NAB Day 2: FCC's 'Straight Talk' & floor notes

During an extremely full second day, FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai addressed broadcasters during the “Straight Talk” forum at the 2013 NAB Show.

The pair answered several tough questions in forthright fashion, exploring the incentive auction and repacking of television spectrum. However, the session wasn't without some curious remarks as Rosenworcel called it “eye-opening” to hear how vital of a role broadcasters played in communicating critical news during Hurricane Sandy.

Other findings out and around the North, Central and South halls:

- Contemporary Research is proudly holding court in the South Upper hall as it demonstrates its ATSC+SDI HDTV Tuner and SDI. CEO Scott Hetzler showed off the tuner's impressive feature in that it houses an onboard HD-SDI port — the first HDTV tuner to do so. Looking ahead, Hetzler also indicated the company is some months away from releasing another innovation — one involving RF and IP dual modulation — so look for that.

- Dalet has had some major installations, including Fox Sports 1. New software includes On The Go, a mobile app that extends the newsroom to reporters in the field; OneCut, a multimedia editor that bridges the gap between simple trimming systems and craft editors; and Cube, a graphics system.

- At the EVS press conference, CEO Joop Janssen unveiled the company’s new strategy, brand and vision. "EVS is more than sports," he said. In addition to the sports market, the company will be focusing on the entertainment, news and media markets. In addition, Nicolas Bourdon, EVS Senior Vice President Marketing, discussed some of the company's new solutions, including its 4K live slow-motion replay system and a new version of its OpenCube suite.

- Tom Harmon, President & CEO of Utah Scientific, showed the UTAH-100/UDS routing switchers with 4K signal capabilities. Routers in this new series range from 32 x 32 to 144 x 144 and offer the same control options as the UDS routers introduced last year. Complementing the new 4K routers is a new 4K signal-processing module that provides multiplexing and demultiplexing of 1.5Gb/s and 3Gb/s streams to and from the 6Gb/s signal.

- At Riedel, Christian Bockskopf, Marketing & Communications, showed the company’s new offerings. Among the line-up is the MediorNet MN-GV-2 card. The interface card allows users to network Grass Valley 3G camera systems — the LDK and the new LDX series — and their base stations via the MediorNet fiber infrastructure. Also new are expansion solutions for Solid State Logic consoles and Soundcraft Si Compact consoles. Next-generation firmware for the RockNet RN.334.MD MADI interface makes SSL mixing consoles and integrated part of the Riedel RockNet digital audio network.

- New at Path 1 is PiXiE. Jarrod Hammes, Vice President, Marketing, demonstrated the MPEG-4 AVC HD encoder, which is designed to dramatically simplify point-to-point and point-to-multipoint transmission of high-quality video using the new MPEG-DASH streaming media standard. PiXiE enables content providers, third-party operators and post-production houses to transmit professional-quality HD-SDI video over any IP network to any device cost-effectively.

- At Triveni Digital, Ralph Bachofen, Vice President, Sales & Head of Marketing, discussed GuildeBuilder 5, the latest generation of its metadata generation platform. The system will be available in a variety of configurations, including integrated servers, software intended for use on customer-supplied servers, Virtual Machine-compatible software and as a cloud-based managed service. It provides flexible support for any DTV provider’s preferred deployment approach and supports ATSC PSIP, ATSC Mobile ESG, M-EAS and DVB SI all in one system.

- Optical Cable Corporation has rolled out its Modular Advanced Reel System (MARS), along with the MARS cartridge system, which the comapny says is the most advanced, self-contained fiber optic reeling system available.

- Radiall wants to make waves as it jumps into the broadcast industry with its "Splash" campaign, which highlights its colorful BNC HD Connector. The color-coded design makes it easier to avoid often jumbled cable messes, and the curved interface design with positioning marks makes it easy to connect in high-density and recessed bulkhead applications.

- At the Anton/Bauer press conference, Matt Danilowicz, CEO of Vitec Videocom, toasted Anton/Bauer’s recent Scientific and Engineering Academy Award win for the CINE VCLX System. In addition, Chris O’Neill, Anton/Bauer’s vice president of product management and marketing, debuted the Gold Spectrum Wireless Series. A collaboration between Anton/Bauer and Vitec Group sister company Integrated Microwave Technologies, the series is comprised of the AB-HDRF kit, AB-HDTV transmitter, AB-HDRX dual diversity COFDM receiver and/or AB Direct VU handheld receiver/monitor.

- Fairlight has brought its PYXIS 4K video recorder to the U.S. — debuting it this week. Sporting an impressive build, the recorder handles compressed or uncompressed video recording from SD to 4K. Also, the company announced a brand new collaboration with DTS to deliver 3DAW — the first next-generation 3D audio creation platform to support MDA. Fairlight CEO Jean-Claude Kathriner said the entire collaboration process was only a matter of weeks. According to him, his company had the tools in place and simply needed to tweak up to the solution DTS wanted.

- At the RTW press conference, Mahmoud Chatah announced the company’s new U.S. office and plans for further expansion into the U.S. market. He also introduced Christopher Spahr as the company’s new U.S. Director of Sales and Operations, and Arjen Hofland as the company’s new International Sales Manager.

- Saying he hadn't actually held the finished product in his hand until about two weeks ago, Shure Manager of Technical & Educational Communications Chris Lyons showed Broadcast Engineering the finer points of the company's highly anticipated VP83 and VP83F LensHopper Camera-Mount Condenser Microphones. Available this coming summer, the mics are as cool as they've sounded.

- At the Yamaha press conference, marketing manager Marc Lopez introduced the Nuage Integrated Audio Production System. Yamaha control and interface hardware integrates seamlessly with Steinberg Nuendo DAW software in a purpose-built system designed to offer unprecedented productivity and flexibility, as well as premium audio quality.

- Joe Walsh, Vice President of Sales for Visionary Solutions, showed the D1000, a new H.264 and MPEG-2 based decoder supporting SDI, HDMI and DVI outputs with resolutions up to 1080p60. The decoder enables users to cost-effectively deliver professional-quality HD video and audio over IP networks. It works seamlessly with all VSI encoders and features a high-density, compact design that enables it to be housed in the same MP1700 or MPP200 chassis as other VSI blade encoders, reducing operational costs and rackspace requirements.

- Richard Dellacanonica, Artel President and CEO, discussed the DL4360x DigiLink. The video transport chassis features an advanced design that combines modular-based transport functionalities with simultaneous internal routing of both video and Ethernet traffic. It eliminates the need for external cross connects, streamlining the routing and rerouting of video and Ethernet traffic.

- At Fujitsu, Richard Harvey, Manager - Product Management, highlighted a new firmware release that dramatically improves end-to-end latency for the IP-9610, IP-900 and IP-920 HD/SD H.264 video encoders/decoders while delivering high picture quality at reduced bit rates. The H.264 video encoders/decoders are now capable of operating at less than 99ms back-to-back latency, ensuring a seamless interaction between talent, studio and interviewees.

- Robotics and virtual studio provider Hybrid showed its full range this year, including Chromium, a small robotic jib. Its Krypton engine handles virtual set duties, and the company is working with on social media integration.

- Zylight featured its new F8 LED Fresnel, available in daylight or tungsten, and which outputs equivalent to conventional 650W light. Also featured were the Z90 and IS3. Wireless operation and syncing of settings was a nice touch.

- TC Electronic's LoudnessRadar is now integrated with the newest versions of Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition on a licence agreement. The LoudnessRadar builds on the LM6 Radar Loudness Meter.

- Orad started its press conference off with the HDVG4 hardware platform. It’s capable of four 4K outputs (“16K”). Does IP streams in and out. NewsHub is meant for fast-turnaround news production, and Blend is a channel-in-a-box system.

- Dell announced Dell Create, a multivendor cloud production platform. The argument is that broadcasters, studios and creative shops attempt to integrate various specialty platforms with varying levels of success. Dell proposes to do all the legwork and glue work to get everything to play nice, and content companies buy as much capacity and capability as they need.

- Telestream featured its Vantage Transcode app directed at the IPTV VOD market. It features GPU acceleration and x264 compatibility. The company says video providers must balance quality (which keeps viewers watching longer) and bit rates (lower rates reduce cost). Says x264 offers the best balance in independent tests. Vantage Cloud should be ready later this year, and the company is getting behind HEVC because of the quality improvements and bit rate reductions.

- Sony Creative Software showed additions to Vegas including XAVC support and round-trip Panasonic P2 support. Vegas has supported 4K for several releases now, but adds Smart Proxy edit, which allows lesser machines to work with 4K footage. Vegas also handles S-log 32-bit floating-point color environments.

- Audio-Technica is bringing its focus back to the broadcast market, and part of that is manifested in the AT5040 vocal mic. It features a four-part rectangular element, which provides a large surface area for a standard round diaphragm. For budding broadcasters and podcasters, there’s the AT2020USB+, which adds a built-in headphone jack with volume control for monitoring purposes. There’s also a mix control, which aids in recording over pre-recorded audio.

- DTS provided a listening demo to illustrate the impressive capabilities of the DTS Headphone:X, which supplies up to 11.1 surround sound over headphones. Automatic calibration to various headphone makes and models opens wide the door of applicable situations, as does a user interface that enables consumers to personalize listening experiences.

- Fischer Connectors has a great display showing its ruggedized fiber optic connector, which can be cleaned and reconnected in the field. An exhibition at the booth showed a connector caked with mud that was rinsed off in a water tray and dried. Immediately after drying, it was again connected, and the performance was back to pre-mud levels.

- Genelec has something cooking, but it won’t be announced until midnight tonight. What the company would talk about is Univision’s new facility that will use 8040A and 8050A loudspeakers throughout. There’s also the company’s Intelligent Signal Sensing (ISS), an auto power-off system that cuts power usage. On signal detection, full power is restored.

Just like Days 1 and 2, Broadcast Engineering will have NAB covered better than anyone for the remainder of the show. Continue to check here, and look us up on Facebook and Twitter for even more notes and live reporting from the show floor as we get into Day 3!