Bob Seidel of CBS
LAS VEGAS—The NAB Show is a unique marketplace that attracts a wide variety of broadcast-specific needs and products to Las Vegas every year. TV Technology surveyed a number of broadcasters and producers to take a peek at what’s on their shopping lists:
CBS: FILE-BASED AND 4K
The NAB Show may come once a year but the FCC’s penchant for formulating new rules never ends. Finding new equipment to comply with these new rules is one of this year’s goals for Bob Seidel, vice president of engineering and advanced technology for CBS.
“We’ll be looking at technologies that allow us to comply with the upcoming FCC requirement for text to audio conversion for the SAP channel,” Seidel said. “We’ll also be looking at technology that allows us to comply with some of the new captioning rules on quality.”
CBS will also be examining new file-based editing, storage and delivery technologies. Seidel believes that file-based workflow has matured to the point that the process is “an important part of how a station does business.”
As for 4K, Seidel said the network will be looking at state of the art 4K production, “just to understand it.”
“I’m not sure we’re ready to broadcast 4K but we’re looking at all of the post production and production sides,” he said, adding that many of the network’s primetime shows are shot in 4K. “We’re trying to understand their workflows and how we would handle 4K.”
Harvey Arnold of Sinclair Larry Oaks, vice president of engineering and technology at Meredith Corp., plans to “look at new newsgathering and newsroom technologies and glue tools.” Like many station groups, Meredith has a couple of stations that are in the final stages of HD conversion and part of his shopping plan is to finish “the clean-up work.” Also on Oaks’ shopping list are “tools for monitoring and review to assure compliance with the CALM Act.”
At Sinclair Broadcast Group, Director of Engineering Harvey Arnold says the station group is looking for “better, cheaper and faster.”
His group has made some recent acquisitions in smaller markets and some of those need significant upgrading. “Viewers want HD” Arnold said, and he is looking to bring it to them with help from new technologies in several areas. “Camera costs continue to go down, and graphics are definitely getting better, faster and cheaper,” he said. Arnold is also comparing the latest ATSC encoder technology and HD news editing systems. In larger markets, Sinclair Broadcast Group is looking at camera robotics and Ross Video’s Overdrive for production automation.
The group also has an eye on streaming technology. Arnold plans to replace older encoders with new technology for multichannel streaming and expects to investigate many encoders at the show.
EXPAND AND REPLACE
Steve Smith, consultant Bret Falcetto, director of operations at KRBK-TV, the Fox and MeTV affiliate in Springfield Mo., is in the process of ramping up his station’s local newscasts from two-minute newsbreaks into full-length news programs. The technical project requires a new production switcher, graphics system, prompting, and closed captioning gear. KRBK is also shopping for a statistical multiplexing (statmux) solution for real-time management of video stream bandwidths before transmission.
Steve Smith, president of Broadcast Technology Consultants in Greenville S.C., plans to shop the floor with several of his clients. His list starts with a new election system to replace a legacy leader system.
Smith is also shopping for a local emergency message crawl-to-speech converter for SAP/DVS audio channels for all TV station virtual channels in time to meet the FCC’s May 2015 deadline. He is also looking for new solutions to meet just announced FCC closed captioning rules, including sync of closed captioning to the main audio and improvement of ENT closed captioning with real-time speech to closed captioning via software vs. captioning services.
Smith’s clients are also investigating next-generation solutions for master control and news operations including multiple channels per server, IP-based, virtualized and streaming outputs to feed CDN’s. He is also shopping for content acquisition solutions using Wi-Fi or cellular with improved performance and ease of use.
John Dennison, consultant Vista Productions owner Angie Warnock will be conducting “primarily a fact-finding mission” about the future and timetable of 4K and 8K and how that technology fits her company and its clients. Warnock’s Harrisonville, Mo.-based company provides video production and staging for Fortune 500 companies. She also be looking at large-screen LED display technologies.
John Dennison cofounder of Niles Media Group in Kansas City, admits that he always looks at “the usual sports truck items like lenses and backpack transmission gear,” at the show, but this year one of his goals is to learn more about how to embed data, and develop databases to enhance sports production.
Another solution Dennison is looking for is integrating files for use on air. “People bring us all kinds of formats and expect us to be able to use it,” he said.
What do you suppose were the Las Vegas odds when Sony introduced the U-Matic ¾-inch VCR that the industry would still be seeing new video formats and new products to deal with them at an NAB Show 14 years into a new millennium? Some things don’t seem to change.