefit from this partnership as well. In fact, we already have a broadcaster in Malaysia that has deployed our combined solution for delivering live channels and video-on-demand (VoD) content."

For Verimatrix, the company is expanding its entry into the Internet of Things (IoT) space with the launch of Vtegrity, a cloud-based solution that offers advanced security regime for connected devices and IoT applications throughout their lifecycle. Vtegrity provides the elements to secure the device software, device communications and proactive threat detection that are essential to protect IoT-based revenue streams, said Verimatrix.

Following the acquisition of Genius Digital earlier this year, Verimatrix has integrated a new optional component for the Verspective Operator Analytics platform --Verspective RT. This device-level analytics tool provides video service providers with information about the subscriber experience and service perception on both managed and unmanaged networks.

Verspective RT can be deployed as a standalone option, or as the front-end for client and network collection within the broader Verspective Operator Analytics solution. Supporting a 360-degree view of subscriber and device data using a common data model within a multi-platform and multi-network delivery system, this unified approach can also be used to overcome data fragmentation and silos across video services organisations.

To MediaGeniX, VoD or linear is neither a question nor a problem, as the company offers a toolset that caters for both delivery platforms. Gerrit Cornelis, business consultant at MediaGeniX, said: "This era is no longer about filling linear channels with content, or about offering as many titles as possible on VoD services. It is about generating added value throughout the content's lifecycle."

To provide media operators with a "flexible and integrated" content, rights and scheduling system, MediaGeniX developed the WHATS'On broadcast management platform that is built up from integrated modules. Together, WHATS'On manages the flow of content as it moves from initial concept in the long-term plan to fully-prepared and formatted material--complete with promos and secondary events--allocated to diverse linear channels and VoD services.

Cornelis continued: "A content-centric business model will shape the future. But this business model is only viable to the extent that operators can efficiently combine platforms and devices, offer content while managing the rights down to extract level and establishing workflows to deliver the content in the right format to the various publication systems, in accordance with the applicable standards and requirements."

At the Verizon Digital Media Services booth, the company demonstrated Smartplay, a session-management system powered by Verizon technology. Smartplay enables content owners to obtain insights while creating monetisation strategies for their content. Besides offering subscribers insights, the technology also provides delivery, advertising, programming, discovery and protection by generating data for each user.

Another solution that Verizon Digital Media Services highlighted was the Volicon Media Intelligence Service. Designed for OTT content delivery, the Volicon Media Intelligence Service combines digital media transformation workflows from broadcast and OTT delivery, thus reducing the cost and complexity of multi-platform delivery.

According to Verizon Digital Media Services, the Volicon Media Intelligence Service has beeb deployed at more than a thousand broadcast locations worldwide, for recording broadcast content across interfaces--including SDI, transport stream and analogue--for the purpose of monitoring, compliance and review.

Additionally, the solution is integrated with the Slicer application, part of the Uplynk Video Streaming service, to empower broadcasters with the ability to ingest video, encode it into multiple bitrate profiles, encrypt it, and distribute it via OTT or VoD services, as well as through Web and social media sharing platforms.

--Additional reporting from Shawn Liew

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Title Annotation:NEWS & VIEWS
Author:Tan, Josephine
Publication:APB Magazine
Date:Oct 1, 2017
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