GatesAir Transitions MediaWorks New Zealand to Uncompressed Audio over IP Networking

GatesAir, a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for TV and radio broadcasters, has transitioned longtime customer MediaWorks, a New Zealand-based television, radio and interactive media company, to an uncompressed Audio over IP networking architecture. The new transport solution keeps all signals in the digital domain and streamlines signal delivery, at once improving audio quality, reducing system complexity, and lowering the costs of live distribution linking across a single-frequency FM radio network (SFN).

Specifically upgrading the transport infrastructure of MediaWorks Radio’s iconic commercial brand, The Sound, the project refines and enhances the delivery of program audio from its studio in Ponsonby, Auckland, to synchronous transmitters on 93.8MHz FM at Auckland’s Sky Tower and Mount Ruru in the Waikato region. GatesAir’s regional channel partner Gencom Technology provided all presales design support, working with GatesAir product specialists and MediaWorks engineers to develop the now-live IP-based configuration.

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Mark Simpson, Account Manager, Transmission and Distribution Systems at Gencom Technology, confirms that migration from a more complex legacy TDM networking infrastructure was the “prime catalyst” for the upgrade. The complete solution leverages Intraplex IP Link MPXp codecs with built-in SynchroCast technology to transport FM baseband and manage local ad insertions across its single-frequency transmission network (SFN), with Flexiva FAX50 exciters to support FM radio signal generation at each transmission site. The modernized design eliminates the need to transport program audio to a separate studio for local ad insertions.

“The migration from older E1 linking technology to IP, while partially prompted by the recent availability of the latter, also enabled simplification of the routing for the Auckland transmitter as it now comes directly from the Auckland studio,” said Simpson. “This eliminates signal drops and vulnerability issues of the legacy architecture, which required Mediaworks to route the Auckland program to Hamilton for local ad insertion. The synchronous performance across the SFN has been outstanding, and Mediaworks reports excellent audio quality and stability from the next-generation Flexiva exciters.”

Ray Smith, Transmission Manager for MediaWorks New Zealand, correlates the audio quality improvements with the flexibility of MPX over IP transport. The IP Link MPXp codecs support AES192 digital signal transport, which minimizes analog-to-digital conversions and positions all audio processing and limiting functions at the studio. The latter removes audio adjustment requirements at the transmitter sites.

“By leveraging AES192, we can maintain high-end digital audio quality throughout the entire chain all the way to the exciter,” said Smith. “Uncompressed MPX over IP transport ensures that the transmitters can be fully modulated without any decibel overshoot generated by compression algorithms. The average audio levels are higher, which means the transmitted signal offers the best possible audio quality that FM radio can offer.”

The SFN covers Auckland City and hilltop site Mount Ruru, which transmits the station’s signal throughout the city of Hamilton and a large portion of the rural Waikato province. Simpson adds that the IP Link MPXp codecs have introduced a “significant cost benefit” across the expansive SFN by transitioning from expensive E1 circuits to IP, with an expected ROI of three to four years.

“Audio over IP adoption continues to accelerate as more broadcasters report on its operational benefits and reliability as a transport platform,” said Rich Redmond, President and Managing Director, International for GatesAir. “We are grateful to report the success of MediaWorks New Zealand’s migration to IP and their anticipated return on investment, as well as the professionalism and technical expertise of our partners at Gencom Technology.”

OneSoccer to air live coverage of League1 Ontario Men’s and Women’s championship finals

OneSoccer, the 24/7 platform devoted to delivering world-class dedicated Canadian soccer coverage and content, adds the League1 Ontario Championship Finals to its portfolio of domestic soccer content, including all Canadian Premier League matches, the home matches of Canada Soccer’s Men’s and Women’s National Teams and all 24 matches of the 2019 Canadian Championships.

The Women’s Championship Final kicks off on Saturday August 31 at 7pm at the Ontario Soccer Centre (7601 Martin Grove Road, Woodbridge), and will be produced for live domestic and international broadcast on OneSoccer by MEDIAPRO. The final will feature Oakville Blue Devils FC and FC London, winners of the League1 Championship semi-finals contested over two legs earlier this month.

The Men’s Championship Final will air on OneSoccer on Friday September 27 at 8pm when the two finalists meet after an eight-team group contest a playoff format of two-leg quarter-final and semi-final rounds later this month and in early September.

  “Showcasing our 2019 League1 Ontario Championship Finals on OneSoccer is a great opportunity,” said League1 Ontario Commissioner Dino Rossi Jr. “We will be able to bring League1 to a new and bigger audience than we’ve ever been able to reach in the past, expanding awareness of our league and the wealth of talent within it. ”OneSoccer is available to stream at OneSoccer.ca and through the OneSoccer app on the following streaming devices: iOS, Android, Apple TV and Roku. Further information on the OneSoccer brand and its features are available at onesoccer.ca.

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FOR-A to Intro Advanced 12G Tech and Showcase Live Production Systems Used by Universities

As evidenced with the introduction of new technology that supports uncompressed 12G video streams, FOR-A® continues to push the envelope of what’s possible. At IBC 2019, the company will introduce an optional IP interface card for its 3 M/E HANABI HVS-6000 vision mixer and 2 M/E HANABI HVS-6000M vision mixer that provides 25G input/output capability. FOR-A will also showcase its HANABI HVS-1200, a compact 4K/HD compatible vision mixer that supports 12G-SDI, and the new Envivo Studio – an all-in-one live production system.

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IBC 2019 will be held from September 13-17th at the RAI Amsterdam. FOR-A will exhibit in Hall 2, Stand A51.

The new HVS-6000IP-8IO card provides the HVS-6000 and HVS-6000M vision mixer with 25G IP input/output capability. With it, the HVS-6000/6000M can convert IP inputs to SDI, or SDI to IP outputs. It removes the need for IP gateways in hybrid IP/SDI systems and supports as many uncompressed video streams as 12G-SDI can send and receive. Eight uncompressed 4K UHD streams can be processed per card, with input/output parameters set within each SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) port. SMPTE ST 2022 and ST 2110 standards are currently supported. Control protocols to be supported include the Ember+ protocol and the AMWA NMOS IS-04/05 network control API’s.

In addition to offering 12G-SDI capability on all inputs and outputs, this 12G-SDI vision mixer uses a single cable link. Video signals are processed throughout as a single image. The HVS-6000 is a 12 RU vision mixer, with a maximum of 80 inputs/32 outputs or 64 inputs/48 outputs. The HVS-6000M is a 7 RU vision mixer with a maximum of 32 inputs/24 outputs. Designed for use in 4K UHD systems in the same manner as HD systems, both mixers provide the same number of inputs/outputs, M/E’s and keyers with 4K and HD operations.

The HANABI HVS-1200, a compact 4K/HD compatible vision mixer, will be on display at IBC as a package supporting 12G-SDI – with the MFR-1000 routing switcher offering 12G-SDI compatibility across a matrix of up to 16 inputs/16 outputs. The HVS-1200 vision mixer is ideal for applications such as: live staging, event productions, OB vans, house of worship, and in flypacks. The integrated HVS-1200/MFR-1000 combination creates a compact and affordable 12G-SDI/4K production system. The HVS-1200 also utilizes a single cable for image processing and is configurable as both a 12G-SDI/4K and as a 3G-SDI/HD vision mixer.

Envivo for-a

Being shown for the first time in Europe are the Envivo Studio production suite and Envivo Replay sports and live event replay solution from Variant Systems Group. Introduced at NAB 2019, Variant Systems’ Envivo Studio is an all-in-one live production system that includes a clip player, still store, shot box, and powerful capabilities, including:

  • Live switcher (cut camera inputs)
  • Internal keyer (multi-layer overlay)
  • Switcher support (key/fill)
  • Drive multiple venue screens (IMAG)
  • VDCP control
  • 24hr loop record inputs
  • Built-in slow-motion replay
  • Coaching review tool
  • Time shift

Envivo Replay offers a complete replay solution packaged in an intuitive user interface with continuous multiple iso-channel recording capabilities, simultaneous clip storage of multiple angles to clip bins, playlists for highlights playback, built-in branding capabilities, direct publishing to social media platforms, and support for high speed super slow-motion cameras. Both Envivo systems will be shown with a Dante® audio interface, enabling the systems to support uncompressed, multi-channel, low latency digital audio over a standard Ethernet network. Studio and Replay also support NDI® (Network Device Interface), a free protocol for Video-Over-IP, developed by NewTek.

Western Michigan University (WMU) uses two Envivo Replay systems for social media branding and video playout. Envivo Replay captures slow motion footage of the school’s Division I football team for in-stadium replays and streaming coverage to ESPN and ESPN+. UCLA Athletics uses Envivo Replay to help analyze player performance during team practice.

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Interra Systems IBC2019 Show Exhibitor Preview

At IBC2019, Interra Systems will demonstrate how its world-class solutions are driving superior-quality video experiences on multiscreen platforms, an absolutely critical benchmark for success in today’s highly competitive market. Attendees can see Interra Systems’ full range of content quality control (QC), monitoring, analysis, and classification solutions that streamline content management, improve efficiencies, and provide exceptional audio-video quality on every device. Software-driven solutions provide content creators and distributors with the flexibility to deploy in the cloud or on-premises.

Assure Superior-Quality Streaming Media With BATON ABR QC and ORION-OTT

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Interra Systems will demonstrate its BATON ABR QC and ORION-OTT monitoring solutions, which set the industry benchmark for delivering high-quality streamed video. In a streaming media workflow, for large volumes of VOD files encoded at different bit rates, BATON’s comprehensive QC, including ABR-specific checks, ensures that the prepared content meets service provider and end-user quality expectations. ORION-OTT can be used to proactively perform HTTP checks and monitor the quality of each stream.

Boost the Quality of VOD and Live Event Streaming With ORION-OTT

ORION-OTT improves the quality of VOD content and live event streaming with thorough ABR manifest file validation, audio-video checks, and real-time alerts. Support for the latest standards in closed captions and ad insertion offers broadcasters and service providers the necessary tools for compliance and monetization.

In addition, Interra Systems will showcase its ORION real-time content monitoring and video analysis for linear channels. Created for IP-based delivery infrastructures, ORION provides operations groups with a powerful yet economical monitoring and troubleshooting platform that looks at all aspects of video streams, such as QoS, QoE, closed captions, and ad-insertion verification.

New Enhancements in OCM for End-to-End Visibility, Management, and Control of Linear and ABR Services
ORION Central Manager (OCM) provides an aggregated view of linear and OTT services based on monitoring data collected by ORION and ORION-OTT. The result: unprecedented visibility and power for proactive monitoring. Service providers only need to look at one screen for alerts and QoE information on each video, ensuring fast and efficient resolution of issues. Major enhancements for OCM will be shown at IBC2019, including a new architecture that enables near-real-time updates, real-time status of all channels across the network, channel performance trends, and executive reports.

Automate and Simplify Any QC Workflow With BATON

Major new updates to BATON will be shown, including BATON LipSync, an automated tool for lip sync detection and verification of audio with captions, as well as photosensitive epilepsy (PSE) testing and correction. In addition, BATON includes support for the VAST format, HDR quality checks, and setup in Amazon cloud and on-premises, as well as improved audio language and caption detection capabilities.

The latest version of BATON supports integration with WINNOW, the company’s new solution for content classification and identification. Powered by AI/ML technologies, WINNOW can detect and tag content for violence, strong language, alcohol, guns, and more based on user-defined rules. By making it easier to prepare content for different target markets and geographies, WINNOW helps video service providers and increases workflow efficiency.

Assure Standards Compliance, Debugging With World-Class VEGA Media Analyzers

Interra Systems’ VEGA media analyzer is a premier tool for standards compliance, debugging, and in-depth analysis of encoded streams. Recent updates to the VEGA family include support for the AV1 format with buffer analysis, JPEG format, and OGG streams. Using this indispensable tool, video service providers can easily check the quality and integrity of manifest files and variants.

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Belarus TV elevates European Games 2019 live production

With 15 sports attracting more than 4,000 participating athletes, the European Games is one of world sports’ largest competitions. ISB was appointed the main contractor, producing the world feed from the Belarusian capital Minsk.

ISB’s mobile production called on Belarus TV’s mobile production resources to cover the opening and closing ceremonies and the event’s most important games, including OB Vans and support vans. Belarus TV deployed the flightcase studios for the unilateral signals. All of the OB Vans are newly commissioned and were developed and delivered by German system integration company Broadcast Solutions at the beginning of this year. During the Games, Broadcast Solutions provided production support with dedicated specialists that monitored the production and technology.

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“We are very happy to support ISB producing the TV-programme for one of the most prestigious sports events that took place in Belarus so far, especially as a Belarusian company,” says Alexey Washjurine, Deputy CTO of Belarus TV. “ISB’s trust in our teams and the newly acquired production tools validates our decision to invest in mobile production tools from Broadcast Solutions. During the event the OB Vans worked smoothly and Broadcast Solutions’ support on-site was just perfect.“

Each mobile production set comprises an 18-camera HD OB Van, a four-camera HD flightcase studio and a support vehicle. All four OB Vans have an identical design and work as 20-ton semitrailers with two extensions and up to 18 cameras operating in HD – two wireless, two SuperSlomo and 14 standard HD-cameras.

Broadcast Solutions Belarus TV ob van control room

Onboard the OB Vans is a selection of Grass Valley cameras, vision mixers, video routers, multiviewers and slow motion servers. The audio relies on Calrec Audio broadcast consoles and audio routers. IHSE KVM systems secure access to computers and workstations, and the intercoms are based on Riedel Artist systems.

The flightcase studios also employ Grass Valley cameras, with FOR.A vision mixers and Ross Video routers. Yamaha mixers manage the audio, with KVM systems from Guntermann & Drunck.

For orchestration within the OB Vans and flightcase studios, Belarus TV opted for Broadcast Solutions’ proprietary control system, hi – hi controls all production-relevant areas in the vehicles such as video routers, multiviewers, audio routers and tally. Intuitive touch controls and newly developed hi hardware controls simplify day-to-day production operations in the OB Vans.

The European Games are an international multi-sport competition among athletes of the European continent held every four years under the direction of the European Olympic Committees.

The 2nd European Games, hosted by the Belarusian capital of Minsk, comprised 15 sports, eight of which provide qualifying status to the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo. Competitions in boxing and judo were held in the European Championships status. A total of more than 4,000 athletes participated.

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WestGate Church Enhances Multi-Campus Live Video Delivery with Z HD5500 HDTV Cameras from Hitachi Kokusai

As San Jose, California-area WestGate Church expanded beyond its original Saratoga campus to multiple satellite locations, live video became a vital enabler of its ongoing growth. Looking to improve picture quality and production flexibility for its multi-site broadcasts, the church purchased two Z-HD5500 HDTV studio and field production cameras from Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, Ltd. (Hitachi Kokusai) and has been delighted with the results.

“When I joined the church, we had maxed out our capacity in Saratoga, and had dreams of going multi-site,” said Kevan Long, production director at WestGate Church. “Adding satellite campuses was crucial in extending our reach into other pockets of the Silicon Valley region, and linking them with video is an essential part of our worship experience.”

Adding new locations over the past three years, WestGate Church now spans four campuses – Saratoga, South Hills, Sunnyvale, and the Spanish-language Casa de Fe – with more than 3000 total congregants attending services each week. Live broadcasts of services with lead pastor Steve Clifford originate from the Saratoga site’s 800-seat worship center and are streamed with a five-minute time delay to South Hills and Casa de Fe, while evening attendees at the Sunnyvale location watch a recording captured earlier the same day.

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As their dependency on video increased, the church recognized the need to upgrade their cameras. “We needed better image capture quality as we expanded to multiple sites,” explained Long. “Our existing robotic PTZ cameras created a fairly decent 720p image, but we knew our video could be much better with true broadcast-grade cameras. Following our communicators across the stage with robotic cameras also didn’t look very good, so we had to ask them to limit their actions so they didn’t step out of the frame.”

Low-light handling was also among the key criteria as the church evaluated new cameras.

“We don’t like to flood our stage with lights, preferring to run it a bit on the darker side to give it a warmer feel,” said Long. “Our previous cameras weren’t great in low-light situations, so we needed ones with better sensors and sensitivity.”

Worship-oriented systems integrator E2i Design recommended the Z-HD5500 to the WestGate Church team. As the Z-HD5500 was brand new at the time, Long spoke to other churches that were using earlier Hitachi camera models, and was impressed by what he heard. These endorsements combined with the cameras’ technical benefits to make the Z-HD5500s ideal for WestGate’s needs.

“Hitachi Kokusai as a company has a great reputation, and the video from their cameras looks great,” said Long. “The Z-HD5500’s full frame rate 1080p capability was a factor in our decision, and its 62dB signal-to-noise ratio is pretty amazing. Its new sensor’s ability to handle the challenges of LED lighting at different refresh rates was also very appealing, as our stage and house lighting are almost entirely LED, and we plan to add LED video walls in the future.”

The Z-HD5500s have delivered all of the benefits the church was looking for, improving the visual quality of their productions while enabling their on-stage communicators to move about freely.

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“The image quality of the Hitachi cameras is just stellar, and we could clearly see as soon as we put them in that their depth of field and low-light performance were so much better than what we had previously,” praised Long. “The ability to follow our communicators on stage has also enabled us to create a more dynamic video experience, making us much more engaging to watch than our oldlocked-down shots.”

While the church’s video crew was new to broadcast-class cameras, they found the Hitachi cameras easy to learn.

“We held a 30-minute group training session on the basic controls, then came early to practice during rehearsals for the first month,” recalled Long. “The transition was pretty seamless.”

Long is completely satisfied with the Z-HD5500s, and would love to add two more to WestGate Church’s productions if budget and space in the sanctuary permit.

“We couldn’t be happier with the decision we made to go with the Hitachi cameras,” he summarized. “They are vital in our inter-campus content delivery and have made us better as a production team, which in turn hasmade us better as a ministry in reaching our community.”

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WFIE Improves Live Sports, Breaking News Web Content with JVC ProHD Studio 4000S

“We had been considering the idea of streaming live high school sports on our website, and JVC’s studio-in-a-box solution seemed like an affordable way to consolidate the equipment needed for multi-camera productions,” explained Jason Gravens, news operation manager for WFIE. ”The 4000S gives you the basics of everything you need to make a ballgame happen.”

Rack mounted into one of the station’s live trucks, the system anchored three-camera productions for five high school football games and two-camera productions for three high school basketball games.

“If you’re a sports fan, you want to see replays – without it, the production is missing a key element,” Gravens added. “The built-in replay feature in the 4000S is fantastic. Just having it included in the unit itself is great.”

Although only available to streaming audiences, at times WFIE had about 1,000 people watching the games. Following its successful sports coverage, the station decided to use the 4000S to produce breaking news updates for the WFIE website and other social media platforms.

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An old conference room at the station was converted into a small studio, with the 4000S and an audio mixer positioned on a small table. Beth Sweeney, WFIE evening anchor, has been trained to be a one-man band for the productions, operating the 4000S and audio mixer while reporting live news updates for the WFIE website and other social media platforms.

One of the station’s older ENG cameras is mounted on a tripod, and a mic is positioned above Sweeney on a C-stand. The small studio also includes a basic three-point lighting system, plus an extra piece of WFIE’s current news set mounted to the wall as a backdrop.

When the station wants to stream an update, the equipment is turned on and still images or graphics are loaded into the 4000S using a flash drive. The 4000S has a built-in CG, but WFIE imports its own station graphics. Sweeney makes sure the mic is off and puts a slate on the screen. When she is ready, Sweeney opens the mic, switches to the camera, and begins the webcast. Once the update is complete, she returns to the slate, kills the mic, and ends the stream.

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While the sports directors tend to use the touchscreen for switching, Sweeney prefers the keyboard and mouse. Gravens said the control flexibility is a big positive, because the 4000S operator can use whatever interface works for them. He also said the built-in multi-view was helpful in training Sweeney how to use the system.

“In fact, the whole system is very user friendly for someone who’s not necessarily a trained TD,” he added.

Earlier this year, JVC introduced the CONNECTED CAM Studio 6000S, a six-input model that supports NDI® and SRT streaming protocols. Both the 4000S and 6000S offer automated multi-channel instant replay and slo-mo, as well as an integrated sports CG for scores and timers. Other features include an integrated audio mixer, four layers of DSK, production switcher with automated switching mode and choice of transitions, and full PTZ control for the JVC KY-PZ100 robotic PTZ production camera.

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