Business highlights from broadcast and production
Pinnacle Systems debuts CinéWave RT
Pinnacle Systems' CinéWave RT is now available. The product is designed to offer professionals the creative freedom and flexibility to perform real-time editing, effects, and compositing with uncompressed standard definition (SD) video.
Users can perform keyframeable image control and motion effects, as well as create transitions on up to two tracks of video and two tracks of graphics with alpha channels in real-time.
CinéWave RT gives video professionals the ability to work with completely uncompressed SD video to ensure a pristine image quality for output. Its real-time motion control of video,graphics, image control, and transitions are designed to save broadcasters time.
CinéWave RT's real-time powered effects and transitions can be mastered out to tape without rendering. CinéWave RT also allows users to perform real-time effects on any combination of CinéOffline SD resolutions and full, uncompressed quality clips within the same sequence without rendering.
Telestream launches FlipFactory TrafficManager
The FlipFactory TrafficManager is the first IP-based gateway automation system for television stations.
Telestream has launched one of the first IP-based gateway automation systems for television stations. The Flipfactory TrafficManager streamlines operations by automating the process of receiving television commercials or other digital media into the facility from a variety of network media delivery services.
The FlipFactory TrafficManager is designed to eliminate the need to manually receive commercials, decode material to baseband video and audio, and then re-encode them for destination devices. It runs on a Windows server that automatically receives media in different compression formats from various network service providers.
The TrafficManager was devised to save television broadcasters time. It alerts station personnel when media arrives. A previewing proxy is then generated. Then automated media transcoding and communication technologies negotiate all-digital routing of media and metadata to destination servers, NLEs and other digital devices.
Here are a few features of the FlipFactory TrafficManager:
- Automates process of receiving, managing and moving content - all digitally
- Single aggregation point for incoming media from various digital media delivery services and local sources
- Standardizes the workflow process: receipt, notification, tracking previewing, reformatting and redistribution
- Reduces handling and intervention by station personnel
- Direct file transfer, at whatever encoded bit rate is suitable for station operation - eliminates the need to make a lot of duplications
The FlipFactory TrafficManager will be available to the general marketplace in January 2002.
HDNet uses Canon HD lenses in mobile production units
HDNet, the high-definition national television network, has selected Canon's HD lenses for its mobile production units.
HDNet will use Canon's high-definition lenses for its mobile production units.
HDNet trucks drive across the country to capture a wide range of sports and entertainment programming. It relies on Canon’s Digi Super 65 (UJ65x9.5B IE-D) long lens and Digi Super 25 XS (XJ25x6.8B IE-D) studio lens. ENG/EFP lenses will include several of Canon’s HJ18x7.8B IRSD/IASD-II and HJ9x5.5B IRS. All lenses have Canon’s HD-internal focus system, which features high optical performance and improved operability.
HDNet, which broadcasts a full schedule of high-definition programming 7 days a week, said it chose Canon for its advanced optics and engineering excellence.
HDNet broadcasters will use a variety of Canon equipment in their mobile trucks. Broadcasters say they chose Canon for "its advanced optics and engineering excellence."
Chyron and Turner Broadcasting sign supply agreement
Chyron Corporation has signed a multi-year agreement to supply automation, graphics and modular products to Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
The agreement includes Pro-Bel Sextant automation, MAPP media management, and ICON modular products. Chyron's Aprisa 300 graphics digital disk records will be used for channel branding.
The equipment will be installed in Turner's new 193,000 square foot network operations facility. Commissioning, operational and maintenance training are included in the agreement. The project is expected to be finished by mid-2003.
Beta SP retires
By Larry Bloomfield, News Technical Editor
In a sign of the times, an industry workhorse is being put out to pasture. Sony Electronics Broadcast & Professional Co. has discontinued manufacturing its Betacam SP analog videotape format and all related analog equipment.
Virtually nonexistent sales and the cost competitiveness of digital equipment have put an end to what had been Sony's most successful portable videotape recording format ever, with more than 450,000 units sold worldwide in 20 years.
Conversion to HDTV
SCRI recently asked television stations when it expected to convert to HDTV. At least more than three in ten stations (31.9 percent) have already converted to DTV video encoding. The next two years (2001 – 2002) will see more than half of all stations (51.4 percent) convert for an installed base of 83.3 percent. Encoding is one link in the digital video chain transition.
About one in five stations (20.3 percent) have already converted its video encoding to HDTV. By 2002 the installed base will be 65.2 percent, with about one in four stations (24.6 percent) unsure. The actual numbers are likely to be somewhat higher as the networks and programming providers offer more material in high-definition. CBS is leading the pack with an average of more than 12 hours of high-definition program material being offered weekly.
Source: SCRI International Web site: www.scri.com or e-mail: email@example.com
FCC speeds the transition to DTV
In order to enable more broadcasters to get on the air with a digital signal and to help speed the transition to DTV, the Federal Communications Commission modified a number of its Digital Television (DTV) transition rules.
The Commission said that after a review of the transition rules, it was concerned that some of its initial requirements may be slowing the transition to DTV. The Memorandum Opinion and Order on Reconstruction said "mid-course corrections" would help prioritize elements that are the most important to the DTV transition, serve the goals of maximizing the number of DTV stations on the air and provide an incentive to consumers to purchase DTV equipment.
The new changes would also permit stations to elect a more graduated approach to providing DTV service. Broadcasters would be permitted initially to build lower-powered DTV facilities, and retain the right to expand their coverage area as the digital transition continues to progress.
The Commission temporarily postponed the following requirements:
- Commercial broadcasters initially had to replicate their entire current grade B NTSC analog service area with their DTV signal by December 31, 2004 (or December 31, 2005 for non-commercial broadcasters) or lose interference protection to the unreplicated areas. Instead, stations can construct and operate facilities that offer DTV services to at least their license community, while retaining interference protection to its allotted service area.
- Stations are now allowed to change their construction plans and build less than the maximum facility if construction permits have already been granted.
- Commercial stations with both analog and digital channel assignments within the DTV core (channels 2-51) could select by December 31, 2003 (December 31, 2004 for non-commercial stations) which channel they will use for their post-transition digital channel. A gradual approach would give stations more time to increase power and gain experience at these higher power levels before having to choose which of their two channels will provide optimal DTV service.
The FCC said that it would set new dates for replication, maximization and channel selection in the next periodic review. The new deadlines will be no later than the end of 2006 or the date by which 85 percent of the television households in a licensee's market are capable of receiving the signals of digital broadcast stations.
Television stations may operate digitally at a reduced schedule by providing, at a minimum, a digital signal during prime time hours. This modified operating requirement does not affect DTV licensees' simulcast obligations. Starting April 1, 2003, a DTV station must provide a digital signal at least 50 percent of the time it transmits an analog signal; on April 1, 2004, 75 percent; and on April 1, 2005, 100 percent.
The Commission did not modify its deadlines for stations to meet the increased city-grade signal strength requirements imposed in the periodic review order. Those dates are still December 31, 2004 for commercial stations and 2005 for non-commercial stations.
The Commission also declined to issue a blanket extension for remaining DTV construction deadlines (May 1, 2002 for commercial stations, May 1, 2003 for non-commercial stations). It said there was substantial evidence that the conversion is progressing. One survey indicated that more than two-thirds of commercial stations would meet the 2002 deadline, and that the modified build-out requirements being adopted in the new order would allow many stations that did not anticipate meeting the deadline to now be able to do so.
The Commission stated that it would consider financial hardship as a ground for extending the applicable construction deadline. Stations seeking a DTV facilities construction extension on this basis must provide detailed evidence that the cost of meeting the minimum build- out requirements exceeds the station's financial resources. The Commission said that a brief downturn in the economy or advertising revenues would not be considered a sufficient showing of financial hardship. Instead, the Commission would consider the particular station's financial status over an economically significant period of time. The applicant must also provide detailed evidence of its good faith efforts to meet the deadline, including its efforts to obtain the necessary financing. Broadcasters seeking a construction extension deadline will need to fill out a new standard form at least 60 days, but no more than 90 days prior to the applicable construction deadline.
The Commission chose not to modify its process for determining when two DTV applications are mutually exclusive with each other. But the Commission did clarify the relative treatment of DTV applications and new analog TV station applications. It also clarified some DTV application processing procedures for determining unacceptable interference and maximum allowable power.
The Commission said it would hold several issues for future proceedings, including the issues of receiver performance standards, DTV tuners, the ATSC PSIP standard, and labeling requirements for television receivers.
FCC grants NAB request for 60-day waiver
The Federal Communications Commission granted the National Association of Broadcasters request to waive its rules requiring the retention of all public comments.
NAB, on behalf of its member stations and all broadcast licensees nationwide, requested a 60-day temporary waiver to lift the requirement that broadcasters retain in their public inspection files all written comments and suggestions received from the public regarding how a station operates.
NAB also requested that TV stations, who have to include in its license renewal applications a summary of public written comments concerning violent programming, be waived during the 60-day period.
With the recent attacks on media outlets, many broadcast licensees are following FBI recommended policies including: the collecting and opening of letters and packages in order to safeguard employees and visitors to station locations, screening letters and packages for indicators of possible threats and returning all such mail unopened to the U.S. Postal Service for proper handling and disposal.
As a result of these precautions, NAB said that some stations might not be able to retain in their public inspection files some comments and suggestions received from the public as required in the Commission rules.
The 60-day waiver is subject to a possible extension.
ADC Broadband Wireless Group was recently purchased by Platinum Equity and will operate under the name Axcera. David Neff will serve as president and CEO of Axcera, and Ken Foutz will serve as senior vice president and COO.
Panasonic recently announced that Chicago-based SMS Productions will use the new AJ-HDC27V HD Cinema camera for rentals and for its own projects.
Buzz, a New York digital audio postproduction facility, purchased a Quantel Henry Infinity for picture finishing of high-end commercials.
Thomcast has changed its name to Thales Broadcast & Multimedia.
NBC station WJAR selected ConvergenceCams from Livewave to create an interactive traffic camera network for its TV and Internet newscasts.
Two facilities have installed consoles from AMS Neve. Harmony 534 Studios in New York installed the Libra Post for use in a variety of audio and video projects, and the National Geographic Channel is using a Libra Live Series II console for production of its daily news program “National Geographic Today.”
WGCL-TV selected TV-80 audio mixing consoles from Wheatstone to control audio in its new digital complex. Allbritton Communications also purchased the TV-80 consoles for news and production in three of its stations: WJLA-TV in Washington, DC; KATV-TV in Little Rock, AR; and WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, PA.
WETA-TV purchased Solid State Logic's new Aysis Air Plus digital console for its new live broadcasting studio.
Service Electric Cable Television of Allentown, PA, purchased a Kalypso from Grass Valley Group for use in its 30-foot mobile production unit. Merrill Lynch also purchased a Kalypso for its in-house production studio.
Hamlet Video International opened a new sales office in Malibu, CA, to serve the U.S. market. The address is P.O. Box 6530, Malibu, CA, 90264.
A Harrison PRO-950 audio mixing console will be used in WIBW-13's new facility in Topeka, KS. Sony Pictures Entertainment has also ordered Harrison equipment - a 616-input MPC2 digital console for use in SPE's new dubbing theater.
CBS Newspath chose BitCentral's Mediapipe News system to provide digital news content to CBS stations and affiliates.
West Coast music and film recording facility O'Henry Studios recently installed a second Lexicon 960L multichannel digital effects system. The studio purchased its first 960L in December of last year.
ParkerVision's PVTV Studio News production automation system was chosen by ABC Network News for use in its main newsroom. The system will be used primarily for breaking news coverage. McGraw-Hill Broadcasting Group is also using a ParkerVision system, the PVTV Studio News 24 Plus!, for ABC Network affiliate stations in Denver, Indianapolis, San Diego and Bakersfield, CA.
Heartland Video, a Wisconsin-based systems integrator, completed installation of ATSC master control solutions for three Midwest PBS stations — WTVS-TV in Detroit, WMVS in Milwaukee and KCPT in Kansas City, MO. The systems used encoding and multiplexing equipment from Tandberg.
A look at the technology that shaped this industry
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