NAB 2013 Highlights So Far

LAS VEGAS – The buzz words, or derivatives thereof, are “cloud,” “4K,” “HEVC” and “touchscreen.” 
Harmonic, always first out of the gate with a Saturday evening presser, rolled out the Ellipse 3000, a new HEVC encoder built on the “latest silicon,” according to Krish Padmanabhan, senior vice president of product development for Harmonic. The Ellipse 3000 does 4:2:2: 8/10-bit, multiformat encoding and is software upgradable.

Harmonic’s ProMedia platform now can transcode 4K with HEVC, and has been time-shift “optimized” in conjunction with MediaGrid. ChannelPort was given dual DVEs, independent SD/HD simulcast capability, and compatibility with Pitch Blue.

Harmonic’s philosophy: “We believe software upgradability with a license is the way to go,” Padmanabhan said.

Harmonic’s goal: “Our intent in contribution encoding., now that we have contribution encoding., we can pursue the Tier 1 contribution market. We intend to leverage broadcast position with the contribution market. Our goal is to be No. 1 in contribution in three years.”

Snell stepped into the cloud Sunday morning with new Snell on Demand, a software platform that provides on-demand access to the vendor’s image processing technology. Snell-on-Demand incorporates image-processing technologies the vendor has developed over the years, such as “scene carving” and “dynamic reframing.”

“These are highly intensive algorithms,” Maycock said. “They never came to market in the form of an affordable product.”

On the 4K front, Maycock said Snell’s customers are talking about deploying it this year. Snell responded by enabling its Kahuna 360 switcher to handle 4K in addition to SD and HD, at no additional cost.

Snell brought in Fox senior vice president of new technologies for Network Engineering and Operations, Clyde Smith to highlight its cloud strategy. Smith announced that the network wanted to move operations into the cloud. Smith said Fox was looking to replace old automation and master control gear with the launch of Fox Sports 1.

“We wanted to go to virtualized infrastructure,” Smith said. “One of big challenges of virtualizing master control is the lingering requirement for baseband video.”

A collection of standards groups, including the European Broadcast Union, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and the Video Services Forum have formed a Joint Task Force on Networked Media to develop the standards for creating an entirely network-based workflow.

Smith said there was not yet a timeframe on Fox’s transition to the cloud, which Snell will help enable. The vender took its first step by launching its first on-demand service, Alchimist OD frame-rate conversion.

David Ross kicked off the Ross presser by speed-talking his way through 60-plus slides. He spoke about Ross posting 21 “straight years of growth,” including 47 percent in 2011, 17 percent in 2012, and a target of 15 percent this year. The gear line has likewise grown—from switchers to robotics, graphics, video servers, automation, routers and social media management.

Inception is Ross’s technology for integrating social media activity such as Twitter comments into live broadcasting. The Xpression graphics system now has DVE-style effects that can be done live, on air. Ross will use Xpression on the floor to generate a virtual set with lighting and depth-of-field qualities that make it appear more like the real thing.

Ross Furio robotic camera systems, which now appear in BBC News transitions, will be on display on the floor, including a new model that handles up to 30 kilograms or around 70 pounds.

openGear, the Ross remote-management platform, now has 50 vender partners and 15,000 deployments around the world, with another 6,000 expected to come online this year. The newest openGear release, 3.0, has 22 gigabit Ethernet-slot capacity and twice the power at 450 W, plus backward compatibility with 500 other cards.

Vers. 6 of DashBoard is debuting; it now controls Carbonite, Xpression, CamBot, Furio and other devices. DashBoard 6 in beta is now available on the Ross website for free.

The Ross ViewControl is a multi-window display touch screen by which a user taps a frame and that content goes to air. A new Vision Octane—3G—is on hand, as is a new $18,995 Carbonite 10 production switcher. Routerwise, Ross is showing the new 144x144 eXtreme with two ME control panels and another to come. It is two independent but integrated routing switchers with both routing and CPU redundancy.

For editing, Avid, the company brought Media Composer 7 for $999; a $1,499 Symphony option, shipping by the end of June. Pro Tools 11 is now completely new from the ground up, and includes the Media Composer video engine.

Harris brought the new Platinum IP3 router, which combines broadcast and IP in one router, their new Nexio Volt server, the new Versio channel-in-a-box and their new logo.

The Grass Valley presser is scheduled for this evening, but their big announcement is expected to be the debut of the new software based Director switcher.

BitCentral has a new Core:news capture system by which video can be captured on a smartphone and sent directly to the Oasis news system where it shows up in the playlist.

Then there’s the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera for $999.

(Ed. Note: There’s much more than yours truly can possibly summarize today, given the press release avalanche we are currently under in addition to our duties on theNAB Daily. We’ll bring you more as time and human endurance allows. ~D.)