Hitachi Kokusai Announces Firmware Upgrades for High-Performance 1080p and 1080i Compact Box Cameras

Hitachi Kokusai Electric America Ltd. (Hitachi Kokusai) is heading to the upcoming 2019 NAB Show with powerful updates for two of the most popular models in its line of high-definition, compact box cameras for point-of-view (POV) and remote observation applications. New firmware for the DK-H200 1080p camera adds High Dynamic Range (HDR) support, while an update to the 1080i DK-Z50 further enhances its exceptional quality.

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The DK-H200 delivers native, full frame-rate 1080p video acquisition in a space-efficient form factor, making high-performance, progressive capture affordable and accessible for more applications than ever before. The DK-H200’s 2.6 million pixel, 2/3-inch MOS sensors deliver sharp, clear images and combine with advanced digital signal processing to provide superior picture quality with low noise, faithful color reproduction and remarkable sensitivity. Meanwhile, the multi-purpose DK-Z50 combines 2/3-inch CCDs with 14-bit analog-to-digital conversion to provide outstanding performance and quality for 1080i and standard-definition workflows at an economical price point. The small and lightweight nature of the two cameras also makes them ideal for robotic operation and discreet installations.

Hitachi Kokusai has been a vanguard in evangelizing the visual advantages of High Dynamic Range video and implementing HDR support in its broadcast camera line. The new DK-H200 update brings the benefits of HDR to the box camera format, enabling visibly superior HDTV productions with increased contrast, expanded mid-tones and greater detail in dark and bright picture regions – improving viewing experiences without the higher costs and workflow overhead of Ultra HD. The new firmware supports HDR specifications including HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) and HPQ, which is compatible with the HDR10 open standard for consumer TVs.

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The DK-Z50 also gets a significant upgrade of its own. While the DK-Z50 is already known for its outstanding visual reproduction, the update improves its image quality even further, enabling closer picture matching with Hitachi Kokusai’s popular Z-HD5000 broadcast studio and field production camera. The new firmware increases the DK-Z50’s signal-to-noise ratio to greater than 60dB while also enhancing its detail functions and characteristics.

“While our broadcast camera line often gets most of the attention for its use in glamorous entertainment and newsgathering environments, our compact box cameras continue to be extremely popular for POV and remote acquisition applications ranging from broadcast and sports production to government and house of worship uses,” said John J. Humphrey, Vice President of Business Development, Hitachi Kokusai Electric America Ltd. “We also have many customers using our broadcast and box cameras together to capture a combination of angles in multi-camera productions. The new updates to the DK-H200 and DK-Z50 deliver significant enhancements on their own, but are particularly noteworthy when used alongside their SK-HD1300 and Z-HD5000 broadcast counterparts by enabling producers to switch between signals from the two camera types while maintaining a similar look.”

The new DK-H200 and DK-Z50 firmware updates are slated to be released in Q2.

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ENCO Brings Power of Award-Winning enCaption Live Automated Closed Captioning System to Radio

ENCO is already regarded as a pioneer and market leader in automated closed and open captioning, with its award-winning enCaption solutions successfully serving television audiences and video users in corporate, educational and government applications for many years. Now, the company is again breaking new ground by bringing enCaption’s renowned accuracy, speed and efficiency to radio, enabling hearing-impaired audiences to consume radio programming online or via over-the-top (OTT) services.

ENCO will showcase enCaption’s benefits for radio broadcasters and audiences in booth N2524 at the upcoming 2019 NAB Show, taking place April 8 to 11 in Las Vegas.

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While captioning is most commonly associated with television rather than radio, Internet and OTT delivery have created the opportunity for radio broadcasters to display corresponding text in the “listener’s” browser or app. This opens the door for hearing-impaired individuals to enjoy content such as talk radio that was previously inaccessible to them. Automated captioning also enables immediate creation of searchable transcripts that broadcasters can post alongside recorded audio clips, enhancing SEO for their websites while improving content discovery for site visitors.

Non-hearing-impaired OTT and mobile users often consume content with their devices on “mute” while on trains or at work, so the availability of captions will make radio a viable new option for them. Last but not least, automated captioning can bolster Visual Radio programming, which is already popular in many international regions and expanding in the U.S. market.

ENCO’s cost-effective, software-defined enCaption solution helps broadcasters and content producers effortlessly provide closed or open captioning for both live and pre-recorded content in near-real-time. Leveraging machine learning technology and a deep neural network voice recognition approach, enCaption’s speech-to-text engine delivers exceptional accuracy with extremely low latency. Integration with newsroom systems and other external vocabulary sources further enhances enCaption’s word recognition and spelling precision, which combine with the solution’s robust punctuation, capitalization and speaker change detection to ensure high-quality captions.

“There is a lot of fantastic content that is only available on radio, and which should be accessible to everyone regardless of any hearing disabilities,” said Ken Frommert, President of ENCO. “We’re excited to combine our deep expertise in the radio market with the proven yet continually advancing capabilities of enCaption to break through these accessibility barriers. Just as captioning enables hearing-impaired audiences to understand and enjoy television content, the same technology now allows them to do the same for radio programming.”

Washington, DC area NPR member station WAMU is in the development process of integrating live captions created by enCaption into their website, with a goal of providing 24/7 captioning of all audio content on WAMU. “This will enable us to make all of our content, regardless of its producer, accessible to our entire community,” said Rob Bertrand, senior director of technology at WAMU. “Our integration is still in the proof-of-concept stage, but we are happy with what we’ve been able to demonstrate so far. We look forward to being able to deliver our content to all members of our community, including those who have historically not been able to be reached by audio content.”

enCaption configurations for radio can be flexibly deployed on-premises or in the cloud. On-premises enCaption systems support discrete analog or AES audio sources, while both on-premises and cloud-based deployments can input IP-based audio streams. Captions created by enCaption can be output as files or streams in standard WebVTT format or as a raw text data stream for integration with the station’s website media player, mobile or OTT app. enCaption can also turn an audio-only source into a video stream with open captions overlaid on a plain background or graphic, or combine the audio with a separate video stream while embedding closed captions for display in a web-based video player.

enCaption solutions tailored for radio broadcasters are available immediately, and are backed by ENCO’s world-class customer service.

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Ran Tellem, head of International Content at MEDIAPRO Group, presented criminal drama “The Paradise” at Berlin Festival

The MEDIAPRO Group took part in the Berlin International Film Festival on February 11 with “The Paradise”, a fiction series starring Fran Perea and Riitta Havukainen who are currently on location shooting in Fuengirola (Malaga). For the first time, MEDIAPRO took part in the Spanish series panel at the festival, represented by Ran Tellem (Emmy award-winner as executive producer on “Homeland”), head of International Content Development for the Group.

Tellem presented the fiction series within the framework of the ‘Upcoming Series from Spain’, organised by the Festival Internacional de Series de Barcelona, a ‘thriller’ developed by Tellem being shot at different locations on the Costa del Sol until mid-April, after filming in the Finnish city of Oulu and the surrounding areas. ‘The Paradise’ is a co-production between Finnish public television Yle, who are planning to release the series in late 2019-, MRP Matila Röhr Productions Oy and MEDIAPRO.

The 8-episode fiction, starring Fran Perea – whose popularity in Finland is due to his role in “The Serranos”- plays a policeman who is charged with solving a complex case involving disappearances and murders in the heart of the Finnish community in Fuengirola. While on the case, he encounter’s a veteran Finnish detective, played by Riitta Havukainen (“Fakta homma”, “Harjunpää ja heimolaiset”), who travels to Spain for one last assignment.

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“The Paradise”, whose main screenwriter is Matti Laine (author of “Bordertown”), is directed by Marja Pyykkö (“Hooked”, “Black Windows”).

MEDIAPRO have been present at several editions of the Berlinale with a total of six films, “Comandante”, by Oliver Stone, was the first in 2003; “Amador”, by Fernando León de Aranoa was selected in 2011; in 2014, the Group scheduled the international release of “El Somni” (The Dream), by Franc Aleu; and in 2015, the film chosen to inaugurate the festival was “Nobody Wants The Night”, by Isabel Coixet, while “The Pearl Button”, by Patricio Guzmán, won the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay. In 2017 Fernando León de Aranoa returned to the festival with “Politics, Instructions Manual”.

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GatesAir Wins National Ivory Coast Digital TV Transition Contract

GatesAir, a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for TV and radio broadcasters, continues its long-standing business relationship with the Republic of Ivory Coast through a turnkey equipment and services contract to support the African country’s national digital TV (DTV) network. The first phase consists of seven transmitter sites to cover the city of Abidjan and the next six largest cities, with the Abidjan site providing DTV services to 30 percent of the country. The subsequent six sites will expand DTV services to approximately 80 percent of the country, with 100 percent coverage expected by 2020.

The turnkey equipment package for phase one includes 21 GatesAir Maxiva UAXTE air-cooled, high-efficiency UHF transmitters in redundant configurations to ensure a continuous on-air presence. Each of the seven sites includes three transmitters along with DVB-T2 headend equipment, antennas and towers, and can support three programming multiplexes (one government, and two private). The government multiplex, featuring seven channels of programming, is now on the air, with the private multiplexes to follow. Each multiplex will deliver multiple channels of DTV programming and rich data services, including electronic program guides.

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The Ivory Coast DVB-T2 network is GatesAir’s ninth DTV transition project in Africa, strengthening its position as the market-leading over-the-air vendor on the continent. GatesAir has recently supported transitions in Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda. GatesAir’s success in managing these transitions, including adherence to challenging delivery timelines, was essential to securing the contract. GatesAir’s strong customer service reputation, high-efficiency transmission technology, and global leadership in complex, national DTV transitions also played substantial roles in the decision.

“The digital transition is very important for the Ivorian population as it opens the television space more than ever before,” said Bruno N’Doua, Director of Studies and Development, Société Ivoirienne de Télédiffusion (IDT). “These populations will now have the option to watch seven channels to start, whereas before there were only two channels available. This will change the viewing habits of Ivorians, and is a major step forward in the liberalization of the audiovisual space. This is not the first time the Ivory Coast has worked with GatesAir. They were formerly known as Harris, and their transmitters have helped us provide high-quality distribution of TV programs for at least 15 years. Therefore, we already knew the robustness of GatesAir equipment, and it is an immense pleasure to work with GatesAir again.”

The selection of GatesAir’s Maxiva UAXTE transmitters will provide several performance benefits and long-term cost savings for IDT. The UAXTE’s high-efficiency design (based on GatesAir’s PowerSmart Plus architecture) will reduce utility bills network-wide — a substantial operational benefit given Ivory Coast’s high electricity costs. Maintenance is simplified through the transmitter’s modular design, which allows IDT’s engineering team to use common, spare parts across the entire network. Dual power supplies, hot-swappable PA modules and other PowerSmart Plus design attributes further strengthen on-air reliability.

GatesAir partnered with African Union Communications for headend systems, and with regional partner STA, based in the Ivory Coast, for towers, antennas and transmission shelters. GatesAir will also work closely with STA across all installation, commissioning and ongoing maintenance services, as well as training, service and support initiatives.

“GatesAir will bring nearly 100 years of global over-the-air broadcast expertise to support Ivory Coast’s national DTV transition, and deliver exceptional picture quality with reliable service to the population,” said Bruce D. Swail, CEO, GatesAir. “We will also ensure the lowest total cost of ownership to IDT through reduced energy consumption, streamlined maintenance, and local service and support. We thank IDT and the Republic of Ivory Coast for trusting in GatesAir, and look forward to supporting future DTV transitions throughout Africa.”

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NAB Show’s Future of Cinema Conference, Produced With SMPTE, Embraces Impact of Next-Gen Tech

SMPTE®, the organization whose standards work has supported a century of advances in entertainment technology and whose membership spans the globe, has announced the title and theme for the 2019 NAB Show’s Future of Cinema Conference (FoCC), produced in partnership with SMPTE. The FoCC, “Now, Next, and Beyond the Yellow Brick Road,” will take place April 6-7 in Las Vegas in conjunction with the 2019 NAB Show. Held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the conference will feature presentations from the experts in the media and entertainment industry.

Julina Tatlock, who is CEO of award-winning immersive-entertainment company 30 Ninjas, is serving as chair of the FoCC program committee. In her work as an interactive story creator, a digital strategist, a game designer, and a writer and producer, Tatlock uses new technology and platforms to transform content creation and consumption. Her keynote presentation at the SMPTE 2018 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition (SMPTE 2018) focused on how leading-edge creatives are working with next-gen technologies to redefine the very nature of media and entertainment.

“Each year, the Future of Cinema Conference maps the path toward the technology horizon, and we’re thrilled to have Julina bringing her unique knowledge and experience to the creation of this year’s program,” said SMPTE Education Vice President Sara Kudrle, who is also product marketing manager at Imagine Communications. “The conference will include the technical depth you expect from SMPTE and a broad, global perspective incorporating diverse planes of thought. We’re looking forward to exciting, thought-provoking sessions with the experts who are changing the very foundation of the media and entertainment industry.”

All surrounding the central focus of cinema, topics at this year’s FoCC will include the state of the art, technology, and allied sciences; amazing emerging technologies; and the many possible futures of cinema.

More information about FoCC is available here. SMPTE members can register here and use code EP07 to take $100 off the NAB Show nonmember rate for a Conference Flex Pass registration or to get a free Exhibits Pass. The offer expires March 25.

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GeoBroadcast Solutions Adds Another Major Market MaxxCasting Licensee in Boston

WXLO(FM), a Hot Adult Contemporary radio station serving the Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts markets, has become the latest MaxxCasting™ licensee to increase coverage-to-contour ratio immediately after going on air with the system. WXLO’s newly robust FM signal is now reaching Nielsen Portable People Meters (PPM) and audiences throughout both markets, with approximately one-million new listeners at home, in businesses and in automobiles receiving clear signals.

Importantly, the MaxxCasting system makes WXLO a competitive ratings force in Boston, the nation’s tenth largest market, by delivering a listenable signal through the city of Boston in Suffolk County. The system also establishes a ratings presence for WXLO across a broader strategic travel corridor section of adjacent Middlesex County, the largest county in New England by population, covering a large section of eastern Massachusetts north of Boston all the way to the New Hampshire border.

The WXLO MaxxCasting system, which went live in early January, has solved the station’s greatest coverage problems associated with signal density, building penetration and challenging commuter routes. The single-frequency network (SFN) includes three low-power transmission sites, or “nodes,” to maximize coverage for two markets, including a transmission node located on top of the John Hancock building in downtown Boston. All nodes are located in areas prone to weak signal coverage, leveraging GBS’ unique predictive modeling software to eliminate interference in areas where signals overlap. This provides a clean transition between transmitters as listeners commute throughout the region.

The WXLO system represents an important first in MaxxCasting that noticeably improves audio quality. The architecture integrates specialized IP networking technology from GatesAir to support composite digital FM multiplex (MPX) signal transport. GatesAir’s Intraplex IP Link MPX codecs keep FM signals in the digital domain while maximizing network bandwidth, making this the best-sounding MaxxCasting system to date. As usual, the codecs integrate Intraplex SynchroCast technology to tightly synchronize program audio across all transmission nodes.

MaxxCasting systems continue to pay dividends for broadcasters that have long struggled to deliver clear and listenable signals across 100 percent of their legal broadcast contours. As with MaxxCasting’s other Boston licensee, WXRV, as well as licensees live today in Chicago, Milwaukee, Seattle and other medium-to-major markets, WXLO’s broader signal will increase revenue potential by reaching more PPMs and attracting new advertisers.

“We’re excited about how good the station sounds and to reach more potential audience in downtown Boston and beyond with this new technology,” Bob Goodell, Regional Vice President, Cumulus Media.

Bill Hieatt, CTO for MaxxCasting architects GeoBroadcast Solutions, notes that the MaxxCasting system is now delivering a very robust, high-quality audio signal across the Boston area’s most challenging commuter routes. In addition to the sound-quality benefits of digital composite FM MPX transport, the GBS team customized directional antenna patterns at each node to optimize signal propagation across all transmission nodes.

“Downtown Boston is an enormous challenge due to the density of buildings, tunnels and other environmental considerations that make signal penetration difficult,” said Hieatt. “While our transmitter site within city limits solves these problems, our nodes outside of the city deliver listenable signals to drivers commuting to and from Boston Metro West and Worcester for the first time. Around the region, WXLO is now reaching audiences traveling along all major corridors, including I-95 and I-93 heading north and south. WXLO is the latest MaxxCasting system to prove the technical validity and business benefits that our solution offers to radio broadcasters across any terrain.”

Yamaha Unified Communications Simplifies UC Deployments at Enterprise Connect

Yamaha Unified Communications is helping enterprises move toward consistent, simple, and high-quality collaboration experiences in any conference room and meeting space with its latest solutions in booth 1027 at Enterprise Connect, March 18-20 in Orlando, Florida. Phil Marechal, Yamaha UC’s vice president of business development and product management, will participate in an expert panel on huddle room trends.

“In this fast-paced world, meeting participants need to be able to feel comfortable and hear those on the far end clearly to brainstorm new ideas and accomplish goals,” said Michael Fitch, vice president of sales and marketing, at Yamaha UC. “At Enterprise Connect, we’re helping business and technology executives balance these user demands with solutions that integrate with UC applications they’re already using, are simple to deploy, and deliver clear, natural audio in every meeting environment. Attendees will be able to perfect their UC strategy, shortening the distance between remote participants and supporting agile collaboration — no matter if users are meeting in the boardroom, joining a call from their home, or spontaneously gathering for a video chat in a huddle room.”

For boardrooms and large conference rooms utilizing UC applications, the Yamaha YAI-1 Wireless Microphone Conference Ensemble, a ready-to-deploy professional bundle, includes an eight-channel Executive Elite wireless microphone package; two VXL1-16P PoE, Dante®-enabled speaker arrays with wall volume controller; a preconfigured digital signal processor; a five-port PoE switch; Dante AVIO USB adapter; and cabling. Once the system is set up, it connects to any UC platform through a single USB cable. Utilizing Yamaha’s leading audio engineering expertise, the system features advanced acoustic echo cancellation (AEC) algorithms and dynamic microphone mixing technology that drives the best-in-class audio experience and meets the requirement of enterprise IT departments for fast and simple installation and setup.

Supporting the best quality audio for remote meetings whenever and wherever, the YVC-200 Portable USB + Bluetooth Speakerphone is designed to provide high-performance audio that goes everywhere with the user. Compact and easy to use, the device leverages Yamaha’s AEC and human voice activity detection to boost productivity when meeting remotely or in an open workspace. The unit features an intelligent microphone that delivers full-duplex conversation without sound dropouts and a powerful speaker that produces audio that feels as if every remote participant on the call is in the room.

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Designed for huddle rooms, the Yamaha CS-700 Video Sound Collaboration System delivers the highest quality audio, video, and collaboration capabilities in a simple and smart wall-mounted unit that is easy to install and deploy. It features an adaptive beamforming microphone array for perfectly captured conversation; four Yamaha speaker elements to provide the highest degree of audio intelligibility; and a wide-angle HD camera for the far-end participants to see everyone in clear detail. Users can quickly connect to any UC platform via a single USB, eliminating the frustrations and inefficiencies of operating disparate video, audio, and collaboration components. In addition, the CS-700’s integrated network management system allows IT staff to deploy and remotely manage each unit from one location, increasing service response and efficiency.

Suited for large conference spaces and multipurpose meeting rooms, the Yamaha YVC-1000 conference phone features a separate microphone and full-range speaker unit that can be placed close to a display for naturally blended audio and video for full participant comprehension. It can support two external speakers and up to five daisy-chained microphones and is capable of being paired with other microphone systems via an input jack for even more scalability in larger meeting rooms. Its plug-and-play simplicity and auto-tune setup also allow participants to get started quickly with audio optimized to the room conditions.

Also during the show, Marechal will provide his thought leadership in the panel “Huddle Rooms: Behind the Scenes” on Monday, March 18, from 8:00 to 8:45 a.m. in room Osceola B. The five-panelist discussion will provide a better understanding of the huddle room trend and how to make huddle rooms work for an enterprise, reseller, or vendor.

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