Dielectric Designs VHF Antenna System for Sutro Tower Repack Project in Compliance with Stringent Earthquake Code

As a leading maker of innovative TV/FM broadcast antennas, Dielectric has completed the design of a technically complex, stacked antenna array for San Francisco DTV broadcasters KGO-TV and KRON-TV. The stacked array—a specialty of Dielectric’s—is slated for installation later this year atop Sutro Tower in downtown San Francisco.

KGO-TV, the market’s ABC owned-and-operated affiliate currently broadcasting on VHF channel 7 will be repacked to channel 12. KRON-TV, the Nexstar Media Group-owned MyNetworkTV affiliate now broadcasting on UHF Channel 38 (Virtual Channel 4) will be repacked to channel 7, once vacated by KGO.

Dielectric THV Series directional pylon antennas have been customized to each station’s unique needs. The stacking of KGO’s antenna on top of KRON’s required a careful design process to factor in earthquake compliance and other critical, environmental considerations.

“This is one of our most complex repack antenna designs, in large part due to the strict earthquake code that applies to antennas installed in the San Francisco Bay Area,” said Keith Pelletier, vice president and general manager, Dielectric. “Our mechanical engineering team also ensured that KRON’s antenna could support the weight of KGO’s antenna. These design considerations called for a grade of steel that is much thicker and stronger than that which is customary for antenna construction. By design, the stack will be capable of handling the extra weight, and compliant with all earthquake restrictions.”

According to Pelletier, the final designs are currently being reviewed by a third-party structural engineering firm in San Francisco to ensure that they meet the earthquake code. The antenna array will then be constructed during the second quarter of 2019.

“Sutro Tower is scheduled for Phase 9, which means that the installation must be completed by May 2020,” said Pelletier. “We will be ready to ship in June of this year, and install the system by the end of 2019. This will ensure that the new stacked array is up and running before the strict repack deadline.”

Challenging Installation Planned

The stacked antenna array will be affixed to one of the three “candelabra” arms extending from the top of 977-foot tall Sutro Tower. In order to meet the earthquake code the stacked array is being reinforced with guy wires which are anchored at the top of the candelabra platforms. Dielectric specializes in tower top and tower stacks but the guy wire requirement is unique to Sutro Tower. The installation grows trickier given the densely-packed downtown residential neighborhood and busy streets surrounding the tower – a job that only a handful of specialized tall tower crews can accommodate.

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Each station chose to customize top-mount (slotted coaxial) designs to avoid possible interference between the antennas and the tower that could affect radiated patterns and power levels. Pelletier notes that the design offers the industry’s lowest windload – yet another critical consideration for this project.

Dielectric will also supply its auxiliary antenna (TLSV series) antenna, as part of an effective strategy to ensure a clean repack process with no off-air time.

“Since KGO is already operating in the VHF band, we will install an auxiliary antenna lower down on the tower that allows them to operate on channel 7,” Pelletier said. “That frees up the tower top and allows us to install KRON and KGO new antennas on top of the tower and allows KGO to remain on the air. Once that’s completed, KGO can move to its permanent antenna on top and Sutro Tower will remain outfitted with an auxiliary VHF antenna.”

Pelletier adds that as many as 50 of the 900 TV stations that Dielectric is assisting with repack have selected Dielectric’s stacked antenna array designs, which he calls a “Dielectric-developed specialty.” Dielectric will demonstrate its range of VHF repack antennas, including the THV Series, at the forthcoming 2019 NAB Show from April 8-11 in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Dielectric exhibits at Booth C2213.

Anevia and Infinitum Media offer world’s first On Demand TV service for hospitality

Anevia’s Flamingo head-end enables hotels to seamlessly receive linear channels over satellite, cable, DTT, and now even over the Internet. Hotels can thereby differentiate their service offerings by fulfilling special guest requests at any time. The head-end broadcasts the new channels instantly within the hotel, through the existing coax or Ethernet network to the rooms.

Infinitum Media provides a Cloud-based Content Management System, via a Web portal, with a portfolio of over 250 premium linear TV channels around the world. This system is fully integrated with Anevia’s Flamingo head-end and a hotel or its integrator can see what TV channels are available in their respective countries. Hotels can select their desired channels, which are instantly delivered to the hotel’s head-end and made available to hotel guests in their rooms.

The service is easily accessible to hotels that already use an Anevia head-end. They just need to ask Infinitum Media for a login code, select the channels and start viewing. The subscription package is completely flexible: the selected channels can be activated or de-activated per month, depending on hotel events or guests’ seasonal requirements.

Infinitum Media’s content portfolio is continuously growing and contains special interest channels, such as news & sports, fashion & lifestyle, finance, gaming, health, and music, as well as adult and religious content. Furthermore, it also offers a wide range of ethnic channels including Arabic, Caribbean, Chinese, Indian, Latin American, Ethiopian, German, Polish, Vietnamese and much more.

Ivonne Prugnaud, Vice President Sales Worldwide Enterprise at Anevia, commented: “Thanks to the integration with Infinitum Media’s On Demand TV portal, hotels can now enhance the guest experience by offering a wide choice of TV channels from all over the world, with cleared license rights.”

 

“Our partnership with Anevia is a perfect match since Anevia’s Flamingo is already deployed in thousands of hotels worldwide, with the ability to receive and stream IPTV channels,” added Julian Foxon, Co-Founder at Infinitum Media. “Hotels want to provide a home-away-from-home experience that satisfies their guests’ needs. With Infinitum Media’s CMS, we offer TV channels that really matter to guests. As the guest mix changes, the TV channel line-up evolves accordingly, to match the changing requirements.”

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Barix and digigram Partner to Unveil New Premium IP Audio Codecs for U.S. Radio Broadcasters

Market-leading audio innovators Barix and digigram are partnering to bring a new family of high-end Audio over IP (AoIP) codecs to the United States and South America. The new Barix XLINK by digigram series continues the two companies’ reputations for outstanding quality and reliability while providing advanced features for broadcasters including fault-tolerant redundancy. The new codecs will make their public debut in the Barix booth (C1139) at the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas from April 8 to 11.

Barix is well known by broadcasters for providing reliable, high-quality and affordable IP audio products backed by world-class technical support. Digigram has developed some of the most advanced AoIP codecs on the market, but is best known in the Americas for the quality and reliability of their professional sound cards. The two companies have worked together on occasional projects in the past, and are expanding their collaboration with the new Barix XLINK by digigram series.

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“Broadcasters love the reliability and cost-effectiveness of Barix products, which are used by thousands of customers every day,” said Reto Brader, CEO, Barix. “Some of their projects, however, require codecs that offer more redundancy and advanced technical features than we have offered in the past. We are excited to cooperate with digigram to bring this new product line to the U.S. and South America, where Barix has earned a strong reputation for our knowledge of the broadcast market and for exceeding customers’ support expectations. We have worked closely together to make sure that what we offer meets our standards for quality, local support and price-attractiveness. With the new line, Barix can now meet even the most demanding broadcast audio distribution requirements.”

Barix XLINK by digigram audio codecs are designed to provide reliable, 24/7/365 delivery of high-quality audio for studio-to-transmitter link (STL), studio-to-studio link (SSL), DVB audio and Internet Radio applications. Four 1U rack-mountable configurations let broadcasters choose exactly the right model for their audio infrastructure and application requirements:

  • The Barix XLINK ST by digigram delivers one stereo source (or two mono sources) over IP, and can be used in legacy analog, AES/EBU and all-IP (AES, Ravenna and Livewire standard mode) audio infrastructures.
  • The Barix XLINK DUAL by digigram provides two codecs in one, delivering two stereo sources (or four mono sources) over IP. It can be used in analog, AES/EBU and all-IP environments.
  • The Barix XLINK AES67 by digigram supports up to eight stereo inputs and outputs and is purpose-built for all-IP audio workflows.
  • The Barix XLINK LE by digigram is a streamlined stereo audio IP codec that is ideal for single-protocol streaming.

All Barix XLINK by digigram codecs feature redundant dual streaming technology, enabling reliable IP delivery over inexpensive IP connectivity. Four network ports on each unit enable full separation of IP traffic between local IP audio, dual streaming and remote management, while redundant internal power supplies ensure maximum reliability. Front-panel LEDs and VU meters allow fast and easy status monitoring, augmented by an LCD display and keypad on the ST, DUAL and AES67 configurations. The codecs’ powerful hardware platform and advanced processing engine enable simultaneous multi-format encoding on all four models, plus multi-protocol streaming on all but the LE version.

“We are pleased to be working with Barix to bring the new family of codecs to the U.S. market,” said Xavier Allanic, Regional Sales Manager EMEA/Americas, Digigram. “Our companies share the same commitment to quality and reliability, and Barix is well-positioned to provide the level of local support that broadcasters in the region require. Customers can trust Barix XLINK by digigram to deliver their audio reliably, letting them focus on what really matters: their content.”

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“We have invested heavily in developing this new product line, and Barix has all of the infrastructure required to support U.S. customers locally the way they are used to,” added Jérémie Weber, CEO, Digigram. “This combination two results in a real win-win solution for both companies and for all American radio broadcasters.”

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Remote Production Control Over IP Now Available with Commander UI for BPswitch Systems

The touchscreen control platform for BPswitch™ integrated production switchers now provides IP-based remote control of servers and robotic cameras, access to all workflow tools, and full-motion viewing of production elements through a standard internet connection. The company will demonstrate the new Commander capabilities at the 2019 NAB Show (Booth SL4210), which runs April 8-11 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Using Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or other web browsers, the Commander platform allows BPswitch customers to switch live productions from any location using a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Its streamlined user interface makes it easy to execute sophisticated productions or control PTZ cameras, and file-based macros allow scripted commands that produce complex combinations of on-screen elements with a single touch.

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Broadcast Pix Commander touchscreen control platform

“Many organizations have embraced touchscreens as the preferred method for switching live productions,” said Tony Mastantuono, product manager. “Commander has already helped change traditional video workflows in the control room. Now, it lets you move beyond your control room for IP-based remote control video production with your mobile device.”

Ideal for government, religious, corporate, and educational facilities, Commander allows live productions to be switched from a seat in the audience or a satellite facility across the country. The control-over-IP option offers low latency and is accessed through the BPNet™ IP ecosystem, which is powered through the ioGates cloud-based media management platform.

When connected to the internet outside of a LAN for remote access, a BPNet account routes control network traffic and live video through a secure “tunnel” to the remote browser. In a closed network environment using a LAN, Commander is accessed through a browser securely using passwords. Neither option requires a special router or firewall configuration.

With four models available, the BPswitch family of integrated production switchers offers up to 22 SDI inputs and 12 outputs, with up to eight internal channels for clips and graphics. All models include built-in NewBlueNTX multi-layer 3D motion graphics, dual-channel clip server, audio mixer, streaming to Facebook Live and other CDNs, recording, customizable multi-view, chromakey with virtual sets, and optional remote camera control.

Broadcast Pix Commander is a software-based option for all BPswitch systems and is available for $995. Another option, the BPcommand Toolkit, allows users to create and modify custom browser-based interfaces, so users can create an elaborate control screen for experienced TDs or a simple interface a novice can master in minutes. Broadcast Pix also offers a customization service.

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CP Communications Launches STREAM Family of Content Acquisition Solutions at 2019 NAB Show

CP Communications, a leader in innovative solutions and services for live event productions, will unveil its Red House Streaming brand of STREAM content acquisition packages at the 2019 NAB Show. The launch positions CP Communications as a leader in self-service content acquisition and streaming solutions for broadcasters, content creators and other media professionals with three distinct packages that cover single-camera shoots to larger multi-camera productions. CP Communications will demonstrate all three STREAM packages at the Mobile Viewpoint booth (C3307) as an official NAB Show co-exhibitor.

CP Communications has led the industry in RF-based live content acquisition for almost three decades, specializing in video and audio coverage for many of the world’s largest sports events. The company has increasingly adopted IP and bonded cellular technologies for content acquisition in recent years, in alignment with the industry’s shift toward IP and cloud-based workflows.

“The Red House Streaming brand is a natural evolution for CP Communications, due in large part to a convergence of many technologies and workflows in the broader marketplace,” said Jerry Gepner, COO, CP Communications. “Our STREAM solutions are a direct response to the changing content creation and distribution requirements taking shape around the industry as IP technology and cellular services become foundational in broadcast and production.”

The complete range of STREAM solutions to be introduced at NAB, all of which leverage Mobile Viewpoint solutions for multichannel signal encoding, include:

  • CamSTREAM: A single- or dual-camera acquisition system with streaming support over Ethernet, WiFi and bonded cellular service. CamSTREAM is an ideal plug-and-play, broadcast-quality solution for unattended operations including corporate events, distance learning, worship services, and modest TV studio productions.
  • MultiCam STREAM: A scalable multi-camera acquisition camera system for live-streamed and at-home productions, MultiCam STREAM elevates productions with support for four cameras, 32 audio channels and data (including return tally and four-wire intercom) in the base configuration. All camera feeds are simultaneously ingested into the system, and can be decoded and delivered to service providers as individual SDI feeds or a multiplexed single stream.
  • Production STREAM: Multi-camera flypack acquisition system for on-site and remote productions with larger I/O signal requirements. All-in-one system integrates Simplylive video switching and Dante-enabled audio mixing from Presonus to support more traditional broadcast and production workflows, with tally and four-wire intercom support.

The Red House Streaming brand represents CP Communications’ strategic direction as both a supplier and service provider, with options to rent or purchase any of the three STREAM packages. CP Communications’ remote production teams will also use the STREAM systems for content acquisition and live event services, including at-home productions that originate from the company’s new St. Petersburg, Florida studio.

Gepner adds that the STREAM packages eliminate the need for customers to assemble systems across multiple vendors and service providers. Simple to deploy and control, the packages can be set up in a matter of minutes, without a significant monetary investment in system design and specification, integration and commissioning.

“By offering packaged solutions that are flexible and often scalable, we enable our customers to produce more content at lower prices and without time-consuming engineering challenges,” said Gepner. “The STREAM family is aimed to serve virtually any content acquisition and live production need, and will be especially attractive for businesses that lack the in-house resources to put together a purpose-built solution.”

CP Communications will demonstrate all three packages operating off four live Sony cameras in the Mobile Viewpoint booth throughout the 2019 NAB Show, which takes place April 8-11 in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Towers of Power: Litepanels’ Gemini Lights Up the Stars of ITV Hit Series ‘Dancing on Ice’

For the latest series, the show’s producers turned to an innovative new lighting strategy — 40 Gemini panels mounted on five towers around the on-set ice rink.

DOI features celebrities and their professional partners figure skating competitively in front of an all-star judging panel. The 11th series premiered in early January with contestants ranging from actors and reality TV stars to musicians and athletes. Controlled with a remote lighting console, the Geminis provide outstanding color accuracy and the flexibility to apply different effects and intensities in an instant.

“I’ve been a satisfied Litepanels customer for a long time, and I still have quite a few earlier-generation Litepanels LEDs in my kit. Litepanels was the first company to come out with a 1×1 panel with consistent broadcast-quality color rendition, and they’ve really raised the bar on 2×1 panels with Gemini,” said Roger Laxon, “Dancing on Ice” director of photography. “For DOI, we knew the Geminis would be perfect for helping us execute on our new creative vision in a way that could meet our extremely tight timeframe and budget.”

Laxon and DOI producer Sam Rees-Jones enlisted gaffer Daf Cook to help them turn their vision for the tower-mounted Geminis into reality. Cook then contacted Nick Edwards, managing director of Version 2, a UK-based rental house that had recently added a large quantity of Gemini 2×1 Soft LEDs to its inventory. Version 2 supplied a complete lighting and rigging package, including 40 Gemini 2×1 Soft LED panels.

The ingenious lighting design includes five towers with eight stacked Gemini LED panels on each tower. Cook is able to control the lights’ colors, intensity, and effects using a HedgeHog 4X console from High End Systems. This makes it easy to adapt the lighting from show to show as required by Laxon and director Dave Sutton.

“The light towers were a fairly big departure from our traditional approach to lighting DOI, but everyone on the production has been really pleased with the result. The Geminis have performed perfectly, and we really appreciate the support we have received from Nick and Version 2 in providing a one-stop shop for the lights,” Cook said. “Any other 2×1 LED would have required a lot more structural rigging for this configuration. But the Geminis are ideal because of their light weight and their built-in power supply, which made them much easier to rig high up on the towers.”

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Behind the scenes of the U.K.’s popular Dancing on Ice program. Photo(s) Courtesy of ITV.

Laxon added, “The Gemini’s gel, HSI, and CCT modes mean we can dial in any color we like without having to apply gels to the lights physically. In an instant, Daf can fine-tune the intensity of the colors to get the exact effect we’re going for, and in a hue that looks best on screen. There’s no way we would have had this kind of flexibility using gels.”

 

Byron Brown, product manager, Litepanels, commented, “Speed is always critical on any production, and Gemini is the complete package: a soft light that can be rigged extremely fast and in many different and complex configurations, but also provides outstanding and consistent color accuracy for any type of film or video project. The new season of DOI is a great example, and we’re very proud that Gemini is playing such an innovative role.”

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Digital Nirvana at the 2019 NAB Show

MonitorIQ 6.0

MonitorIQ is a broadcast-monitoring solution from Digital Nirvana that offers services such as signal and loudness monitoring, air-check logging, competitive analysis, and content repurposing. The solution is Linux-based for secure scalability.

This highly efficient solution automatically records and monitors linear and/or OTT streams and alerts for loss of video, audio, or closed captions. Some of its features include live streaming and recording, SmartSearch, SmartAlerts, and frame-accurate cut clip editing with an option for variable-speed playback. The new UI provides an improved user experience and features a built-in HTML5 player that eliminates the need to install Flash or ActiveX.

Additional features and capabilities of MonitorIQ include:

  • Highly secure Linux based system
  • Record content 24×7 or by program guide
  • Reliable, scalable client/server architecture for multichannel deployment
  • Expandable storage via NAS Connect
    Ability to analyze the transport stream (TR 101 290), visualize stream errors in real time, and trigger alerts
  • Fast frame-accurate clipping with custom metadata annotations
  • Fast search on all system metadata including CC text, as-run log, traffic system, and custom metadata
  • Display of SCTE 104 and SCTE 35 markers in the editor window to help with insertion, replacement, or removal of portions of the original content and repurposing of the end
  • HD/SD, ASI, QAM, ATSC, HDMI inputs in a single server

Backed by 24/7 worldwide support.

Metadator 2.0

Digital Nirvana’s Metadator 2.0 is a secure, scalable software-as-a-service platform that automates the process of metadata generation for production, pre-production, and live content.

Metadator 2.0 includes an off-the-shelf integration with AVID Interplay for automated speech-to-text generation that simplifies the process of automated transcription and metadata generation with locators for AVID users. The application, integrated with video intelligence, is capable of object identification, on-screen text recognition, shot-change recognition, and explicit content detection.

Metadator 2.0 automates the entire process of transcription and metadata generation for AVID-based assets. It provides an opportunity to maintain consistent metadata, thereby facilitating faster time to market by ensuring relevant assets get identified faster. Metadator 2.0 automatically generates locators that help users to search and identify content effortlessly within AVID.

Caption Quality Check

To resolve the inherent technical complexities involved with producing closed captions for different distribution channels, Digital Nirvana is launching Caption Quality Check, an application built with content producers in mind. Some of the product’s key features include reporting operational and technical non-conformance, automatic corrections, format conversion, and frame-rate conversion.

Caption Quality Check accepts different file formats (such as SCC, SRT, EBU-STL, WebVTT, SMPTE-TT, and JSON) as inputs via the portal, S3 bucket, and APIs. Users can choose from a combination of automatic and manual services to ensure premium-quality output and receive publish-ready captions in the formats requested for distribution via various platforms, including OTT and VOD.

The design of the Caption Quality Check service improves overall user experience. Its simplified, automated, and customized workflow allows customers to automate their requests and work-order assignments to maximize productivity.

Closed Caption Generation

Digital Nirvana offers postproduction captioning services with near-live and weekly turnaround options for a variety of video formats. The platform can take in video in a variety of formats and provide output caption files in multiple formats as specified by the customer. Secure protocol implementation, with layers of security, helps with the safe transfer of content into the cloud and back again. The speech-to-text (STT) integration helps transcript editors receive output from an automated system for further editing for higher accuracy. Adoption of STT makes the work process more efficient, thereby saving a great deal of labor and ensuring faster turnarounds while also handling increased volumes. The processed files are passed on to the caption editors, who edit the content based on the guidelines prescribed by the customer/regulation. Files are prioritized based on turnarounds and skill-set requirements. Upon request, Digital Nirvana will provide preliminary files in the form of direct output from the STT engine. Customers can opt for caption files in multiple formats for the same video asset, which in turn can be published over multiple platforms including OTT, VOD, and social media.

Caption Synchronization

Digital Nirvana’s Closed Caption Synchronization is a secure, scalable solution-as-a-service platform that automates the process of repurposing closed captions.

With the capability to receive and deliver content in multiple input and output formats, the Closed Caption Synchronization workflow is integrated with speech-to-text technology, helping to accurately identify lost or unsynchronized captions. High-quality, accurate, and time-synchronized captions help enhance the user experience across platforms.