Date posted: April 26, 2012

Connecticut’s only Radio Reading Service uses Barix Reflector service to significantly reduce costs and reliably deliver audio between several studios

Barix is exclusively supporting IP audio delivery between multiple studios and transmitter sites for Connecticut Radio Information System (CRIS Radio), Connecticut’s only radio reading service for the blind.  The non-profit broadcaster uses  the company’s innovative Reflector Service for audio stream delivery.  CRIS Radio is also reducing costs by using the new Barix Reflector App to monitor on-air feeds in real-time from an iPhone.

CRIS Radio is a talking newsstand for the blind and visually impaired, featuring newspaper and magazine articles, book readings and interviews.  The broadcaster operates out of Windsor, Connecticut, and transmits programming from four satellite studios to specially tuned radios, cable TV systems, home telephones and to the web at http://www.crisradio.org.

Barix Exstreamer 500 IP audio hardware supports audio transport between headquarters and the remote studios using the Barix Reflector service, with 16 devices in operation across the network.  This complete solution from Barix simplifies setting up, operating and monitoring the audio distribution and reduces costs — two significant benefits for CRIS Radio given its small staff and non-profit status.

John Galeota, consulting engineer for CRIS Radio, estimates that the Barix solution saves the company about $9,000 a year in Telco charges by eliminating legacy devices and twisted-pair connections.  He notes that the Barix solution is robust and reliable, offering stable and effective audio streams with the right tools to help him manage the entire network.

“The Exstreamer 500 and Reflector Service provide a solid and reliable foundation for growth as we add new locations,” said Galeota.  “I can program the 500s from anywhere, add them to the network using the Reflector Service and plug in the devices at the studio — and they work.  These are mostly unattended, automated studios, so the ease of configuration and operational reliability are ideal.  I also like that the Exstreamer 500 has balanced audio in and out, which allows me to eliminate extra line amplifiers and transformers to maintain quality.”

Radio broadcasters and other service providers typically use the Reflector Service to stream audio between two or more points.  Hosted by Barix partner StreamGuys (www.streamguys.com), the application is an online center to configure and monitor the audio transport bridge while providing a straightforward relay of the audio feed.  The service offers IP streaming without the complexity of IP, eliminating firewall hassles and the need to configure IP addresses and routing paths.

Galeota adds that the Reflector App reduces time spent on the road traveling between studios to fix on-air problems — a significant benefit as the studios are at least 60 miles apart — and points out that the combined customer support efforts of Barix and StreamGuys has been enormously helpful.

“Technical support is critical for someone like me working at a non-profit,” said Galeota.  “The support from Barix and StreamGuys is unlike anything I’ve experienced in all my years in the business.  They respond promptly, courteously and effectively whenever we have a question.”

Down the road, Galeota expects to explore other features on the Exstreamer 500 as new sites are added to the network — including the use of built-in contact closures to trigger on-air events via his Broadcast Software automation system.

Date posted:

Harris has addressed the rigorous, fast-paced requirements of mobile production with a comprehensive solution for trucks that reduces costs and complexity for customers.  At the 2012 NAB Show, Harris showcased complete solutions to convert mobile production trucks into true high-definition (HD) production centers — and an expanding customer roster using Harris mobile production solutions to tackle news, sports, live events, and broadcast/cable network productions.

The company’s expanding portfolio of compact and versatile infrastructure products offer an array of options for customers seeking integrated, adaptable and tested solutions fit for life on the road.

“Harris provides the infrastructure that brings everything together in the mobile production environment,” said Doug Armstrong, president, Touring Video.  “They offer a wide spectrum of dependable and rugged products to withstand the hardships of the road.  Everything works seamlessly together, from routers and multiviewers to signal processing and test.”

TNDV's Harris HView SX Hybrid multiviewer on the mobile production company's Aspiration truck. The multiviewer hardware is integrated within a Harris Platinum router to reduce space and energy.

Harris’ demonstrated its large video and audio infrastructure product family at NAB, showcasing new products and features.  Harris® Platinum™ integrated routing solutions continue to evolve, building new options into the frame to reduce space, energy use and costs — from Harris® HView™ SX Pro multiviewers to multichannel audio distribution interface (MADI) solutions for higher-density audio routing.

“Harris integrated routing solutions allow me to work more efficiently and add a creative flair to a very technical aspect of the mobile production truck,” said Nic Dugger, president of TNDV.  “The Harris solution enables creativity, from built-in, stylized multiviewer outputs down to the way I configure router panels for both the truck and the soundstage.  No other router solution offers that kind of freedom and flexibility.”

Elsewhere, the Harris® Selenio™ media convergence platform recasts the truck infrastructure as an all-in-one solution for signal processing, networking and compression — while Harris also offers its compact X85™ and X50™ frame synchronizers/converters, and 6800+™ core processing systems to simplify truck operations.  New Harris® Videotek® test and measurement solutions showcased at NAB include the VSG-4CSD clock system driver and VSG-4MTG master timing generator to establish house synchronization and router timing — ensuring seamless operation across the infrastructure.

Harris® Magellan™ router panels and CCS Navigator™ graphical software bring various levels of control and monitoring across the infrastructure, while Harris® Inscriber® graphics offer simple on-board creation and management tools to enhance visual content and protect on-air brands.

“Harris emphasizes high-application density and interoperability in its product architecture, which translates to fewer physical connections, reduced costs, and intelligent and integrated solutions for our mobile production customers,” said Harris Morris, president, Harris Broadcast Communications.  “The result is a seamless, reliable and efficient operation that turns the mobile production truck into a true HD production center.”

Date posted: April 24, 2012

CTV, a division of Bell Media in Canada, is adding digital news solutions from Harris at two stations and upgrading others as the broadcaster establishes a common news production platform across most of its television properties.  The common news platform simplifies network-wide news operations, including how stations share content.

Bell Media also has upgraded its media storage capabilities at leading English-language sports network TSN with Harris solutions to accommodate increasing content volumes and work more efficiently.

CTV’s Victoria and Ottawa stations will install Harris® NewsForce™ solutions for the first time.  The broadcaster also will upgrade existing NewsForce solutions at its Montreal and Halifax locations — giving all four sites the latest-generation of integrated Harris® NEXIO AMP® server and Velocity™ editing solutions for live, digital news production.

TSN in Canada is among the first North American broadcasters to install the Harris NEXIO Farad solution for high volume online storage

Jim Morrison, Senior Director of Engineering Projects for CTV and TSN, said that the ongoing Harris NewsForce installations offer common integration across its TV stations to streamline operations and support.  He notes that the openness of Harris NewsForce solutions has simplified the integration of news production operations with CTV’s network-wide asset management system.

“Harris has been very open and has put a lot of support into helping us integrate our solutions,” said Morrison.  “We have had an in-house media asset management solution for many years that Harris integrated into, easing that file-based movement between the news systems and our home-grown solution.  Any operator anywhere in the country can search any other operator’s news content.  The common platform across our stations makes it easier to collaborate and share content.”

TSN added Harris® NEXIO Farad™ online storage solutions to introduce more stability to a very active sports operation, and accommodate ongoing expansion.   NEXIO Farad interoperates with Velocity editing systems for live sports production, enabling quick file transfers in fast-paced environments.

“NEXIO Farad gives us more on-air stability in a high-volume environment, which was important as TSN is one of our principle revenue-generating channels,” said Morrison.  “We’re handling potentially hundreds of thousands of files in the sports environment, and Farad’s hardware architecture offers considerable protection.  That stability, along with higher storage density and volume capacity, better prepares us for future growth and major events like the Summer Games.”

Date posted: April 9, 2012

Harris will showcase new features for its Selenio™ media convergence platform to help broadcasters reduce infrastructure and costs while strengthening operations at the 2012 NAB Show (April 16-19, Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth N2502).

Customers worldwide benefit from its ease of use and high-density, integrated and flexible design — with the freedom to mix and match applications in a single platform.  Selenio is experiencing solid sales momentum one year after its debut.

Selenio, with its unique hybrid of digital baseband video processing, compression and IP capabilities, creates new possibilities for broadcasters, new media companies and others seeking to simplify and modernize their facility operations.  Its impact crosses the globe with customer installations in all regions, including Zeonbud in the Ukraine, Capitol Broadcasting’s WJZY-TV in the U.S., NDTV in India, Sky News Arabia in the Middle East, Qingdao TV in China, AsiaSat in Hong Kong, and both Anhanguera Educacional and RBS in Brazil.

“We use Selenio across six stations for over-the-air signal encoding, cross-conversion and to send video internally between locations,” said Brady Dreasler, director of television engineering, Quincy Broadcast, Print and Interactive.  “The encoding and decoding efficiencies, compact physical size, low power consumption, versatility and redundancy set it apart from other systems on the market.  It’s the Swiss army knife that really works.”

Dreasler will install Selenio across all 14 of his stations by year’s end, noting its power for sharing content between his stations.  “We develop a lot of content that applies to stations in nearby markets, which we share over Selenio,” he said.  “It’s like having another reporter.”

New features to be introduced at NAB include the Selenio MDX2 multiplexer module to reduce video headend infrastructure for digital TV (DTV) broadcasters.  An industry first, the MDX2 has a built-in DVB-T2 gateway that can combine up to eight physical layer pipes  within a single output stream — enabling delivery of multiple tiers of digital services.  The MDX2 also features a built-in single-network frequency adaptation for signal distribution across large over-the-air DTV networks — ideal for DVB-T/T2 and ISDB-Tb standards.

Harris also will introduce a new video expansion module to Selenio to integrate more functionality — eliminating the number of “downstream” devices in the facility infrastructure.  The expansion module adds real estate for device integration, supporting more applications within the Selenio frame.

Date posted: April 4, 2012

Harris will introduce two breakthrough systems for demanding live broadcast graphics that boost creativity and productivity for on-air broadcast and other video productions across all budgets at the 2012 NAB show.  Harris will demonstrate both systems at the 2012 NAB Show (Booth 2502), taking place April 16-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The new Inscriber® G8 and TitleOne™ AE real-time graphics production systems share a design philosophy that leverages next-generation hardware platforms for advanced graphics processing and increased storage performance — maximizing ease of use and operational efficiency.  Both support proven, mature graphics production workflows for off-line and on-air graphics creation, graphics template and database management, and automation control.

The new Harris TitleOne AE live graphics production system is ideal for broadcasters, cable networks and other facilities with modest budgets and requirements

“Live graphics have become essential to differentiating TV shows and broadcast networks, as well as enticing and informing viewers,” said Harris Morris, president, Harris Broadcast Communications.  “By employing powerful, next-generation hardware platforms and cutting-edge graphics software, these systems boost creativity and productivity while giving users the freedom to create innovative new looks and effects that enhance the viewer experience.”

Inscriber G8

Inscriber G8 is built for high-end graphics creation today and well into the future, providing uncompressed imagery, and unprecedented graphics and animation capabilities.  It offers real-time creation and execution of the high-caliber, complex 3D graphics and animations that today’s live news, sports, and special events demand.

Inscriber G8 uses an Intel® Xeon® E5 processor and NVIDIA® Quadro® 4000 professional graphics processing unit (GPU) to significantly reduce channel hardware density for a greatly reduced footprint (2RU), lower power consumption, and improved performance and clip playback scalability.

Inscriber TitleOne AE

Now shipping, the Inscriber TitleOne AE live graphics system shares many of Inscriber G8’s sophisticated graphics creation features and real-time single-channel HD/SD or SD-only 2D-in-3D graphics.  TitleOne AE offers excellent price performance for a wide range of applications, with capabilities that exceed those found in its price category.  It improves on the previous-generation of TitleOne Inscriber graphics systems by adding an enhanced CPU (central processing unit) and an NVIDIA Quadro 600 professional GPU for maximum flexibility and performance.

Date posted: April 3, 2012

The 2012 NAB Show marks a new era for the Harris Intraplex® family of studio-to-transmitter link (STL) solutions for radio broadcasters as the company introduces the IP Link 100, the first in a new range of low-cost, high-performance audio codecs that help customers deliver program audio affordably and reliably.  Harris will debut the IP Link 100 at NAB (April 16-19, Las Vegas convention Center, Booth N2502).

The IP Link 100 is a compact solution for reliable program audio transport between two or more points, whether in an STL configuration, from studio-to-studio, or from a remote broadcast location to a studio for sports and live events.  The IP Link 100 brings “always on” Intraplex technology to a very affordable price level, and incorporates distinct high-end features that cost extra on competing devices — or do not exist at all.

The IP Link 100 brings “always on” Intraplex technology to a very affordable price level

“The reliability of sending program audio over IP networks continues to increase, giving broadcasters reasons to migrate beyond lower prices,” said Harris Morris, president, Harris Broadcast Communications.  “The IP Link 100 translates the reliable professional-grade quality of top-shelf Intraplex IP solutions to a condensed design that gives our customers a lower price, along with confidence that their program audio will dependably arrive at its destination.”

Harris brings several innovations to the IP Link 100:

  • Dynamic Stream Splicing, a redundant delivery platform that merges two audio streams over the same or separate networks — ensuring seamless, intact delivery of program audio.
  • Multicoding, an industry first that enables simultaneous delivery of audio in two different formats — including uncompressed audio for premium quality, and compressed audio formats for lower-bandwidth backup links.
  • Automatic Backup to a plug-in USB drive or a local audio source in the event of IP connectivity loss.

The IP Link 100 begins shipping in September, with related product introductions on the horizon.

Date posted: March 29, 2012

Integrated solution creates more efficient workflows, scalable options for broadcast and media operations

Harris Corporation and Active Circle have finalized a worldwide OEM agreement that enables Harris to greatly extend digital asset management capabilities for its customers.

Harris will incorporate Active Circle storage and archive technology within its Invenio® Motion media asset management product line.  The integration benefits extend beyond asset management to the greater workflow operation, giving customers an archive solution complementary to Harris broadcast automation and media asset management solutions.

The archive component will tightly integrate with Harris Invenio media asset management software

 

Harris will offer the complete solution to traditional broadcast and cable operations, as well as new media, production and post-production facilities.

The key benefit for Harris customers is an integrated product line that simplifies the workflow architecture.  In operational terms, everyone from single channel entities to large network facilities can turn their digital asset management function into a true “media asset management” operation that can search, retrieve, preview and restore all content, whether it resides online on disk or offline in a tape library.

“The modularity of Active Circle technology makes it possible for Harris to build everything from entry-level to large-scale systems — while also providing complete solutions to our customers that expose all of their digital content,” said Mark Darlow, product line manager, automation and digital asset management, Harris Broadcast Communications.

Philippe Boyon, sales and marketing director for Active Circle, notes that the modularity of his company’s solution is a trait that makes Active Circle unique in the marketplace.

“There are a number of entry-level solutions on the market that simply don’t scale, and others that have very large solutions but cannot downscale,” said Boyon.  “This allows Harris to use the same technology in different packages, making it suitable for small and large workflows.”

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Date posted: March 27, 2012

Tightrope Media Systems announces that Time Warner Cable will simplify live sports production and enhance the regional sports viewing experience with ZEPLAY multi-channel instant replay systems.  The company will install ten ZEPLAY units across several of its biggest sports markets through late summer.

Time Warner Cable, one of the nation’s largest cable multi-system operators (MSOs), is upgrading mobile production trucks with ZEPLAY and other production systems in Los Angeles and Milwaukee among other markets.  The company will use ZEPLAY for efficient and professional-quality replay for regional high school, college and some professional sports.

“We were seeking a partner that would listen to us, and a product competitive to top instant replay systems but more open and cost-efficient,” said Peter Buxton, senior remote broadcast engineer, Time Warner Cable.  “ZEPLAY is competitively priced, reliably handles multi-angle replay, allows more collaboration with our Final Cut Pro editing systems and offers a far easier learning curve for new operators.  We fully intend to transition other trucks to ZEPLAY moving forward.”

Buxton added that Time Warner Cable will bring distinctively high-quality, professional programming to their customers by moving to HD and equipping mobile units with ZEPLAY — a level of production quality rarely seen in high school sports especially.

Three ZEPLAY units are operational today in Time Warner Cable markets across New York State, where local crews are seeing improvements in production efficiency and on-air quality.  Tom White, director of operations for New York State, notes that the ability to record four channels at once — and handle multiple other production tasks from the same unit — has elevated their productions to another level.

“ZEPLAY improves the broadcast immensely because instead of rolling out one look we can offer multiple looks by continuously recording four channels,” said White. “Previously, two of our three locations couldn’t utilize all of these various production elements because they lacked any type of server.  The ZEPLAY gives them all the necessary elements and replay looks right at their fingertips.  It’s all very intuitive, and it’s really been an improvement.”

By intuitive, White points to the ability to easily build sequences, utilize macros and shortcut keys, tag and edit clips, and pull clips from its archive.  He also notes that the built-in multiviewer allows his operators to efficiently see all inputs and outputs.

“Everything is right in front you,” he said.  “We very quickly got to the point where we are building packages and utilizing the box to its full potential.  Anyone that can wrap their minds around the basic function of a replay server can operate ZEPLAY with no problem.”

Date posted: March 19, 2012

Tightrope Media Systems is helping Pittsfield Community Television (PCTV) in Massachusetts more efficiently automate content across three cable channels using the company’s range of Cablecast automation and video server solutions.

PCTV, serving the Pittsfield, Dalton and Richmond communities, produces and broadcasts programming for three distinct channels:  Access Pittsfield, a public access channel; Pittsfield ETV, showing educational programming; and government programming channel Citylink.  Each station offers interactive bulletin boards, video-on-demand and live web streaming — all enabled through Tightrope Media solutions.

Tightrope Media Systems video servers, automation and digital signage systems help PCTV Chief Engineer Shawn Serre stay in control of file-based operations across three cable TV stations.

A longtime Cablecast customer, PCTV added Tightrope Media’s new Cablecast SXHD platform to incorporate high-definition programming.  The Cablecast SXHD video server supports three channels (one in, two out), multi-format SD/HD encoding and decoding, and built-in content storage (16TB).  PCTV has also established file-based workflows using Cablecast SXHD, allowing the facility to work more efficiently by moving away from tape-based studio operations.

In addition to program scheduling and playout, Cablecast SXHD incorporates Tightrope Media’s Carousel digital signage application to manage program graphics, channel logo insertion and bulletin board content created both in-house and from the community.

“Cablecast SXHD is the central heart-pumping system for everything that runs through here,” said Shawn Serre, chief engineer, Pittsfield Community Television.  “That seamless integration means we’re not dealing with a lot of different components and vendors that don’t work together.  It makes the entire operation very reliable.”

The Cablecast SXHD video server supports native playout of many different file formats, including MPEG2 I-Frame only (up to 100Mbps) and DVCPro HD and SD.  This helps PCTV retain video quality and eliminate cumbersome content transcoding processes that many facilities experience upon migration to file-based workflows.

Serre adds that the efficiencies extend well beyond internal processes and onto the greater community through the interactive capabilities of Carousel.

Serre sits in the production control, center of operations for PCTV's government, education and public access channels.

“The built-in Carousel Framework allows viewers, as well as educational and government users, to create and submit messages for broadcast on the bulletin boards,” said Serre.  “These are displayed to 20,000 households along with community info, weather data, RSS feeds and other content.  Carousel also informs viewers about upcoming programs and schedules.  It’s very vital to the workflow.”

 

Serre notes that Tightrope Media Systems has grown along with PCTV as it moves away from being strictly appointment television.  Cablecast SXHD’s automated operation extends to Cablecast video-on-demand (Cablecast ProVOD) and live streaming (Cablecast SX Live) solutions to help viewers consume content in new ways.

“The rise of new media means that people are hungry to consume content in non-traditional ways, so being able to provide television in different manners gives our viewers more options,” said Serre.  “People are more likely to think of us a forward-thinking organization, which is important in community television.  Tightrope has made it very efficient for us to automate channels and bulletin boards while moving to HD and file-based workflows.”

Date posted: March 13, 2012

Harris announces new additions to its Videotek® test and measurement portfolio that cross the digital television (DTV) spectrum for best-in-class quality control.  The new products—which will be displayed at the 2012 NAB Show (Booth N2502) in Las Vegas—solve a host of signal monitoring and measurement challenges for 3 Gb/s signals, DTV transport streams and audio loudness compliance.

“These new Videotek products were designed in response to the changing needs and demands facing broadcasters worldwide,” said David Guerrero, vice president and general manager, Videotek test and measurement solutions, Harris Broadcast Communications.  “Broadcasters need solutions that test and monitor multiple formats and signals in one device.   They also need monitoring solutions that ensure compliance with the CALM Act to regulate loudness levels of broadcast content.  These are just some of the challenges our new products solve for customers.”

Harris adds loudness compliance to the Videotek MSA-300 multi-source analyzer

New is the Videotek TVM-VTM-JEM3™ multi-format jitter evaluation monitor, ideally suited for mobile production trucks and central machine rooms.  Its built-in test generator confirms jitter tolerance to ensure SMPTE video standards compliance, providing five different jitter levels and frequencies ranging from 50 Hz to 500 kHz.  The unit also measures SDI signal integrity — ideal for checking incoming feeds for mobile units.

Harris also adds loudness compliance to its successful Videotek Multi-Source Analyzer Series of products (MSA-100 and MSA-300).  The new MSA-OPT-LOUD™ option measures input signals and issues alarms for non-compliant audio.  Harris will also show a software upgrade prototype that integrates its LLM-1770™ loudness logger and monitor with Harris ADC™ automation to provide as-run records of loudness levels for recently-aired programming.

Harris also announces the following new Videotek products and upgrades:

  • A free ASI-STAR™ software upgrade adds ISDB-Tb (Brazilian DTV standard) support for handheld signal compliance checking
  • The DDM-600™ ATSC demodulator takes RF in and outputs ASI to monitor off-air DTT signals
  • The TSC-110™ transport stream converter translates ASI and SMPTE 310M signals
  • The VSX-11-3G multi-format changeover system performs automatic switching of 11 primary inputs to secondary inputs for mission-critical signal redundancy

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