2011 NAB Show Product Review: Automation & Asset Management

Automation continues to evolve from the control of daily broadcast schedules to software-based "content lifecycle management" workflows and space-saving channel appliances—lots of blurred lines and cross-over products in a still-expanding category.


Christopher Keith, director of product develoopment for Building4Media, demos the new Ultimate Logger, a customizable touchscreen-driven media logging application. Photo by Dawley/KovacsAveco rebranded their applications as "ASTRA Suite of Tools," adding multisite and content lifecycle management for programs, spots, news, and live events playout. Plus, a beta peek at new Windows, Linux and Mac platform UIs. Also, a Prime Image partnership lets automation users squeeze-in extra commercials using Time Tailor to compress program durations.

Avid premiered Interplay Central, content creation and collaborative workflow tools enabling news staff to pull media assets, review sequences, edit video/audio content, and create stories through an easy-to-use Web portal interface. iNEWS Command added support for the new AirSpeed Multi Stream playout server, including up/down/cross conversion, low-res proxies and sub-clipping from the Command workstation, plus an iNEWS plug-in for Chyron's LUCI NRCS.

FastBreak Automation gained multi-level switch operation, auto-failover and recovery for redundant N+1 ports, playlist over credits, Archive Manager integration with XenData, and other advanced content filtering workflows.

Building4Media added Windows support to their FORK Production and Playout Suites and introduced an Apple iPad-enabled "Ultimate Logger" app for content identification and management, as well as CG-X, a template-based graphics tool for master control. FORK Live Assist is iNEWS and ENPS compatible.

Crispin's new BXF interface to WideOrbit offers realtime As Run and media updates, play and dub list submission, and live traffic logs. Among Hub & Spoke configuration enhancements, ingest from multiple locations and shared asset timings. Also new: automated transfer, transcoding and segmenting of Pitch Blue content within Digital Transfer Agent; a new Auto-Failover redundancy option; and a MetaTag plug-in for users to browse proxies and locate, segment or annotate assets with rich metadata from virtually anywhere.

Digital Broadcast highlighted Conforming Engine to automate Pitch Blue, DG Fastchannel and similar content delivery service transfers.

Enhancing their Universal Automation Backup System, DNF Controls added a Rundown Manager for on-the-fly news and live production users.

Ericsson promoted their End-to-Endless Television workflow with hardware-based solutions for content acquisition, management, advertising, distribution and broadcasting.

Showcasing the company's Pharos acquisition, Evertz demonstrated a workflow combining their Media Server with OvertureRT LIVE multichannel playout and Pharos' Mediator—a complete content workflow with interfaces for acquisition, storage, and delivery.

Martin Jolicoeur, product manager for Miranda, demos the ITX automation and playout system. Photo by Dawley/KovacsFlorical enhanced Acuitas, their IT-based "station-in-a-box" solution, with additional I/Os, a hardware scaler and agile up/down/cross format conversion. Designed for spot insertion or cost-effective multi-channel operations, it can be remotely managed using the company's SMART Central technology.

Harris expanded ingest and file-based workflow components for its ADC and D-Series automation. Air Client was optimized for file-centric operations. Also new was Channel ONE IP, an all-in-one solution for creating, scheduling and airing specialty channels over an IP transport stream. Invenio MAM gained "cloud" computing via Microsoft Azure, a new Action edition optimized for sports, plus iPhone/Android apps for newsgathering and delivery. Novar and OSi traffic systems added NetGain, a business intelligence module for sales and transaction data analysis.

Leightronix featured PEGstream-SD, a live streaming encoder to add Internet to users' distribution mix.

Miranda's VOD Publishing solution incorporates their IT-based iTX automation and playout system, streamlining broadcast operations by addressing the increased cost and preparation time for "TV Everywhere" and "Catch-Up" viewing. New iTX tools automate the preparation and playout of channel branding and schedule awareness graphics. Also, a tighter integration between iTX, the Kaleido multiviewer and iControl Playout Manager can display automation events—such as current and next event or missing content alarms—as well as overall playout system health, on the monitor wall and supervisory desktop.

NVerzion introduced NCompass to manage, process metadata, and air content from file-based delivery services via a common user interface. Also, Keep It Simple Scheduler (KISS), a low-cost traffic, sales and billing system tightly integrated with their modular automation.

Rushworks featured new A-LIST automation, a "powerfully simple media appliance" with time-of-day events, DTMF, GPI, GPO, and manual triggers, auto-loop, auto-fill to pad short events, a multi-layer graphics compositor, file pre-fetch from NAS, and more.

SGT brought advanced media asset management to their established VEDA Automation workflow sporting a friendly, ergonomic user interface with Contextual Navigation and customizable lay-outs.

Snell released enhanced editions of their IT-based ICE playout system, adding dual-channel DVE, SD/HD simulcast, on-the-fly up and downscaling, EAS support and closed captioning in a range of easy-to- install, low cost turnkey packages. Morpheus automation, in partnership with The Application Store (TAS), drove realtime metadata to the Screentoo app, maintaining synchronicity between the primary broadcast and interactive elements for tablet, mobile and other "second screen" viewing platforms.

Video Technics launched VT Scheduler Pro software to make their Apella server a hybrid channel-in-a-box with legacy hardware support, precise secondary triggers, 16 additional GPI I/Os, plus graphics automation with selected character generators.

Tapeless workflow pioneers VSN announced greater integration within their Archive, News and MAM modules, along with Avid editing support. V3.0 of VSNCREATV—a content scheduling and management system—demonstrated enhanced usability and operational speed, along with a new module to generate reports of commercials aired into SAP accounting and financial systems.

Joe French (center, facing camera) of Masstech answers questions on the company's CatchBlue file-based media asset management system. Photo by Dawley/KovacsARCHIVING & ASSET MANAGEMENT

AmberFin added native Apple ProRes support to v7.0 of the iCR ingest workflow line-up. Among enhancements, automated QC and Review, a Universal File Player, standards conversion of 3D content, a timeline-based GUI, and modular Media Factory configurations, expandable to fit user needs.

Dalet Digital Media Systems introduced Sports Factory, portrayed as an industry-first MAM workflow specifically for sports production. It harnesses Dalet Enterprise Edition to manage live event and post-game coverage with application-specific logging, clipping and replay tools, plus native support for a wide range of Dalet and third party servers. Also new, Dalet Media Life designed for the complexities of high-volume, multi-platform facilities.

Digital Rapids unveiled Transcode Manager 2.0. Built on the company's new Kayak application platform, it offers exceptional enterprise-level performance to transform high volumes of media between acquisition, production, archive and distribution formats.

Front Porch Digital announced DIVArchive v7.0—a comprehensive database re-architecting—plus a commitment to the new Archive eXchange Format (AXF), an open content/storage agnostic format. V7.0 adds a fresh graphical interface for Windows or Mac desktops with at-a-glance dashboard to monitor trends and resources. Also new, SAMMAsolo HD, a single pass migration solution to digitize archive-quality content from videotape to multiple formats.

Harmonic showed new Apple ProRes 422 support for their Rhozet Workflow System and introduced an updated ProStream 4000 realtime, multi-screen transcoder optimized for adaptive mobile and OTT streaming services.

Masstech Group launched Emerald v7.5 Lite Edition for LTO tape archiving, content management, and HQS (high quality speed) transcoding. Designed especially for newsrooms, it integrates with ENPS and iNEWS via MOS, enabling staff to browse or research archived content and select shots from their desktops.

A new, improved Content Management System (CMS) from Netia lets broadcasters ingest locally and manage media or playout in multiple regions.

Pilat Media unveiled IBMS:InTouch, a tablet-compatible order and account management console for their flagship Integrated Broadcast Management System. Also new, Operational Cockpit gives executives at-a-glance views of their entire media business, including the status of content, scheduling, sales and financial workflows; and TrafficCentral, a single point-of-control management console to drive complex broadcasting operations encompassing large numbers of channels or multi-region spanning networks.

ProConsultant Informatique debuted Louise 5—an enterprise business information system—with enhanced media asset, rights and metadata management across multiple channels and platforms. MediaBench module facilitates the creation of promos and custom trackable overlays for nonlinear viewing platforms. Cindy, the company's advertising sales system, added non-linear ad targeting using demographic and advertiser preference profiles.

RadiantGrid Technologies announced faster-than-realtime Apple ProRes encoding and demonstrated their RadiantGrid Platform's v6.5 with advanced media processing and transformation capabilities.

FlashNet—Software Generations Limited's archiving solution—promoted greater efficiency via the new LTFS (Linear Tape File System/Long Term File System) format, which treats data tapes as a file system. It provides greater interoperability between archive formats, allowing data exchange from previously incompatible systems.

SSL DV returned with scalable Gravity News Media Asset Management and workflow system, adding Studio Recorder (GSR), Mobile (iPhone & Android), and Closed Caption monitoring features.

Vantage Enterprise, Telestream's new system management product, offers visibility and control over key content workflows by unifying video capture, transcoding, analysis, metadata processing, delivery and notification into a single future-proof framework.

TransMedia Dynamics brought Mediaflex v4.0 with user-extensible data for broadcast, media and archives, plus LoadMaster and QManager modules to load-balance file-based processes and manage queue priorities in content preparation.

Vitec Multimedia’s ProxSys MA-Series combines MAM with fast ingest, automated storage and smart archiving to Blu-ray or HDD via an intuitive GUI.


Associated Press demonstrated tools to move workflow away from the traditional newsroom, adding Apple/Android device support to an updated ENPS Mobile Suite. A Tablet Story View makes live shots easier from the field; rundowns dynamically update—or cache in case of a Wi-Fi outage—as changes post. New Digital Publishing Engine (DPE) provides tools for combining Web, mobile and broadcast production, including automated transcoding, a dedicated "content collection" grid, drag & drop re-sequencing of page content, and realtime usage metrics.

Greg Smith (L) of Bitcentral, explains the company's Create news production and publishing tool to Walter Nichol of KMOU. Photo by Dawley/KovacsAutocue/QTV debuted Web-based scripting and other collaborative workflow enhancements to their Autocue Newsroom NRCS system. New archiving functions support back-up/restore from a wide range of storage devices.

Bitcentral unveiled Create, a browser-based system that extends editing to journalists and speeds breaking story turnaround in the newsroom. Journalists can edit within popular broadcast formats and create versions for multiplatform distribution.

Grass Valley had a new Ignite control panel modeled on their Kayenne switcher.Available in one to three bay configurations with motorized sliders and hi-res display hotkey buttons, it lets directors recall individual keyboard set-ups. Also new, Active-X functionality makes rundown additions/deletions easier during show construction; enhanced features for MediaFUSE—automated content repurposing and multiplatform distribution—and for Ignite Konnect's Kayenne and Kalypso switcher integration.

V10 of OverDrive, Ross Video's automated production control system, added automated content preparation fo the Web along with enhanced CG timing controls and GlobalView personality settings, as well as support for their new 8-ME Octane switcher, OverDrive UI display across up to four monitors, and keyer automation using imported CG timing from the NRCS.

Sony's ELC is optimized for live broadcast news, leveraging NRCS sequence data to tightly choreograph production switcher, playback servers, graphics, camera robotics, audio console and related devices to increase on-air efficiency and consistency.


Version 7 of Broadway Systems' cable ad management solution added Deal Management Cockpit and Broadway IQ to leverage real-time data for improved analytical decision-making. Also new was Broadway Mobile, a smartphone and tablet accessible toolkit of data "dashboards" displaying top advertisers, revenues, CPMs, etc. to CFOs and sales executives.

ProTrack TV, Myers Information Systems' flagship suite, added a new Asset Management module to automate digital content workflows throughout their lifecycle.

Enterprise Resource Management experts ScheduAll showed ERMa, a module for realtime global network collaboration. Users can readily view, book and manage projects 24/7 using the ScheduALL inventories of partners anywhere worldwide.

StorerTV added CentriX and QuantiX to their SIMS program management solution. CentriX integrates with legacy and current systems to expose tasks, workflows and technical assets to customizable Web-based dashboards, displaying the status of automated processes across the "media factory." Also new: QuantiX, a Web-based library management system for content and associated metadata.

WideOrbit showcased WO Master Control, a scalable system with remote accessibility, integrated graphics and branding, auto-scaling and transcoding, BXF functionality, native ingest for DG Fastchannel, PitchBlue and other content services, and, of course, robust WO Traffic integration.

Facility manager Xytech debuted MediaPulse Encore, a resource, work order and asset tracking solution for enterprise-wide information sharing and collaboration via a targeted, rules-based infrastructure.