BFE to renew Ingest and Playout servers for ZDF

Main, backup and test playout systems in Mainz as well as a DR playout server in Berlin will be replaced with Harmonic Spectrum X components.

The ingest systems will use Harmonic Spectrum X components with a Harmonic MediaGrid storage system as well as Adobe Premiere Pro Creative Cloud for editing and error correction. The new servers will be integrated in the existing Pebble Beach Automation Marina and the Avid Interplay MAM system.

With a proof of concept, BFE was able to demonstrate the performance and qualification of the offered system and thus began working on the detailed specifications in February. In this phase, BFE is collaborating with the ZDF to create a detailed migration concept, which ensures safe “on air” exchange of the video servers while maintaining the performance of the running system at any time.

Following the project handover, ZDF will rely, within a 60-month SLA contract, on BFE’s service and support competencies.

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SpotX partners with Switch Media to offer personalised Ads across OTT

The solution is part of AdEase, Switch Media’s multi-screen, digital product offering.


As viewership on desktop, mobile, and connected TV devices continues to rise, more efficient monetisation opportunities have emerged for broadcasters, enabling them to target viewers with personalised advertising. The SpotX and AdEase compatibility allows broadcasters working with SpotX to take full advantage of Switch Media’s AdEase, which improves the user experience and increases engagement by providing one continuous video stream without any buffering during live TV and VOD for uninterrupted viewing. AdEase also protects ad revenue by surpassing most ad blockers. The server-side nature of AdEase is particularly useful around live content where ad delays are often commonplace.

“Delivering targeted ads on live linear OTT feeds for sports and live entertainment can be challenging – especially from a user experience, accuracy and scalability viewpoint; using the traditional methods of inserting mid-roll ads on the client-side causes buffering, latency and can allow the user to block those ads,” said Mark Wilson from Switch Media. “This partnership means our broadcast clients, already using our AdEase product, can at any stage decide to deliver targeted ads in real-time via SSAI in a given ad break via the SpotX platform, including live broadcast.”

AdEase benefits publishers and advertisers by improving the user experience (allowing for more engaged customers) with on the fly ad insertion during live TV, expanding the number of addressable devices through easy integrations, and by maximising, and protecting ad revenue by surpassing most ad blockers.

“As people consume video across different devices, SSAI provides an opportunity for broadcasters to overlay data and make their inventory more valuable to buyers increasing the yield,” said Christopher Blok, Country Manager, SpotX ANZ. “Addressable advertising sits at the forefront of broadcasters’ thinking now while server-side ad insertion, particularly for live simulcast, is a critical element for them and we are excited to be able to offer this end-to-end service for broadcasters with Switch Media, a product fit for the total video universe.”


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Video Clarity Adds IP Capability and Time-Saving Function to RTM Monitoring Family

In the continual evolution of its RTM product family, Video Clarity Inc. announced two new additions to its RTM line of real-time audio and video monitoring solutions.

RTM IP is a new model that enables perceptual testing in the ST 2110 IP domain, while the company’s RTM Manager control interface now includes automated file QoE for automated quality testing.

“Our major goals this year were not only to apply new features that current users have asked for, but to create more automated tools and broaden the applicability of our products for new users. With these new RTM products, we’ve done both,” said Blake Homan, president and founder of Video Clarity. “Through RTM IP, service providers who continually test for video and audio quality to understand the home viewer’s quality of experience can for the first time do so with perceptual testing in real time in the IP domain. Additionally, manufacturers can now apply picture and audio quality testing functions in long form to developing products in R&D and QA applications.”

Through Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet IP interfaces, RTM IP can run automatic, full reference, real-time quality testing in the IP domain for uncompressed and compressed video quality streams. It works by playing a test reference source into the network while performing a comparison of that source to downstream processed video and audio. The system enables program originators, service providers, and manufacturers’ test labs to apply RTM testing to IP networks, and importantly, to do it using the new SMPTE ST 2110 media flow technology.


Users can apply perceptual video quality tests to encode processing in an ST 2110 network environment simultaneously with audio quality, lip sync, and full program loudness up to 16 channels. Whether they need to measure the quality of output delivered to a downstream channel or a home viewer, or they’re taking measurements during R&D and product development, users can test the performance of their network video-processing functions automatically and in real time without setting up recordings. This time-saving feature lets users focus on other work while the quality-monitoring and logging test is underway. RTM IP is available as new model RTM-S2043-IP and as a software option for ClearView IP systems that have 10G IP interfaces.

Meanwhile, the other addition to the RTM family — RTM Manager with file QoE — applies an easy-to-use, automated file-testing routine for VOD or OTT file-encoding workflows for users that need an added layer of video and audio quality measurement, with a threshold for recording low-quality events in the baseband domain.

“Many files get passed into distribution that either cause a loss of video quality or have audio problems that file-checking routines are sometimes not equipped to catch,” Homan continued. “The new file QoE function in RTM Manager gives file-preparation centers a time-saving, automated way to test distributed content.”

Built for postproduction and file-delivery centers that handle all kinds of content — such as for broadcast, cable, IPTV, and OTT program delivery — this new RTM automated measurement process tests HD and SD video faster than real time to accelerate the test time per file of both long- and short-form programming, then presents results and errors for review. The RTM Manager browser interface gives users easy access for setup and testing feedback, while the ability to test multiple files in a series automatically limits the amount of necessary human intervention.

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Digital Nirvana to launch METADATOR

Digital Nirvana is yet again at the forefront of innovation in broadcast and media technology with the rollout of its new Metadator Application during the 2018 NAB Show, running from April 9-12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). Digital Nirvana will exhibit in booth #SU10121.

Digital Nirvana’s new Metadator is a software application that makes the editing process more efficient for broadcasters and content creators. With its ability to generate locators for media assets outside of AVID’s Interplay MAM system, the application makes it easy for AVID users to export media to external sources for generating transcripts or metadata that can be automatically ingested back into the AVID Interplay MAM platform.

The software automatically extracts video footage, extract audio, generate content metadata or transcripts using speech-to-text technology, then ingests the information back into AVID Interplay. It simplifies the process of metadata and transcript generation by automating it with proven technology – improving the turnaround time while reducing costs and improving overall operational efficiency.

The application automates what’s been a manual process of combing through footage and creating scene summaries. The Metadator communicates with Avid Interplay using web service APIs to access content. Users can generate locators for the media assets outside of Avid Interplay, then export media to external sources for generating transcripts and metadata. The processed data is then returned in an Avid-compatible format and attached to specific assets, so content creators can easily locate metadata when editing footage down to a singular show.

A high-quality transcript generated through this service also aids in script writing and creating closed captions. Use cases also include video description wherein the application directly sends proxy videos to cloud service. Content owners will now be able to create transcripts easily for their media archives and create a searchable database within their AVID MAM infrastructure.

The software provides users with the ability to send media assets from specific folders in AVID’s InterPlay/ISIS infrastructure externally and automatically generate transcription, captions, and metadata through Digital Nirvana’s cloud service. The Metadator gives users the ability to extract audio from the video assets on premises, which addresses any concerns over data security, since the video data doesn’t leave the premises and only the audio portion goes out to the cloud-based processing.

The Metadator server, installed on client premises, communicates with the client’s internal AVID infrastructure and extracts media and securely posts it to Digital Nirvana’s cloud captioning/transcription platform over HTTPS. Once transcripts are processed and available, DN’s application fetches the data and posts it to the client’s internal infrastructure. The application is also integrated with a continuous monitoring and alerting system that monitors each job and notifies all stakeholders on the status of the jobs.

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Harmonic Sets the Benchmark for OTT Delivery and Next-Gen TV at 2018 NAB Show

As broadcasters and service providers strive to deliver better-quality video and drive new revenue streams, agility and flexibility are critical.

Harmonic’s software-centric solutions in UHD, ATSC 3.0, IP video and content-aware encoding technologies set the benchmark for the future of OTT and broadcast delivery. These solutions are offered as appliances or SaaS for business agility and provide exceptional quality of experience (QoE) on every screen at a low total-cost-of-ownership.

“Global video consumption is at an all-time high, and broadcasters, content owners and service providers are under pressure to respond to the surge in OTT video, launch new services with fast time-to-market, and migrate to new media environments like IP video and ATSC 3.0. With a portfolio of agile and innovative solutions deployed by a global base of satisfied customers, Harmonic is committed to solving real-world challenges,” said Tim Warren, senior vice president and chief technology officer, video business at Harmonic. “Our expertise in media processing, playout and cloud uniquely position us to partner with our customers, enabling them to seamlessly adapt to a changing industry landscape.”

Tackle OTT Challenges With Innovative Solutions

At the 2018 NAB Show, Harmonic will address the challenges in OTT video delivery with targeted innovations:

Harmonic will highlight its award-winning VOS™ media processing family including the new VOS SW Cluster media processing software and VOS 360 media processing SaaS. VOS SW Cluster embeds market-leading media processing capabilities with support for cloud and bare metal compute environments enabling operators to launch OTT services quickly.

  • Harmonic offers streamlined OTT video delivery through cloud-based channel origination on VOS 360 SaaS, enabling operators to swiftly migrate channels from playout to end-user delivery for greater flexibility and a lower cost-per-channel.
  • Harmonic will also showcase live sports for OTT, delivered with reduced latency matching that of live broadcast, in stunning UHD and HDR using VOS 360 SaaS.
  • With the VOS family, operators can deploy EyeQ™ content-aware encoding to reduce bandwidth requirements for OTT delivery, decrease CDN costs and improve QoE. At the 2018 NAB Show Harmonic will premiere EyeQ support for HEVC.


Get the Most Out of ATSC 3.0 With Advanced Statmux and Hybrid OTA/OTT Services

Harmonic’s expertise in statistical multiplexing will play a key role in providing high-quality ATSC 3.0 streams at low bitrates. At the 2018 NAB Show, Harmonic will showcase its software-based Electra™ X ATSC 3.0 media processor and statistical multiplexing solution to deliver high-quality HEVC programs over DASH. For OTT services to complement over-the-air (OTA) transmissions, Electra X connects to Harmonic’s VOS 360 SaaS to enable hybrid OTA/OTT services.

New Possibilities for All-IP Workflows

In the IP Showcase, sponsored by AIMS, in booth C12634, Harmonic will highlight the Spectrum™ X media server as part of an end-to-end IP video workflow from contribution to delivery, using the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards, SMPTE 2022-7 seamless protection switching and AWMA IS-04 and IS-05 specifications. The Electra media processor and Spectrum X server fill the final gap for uncompressed workflows and control with support for uncompressed and compressed streams, enabling a smooth transition for live broadcast and OTT.

Looking Ahead at Next-Gen Video Codecs and Content-Aware Encoding

Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have become a key innovation factor to optimize the video encoding process. Leveraging AI in the development of next-generation video codecs and content-aware encoding (CEA), Harmonic is leading the charge toward delivering better video quality at low bitrates. The company will provide a valuable side-by-side comparison of codec efficiency between HEVC, AVC with Harmonic EyeQ CAE technology, AV-1 and JVET.


In addition to showcasing its innovative technologies, Harmonic will also contribute expertise through technology presentations:

  • Thierry Fautier, vice president of video strategy at Harmonic and president of the Ultra HD Forum will present a “UHD Worldwide Service Deployment Update” at the Global UHD Conference in Las Vegas on April 7 from 11:20 to 11:40 a.m. in room N253 of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).
  • Fautier will also participate in a panel discussion on HEVC and AV1 on April 11 from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. during the NAB Streaming Summit.
  • Jean Macher, director of market development at Harmonic will examine “Simplifying OTT Video Delivery with SCTE-224” at the Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology Conference (BEITC) on April 12 from 9:00 to 9:20 a.m. in room N255 of the LVCC.

Harmonic will showcase its video delivery innovations at the 2018 NAB Show, April 9-12 in Las Vegas at booth SU810.

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ENCO Simplifies Custom Audio Library Development for TV Production with Sony Collaboration

In collaboration with Sony, ENCO has developed a new control interface between its DADtv live audio playout and Sony ELC automation systems that will simplify the way that TV production and automation operators build custom libraries and manage audio assets.

To be introduced at the 2018 NAB Show, the new interface allows ELC operators to build a library or playlist in DADtv audio players, and subsequently import that content to ELC automation systems. The ELC system displays titles, cuts, numbers and lengths in real-time, and gives operators complete control over the selection, playback, stoppage and advancement of all audio assets. Operator flexibility is further enhanced by enabling clean and immediate transitions between playback elements without requiring any stoppage.


The special interface, based on an ENCO protocol converter that allows commands to communicate with DADtv software, also enables Sony XVS/MVS Series production switchers to recognize the same content and audio events taking place in ELC’s automated workflow. The seamless integration across all three systems is a significant advancement from the previous capabilities that users relied on when using Sony and ENCO systems in the same automated television workflow.

“As industry leaders in features and reliability, Sony and ENCO now offer seamless integration to improve the capabilities of any production,” said Jason Weintraub, business development and product manager, media solutions and live production systems for Sony Professional Solutions of Americas. “With our collaboration, we can together offer more options to our customers that include resource sharing from ENCO players to maximize efficiency, while providing custom libraries tailored for each production team.”

In addition to the automated, real-time delivery of custom libraries and enhanced operator control, ELC operators benefit from continuous updates to ELC time displays. These DADtv-driven, real-time status updates provide accurate feedback to operators around all library management and audio playback events.

ENCO and Sony will demonstrate the integration at their respective 2018 NAB Show booths (N3824 and C11001). The 2018 NAB Show takes place from April 9-12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“The development of this special interface ensures a powerful connection between Sony’s popular TV automation system, and our highly efficient, fast, and reliable audio playback solution for live television,” said David T. Turner, Executive Vice President, ENCO. “The collaborative spirit of this advanced development ensures that our common customers benefit immediately from a more intelligent and efficient workflow, while new customers can quickly get on the air with an enhanced and improved audio production and automation environment thanks to our proven, streamlined integration.”

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Broadcast Solutions Builds New HD/UHD Control Facilities for NEP Sweden

To handle the many productions even better and more efficiently, NEP Sweden decided to integrate fixed control rooms in the studio facility and assigned Broadcast Solutions GmbH with the project.

Previously all productions were realised with OB Vans added to the building. In a close cooperation German system integrator Broadcast Solutions GmbH joined forces with NEP Sweden for planning and implementation of the HD/UHD control rooms.


The Stockholm studio facility is Sweden’s top location for productions of large programs with up to 1,600 spectators, including nationwide hits such as “Idol” or “Stjärnornas stjärna”. Within just two months, from the start of detailed planning to commissioning, Broadcast Solutions implemented the ambitious project with a total of 200 m2 of space with two large production desks and 8×55″ multiviewers, one 5.1 audio room, one engineering room and CAR. The first show broadcasted with the new rooms was the production of the show “Stjärnornas stjärna” on 17 March, which went off without a hitch.

Jens Envall, Technical Director at NEP Sweden, comments: “We decided to integrate fixed installed control rooms in our large studios to be more flexible and to work more efficiently at large productions. The time-schedule to implement the whole system was very demanding. But the Broadcast Solutions team delivered on time, and the result is just perfect. The new approach allows many different opportunities our customers demand from NEP Sweden.”

Hans Huber, Business Unit Manager at Broadcast Solutions, commented on the challenges of the project: “The extremely short time-period for implementation required a very in-depth and forward-looking planning of all processes and trades on-site and a lot of flexibility of all involved to react quickly to unforeseeable challenges. Thanks to our highly skilled and collaborative working team, project handover to the customer took place in time.”

In the field of video, NEP Sweden relies on cameras, video mixers, video routers and multiviewer systems from Grass Valley. The audio management, with 5.1 setup, is equipped with a Lawo mc256 audio console, including audio router. The intercom system is a Riedel Artist, and a VSM system is used as the overall control software. Video servers are from EVS XT4 K (two) plus Grass Valley K2 Solo.

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