Cablecast Community Media Platform Version 6.5 Improves Online Viewer Experiences and Insights

Hot on the heels of its release of Cablecast Screenweave for bringing community TV content to popular OTT devices, Tightrope Media Systems has unveiled version 6.5 of the Cablecast Community Media platform. Designed to help PEG broadcasters improve their online viewer experiences, the new update elevates the quality of VOD clips while providing new tools to help users measure the impact their content is making online.

Foremost amongst the enhancements are new adaptive bitrate options for VOD, enabling the publishing and distribution of on-demand content at full 1080p HD resolution through the Cablecast Pro VOD system and Cablecast Reflect cloud-based delivery service. VOD outputs at multiple resolutions and bit rates are created automatically for each clip by Cablecast Pro VOD, with adaptive bitrate streaming using the HLS protocol dynamically delivering the optimal version for each viewer’s Internet connection speed and device.

“Our customers frequently receive compliments from their audiences on the stunning quality of their Cablecast-powered 1080p live streams, and with Cablecast 6.5 we’re bringing that same visual fidelity to VOD clips,” said Steve Israelsky, President, Cablecast Community Media. “The improvement is particularly striking on large TV screens in viewers’ living rooms, but adaptive bit rate delivery ensures that the results can be watched reliably on any device at the best possible quality.”

Helping community broadcasters gain insights into their audience’s online activities, version 6.5 adds seamless integration between Google Analytics and websites built on Cablecast’s dynamic, turnkey “public site” web publishing tools. The new integration lets customers track and analyze a wealth of information including overall site traffic and trends, visitor location, which pages are getting the most views, and how long visitors are staying on each page.

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Further expanding Cablecast’s collection of online engagement tracking capabilities, version 6.5 extends the system’s rich reporting functionality to include VOD metrics data. Reports can be broken down by category or individual programs, indicating how many times each show has been viewed online.

“While some of this data was already available to users through the Cablecast interface, the new Google Analytics integration and VOD reporting capabilities help customers aggregate, analyze and view the metrics in more comprehensive and convenient ways,” said Israelsky. “The improved measurement and analysis help community broadcasters better understand their audiences, enabling them to develop more successful online engagement strategies.”

The Cablecast 6.5 upgrade is scheduled for release in early October, and will be free for Cablecast customers on active support agreements.

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MultiDyne Appoints Broadcast Industry Veteran John Ferder as Director of Engineering

MultiDyne Fiber Optic Solutions continues to expand its executive team with the appointment of John Ferder as Director of Engineering, effective immediately. Reporting to MultiDyne President Frank Jachetta, John will facilitate the engineering process for all product design initiatives, develop long-term product roadmaps, and liaise with MultiDyne’s production, marketing and supply chain teams to increase accessibility to products and related information.

An industry veteran of more than three decades, John’s illustrious career started on the supplier and systems integration side of the business. He held diverse engineering roles at Chyron Corporation, Roscor Corporation and Phillips/BTS over a 10-year period before moving onto CBS in New York City.

MultiDyne_JohnFerder_HeadshotAt CBS, he moved up the engineering ladder to become Director of Studio and Post-Production Engineering – a position he held for more than 12 years. In this key role, John was responsible for the design, construction and support of all production and postproduction facilities in the CBS Broadcast Center, including renovations for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, 60 Minutes and 48 Hours. He also spearheaded the 2008 construction of a new control room for CBS Evening News, and a new studio for CBS This Morning.

John returns to the supplier side of the business at a time of significant change to the broadcast and production workflow, most notably as facilities transition to IP and cloud systems. He sees a wealth of opportunity for fiber-optic product development within networked architectures, in addition to taking MultiDyne into new product areas.

“Fiber is used today to transport files over the internet for many broadcast and production applications,” said Ferder. “We see new opportunities to improve encryption and compression to transfer files and higher data payloads over a single fiber faster and more efficiently. This will grow in importance as more facilities migrate to IP, and the release of the SMPTE 2110 standards will help to accelerate these developments. We will bring new, IP-focused products to market that are more compact, more efficient and aligned with businesses that build fixed and mobile production studios based on these standards.”

John adds that MultiDyne has always demonstrated a strong enthusiasm for new product development – a trait that attracted him to the Director of Engineering position.

“There has always been a real openness to new ideas and innovation at MultiDyne, which translates to their outreach to customers and allied partners,” he said. “This offers a lot of freedom to drive new products and directions, including the IP side of the business.”

John notes that while he anticipates a busy future at MultiDyne, he will remain active elsewhere in the industry. John was elevated to SMPTE Fellow in 2012, and has served on the Program Committee since 2015. He currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer for the SMPTE Society, and will chair three SMPTE Technical Paper sessions on OTT technology at the SMPTE 2018 Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, taking place October 22-25 at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles.

“John brings a fresh engineering perspective to MultiDyne that will take the company to new heights of product innovation, yet also streamline ease of use for our customers worldwide,” said Jachetta. “This includes improved accessibility to product information with clear and concise language, which will accelerate the learning curve for end users across all skill levels. We’re privileged to welcome John to the team.”

CP Communications Powers Triathlon Coverage with IP Streaming and Bonded Cellular Networking

CP Communications, a leader in innovative solutions and services for complex live event productions, exhibited the full power of IP streaming and bonded cellular networking for live sports production at the 2018 Subaru IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant, a professional triathlon event streamed on Facebook Live. The fully IP and mobile architecture brought together Mobile Viewpoint contribution and transmission systems from CP Communications’ recently-launched Red House Streaming division to process and deliver live camera signals from six events.

Located in the Canadian province of Quebec, Mont-Tremblant is a tiny village that welcomes athletes every summer to compete in a 2.4-mile swim in Lac Tremblant, a 112-mile bike course through forests and low-lying mountains, and a 26.2-mile run through LeP’tit Train du Nord, the longest linear park in Canada. Athletes also competed for 40 qualifying slots at the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship, which takes place this Saturday, October 13 in Hawaii.

CPComms_Motorcycle_IRONAMANCP Communications leased the systems to Carr-Hughes, the production company in charge of the event. CP also provided the specialized motorcycles, which are used for TV, media and live events. Five Mobile Viewpoint Agile Airlink solutions were deployed across four motorcycles, and one roaming technician operating a handheld camera. A miniature Mobile Viewpoint NEO system was also added to a drone for overhead shots. With all six devices added to a Mobile Viewpoint LinkMatrix web portal, Carr-Hughes staff could easily manage devices, adjust data rates and monitor signals from a central workstation.

Mobile Viewpoint Agile Airlink and NEO devices combine H.265 (HEVC) video encoding with patented bonding technology to reliably transmit video over bonded IP connections at the highest possible quality, while using the lowest bandwidth. For the Mont-Tremblant event, each Mobile Viewpoint device accepted and encoded a single camera feed that covered the races from different vantage points. All acquired content was live-streamed to playout servers at Carr-Hughes’ studios in Saratoga, New York, and then onto to IRONMAN’s headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. The high-efficiency H.265 compression and minimal bandwidth consumption across the end-to-end architecture ensured a robust and reliable live signal for Facebook Live viewers.

Kurt Heitmann, CEO of CP Communications, notes that the networked architecture allowed Carr-Hughes to produce what he calls an “at-home production” at one-third the cost of a more traditional networking infrastructure.

“IP and bonded cellular networking offers a cost-efficient option for live sports production, particularly for events such as IRONMAN that do not require a great deal of graphic insertions or large production trucks,” he said. “Our Mobile Viewpoint solutions allow our clients to connect via IP, public internet, Wi-Fi or any combination of the three, using compact, high-efficiency solutions that don’t weigh down technicians or networks. In areas with poor cellular coverage, technicians were achieving excellent picture quality at 500 kpbs, which is unheard of in our industry. Bonded cellular modems and devices are rapidly improving to the point where full event coverage is no longer a concern. Our clients can cut a very high-quality live show at a fraction of the price.”

The compact Agile Airlink devices were side-mounted within Pelican cases on each motorcycle with external gain antennas. Heitmann adds that the on-the-fly flexibility of the Agile Airlink and NEO devices within the LinkMatrix portal allowed technicians to adjust latency as needed based on cell tower proximity.

“The Carr-Hughes team could quickly adjust from very low-latency of one second or less in high-capacity cell tower areas, to as high as ten seconds in more challenging coverage areas,” said Heitmann. “This ensured that the proper amount of forward error correction was applied to the live stream to maintain optimal quality.”

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Heitmann concludes, “The launch of our Red Stream Solutions brand eight months ago has quickly differentiated our service offerings from our competitors. Combined with our traditional RF event production and transmission services, CP Communications brings 30 years of experience and a full-service solution across RF and IP based on each client’s requirements.”