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• 45,000+ attendees from 140+ countries • NEW Connected World for IPTV,
Mobile & Digital Signage (Hall 9)
• 1300+ key international technology
suppliers across 11+ exhibition halls • FREE hands-on training; Production
Village (Hall 11) and Post Production
• world-class demonstrations of
groundbreaking technology such as
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ceremony on Sunday 12 September
o w a ter
ter n egis
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2 broadcastengineeringworld.com | June 2010
Table of ConTenTs
Volume 52 | Number 6 | JuNe 2010
24 New technology helps directors
meet the demands of sports
Sporting events draw a big investment
in new technologies like 3-D.
30 Pick Hit Awards
Check out the 20 most exciting
products from the 2010 NAB Show,
24 chosen by a group of your peers.
34 Technology seminar
3-D was arguably the
on The Cover: biggest buzz at this year’s NAB Show.
New technology, like telegenic’s 3-d truck
being used for live coverage of the 2010 World Cup,
52 Product Jackpot
help make sporting event productions cutting edge. These don’t-miss technologies could
make your facility state of the art.
continued on page 4
Have a burning question? Go to Broadcast Engineering’s
Forum and ask questions of fellow experts. Or
join our online community on Facebook.
Learn more at http://community.
see it online!
Receive updates about the FIFA World Cup by signing
up for our Sports Technology Update e-newsletter
and visiting the Broadcast Engineering website.
Learn more at http://broadcastengineering.com/
June 2010 | broadcastengineeringworld.com 3
Table of ConTenTs (CoNTiNued) 8
Volume 52 | Number 6 | JuNe 2010
Beyond the headlines
8 digital media asset management
DMAM systems help maintain brand
awareness and monetize assets effectively
in a multiplatform environment.
Technology in acTion
12 intercom system evolution
intercom technology helps drive
progress and future growth.
TransiTion To DigiTal
16 Google’s version of interactive television
The search company attempts to bring
the Web to the living room.
20 Automating graphics 12
Automated branding and promo systems
can respond quickly to schedule changes.
new Products & reviews
56 Technology in TransiTion
Displays are changing fast; don’t be left behind.
58 aDverTisers inDex
The FIFA World Cup this month will be a great test bed
for mobile television. People in multiple time zones will
be tuning in, many at odd times, forcing sports fans to
find alternative ways to watch besides sitting at home.
Learn more at www.broadcastengineeringworld.com
4 broadcastengineeringworld.com | June 2010
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June 2010 | broadcastengineeringworld.com 5
Will P2P replace
have been reading a recent report by the EBU on peer- number of uploaders, then
to-peer (P2P) Internet file delivery. While broadcast the average download band-
(one-to-many distribution) from a transmitter has a width is limited by the aver-
fixed cost, no matter how many receivers are tuned in, age uplink bandwidth — not very much with asymmetric
Internet is generally unicast, or one-to-one delivery. That links.
means the media server must run a small application for Not all the problems with P2P are insurmountable,
every single Internet browser viewing the stream. Typi- and research and development continues. Will it someday
cally, a server can run a few thousand streams, so a large break out of the pirate mold, or will other technologies
webcast to millions of viewers potentially needs hundreds like edge caching and multicast provide the solution to
or thousands of servers, plus all the associated firewalls at lowering the cost of Internet distribution?
the server farm and routers throughout the network. The EBU report describes possible receiver devices be-
However, there yond the PC. There is no reason
is a halfway house: why a hybrid broadband-broad-
Will P2P someday break out cast receiver could not also act as a
router can split a sin- of the pirate mold, or will P2P client with suitable additional
gle stream to many other technologies provide processing power.
paths, potentially The report concludes that P2P
saving on server re- the solution to lowering the could supplement, but not re-
sources. But mul- cost of Internet distribution? place, conventional cable, satellite
ticasting has never and terrestrial broadcast, or Inter-
been that successfully deployed, especially across the many net multicasting and content distribution networks.
separate networks that make up the Internet. It proved to As network capacity expands to support 100Mb/s and
be simpler to use unicasting, but it doesn’t scale very well. beyond, the economics of different methods will change.
The content pirate solution is P2P, in which a browser Maybe P2P will become a real commercial proposition to
pulls content from other client PCs on the network. With reliably deliver video material. I encourage all of you to
no central server, it has been difficult to prosecute the pi- read this report, available from the EBU as Technical Re-
rates. It was this technique that the EBU decided to inves- port 009; it is a thorough review of what could be a game-
tigate back in 2006 to see if it could be used as a way to changing technology.
deliver broadcasters’ files. The report also touches on spectrum issues with uni-
P2P is not without problems. Most domestic Internet casting to 3G phones. These newer technologies all prom-
connections are highly asymmetric, with upload data rates ise great ways to deliver niche and long-tail content, but as
about 10 percent of the download rate. P2P also does not a way to deliver live TV to the masses at a low cost, broad-
work well across different networks, and many countries cast is a tough technology to beat.
have a number of network operators.
The EBU investigation identified the efficiency advan-
tages of P2P over unicast, but found that many of the
features needed by broadcasters, such as audience meas-
urement and content distribution control, are difficult to
implement. Latencies to access content can be high (up to
20 seconds), and it is also difficult to maintain QoS with
P2P. It is all very well with pirated content, but broadcast- DavID austerberry, eDItor
ers need QoS control. Send comments to: email@example.com
P2P accounts for half of the Internet traffic in some
countries, even though it has been associated with piracy,
and ISPs do not receive direct revenue for the service. It
could be said that all Internet users subsidize the P2P us-
ers. One downloader relies on many uploaders to serve
content. If the number of downloaders is the same as the
6 broadcastengineeringworld.com | June 2010
Data rates from 4 to 50+ Mbps / DVB-T compliant COFDM modulation
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Ultra-low latency of 45ms
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June 2010 | broadcastengineeringworld.com 7
Beyond the headlines
Digital media asset
dMaM systems help maintain brand awareness and
monetize assets effectively in a multiplatform market.
By Christine JeCko
roadcasters and other Internet portals and mobile media line. The entry of telcos and ISPs
content providers realized services. Making it easier than ever into the fray further heightened the
enormous gains in flex- for consumers to access and “pull” urgency of effective multiplatform
ibility as they transitioned content at their convenience, these delivery as newcomers to the broad-
from tape-based operations to digi- new technologies and platforms put cast industry began acquiring rights
tal media. Coincident with this tran- increased competitive pressures on to content; providing voice, video,
sition came the rapid expansion of content providers. They recognized and data to customers; and billing
content distribution channels, which an urgent need to offer services over for those services.
extended beyond conventional print new channels if they were to main- To remain competitive and to meet
and broadcast media to include a tain audiences and the correspond- consumer demand for content across
variety of new platforms, such as ing ad revenues vital to the bottom multiple platforms, many content
providers initially established paral-
lel production chains for delivery of
repurposed content. Facing growing
volumes of media in multiple versions
— and facing still-increasing num-
bers of distribution targets — many
media companies found it necessary
to recast their operations with a new
focus on managing a single brand
across multiple outlets, including
broadcast TV channels, newspapers,
radio stations, Web portals, mobile
TV and iPhone applications.
This brand-focused model is de-
fined by one primary objective: keep-
ing consumers on the brand from
dawn until dusk, across all activities
performed and locations visited in
the course of a day. To satisfy this
challenge, the content provider must
be equipped to feed each platform
and device on a daily basis. Building
more and more production chains to
achieve this goal is a highly inefficient
exercise. Rather, for the brand-focused
multiplatform model to be economi-
cally viable, the content provider must
be able to provide significantly more
content with a minimal incremental
increase in the cost of producing that
content. If deployed appropriately,
A workflow engine can process video to prepared templates, in this case, capturing and today’s advanced digital media as-
resizing frames, and then storing them as a single JPEG files. set management (DMAM) systems
8 broadcastengineeringworld.com | June 2010
Beyond the headlines
June 2010 | broadcastengineeringworld.com 9
Beyond the headlines
offer the flexibility and functionality Technical and infrastructure Integration
to enable the necessary efficiencies issues In a departure from the history
and economies of scale required for The content provider rarely starts of proprietary solutions developed
maximum revenue in multiplatform from scratch when implementing for the broadcast industry, a high
distribution. an end-to-end workflow supporting degree of interoperability is a vital
multiplatform media distribution. characteristic of a DMAM system
Workflow definition The requisite servers, archives, non- intended to support multiplatform
The shift to digital media and IT- linear edit systems and other major media delivery. High interoperability
based workflows represents more production and broadcast systems enables tight integration, and estab-
than a technical change; it has a prac- are likely in place already. The key lies lished DMAM systems typically of-
tical impact, too, changing the way in building both the technical foun- fer more of this functionality — and
content providers work. When op- dation and the operational model to do so more reliably — as a result of
erations were dependent on tape as a support a streamlined workflow that already being installed across a large
vehicle for moving content through allows producers, journalists, archi- base featuring a variety of third-party
a facility and workflow, it was tape vists and others to access, prepare and systems.
that served as the link between pro- deliver content via the appropriate The capacity of a vendor to pro-
prietary, independently operating channel. vide an API and SDK for its solution
storage, automation, post produc- By supplying content owners with a is critical to successful integration, as
tion and other essential systems and strategy for linking vital systems and by these tools offer users a way to enter
determined how they would work facilitating the ingest, indexing, broad- the DMAM system and to create a
together. Moving from that world cast/publishing and archiving of con- bidirectional dialog with the system
of proprietary technologies to more tent — whether video, audio or images and other devices in the workflow.
open IT-based environments, con- — on any medium or platform, a single Without this dialog, the system is a
tent providers must capitalize on DMAM system can support effective black box.
the opportunity to optimize overall management, repurposing and mon-
workflows through smooth interop- etization of media assets. The DMAM Multiformat compatibility
erability and seamless integration of must address four fundamental chal- Multiplatform media delivery has
critical systems. lenges to perform this role successfully: exploded, allowing consumers to ac-
Prior to taking on technical and interoperability, integration, compat- cess media on virtually any device.
infrastructure issues associated with ibility and ergonomics. The dramatic rise in the formats
implementation of a DMAM, the required to target all these devices
content provider must define the Interoperability presents a real challenge to content
desired workflow and identify the In an ideal IT-based environment, providers, and the DMAM system
roles staff and systems will play in all systems should be interoper- being implemented should be suf-
that workflow. After determining able. In reality, it often is up to the ficiently robust to accommodate this
the distribution chains that must be DMAM system, relying on standard profusion of formats. Future-proof
supported, the company must cre- IT technologies, to enable interoper- operation depends on the DMAM’s
ate a step-by-step model and parallel ability among different applications flexibility in handling new formats.
processes by which raw material is running on different platforms or In other words, the content provider
transformed into the products de- frameworks. This is made possible by cannot afford for its investment in as-
livered to different platforms. In a Web Services Architecture, which set management to be compromised
building this digital media factory, uses HTTP with an XML serializa- by limited format support.
the content provider needs to ac- tion, along with other standards, to Efficiency in multiplatform deliv-
count for future growth in network exchange messages with third-party ery depends on the DMAM system’s
size, increase in number or capac- systems and streamline their opera- ability to retrieve and leverage a single
ity of server systems, the addition of tion across the workflow. Additional master to create the appropriate ver-
transcoding facilities and any other “connectors” enabled by the system’s sions of content for each platform
changes that might require scaling API and SDK can provide command and to publish the resulting content
up of the DMAM system. Finally, lists that allow the DMAM to send to the right places or target devices in
the DMAM system should include a and receive information from other the right formats. A key feature of the
mechanism for monitoring the soft- third-party systems in a standardized DMAM system is its ability to man-
ware and hardware comprising the manner. Thus, each time the DMAM age different formats and versions
overall workflow and for detecting interfaces with a particular system, it of the same video master. Over the
issues and resolving them before the is equipped with a set of rules guiding lifetime of an asset, as one master is
production chain is disrupted. and governing the interaction. used to produce content for different
10 broadcastengineeringworld.com | June 2010
Beyond the headlines
distribution platforms, the growing consumers’ awareness. Every month, ing, transcoding, quality control, FTP
collection of related media assets cre- across all its outlets, L’Equipe reaches delivery and other critical functions
ates a complex tree. The content pro- 18 million people. They read the pa- saves time and improves the accuracy
vider needs a way to manage meta- per in the morning, check the web- of media handling.
data across all of this content and, in site when they get to work, get news Because the DMF at L’Equipe is
turn, to manage all of its versions and and sports during the day on their connected to various third-party sys-
maintain an understanding of how iPhones and then — back at home in tems by modules defining their inter-
the content has been used. the evening — watch a TV broadcast actions, applications such as editing
or return to the Internet for further platforms, automation and archives
System GUI and content. The company instituted a operate smoothly together. While
ergonomics new DMAM to feed all of these out- production is under way, metadata
A DMAM system can grow to be lets quickly and cost-effectively. related to digital rights for each piece
complex, but the interface and func- The digital media factory (DMF) at of content is used to confirm whether
tionality it provides to each user must L’Equipe was created to facilitate cre- or not the material can be prepared
remain as simple as possible. The sys- ation and delivery of video on virtually and delivered to certain outlets.
tem must be versatile enough in its
configuration options to show each
user the minimum required to per-
form his or her job. So, the DMAM
must be sophisticated in its opera-
tions in the background, handling
a complicated workflow based on a
complex metadata model, but it must
offer users an easy-to-use interface
that supports their everyday work.
A modular design enables provi-
sion of just the right functionality or
features required by the user. In some
cases, the interface can be populated
by a series of widgets or applications
suited to a particular job. In other cas-
es, a specific screen might be created
for each job or position. One screen
might provide the information re- The process workflow in a DMAM system can be edited using a GUI to suit
quired by a supervisor, another might changing work practices.
offer search/retrieve tools optimized every platform, including TV, Web, Looking ahead
for journalists and another indexing mobile and VOD. Media archives dat- Though the IT-based solutions
capabilities to the archivist. As long ing back to the 1920s were digitized supporting efficient asset manage-
as people are a part of the workflow, and brought onto the system along ment continue to evolve, it’s not the
the DMAM system interface is essen- with newer assets, putting content at underlying technology that will de-
tial to efficient and effective use of the the fingertips of the “L’Equipe” news- termine the success of today’s and
system. room, website, broadcast and print tomorrow’s content providers. With
staff. Select business partners and cli- the consumer now able to choose
Practical implementation ents also gained fast, convenient access how, where and when to view media,
Global media brand L’Equipe to licensed content through the DMF. content is king. The true key lies in
Group comprises the L’Equipe TV In addition to providing a content producing or acquiring content that
sports news channel, the www. archive, the DMAM system enables viewers want. If a content provider
lequipe.fr website, the RTL-L’Equipe powerful searches and low-resolution or media brand is able to offer the
digital radio station and the print browsing from any Web-based inter- programming and personalities that
magazine and newspaper also dubbed face. A partial-restore function en- consumers demand, then it can lever-
“L’Equipe.” The French media group ables editors to access only the high- age a good DMAM system to manage
serves as a real-world example of how resolution media they need and to and monetize this content to its best
an effective DMAM system can en- do so quickly rather than wait for the advantage. BE
able a content provider or owner to entire file to transfer. Automation of Christine Jecko is vice president of sales
maintain its brand at the forefront of tasks such as speech-to-text process- at Netia.
June 2010 | broadcastengineeringworld.com 11
Technology in acTion
Beyond the headlines
Cable-agnostic, mesh-networked intercom technology
helps drive progress and future growth.
By Jake DoDson
ince the introduction of the That being said, this article will party-line systems up to two, four
first analog intercom sys- take a look at where intercom systems or more channels. The emergence of
tems 40 years ago, it would are headed next, what some of the key point-to-point or matrix intercoms
be easy to think that the use enabling technologies are that will beallowed individual, one-to-one com-
of broadcast and live performance in- used and how they will likely be in- munications or multiple groups to be
tercoms has reached an evolutionary tegrated in future intercom systems. configured for a variety of situations.
apex. The development of point-to- New concepts such as cable-agnostic This evolution has continued over
point or matrix intercoms, and the transport, mesh-networked inter- the years with the addition of inter-
more recent transition to digital wire- coms and role-based configuration ruptible fold back (IFB), control logic
less systems, has already had a pro- also will be discussed. and the multiple interconnected sys-
found effect on workflows, enabling tems that we see in modern intercom
even more complex productions. Yet Party line and setups.
the modern production environment point-to-point matrix The seemingly limitless flexibility of
still faces many challenges, such as in- In the early days, intercoms were matrix intercoms is an advantage that
creased demands to improve efficiency, exclusively based on party-line tech- should have spelled the death of the
reduce complexity and provide rapid nology, where all users talked and party line, yet today, party-line systems
setup and configuration, while bring- listened to all other users. As pro- are more prevalent than ever with no
ing together additional team members ductions grew, the need to segment signs of diminishing. Why is this? The
with varying degrees of expertise. became more necessary, driving simple answer is that party-line sys-
tems are easy to set up, easy
to operate and require little
operator training out of the
box. Matrix systems, on the
other hand, require a much
higher level of user configu-
ration, workflow mapping
and system tuning to obtain
the benefits afforded by the
extra levels of functionality
In addition, matrix im-
plementations tend to be
characterized by hub-and-
spoke cabling architectures,
compared with the daisy-
chained and passive Y-split
cabling schemes that analog
party lines are based on. This
latter approach affords a
much greater simplification
of the cable infrastructure,
with the user able to choose
whether to home run or split
The production gallery at France 2 features a Clear-Com intercom panel above Sony CCUs. at the end of a single cable
12 broadcastengineeringworld.com | June 2010
Technology in acTion
Beyond the headlines
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June 2010 | broadcastengineeringworld.com 13
Technology in acTion
Beyond the headlines
run depending on the level of cabling only useful if intercom elements can line main stations and intercom pan-
redundancy required. But cable posi- be easily connected and are able to els, can become nodes on the same
tioning has to be carefully considered talk to one another. Take, for example, network. This new paradigm of mesh
for some applications to minimize the need to add an intercom panel at intercom networking will allow the
noise artifacts created by crosstalk and a new location. In this case, imple- development of highly flexible inter-
power supply-related interference. menting a new panel typically means com environments with each node
Instead, what is required is a new adding a new cable home run and, in able to provide specific local func-
cabling paradigm that combines the some cases, additional interface boxes tions, yet still be part of an overarch-
flexibility of current analog cabling for format conversion. This can be a ing intercom environment that can be
environments in an all-digital, noise costly and time-consuming process. managed remotely. This reduces con-
immune environment. IP-based products are solving this figuration and administration costs
connectivity problem, allowing inter- and allows rapid changes to configu-
Cable-agnostic transport com elements to be added to the LAN rations anywhere in the network.
Cable-agnostic transport is a new or remotely over a WAN or Internet
concept that minimizes the depen- connection. The “read the manual”
dence on different cable types by The key question here is how to challenge
using a combination of new tech- leverage the flexibility of connection How many iPhone users do you
nologies that have a high tolerance without compromising audio quality. think have ever read the product man-
to the impedance characteristics of a Traditional VoIP technologies are no- ual? Does a product manual even ex-
variety of cable types. Imagine being torious for poor audio quality where ist? In today’s intercom environment,
able to choose between a regular mi- architectural limitations — thanks we expect users to do just that (read
crophone, Cat 5 or coax cable, where to multiple jitter buffer stages, mul- the product manual) to train them-
the main consideration is the physical tiple encode/decode cycles and the selves to understand the complexities
of manually configuring hardware,
but this process takes up their valu-
able time that could be better spent
The concept of plug-and-play elsewhere.
operation, while prevalent in other How much easier would it be to
industries, is only now finding its plug a number of intercom elements
(frames, interfaces, panels, etc.) to-
way into the intercom domain. gether and have the system discover
and configure them accordingly? The
concept of plug-and-play operation,
connector and not a costly conversion subsequent reliance on narrowband while prevalent in other industries, is
process or additional interface card. codecs — create an unappealing ex- only now finding its way into the in-
These technologies are beginning to perience. Next-generation IP tech- tercom domain.
emerge in new systems that not only nologies are solving these limitations
allow a choice between Cat 5 or mi- by replacing central IP mixing archi- Role-based architectures
crophone cable, but also enable dif- tectures with fast IP routers and dis- As we solve today’s configuration,
ferent impedances and cable gauges tribution of mixing at the extremities. connectivity and cabling issues and
(18 to 24) without being limited to This reduces jitter buffering (and its move toward the reality of a mesh
specific high-grade, AES-rated 110V associated latency), eliminates mul- intercom architecture, further op-
cable to achieve links in the 300m to tiple encode/decode cycles (and their portunities to increase usability will
500m range without using repeaters. associated audio corruption) and en- become available.
Establishing such technologies over a ables flexible codec choices, such as One such concept is role-based op-
range of intercom products opens the the ability to move to wideband, low- eration. Today’s intercom systems es-
potential for plug-and-play intercoms latency codecs with a corresponding sentially are location-based, meaning
in an all-digital environment, with the improvement in overall audio band- a user is fixed to a physical panel or
added advantage of passive Y-splitting width and quality. beltpack location in a particular part
and daisy-chaining capabilities. By embedding IP technologies of the studio or venue. Role-based
across multiple devices, a common, architectures change this dynamic by
Connectivity and mesh flexible communication transport allowing specific attributes such as
intercoms system begins to emerge in which key settings, labels, audio level prefer-
Simplifying cable transport will add previously disparate intercom ele- ences and security levels to be linked
a large degree of freedom, but this is ments, such as matrix frames, party- to a user or role rather than a location.
14 broadcastengineeringworld.com | June 2010
Technology in acTion
Beyond the headlines
If the user moves location or changes intercoms for cues and safety. produce a solid user experience. But
hardware, a simple act of logging in to In the 1970s, VHF wireless was as greater percentages of production
the new hardware via a keypad entry king, but the emergence of wire- teams evolve toward wireless con-
or hardware dongle will enable his or less microphone technology caused nectivity, a new conflict emerges,
her personal characteristics to be im- crowding in the VHF space toward namely the pressure to devolve cur-
plemented on the new hardware. the end of that decade and drove the rent point-to-point wireless systems
This type of approach promises evolution of new wireless products in back into party-line-based opera-
a highly flexible environment for the UHF bands in the early 1980s. We tions. Point-to-point wireless systems
the end user while at the same time now face similar crowding in the UHF require multiple RF channels, thereby
limiting the maximum number of us-
ers on any given system due to limited
RF spectrum. Future wireless devel-
opments will need to trade between a
variety of modulation schemes, such
as orthogonal frequency-division
multiplexing (OFDM), which offers
more bandwidth and higher audio
quality, and quadrature amplitude
modulation (QAM), which provides
Today the ideal solution is not
clear, but the ability to address a high
number of individual beltpacks and
maintain good audio quality may
require a hybrid approach spread
across multiple wavelengths. Such an
environment could include the ability
to partition wireless users based on
QoS criteria and combine both party-
Russia’s Zvezda TV channel, launched in 2005 by the Russian Defense Ministry,
line broadcast and selective point-to-
uses a 96-port Clear-Com Eclipse Omega digital matrix intercom system. point schemes in a single network for
offering a personalized approach space as new legislation takes hold.
tailored to the specific individual. A While UHF technology typically pro- The future
much more dynamic system is creat- vides good coverage across a variety Intercom systems form the back-
ed by enabling the intercom environ- of venues, the recent changes in UHF bone of today’s production environ-
ment to tune itself to the needs of the spectrum licensing are promoting the ment, and the continuing evolution to
individual yet remain flexible enough development of narrower-band UHF. reduce setup time and configuration
to allow easy hardware swap-outs or This increases capacity at the expense costs, improve connectivity, and en-
user movement to different parts of of voice quality and, therefore, may be hance workflows through added user
the network. As teams become more of limited value to the end user. mobility is fundamental to helping
fluid and mobile, such concepts will As party-line systems have evolved the modern production environment
allow the intercom infrastructure to to point-to-point matrix intercoms, achieve the necessary efficiencies to
move with the users, not restrict them the desire for more wireless channels be successful. While there have been
to a fixed workspace. has increased. The emergence of digi- great strides made in the advance-
tal wireless intercoms is a direct result ment of intercom systems, there is
Wireless intercom systems of the need to overcome frequency still a long way to go. Intercom devel-
Traditionally, wireless intercom crowding while at the same time in- opers will continue to be challenged
systems have been designed to pro- creasing the level of channel flexibil- to bring next-generation technologies
vide mobility to key personnel, such ity offered to the individual user. to market as rapidly as possible, ush-
as directors and producers, who need New license-free digital systems ering in a new era of communications
full-duplex and multichannel access in the 2.4GHz frequency range have flexibility. BE
to the main intercom system, and the advantage that they can be used
lighting crews, cameramen and other anywhere globally with the ability to Jake Dodson is vice president of product
support crews, who rely on wireless mitigate noise and audio artifacts to management at Clear-Com.
June 2010 | broadcastengineeringworld.com 15
TransiTion To digiTal
of interactive television
The search company attempts to bring
the Web to the living room.
By Michael Grotticelli
t has been tried unsuccess- by Logitech. Intel will make the Atom greets him or her. The viewer then
fully many times before, but chips to power the box. The devices types in what he or she would like to
last month, Google introduced will go on sale at some U.S. stores in watch. This might be the show name,
Google TV, a new effort to turn the fall. a search term or a channel number.
the living room TV set into a lean- So far, consumers have shown little The system will then display a list of
back viewing experience. The goal interest in connecting to the Internet options that includes both TV sta-
for Google is to make the viewer’s in- through TV sets, and there are formi- tions or a specific TV program. The
teraction go far beyond just a big PC dable challenges in persuading televi- software will point to places to find
display. sion set and peripheral manufacturers the desired entertainment program,
Accompanied by several major to back the effort. However, Google whether that’s through a cable sub-
high-tech companies at its developers’ has strong assets, including its Android scription channel, Netflix or even
conference in San Francisco, Google operating system for mobile phones somewhere on the Web. With this
announced that the Google TV ser- and a powerful search and advertising mix of Web and TV, the user can also
vice would be built into HDTVs and system. Much like Apple, when Google view multiple sources of information
Blu-ray players made by Sony as well speaks, the industry listens. in multiple panes.
as a set-top box/remote built Using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the
User interface user will also be able to load a Web
When a user starts any Google TV page from a Google Android phone
device, a simple search bar and beam it to the TV. The Android
phone’s voice recognition can be used
to search for shows by verbal com-
mand. Also, closed-captioning for any
TV program will be available through
Google Translate in real time.
Google is pitching its new platform
as an easy way to search for TV pro-
gramming and Internet content with-
out having to navigate slow on-screen
Howard Stringer, chief executive
of Sony, the third-largest maker of
flat-panel TVs in the U.S. market, ap-
peared on Google’s stage to say Sony
would build Google’s software into an
HDTV called the Sony Internet TV as
well as a Blu-ray player.
Stringer said Sony was likely to
gradually adopt Google’s software,
which he said was more robust and
comprehensive than his company’s
own Bravia Internet service for Inter-
16 broadcastengineeringworld.com | June 2010
TransiTion To digiTal
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June 2010 | broadcastengineeringworld.com 17
TransiTion To digiTal
There are many ways Stringer was joined on the stage by pany said users would have control
to maximise the the chief executives of companies Best over what information was shared
Buy (an electronics seller), Adobe, with advertisers.
performance Intel, DISH Network and Logitech, Google, looking to expand beyond
of your schedule where Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief its lucrative online advertising busi-
executive, interviewed them about ness, is betting that more consumers
their plans. will want to buy TVs that can connect
Schmidt said that people had been to the Internet. ABI Research found
talking about bringing the Web to the that demand for Internet-enabled
TV for two decades. “It’s much harder television sets is rising along with the
to marry a 50-year-old technology popularity of Internet content. The
and a brand-new technology than research firm estimates that 46 per-
those of us from the brand-new tech- cent of flat-panel TVs will have In-
nology industry thought,” he said. ternet connections by 2013, up from
Logitech’s set-top box will allow 19 percent this year.
users to receive Google TV without
having to buy a new TV set. The com- Google versus Apple
pany said it was also working on key- A subtext to the Google TV an-
board-equipped remote controls and nouncement was Google’s intense
peripherals to allow people to surf the competition with Apple and its chief
Web from the couch. executive, Steve Jobs. Vic Gundotra,
If Google’s effort is successful, it might
create competition for traditional cable
companies, because more people could
look at content on the Internet and bypass
their cable provider’s VOD offerings.
Many companies have already vice president for engineering at
tried to bridge the gap between the Google, used the momentum of
TV and the Web. Apple, TiVo, Boxee, Android, a free, open-source operat-
Roku and Vudu, now a division of ing system platform with few rules
Walmart, all make devices that offer governing its use, to draw a sharp
a variety of Internet video on TV. All distinction between the control Apple
have struggled to gain broad adop- exerts over devices running the iP-
tion, in part because most consumers hone operating system.
have avoided hooking up another set- “If you believe that the only way to
top box to their TVs. get a good smart phone is to bet on
one man, one device, one carrier and
Scheduling & content lifecycle Is it a threat to cable? one choice, that is a different model
If Google’s effort is successful, it than we believe in,” Gundotra told
for linear & VOD broadcasters, might create competition for tra- “The New York Times.” “We believe
Telco’s & Platform Operators ditional cable companies, because innovation doesn’t come from one
more people could look at content man; it comes from all of us.”
on the Internet and bypass their ca-
ble provider’s VOD offerings. Google DISH and DIRECTV launch
did not talk about its advertising interactive advertising
strategy for Google TV, but the com- Other vendors are launching inter-
MediaGeniX pany has formidable data-collection
abilities to aim new types of ads at
active solutions. DISH Network and
DIRECTV announced a cooperative
TV-watching consumers. The com- effort by releasing a new interactive
18 broadcastengineeringworld.com | June 2010
adcast Engineering pre IBC.indd 2 24-06-2009 15:34:54
TransiTion To digiTal
advertising platform. The platform is vertisers with independent metrics of • Phase 2: Change the rules by intro-
called Advanced Satellite Advertising the platform’s performance. ducing value-added services that cre-
Platform (ASAP) and provides na- ate new opportunities for service pro-
tional television advertisers access to The key is changing the viders, content providers, advertisers
nearly 30 million U.S. households. viewer’s experience and consumers;
One important feature of the plat- In an article from Broadcast • Phase 3: Create new business models
form aspect is the ability to deliver Engineering’s sister publication, that grow the TV market in new ways
interactive content and capability to Connected Planet, Christine Heckart, and shift share from other media.”
viewers. The content will be displayed general marketing manager for Looking at her predictions, step
on a uniform satellite-delivered chan- Microsoft TV, listed three steps that one is completed through the Google
nel dedicated to interactive advertis- IPTV must complete to become a TV solution. Step two is in process as
ing. Viewers will have the option to success. She said, “ ... you can discern viewers gain access to new informa-
watch commercials and then, if de- three distinct phases, each of which tion and are provided with more con-
sired, engage in further activities with will take us one step closer to un- trol over what they see and enjoy on
the advertiser. Possible additional locking the potential of TV and cre- their televisions.
content and activities might include ating new connected and personal- Step three has yet to be completed.
expanded product information, spe- ized experiences.” Each of these three However, the foundations for suc-
cific regional information, such as phases will drive gradual changes in cessfully meeting this criteria are now
retailer location, simple gaming and telecommunications, entertainment being released into the marketplace.
easy ways to request more informa- and advertising, the three industries We’ll have to see if consumers em-
tion. Contests could be used to help most impacted by IPTV: brace them. BE
drive participation. • Phase 1: Shift the purchase criteria
Michael Grotticelli regularly reports on the
The ASAP program will use third- from price and channel lineup to over- professional video and broadcast technol-
party research services, providing ad- all user experience; ogy industries.
LP_Sola1.2P_Penton_LP_Sola1.2_Penton 5/27/10 1:54 PM Page 1
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June 2010 | broadcastengineeringworld.com 19
automated branding and promo systems can respond
quickly to schedule changes.
By Pete Challinger
ffective branding and pro- Figure 1.) Three core sources of in- enable the additional information to
motion graphics are vital formation are available as a starting be made available.
to channel differentiation. point: An automated promo system will
These days, however, they • The “live schedule” from automa- use this, for example, to see the next
present a real challenge. Typically tion that details the next 24 hours of program coming up. It identifies the
such graphics are prepared manually playout; program via metadata, such as mate-
and then submitted to the transmis- • The “day schedule” from traffic that rial ID, and searches its database for
sion chain. Items such as promos are looks two to three days ahead; the correct title it needs to put to air.
built in a nonlinear editor and then • The “listing schedule” from traffic In addition to metadata, assem-
loaded onto the video server for play- that is used for EPG, print and online bling graphics requires the integra-
out. These approaches are laborious, schedules. tion of several components including
time-consuming and costly. With A server-based automated system a set of graphics templates, prepared
tight budgets for promotions depart- reads the metadata from these sys- forms that have fields for text, im-
ments, managers find themselves in a tems to create its own consolidated ages, logos and video clips. Those ele-
tough spot. database of the upcoming schedule. ments will be filled in by the graphics
We can, however, take advantage In addition to schedules, finding system based on the decisions taken
of the data available across the net- more information related to pro- by the automated promo system. The
work to create an automated system grams, events, sponsors, etc., can automated promo system will have a
for producing and playing interstitial, lend greater flexibility for populating control link to the graphics system to
branding and promo graphics. (See graphics. Simple data entry would enable it to build graphics using the
Listings information, EPG Automated
system promo library
Day schedule system
Automation Asset Build
system Store Program
transfer graphics metadata
Video system Nonlinear
Traditional broadcast workflow
New elements introduced for the
automated promo and branding graphics system
Figure 1. In this figure, the blue elements represent a traditional broadcast workflow. The red elements represent new parts
introduced with an automated promo and branding graphics system.
20 broadcastengineeringworld.com | June 2010
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template. The system will also need a have gained the flexibility to make for each language, including the ap-
set of governing rules. changes to the promo graphics right propriate country voice-over.
For example, consider a typical in- up to playout time because a change The program metadata database
program pointer (IPP) such as a low- in the schedule automatically updates can be expanded further with things
er-third “Next Up” snipe, which we’ll the graphic. such as video clips to create upcoming
call IPP1. IPP1 is listed in the sched- We can go beyond program data program menus with moving video.
uling system for playout at the appro- with interfaces to any number of ad- In the past, assets such as clips were
priate time. The automated promo ditional sources of data: news and stored on the main video server and
system sees that, and then looks into sports, weather forecasts, stock and played into an auxiliary input on the
the automation schedule to see the exchange rate data, SMS messages, graphics system with a squeezeback to
next program and checks its own da- RSS feeds, e-mails, etc. These sources open the clip in a window. This would
tabase for the full title information. can be polled regularly by the promo require an additional, expensive port
The system uses its rules to populate system, or they can push their data to for each desired simultaneous output
the fields in the template, such as title watch folders. This flexibility lends from the video server. It also requires
and time. At air time, the automation itself to the creation of sophisticated a secondary video event in the sched-
system will call for that automatically graphics that can give a channel a dis- ule for the server, increasing work for
produced graphic from the graphics tinct character. the scheduling staff and adding con-
system, and the system will overlay This setup also lends itself to mul- siderable complexity.
the snipe on the program stream and tilingual promo requirements. Simply Instead, we can use a clip player on
play out. add fields to the metadata database the graphics system. Those assets can
An operator is no longer required for each language. The same ID on be stored on a low-cost central SAN,
to piece together the graphic. By elim- the scheduling system will then trig- NAS, server or even on the same server
inating the manual labor, broadcasters ger multiple versions of the graphic that runs the automated promo system.
22 broadcastengineeringworld.com | June 2010
The scheduling system need only issue So who benefits from an automat- capable of running a complete channel
a single instruction for the predefined ed promo system? Stations that have with the ability to create interstitials
graphic. The automated promo system a stable schedule with few last-minute on the fly based on rules to evaluate
will use the information it has in its changes, such as movie and themat- context and using an extensive range
database, gather the appropriate meta- ic channels, can deploy a relatively of data sources both internal and ex-
data from its metadata store, get the simple system that builds automated ternal. This solution has no impact on
times from the scheduling system and graphics sequences based on sched- station automation. Instead, it moni-
populate the template on the graphics ule analysis and file processing. Such tors the live automation schedule and
system, which will be recalled by the a system would support the need automatically generates a sequence of
automation system at the correct play- for automated “Next up” graphics, sufficient duration to match a given
out time. menus, lineups and automated ver- gap in the schedule.
Watch folders on the central store are sioning of audio and video assets. Deploying an intelligent automat-
monitored by the automated promo If a broadcaster needs to make ed promo system that collects data
system, which then matches it to its changes close to or at air, it is neces- from numerous sources and uses that
metadata database and can manage the sary for the system to maintain a live information to populate templates
movement and life cycle of those assets. connection to both master control on a modern graphics device is an
The same system should manage the automation and a central store for as- elegant solution that meets today’s
deletion of assets that are no longer im- sets. This system would build graph- branding requirements with com-
mediately needed from the clip player. ics within seconds of air, so it can also plete sequences, created on demand
An advantage is that if a system needs include up-to-the-minute informa- and in real time, with minimal or no
to be swapped for any reason, the auto- tion from a variety of data sources. human involvement. BE
mated promo system can automatically In its most advanced implementa-
repopulate the replacement clip player. tion, an automated promo system is Pete Challinger is CEO of Pixel Power.
+31 (0)20 5458905 | +44(0)1737 220539
June 2010 | broadcastengineeringworld.com 23
sports production technology
meet the dema
Telegenic’s new 3-D truck is being used hile TV audiences may be tion techniques.
for live coverage of the 2010 World Cup. migrating to online and Many programs go through post
mobile entertainment, production as an essential part of
one area where television excels is the the workflow: selecting shots, add-
live event, specifically sports. One of ing VFX, color correction and finish-
the genres where 3-D is expected to ing. The sports director has no such
be most successful is sports. Sport- luxury to refine the program. He or
ing events also attract large revenues she can select from the camera angles
for subscription television. Put all available on the monitor stack, use
that together, and it is easy to see why on-the-fly switcher effects like DVE
sports receive a big investment and moves and run replays of key action
are a focus for innovation in produc- from video servers.
24 broadcastengineeringworld.com | June 2010
sports production technology
ands of sports By DaviD austerBerry
This places a special emphasis on they want the latest format: HD, 5.1 International sporting events demand
what the camera delivers to the truck. and even 3-D. commentaries in many languages. The
commentary facility boxes shown are
To this end, point-of-view (POV) To meet these needs, the sports from Glensound.
cameras give sports fans a perspective production must use custom cameras
on the game that they could never see and camera support systems, logging
from a seat in a stadium or standing by systems, and specialized graphics sys-
the green. tems. International events present
Viewers expect unusual views of especially complex demands, as the
their favorite sport. They expect the various broadcasters taking the feeds
tactics to be explained with graphic have different requirements, from
aids like telestrators, and they want a 3-D down to a few SD highlights for
constant stream of statistics. Finally, use in a newscast.
June 2010 | broadcastengineeringworld.com 25