Tightrope’s Cablecast Community Media to Preview New Direct-to-VOD OTT Workflow at 2019 NAB Show

Visitors to Tightrope Media Systems’ 2019 NAB Show suite at the Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel (Hospitality Suite 739) can experience a sneak preview of upcoming direct-to-consumer publishing features that bring the Cablecast Community Media platform’s rich online and OTT distribution capabilities to a broader range of content producers. Building on Cablecast’s robust, efficient workflow for automating everything from cable playback to streaming delivery, version 6.7 brings turnkey VOD and live stream publishing for the web and OTT to customers such as schools and local governments even if they don’t operate a cable channel. Significantly, Cablecast 6.7’s publishing workflows enable users to maintain control of the presentation of their content in ways not possible with popular third-party services.

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The new standalone online and OTT publishing capabilities continue the company’s proven history of empowering community content providers with streamlined workflows for reaching ‘cord-cutters’ and other audiences on non-traditional viewing devices. Recent Cablecast multi-platform delivery advances included last year’s release of Cablecast Screenweave for effortlessly reaching users of popular OTT player appliances, and enhanced-quality 1080p adaptive bitrate VOD and live streaming delivery.

“For many years, we have been building up our turnkey web video features and Cablecast Reflect content delivery network to help traditional community cable broadcasters keep up with growing trends in on-demand and streaming consumption,” said Steve Israelsky, President, Cablecast Community Media. “For stations that are restricted to SD cable distribution and omitted from electronic program guides, our online and OTT features have given them feature and video quality parity with major commercial networks. But content creation and distribution has become such an important part of every industry and institution that with version 6.7, we want to help more new content providers be successful – even those without cable channels.”

Cablecast 6.7’s new digital file upload feature enables content managers to copy media files onto their server from anywhere. Combining previously separate operational steps, users can add metadata information at the same time they submit the content files through a single, unified interface page. Meanwhile, a new thumbnail selection feature lets users scrub through their video clip to select a promotional image for display in program schedules on Cablecast-powered public websites and VOD content libraries – thus ensuring a professional look while avoiding the need to create or upload an external graphic.

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Unlike most popular, free, web-based distribution platforms, Cablecast’s online and OTT content presentations do not insert unwanted advertising in front of producers’ videos, nor suggest third-party content – completely out of the control of the producer – to viewers upon completion of the program.

“This is important for government and educational customers who don’t want unrelated, problematic, or commercial content being shown in conjunction with a city council meeting or daily lesson,” explained Israelsky.

Cablecast 6.7 with the new standalone VOD publishing functionality is slated for release in May. Content producers and community broadcasters interested in version 6.7 or other new Cablecast introductions can schedule an NAB Show meeting with the Cablecast Community Media team.

“Combining these new features with our turnkey website and OTT publishing tools for dynamically updating content libraries, version 6.7 offers a very compelling alternative to other web-based video distribution options,” concluded Israelsky. “We’re excited to let people get their hands on it at the NAB Show, and for them to provide us with feedback as we finalize it.”

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Newtec collaborates with Arabsat to successfully deploy Newtec Dialog® hubs in Europe

Newtec announced it has successfully deployed two Newtec Dialog® hubs in the UK and Finland for Middle East satellite operator Arabsat to enable the company to deliver High Throughput Satellite (HTS) services into the Middle East and African markets.

Arabsat is the leading satellite service provider in the Arab world and has been serving the region with its telecommunications and broadcast services for more than 40 years. Despite the complexity of the project, and the many elements involved to bring it to completion, the commitment from both companies further reinforced the strong partnership that exists between Newtec and Arabsat, established over many years.

The contract, that will enable Arabsat to deliver a new suite of services including Enterprise and VNO services, IP Trunking and Mobile Backhaul for 3G and 4G services, was signed in September last year and the first hub was installed in December 2018.

“Both our teams worked tirelessly and collaborated with goodwill and professionalism to ensure that the project was completed on time and on budget to Arabsat’s exact requirements,” said Sander Boom, Chief Operations Officer at Newtec. “I was impressed with the way in which our teams worked through any challenges together with one aim – to get the job done and to enable Arabsat to extend its service portfolio.”

The Network Operations Center (NOC), recently installed at Arabsat’s subsidiary Hellasat, in Athens, will see Arabsat able to reach all platforms and remote sites with its services. In combination with a variety of Newtec’s DVB-S2X Wideband modems, the Newtec Dialog platform will enable Arabsat to offer vertical-specific solutions to deliver the best connectivity experience for any satellite application.

Wael Al-Buti, VP & Chief Commercial Officer at Arabsat, said: “I’d like to thank the team from Arabsat and Newtec for a job well done – the level of collaboration to execute the project with its challenging timeframe is truly exemplary. Our partnership with Newtec is vital for our growth and enables delivery of truly customized services for Arabsat customers.”

Newtec Dialog is a multiservice VSAT platform which enables operators to build and adapt satellite networking infrastructures according to specific needs. With Newtec’s modems, it provides a choice of three return technologies, including MF-TDMA, SCPC and Newtec’s unique, dynamic Mx-DMA® which combines the best qualities of both to provide dynamic bandwidth allocation with the highest level of efficiency.

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MultiDyne Strengthens OTT and IPTV Presence with New Compression Series at 2019 NAB Show

MultiDyne Fiber Optic Solutions will officially enter the compression market at the 2019 NAB Show with a specialized range of professional, broadcast-quality encoders and decoders for streaming media workflows. To be unveiled at the MultiDyne booth (C5013), the new MD9200 range strengthens the company’s value proposition with OTT and IPTV service providers moving SD, HD and 4K/UHD content over public and private IP and fiber networks.

The initial MD9200 series consists of encoders and decoders in stand-alone, desktop configurations, and in the popular openGear card module form-factor. The openGear encoding and decoding modules are compatible with the broader openGear community of infrastructure products. Both encoder models enable highly secure streaming from one to many destinations, supporting virtually any mix of streaming protocols. Each independent encoder configuration accommodates unique frame size, frame rate, video/audio codecs and data configurations, and can independently encode separately HD and SD streams at high and low bit rates from a single SDI input.

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All MD9200 series products deliver exceptional bandwidth efficiency while maintaining signal integrity and visual quality. Both decoders optimize 1080P AVC (H.264) and 1080i MPEG-2 compression, with optional support for very high bit-rate 2160P HEVC (H265) UHD streams. When using the OpenGear decoder (MD9200-DEC-OG), customers can house up to 20 decoding modules in a single 2RU openGear chassis for high-density signal de-compression to SDI and HDMI. The standalone MD9200-DEC delivers the same operational benefits and visual quality for point-to-point streaming.

The MD9200 series will provide exceptional value in IP-based contribution applications for news, sports and studio links, according to Jesse Foster, MultiDyne’s Director of Product Development and Western Region Sales. Foster also sees opportunity for MultiDyne to provide value to content delivery and digital signage networks, with support for CDN transcoding, on-demand playback and 4K/UHD content looping among other applications.

“These products are built to both serve content over OTT, CDN and IPTV networks, from moving signals to executives suites in venues, to delivering HLS streams to YouTube or mobile phones for viewing or signal monitoring purposes,” said Foster. “We also see tremendous opportunity for our core customer base working on mobile production trucks, rental houses and in remote locations to contribute or backhaul content more efficiently over IP. These are all compact, lightweight, and low-power products that will solve problems for broadcast engineers, IT technicians and other users, especially as more broadcasters and service providers adopt HEVC compression.”

Foster adds that MultiDyne’s engineering team has emphasized network security in the product design, providing systems integrators and IT professionals with peace of mind that their networks and content are safe from outside intrusion. That security, plus an attractive price point and broad feature set, provide exceptional value for any customer.

“The MD9200 line-up brings together a very broad array of streaming and protocol transmission capabilities while addressing visual quality, signal latency and total cost of ownership,” said Foster. “This series represents an important new direction for MultiDyne that will continue to grow yet interoperate with our core fiber transport systems, while also helping users prepare for the specialized compression needs of UHD formats now and moving forward.”

MultiDyne will demonstrate the MD9200 series products in various configurations alongside its range of fiber transport and conversion products at NAB, taking place April 8-11 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Acrodyne announces more sales of PROGIRA® plan software to us broadcast consulting community

Representatives of both companies recently completed a four-day training session with Mats Ek, PROGIRA, and Bill Soreth, Acrodyne Services, in Baltimore. “As more and more US Broadcasters make plans to launch ATSC 3.0, the need for an effective solution to predict true reception probabilities throughout a service area has become paramount,” said Andy Whiteside, General Manager of Acrodyne Services and President of Dielectric.

ATSC 3.0 has much more flexibility than ATSC 1.0 to select signal configurations to suit multiple end use cases with different reception robustness. The software, which includes CRC-Predict, and other propagation models, has proven to be more realistic in predicting field strength. It can also be used to evaluate reception probability for a variety of receive conditions, including fixed, mobile and indoor situations, from a conventional single stick broadcast facility or a Single Frequency Network (SFN).

“We are seeing much more interest in SFN applications using ATSC 3.0, which likely explains the increase in requests we have received about the software,” said Whiteside. “We are delighted to have two such well-respected engineering companies select PROGIRA® plan for their ATSC 3.0 planning needs.”

 

Dennis Wallace, Managing Partner of MSW, commented: “Meintel, Sgrignoli, & Wallace is pleased to add PROGIRA® plan to our SFN design tool arsenal. Many broadcasters are exploring the addition of SFNs as part of their ATSC 3.0 planning. The PROGIRA® plan software enables us to provide efficient and accurate propagation prediction modeling, including identifying and eliminating SFN self-interference, thus facilitating our design of SFN’s to meet clients’ coverage and service goals.”

 

Bill Godfrey of Kessler and Gehman Associates (KGA) added: “It was difficult to pull away from the office for four days of training in another state with the repack at full throttle; but there is an extraordinary level of interest in ATSC 3.0 and SFNs, since this is the future of broadcast. The objective is always to provide “real-world” engineering based on actual measurements rather than predictions, and that is why we made the commitment to purchase the PROGIRA® plan software and attend the training. Since the training took place several weeks ago, we have already completed multiple rounds of studies for a five-station, ATSC 3.0 SFN in a major market and we have additional markets in the queue. The level of training provided by the Progira and Acrodyne staff allowed us to ramp-up quickly and our clients are extremely pleased since most of them are ready to get started immediately”.

 

Ryan Wilhour, also of KGA, commented: “PROGIRA® plan hosts a wide and sophisticated array of intuitive radio frequency engineering tools for the design professional, and integrates very nicely with the ESRI’s ArcMap native functions.”

Visit Acrodyne Services and Progira at NAB 2019 on the Dielectric Booth – C2213

GovTV Anchors Remote Turnkey Video Production for City of Lancaster with Broadcast Pix

The city is GovTV’s first client to use a new IP-based workflow operated from about 170 miles away at the company’s offices.

GovTV is owned by Pacific Design and Integration, a full service systems integrator with extensive experience in broadcast, houses of worship, and government projects. When PDI acquired GovTV in 2015, it inherited a production platform based around a serial control system that, while functional, had issues with internet connectivity and latency that delayed camera control and switching.

“We made it work,” recalled Bob Anderson, president and CEO of GovTV, “but we were always looking for something that would be more of an IP system.”

After extensive research, GovTV developed a new workflow last year built around the BPswitch. The company launched its new system for Lancaster at end of December, and quickly received positive feedback from city personnel.

“Now, we can instantly cut to the person speaking, so there’s no need to go to a wide shot when we’re following a conversation,” Anderson said. “It’s made a huge difference for us and exceeded our expectations.”

GOV_TV_San_Diego_1Master control is housed in San Diego. According to Steve Sagday, CTO of GovTV, operators use a traditional Broadcast Pix control surface to switch the live meetings, and can also control and monitor client productions through the Broadcast Pix Commander™ browser-based user interface. A dedicated VPN connects GovTV to its client, allowing system and robotic camera control (as well as seamless insertion into live programming) from San Diego. BPNet™, BPswitch’s integrated cloud-based video workflow service, provides a virtual backup to the VPN.

Lancaster operates LTV, a PEG channel on Spectrum Cable and AT&T that is also streamed by Granicus. LTV programming is played out on a Leightronix Nexus, which allows GovTV to cut into the channel remotely from San Diego with live meetings. The BPswitch mainframe, located in Lancaster, has dedicated inputs for five cameras connected via SDI, plus an electronic voting system, scan converter to display PC-based PowerPoint presentations, and a dedicated video calling system for Skype. The system operates in 1080i HD with SD downconversion for the cable feeds.

The new system also utilizes BPswitch’s integrated NewBlueNTX multi-layer 3D motion graphics, along with BPfusion software for template-based CG creation, to display agenda items and lower-thirds. “We’re really surprised at the flexibility we have,” added Sagday. “Broadcast Pix is making it more cost effective and efficient for our clients.”

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With the Lancaster launch deemed a success, GovTV is now looking to aggressively grow its business with its BPswitch IP-based workflow model. “We take government entities out of the broadcast business and allow them to fully focus on the business of government,” said Anderson. “We have confidence this system is viable and we won’t have latency issues like we did in the past.”

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ASG Boosts Audio Solutions Team with Industry Veteran Michael Groh

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Michael Groh

In addition to being an enterprise-level Avid solutions provider, ASG offers comprehensive audio system design and installation services as part of its overall editorial, shared storage, and other media and entertainment offerings.

Since 2001, Groh has handled sales, operations, and purchasing for digital audio and DAWs for Cutting Edge Audio & Video Group. Previously, he spent five years as the director of channel marketing for Thinkware. He has also held sales and marketing positions with Modulus Graphite, Atari Corporation, and Rowe Marketing.

“Our team places a strong emphasis on audio solutions, and Michael has extensive experience in digital and analog audio solutions for broadcast, post-production, and other markets,” said Dave Van Hoy, president of ASG. “We are happy to have Michael join us to help us serve the audio community even better.”

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MX1 Teams Up With IMS Productions to Distribute IndyCar Series Broadcasts

Over the next three INDYCAR seasons, IMS Productions will be responsible for transmitting all NTT IndyCar Series races to international rights holders in more than 80 countries around the globe, and MX1 will provide both operational support and distribution services.

“We are excited for the opportunity to work with IMS Productions and distribute content for INDYCAR, the world’s fastest and most diverse racing series,” said Susanna Mandell Montello, Vice President of Global Sports at MX1. “MX1’s satellite distribution business is used by many big-name broadcasters in the sports environment and has gained a stellar reputation for reliability and worldwide coverage.”

IMS Productions will provide technical and engineering expertise and facilities for the creation of INDYCAR content and utilize its C- and Ku-band uplinks for the first mile of distribution, at which point, MX1 will seamlessly receive the feed and distribute it to the world.

IMS Productions is a long-established leader in broadcasting sporting events such as the NTT IndyCar Series and Professional Bull Riders (PBR). By providing media professionals with state-of-the-art broadcast-quality cameras and other cost-effective equipment, IMS Productions brings efficiency and cost savings to sports production.

MX1 is a leading media services provider with a global network that covers downlink/uplink and turnaround services from over 150 satellite platforms. With media centers located on three continents, MX1 will enable INDYCAR to access and distribute its content to even the most remote areas of the world.

“At IMS Productions, we pride ourselves on providing customers with a complete production solution, including mobile units, content services, and transmission services,” said Kevin Sublette, President at IMS Productions. “By collaborating with MX1, an expert in delivering flexible services that cut through transmission complexities, we can help INDYCAR distribute its racing content with the ultimate reliability and global reach that is imperative for live sports.”

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