Date posted: April 2, 2013

New enhancements to radio broadcast, partyline intercom solutions enhance quality and streamline configuration

Barix comes to the 2013 NAB Show with new enhancements to its professional two-way IP audio solutions for broadcast radio and intercom, improving quality in sound and communications.  Barix also continues to simplify system setup for customers, eliminating traditional IP configuration processes to have customers streaming audio within minutes.

The company will show its Partyline Intercom solution at the 2013 NAB Show (April 8-11, Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth C144), highlighting open-channel communications across multiple parties without audio interference — especially ideal in fast-paced video production environments.  New enhancements eliminate the need to configure IP addresses and servers, stripping away the complexity often associated with multipoint IP audio system setup.

Barix will demonstrate how camera operators and other production personnel can use the compact Annuncicom PS1 on the move, utilizing a push-to-talk button with selectable audio channels to facilitate communications amongst directors and production personnel.

Radio Broadcast Solutions

Barix enhances its Exstreamer 500 bi-directional audio device at the 2013 NAB Show to improve audio quality and streaming flexibility.   The device now supports both constant and variable bitrate, with the former added to simplify streaming to Shoutcast and Icecast servers – pertinent for extending how broadcasters incorporate Barix IP audio solutions for live streaming and syndicated program distribution.  A new chip improves quality of the analog-to-digital conversion path to enhance professional broadcast sound.

The Exstreamer 500 is a multiprotocol encoder and decoder with balanced audio and professional I/O options for signal relay and control.  In broadcast, it is ideal for STL and remote contribution applications.  Broadcasters can simplify configuration using the Exstreamer 500 with the Barix Reflector Service, creating a complete streaming audio solution that replicates a received stream to an unlimited number of destinations through the public internet.  The Reflector Service is based on a simple server-client architecture that removes IP address, server and other configuration hassles.

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The Niles Media Group, a Missouri corporation dedicated to excellence in media content creation, sales, and distribution adds Bannister Lake’s Score Bug solutions to better streamline and simplify their live sports productions.

BL Score Bug solutions are designed with both professional and amateur sport leagues in mind. These powerful, real-time scoring and game status display systems are designed for live sports broadcasts and can provide simultaneous SD and HDTV outputs. Every score bug is specifically designed to match the game play of its sport. The end result is a streamlined and easy to learn broadcast graphics tool.

Bannister Lake’s real-time scoring and game status display systems are designed for live sports broadcasts, supporting both SD and HD outputs

A flexible workflow is at the core of BL Score Bug solutions. All score bugs support remote operations over TCP/IP, allowing the score bug operator to control the score bug on an independent layer of the Ross XPression CG. With this workflow, another operator can be working on the same XPression unit but using the XPression interface to play out additional graphics.

Automation is necessary to keep up with the action of live sports. BL Score Bug delivers AutoPilot – direct connectivity to supported score board controllers. Broadcast graphics now stay perfectly in sync with the actual stadium/arena board.

“We are about to revolutionize sports broadcasting and the Bannister score bugs play a key role in accomplishing that,” said John Denison, Executive Officer & Director, Niles Media Group. “We cover a lot of different sports and use a lot of different operators. The Bannister score bugs are intuitive to use so training a new operator is quick and easy. While each sport is different the score bugs have enough commonality that an operator can easily switch between football and basketball without errors.”

Date posted: March 27, 2013

MediAnswers brings media management vision to vendors, integrators and end users across multiple industries

The launch of a consulting firm during the NAB Show buildup appears typical on the surface, but it is rare to have two well-known industry names like Chris Lennon and Peter Storer at its core.  This is the case with MediAnswers, a new global company focused on media management and workflow optimization for broadcast and beyond.

Lennon and Storer bring a long history of software and workflow-oriented expertise that will help their customers work more efficiently and save money.  Lennon notes that MediAnswers was built to address what often seem like insurmountable tasks in streamlining media operations.  This includes helping broadcasters and non-traditional media users integrate their media assets and systems more smoothly, touching everything from video and audio to print and “big data”.

For broadcasters, it is especially challenging where multiplatform delivery is involved.   “There is tremendous pressure now for broadcasters to optimize spots and programs across all these different distribution platforms, from over the air to over the top,” said Lennon, president and CEO.  “Small inefficiencies become multiplied in these situations.  We exist to help organizations step back and take a holistic view of the entire workflow instead of focusing on one problem.”

Most media consultants focus on expertise in equipment and facility construction.  MediAnswers instead brings expertise starting from program acquisition and ad agency commercial management all the way through the entire media workflow to the transmission point.

Storer, who serves as MediAnswers’ Executive Vice President, believes that MediAnswers is ideally equipped to serve all types of organizations, broadcast and otherwise, as they transition from primarily hardware-driven to software-centric operations.

“This is a process fraught with challenges for vendors and their customers alike,” said Storer.  “These organizations are tasked with learning to manage and organize large media resources, capture and reflect the appropriate metadata, and incorporate it into their everyday workflows and archives.  These day-to-day media management aspects are critical to what broadcasters, and to another degree, other non-traditional media companies are experiencing.”

Lennon’s long and successful career with Harris Broadcast, Encoda and Enterprise Systems, as well as his time as a broadcaster, perfectly blends with Storer’s ground-up success with leading program and contract rights management firm StorerTV.  Lennon points to his and Storer’s experience in standards development, including BXF (Broadcast eXchange Format), as one example of the unique skills they bring to such projects.

“BXF is a shining example of what can be accomplished in evaluating a broken ecosystem of media components, and bringing it all together for system-wide efficiency,” said Lennon.  “Our goal is to deliver workflow harmony and improve overall ROI by streamlining systems.  We help our customers achieve what they visualized when they originally decided to transition to software-centric workflows.”

Chris Lennon and Peter Storer can be reached at clennon@medianswers.tv and pstorer@medianswers.tv.

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Broadcast industry’s most powerful, complete network monitoring and control solution adds mobile gateway option for enhanced remote management

Harris Broadcast will demonstrate its Magellan™ NMS network management and control solution across several real-world applications at the 2013 NAB Show (April 8-11, Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth N2503), highlighting new video headend (VHE) and remote management capabilities to enhance efficiency and reach.

Introduced at the 2012 NAB Show, Magellan NMS offers far-reaching diagnostic abilities and centralizes control and monitoring across multiple locations, from local workflows to remote facilities.  Its open architecture simplifies systems integration and customization, with the flexibility to interface with Harris Broadcast equipment and any third-party device.

Harris Broadcast will show its Magellan NMS system in monitoring and control demonstrations with Selenio encoders at the 2013 NAB Show.

This year, Harris Broadcast unveils the new VHE application within Magellan NMS and a mobile gateway option to enhance local and remote monitoring, control and management functions.  The VHE application adds redundancy layers, cross-point switching and component-specific alarming to improve protection and system connectivity, giving customers a complete, at-a-glance view of video headends.

Harris Broadcast will exhibit the Magellan NMS VHE application with its Selenio™ media convergence platform, managing and monitoring signals for multiple encoding, decoding and multiplexing modules.   Furthermore, the company will demonstrate cross-point switching using Harris Broadcast Panacea™ routers and Selenio chassis control with intelligent frame synchronizers, converters and advanced audio processing.

The company will also demonstrate its new mobile gateway option for on-the-go access, with instant notification of important system events.  This improves response time and reduces equipment downtime through access over any HTML5-capable mobile device, as well as native iOS and Windows® 8 mobile applications.

Magellan NMS offers a true distributed architecture, eliminating the central server required in most control and monitoring systems.  This robust design provides rock-solid stability, ensuring no single point of failure for mission-critical broadcast environments.  Its open design ensures that users can quickly create and modify applications, with simple web-based access to any device on the network.

Date posted: March 26, 2013

UNIV software engineers and system architects specialize in creating workflows that are the basis of OTT and IPTV projects

Unified Video Technologies (UNIV), specialists in developing, integrating and operating complete high-performance media and broadcast ecosystems for broadcasters and enterprises, announces new in-house capabilities to design sophisticated software workflows that integrate format- and task-specific video applications.

The UNIV team now includes experienced software engineers and system architects with expertise in system design and who excel at scripting and coding in .net, Java and PHP.  This gives UNIV a unique position in the broadcast and media industries to create advanced, high-performance workflows and platforms that form the essential core of OTT and IPTV projects.

UNIV CEO Pablo Goldstein and CTO Ariel Matzkin (seated) work on a software workflow integration project at the company’s Miami office.

The UNIV team’s software-centric systems integration approach, which the company will introduce at the 2013 NAB Show (April 8-11, Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth 6321), unifies all content processing—regardless of how it is ingested or distributed—into a single workflow.  This ultimately enables content owners, media companies and broadcasters to consolidate resources, streamline processes and reduce costs.

“With the addition of talented system architects and software engineers to the UNIV team, we provide customers with the ability to seamlessly integrate all elements of their video ecosystem in a single integrated workflow.  This unique expertise enables UNIV to design and implement the solutions media companies need to compete in the new world of OTT and IPTV,” said Pablo Goldstein, CEO of Unified Video Technologies.  “UNIV is committed to providing expert, end-to-end solutions for our clients. Adding software integration capabilities is just one example of how we are executing on that commitment.”

Date posted: March 20, 2013

Company further expands transmission portfolio with new integrated ISDB-Tb and DVB-T modules

Harris Broadcast will introduce its Platinum™ VAX Compact Class range of VHF transmitters at the 2013 NAB Show (Las Vegas Convention Center, April 8-11, Booth N2503), adapting the company’s compact, power-efficient transmission philosophy to low-power VHF applications for ATSC and worldwide terrestrial standards.  The company will also introduce new transmitter plug-in modules, including an ISDB-Tb remux solution and off-air digital receivers that save cost and space at transmission sites.

The Platinum VAX Compact Class series is the latest addition to the company’s transmitter portfolio, ensuring a solution for virtually any VHF analog or digital power requirements.  The new series is most suited for low-power transmitting stations and gap filler applications, and is especially useful for covering specific regions in extended markets or difficult terrains.

The new off-air receiver module from Harris Broadcast integrates into Apex M2X exciters for space-efficient DVB-T and ISDB-Tb signal demodulation

Platinum VAX Compact Class transmitters cover low-power VHF transmissions in a 2RU chassis design, with rack savings of up to 50 percent compared to previous-generation transmitters of equivalent power levels.  As with all Harris Broadcast TV transmitters, the new series integrates Harris Broadcast Apex M2X™ exciters to enable simple modulation changes and analog-to-digital upgrades, supporting ATSC, DVB-T/T2 and ISDB-Tb among other standards — including DAB radio.

Harris Broadcast will also introduce a new ISDB-Tb internal remux module to allow broadcasters to insert local broadcast information, including electronic program guide (EPG) data, while using their existing distribution systems.  The ISDB-Tb module is integrated within the Apex M2X exciter to reduce energy use and avoid impact on the physical footprint of the transmitter system.   Additionally, the company will unveil transmitter-integrated DVB-T and ISDB-Tb digital terrestrial tuners to monitor off-air signals; and demodulate RF signals and generate ASI transport streams for re-broadcast.

The company will also demonstrate complete ATSC Mobile DTV solutions including M-EAS functionality and non-real time data applications, as well as DTV headend solutions ISDB-Tb and DVB-T2.  The complete headend solutions feature the Selenio™ media convergence platform for encoding; Videotek® MSA Series for monitoring signal integrity and compliance; and various Maxiva™ UHF and Platinum VHF transmitters all based on the company’s PowerSmart® architecture to maximize power, space and energy efficiency.

Date posted: March 11, 2013

Industry’s first out-of-the-box business intelligence solution boosts data mining, analytical and mobile capabilities to capitalize on business opportunities today and tomorrow

Harris Broadcast enriches business intelligence for media executives and sales teams with new analytic tools that improve insight into current business and advertising models — and offer unparalleled foresight into future revenue-generating opportunities.

Harris Broadcast will introduce these and other new enhancements to its NetGain® business intelligence and analytics software at the 2013 NAB Show (April 8-11, Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth N2503).  The company will demonstrate new visual analytics, mobile dashboards, interfaces to social media data and access to embedded and third-party data mining capabilities as part of its new NetGain v2.4.2 release.

Through the new visual analytics capability, NetGain gives broadcasters and media organizations unique capabilities to proactively pull data from many sources, and quickly compare and analyze that data to fully understand current business landscapes through an intuitive visual interface.  Users can quickly publish the generated dashboards and reports to mobile devices, via e-mail or portal.  Meanwhile, new “visual foresight” tools leverage predictive analytics to help customers develop forward-looking metrics, from anticipated earnings to potential media buys for advertisements.

The latest release of Harris Broadcast’s NetGain business intelligence software integrates with more than 300 predefined data mining sources – ideal for building short- and long-term advertising strategies

NetGain v2.4.2 also incorporates the following new tools and benefits:

  • Access to Wisdom Professional for performing advanced analytics on Facebook user data.  This provides media companies with advanced capability to analyze viewing audiences and enhance advertising placement.
  • More than 300 predefined data mining and predictive analytics functions.
  • Integration with the open-source “R” analytics library, unleashing limitless access to analytics and statistics for business modeling.

NetGain integrates these new tools while retaining its ability to load data and generate reports with speed and efficiency, allowing customers to share business intelligence information locally or across the enterprise within minutes.  Furthermore, the wealth of information generated ensures that users can get a complete view of all available business opportunities.

“Broadcasters today need to optimize their inventories beyond over-the-air channels and across the web, mobile and other digital media opportunities,” said Harris Morris, CEO, Harris Broadcast.  “They also need to visualize the total trend versus looking separately at television spots versus digital.  NetGain ensures that broadcasters, cable networks and other media groups can achieve a complete view of their businesses as opposed to a ‘siloed’ approach,” while enabling visibility into future results based on multiple scenarios.”

Harris Broadcast now pre-integrates NetGain with its various traffic, billing, sales and scheduling platforms (OSi™, Novar™, Landmark™ and Vision™) as well as third-party data sources to maximize data sourcing and flexibility.  NetGain users can also now directly import data from Salesforce® (www.salesforce.com) to better track and measure advertising campaigns across multiple channels.

Additionally, the enhanced mobile capability provides a strong sales-enablement tool for account executives on the go.  This allows sales managers to arm their teams with easy-to-read, interactive dashboards on tablets and other mobile devices, simplifying customer presentations and detailing business performance.

“There are two clear benefits to NetGain’s enhanced mobile capability,” said Scott Criley, director, media and workflow, Harris Broadcast.  “Our customers can leverage the back office capability of NetGain to better understand the current situation and future opportunities in advance of client meetings.  For client presentations, NetGain efficiently makes clean reports, dashboards and marketing material accessible from a mobile interface, making it an ideal tool for revenue generation in the field.”

Date posted: March 6, 2013

Company to showcase technologies for improved market coverage, cleaner over-the-air sound and integrated studio architectures

Harris Broadcast comes to Las Vegas next month fresh off a multi-week technology road show focusing on transmission efficiency and audio networking for analog and digital radio broadcasters.  The company will bring the same approach to the 2013 NAB show (Las Vegas Convention Center, April 8-11, Booth 2503), with new product enhancements and its first MaxxCasting demonstration for large audiences.

MaxxCasting was introduced last month as a joint solution with Geo-Broadcast Solutions to maximize audience reach, allowing broadcasters to fully utilize their FCC spectrum allotments.  The MaxxCasting architecture employs corresponding transmission and control technologies to increase signal coverage via efficient, single-frequency networks — often more effectively than traditional booster technologies.

The IP Link 200 codec makes its NAB debut this April in Las Vegas

Harris Broadcast will demonstrate a MaxxCasting solution featuring Flexiva™ low-power transmitters, Intraplex® SynchroCast®3 IP based simulcast systems and Geo-Broadcast Solutions’ network design architecture (including GPS and booster technologies) — all outfitted in a compact Harris Broadcast outdoor enclosure to maximize equipment protection and increase location options.

“This unique solution merges the technologies of both companies to help broadcasters leverage their investment in spectrum to deliver greater coverage, increasing listeners, advertisers and revenues today — and opens the door to over-the-air delivery of targeted broadcast content across many zones using our unique ZoneCasting architecture,” said Richard Redmond, vice president of product management and strategy, Harris Broadcast.

Harris Broadcast will also show its Flexiva low-power transmitters in North America for the first time (50, 150, 300 and 500 W), and introduce a new transmitter option for integrated Orban audio processing to enhance sound quality.  Flexiva customers can add capabilities of Orban Optimod-FM 5500 series multiband digital audio processors at a lower cost than a standalone unit, offering the same world-class audio processing power and control.  The optional plug-in cards are available for the entire Flexiva transmitter range, extending from 50 W to 40 kW.

The company will also showcase complete networked studio architectures for cost-efficient, distributed audio systems covering multiple studios.  The full demonstration will include various PR&E® consoles, networking systems and accessories to manage seamless, tightly integrated studio workflows.  The demonstration will extend to the company’s Intraplex range of IP codecs, including the NAB debut of the IP Link 200.

The IP Link 200 is a low-cost, multi-channel IP audio codec offering flexible device configuration, multi-format support and “multicoding” capability to minimize bandwidth usage for both compressed and uncompressed audio.  The IP Link 200 also supports multiple identical streams over the same network (or two separate paths) via Dynamic Stream Splicing, a unique feature that delivers T1/E1-level network reliability — and essentially eliminates service interruptions.

Date posted: February 26, 2013

Company incorporates new display, loudness monitoring features into Videotek® MSA products; also introduces new reference and legalizer tools

Harris Broadcast comes to the NAB 2013 Show with several new Videotek® test and measurement products and enhancements.  Notably, the company will inject loudness monitoring and enhanced multi-image display capabilities into its MSA Series of multi-source analysis software products, enabling more test and measurement functionality in the compressed domain.

Harris Broadcast offers its MSA Series for full testing of compressed video conformance, audio levels and data services of over-the-air broadcast, cable, satellite and IPTV signals.  Its multi-source capability means that engineers can analyze many transport streams at once, including IP, RF and ASI encoded video signals.

Harris Broadcast will demonstrate how engineers can test and monitor multiple transport streams in various display configurations with the Videotek MSA Series at the NAB 2013 Show

At the NAB 2013 Show, the company will demonstrate how engineers can simultaneously test and monitor multiple transport streams in various display configurations.  For example, users can monitor the four most critical signals in quad-split configurations while “shadow testing” other signals in the background — with the ability to quickly bring different signals to the forefront.

ATSC broadcasters and cable/satellite operators further benefit from the ability to measure, monitor and log audio levels for multiple program streams — a timely enhancement with the FCC passage of the CALM Act to reduce loudness in TV advertising.  Internationally, new MSA Series capabilities allow DVB-T2 broadcasters to demodulate program-related descriptors and metadata in transmission headends, giving users a more complete picture of content going to air.

“Broadcast and media facilities today require full testing and quality assurance of their transport streams, without being limited to one stream at a time,” said David Guerrero, vice president and general manager, Videotek test and measurement solutions, Harris Broadcast.  “This ensures they can monitor many over-the-air channels, web streams and other video, audio and data signals without hindrance or exception.”

Reference and Legalizer Products

Harris Broadcast will introduce two new Videotek products at the show.  This includes the VSG-4TSG test signal generator, ideal for confirming video and audio integrity through 3G/HD/SD/composite test generation; and the DL-870 video legalizer to evaluate and correct 3G/HD/SD signal formats.  The DL-870 helps broadcast, post and production operators confirm how color space, bit rates and other characteristics compare across various formats — and what adjustments must be made to “legalize” a signal for use in multiple formats.

The VSG-4TSG completes Harris Broadcast’s portfolio of 3 GB/s-capable test signal generation products, along with its VSG-4MTG master timing generator and VSG-4CSD clock system driver introduced at IBC 2012 in September.  The master timing generator and clock system driver products will receive their North American debut at NAB.  All four products, including the DL-870, are built on common platforms to provide familiar, user-friendly operation across test and measurement applications.

Date posted: February 19, 2013

Solution meets transmitter synchronization requirements across distributed and mobile DTV transmission systems

Harris Broadcast is now shipping the broadcast industry’s first comprehensive solution compliant to the new ATSC standards for transmitter synchronization, ensuring that broadcasters have an all-in-one terrestrial and mobile platform to improve over-the-air signal coverage and maximize viewing audiences.

The ATSC A/110: 2011 specification provides the standards-based solution for ATSC broadcasters to enable single-frequency networks.  This allows broadcasters to synchronize over-the-air content across mobile DTV systems and distributed transmission networks that use multiple low-power transmitters within a broadcast market.

The Harris Broadcast Apex M2X exciter

Harris Broadcast enables the solution within its Apex M2X™ exciter and Synchrony™ MNA single-frequency network adapter the only systems currently on the market to offer full compliance.  The systems can be used in any Apex M2X-enabled transmitter, including all Harris Broadcast Maxiva™ UHF and Platinum™ VHF models.  Existing transmission customers can achieve field upgrades through software downloads from the Harris Broadcast Service Portal at http://harrisbroadcast.com/servicesandsupport/default.asp.

Broadcasters have the flexibility to run standard ATSC DTV systems today, and later add mobile DTV systems or convert to distributed transmission systems.  The latter is an emerging trend in the industry, gradually gaining favor with ATSC broadcasters seeking to gain operational efficiencies through lower-cost transmission sites.  Distributed transmission systems also ensure that broadcasters can maximize their signal coverage in the event that the impending FCC spectrum repack impacts their current channel assignments.

“As broadcasters look to adopt mobile and consider distributed transmission systems for coverage, the new ATSC specification provides a standards-based path for the user to address one or all of these capabilities,” said Richard Redmond, vice president of product management and strategy, transmission systems, Harris Broadcast.  “Our solution offers an open toolbox that allows customers to add and change features, while guaranteeing interoperability among the critical components of a transmission system.”

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