SAM at NAB Show: A Whole Bigger Than Its Parts

Live sports, IP highlight NAB booth April 17, 2017

LAS VEGAS—About 18 months after the merged Snell and Quantel companies rebranded as Snell Advanced Media (SAM), the company is exhibiting at the 2017 NAB Show with its widest range of products ever. The merger of the two established vendors has resulted in a combined “whole” that is greater than the “parts” that had existed prior, according to David Tasker, vice president of systems and technology for the U.K.-based company.

The merger of the two companies had initially focused on sales teams and manufacturing, and subsequently design, engineering and R&D integration, said Tasker.

“We now have Snell technology across the whole product range, including the historic Quantel range,” he said, specifically noting Snell’s core IP technology, Media Biometrics, and baseband and image processing know-how.

Conversely, Quantel 4K expertise is now seen in what was historically a Snell playout environment, and Quantel’s HDR and color processing is now evident across a large product range.

One of the core aspects not seen at the surface level is the Momentum PAM and workflow orchestration tool. “We’ve woven Momentum right through the range as it relates to live production and playout,” he said. “It’s the underlying powerhouse.”

Tasker also noted that CEO Tim Thorsteinson and Russ Johnson, senior vice president, Americas, had done a lot to boost offerings for the North American broadcast agenda, and brought profitability and growth to the company.

Tasker says that the company’s core IP technology has been built-in across the live production range as IP is adopted in more situations, but the market—particularly the OB area—has a lot invested in legacy SDI infrastructures. Because of this SAM is rolling out 12G SDI across the range as well.

SAM LiveTouch 4K replay & highlights system
At NAB the company will demonstrate its fast editing, replay and highlights production workflow, along with systems that combine immediate replay of live events with no-copy editing and post production.

“‘No-copy,’” editing is a bit different than a traditional ‘ingest then editing then publishing,’ workflow,” says Tasker. “With embedded Quantel editing and storage technology, it’s always been that you edit within frames of what you’ve captured, in the place you’ve captured it, and then publish from that point.”

Tasker says the benefits of this unique, robust file system allow production from one control surface with less moving of media and a single control point. “It’s more flexible and faster,” he said. SAM’s replay solution, LiveTouch, is an example.

SAM’s sports production offerings also allow users to publish highlights and replays straight to social media at the touch of a button. Tasker said customers in live sports and news are very interested in getting to social media quickly, as that drives viewers to the traditional broadcast.

MULTIDISPLAY MONITORING
One product category where SAM has greatly upped its game over the last year is multiviewers. Here, the company now has a presence in enterprise-level product for the first time. “We’re bringing out not only ‘catch-up,’ product, but also ‘leap-frog’ product as well,” Tasker said.

Shown at IBC and now delivering, SAM’s multiviewers span every niche in the market, including new 12G and IP multiviewers. Part of the offering on show will be its media content monitoring and control solutions based on SAM’s established Media Biometrics technology. Distributed intelligent logic engines across the workflow enable exception-based and schedule-aware monitoring, and the company says it can deliver very competitive production monitoring density and flexibility, along with full integration with master control systems and third-party integration.

“Multiviewers are huge for us at NAB,” said Tasker. “[Having an expanded range] is enabling us to win business as part of our end-to-end portfolio with fewer and fewer gaps.”

As for core infrastructure, SAM is showing its new IP products, which use 40, 25, 50 and 100 GigE interfaces; new 12G-SDI solutions are also on show. SAM will demonstrate its modular infrastructure and conversion capabilities, and highlight UHD to SD support for IP and SDI along with integrated SDI and IP routing control and flexible IP/SDI I/O for routing, switching, conversion, multiviewers and monitoring.

For 4K and HDR, SAM will launch HDR file-based conversion products, FormatFusion4 HDR conversion in its Kahuna production switcher line-up, and support for 4K and HDR conversion in its mid-range KudosPro and UHD1000 products.

For playout, a name from the wayback machine—Morpheus—is getting a radical new web-based user interface for multichannel playout control. Morpheus UX gives customers much greater adaptability so they can tailor channel views and focus on specific, needed functionality. ICE SDC, SAM’s pure software playout solution for virtualized IP playout, will also be demonstrated, along with a brand new 12G-SDI master control system with HD/1080p and 4K 12Gbps single link support.

SAM will be in booth SL1805.

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