The Buzz From IBC 2014

Technology shines through in Amsterdam
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AMSTERDAM ― Although the IBC and NAB are both considered technology shows, and both do have extensive displays of technology, the philosophies behind the shows are somewhat different. This behind-the-scenes focus leads to the shows having a somewhat different overall tone and flavor.

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The NAB Show is organized by the National Association of Broadcasters, a lobbying organization that works to guide regulation and legislation favorable to its members. Thus, the NAB Show usually has keynote speakers and important session tracks presented by people knowledgeable of regulations and the workings of government.

The IBC show is organized by SMPTE, IEEE, IABM and other technical organizations that promote engineering and manufacturing. Sessions and speeches at the IBC are therefore less about regulation and government, and more about techniques, technology and processes. There is always plenty of new gear to peruse at the NAB Show, but the IBC somehow seems a little more “gear-friendly.”

With gear in mind, there were many interesting things to see at IBC 2014. However, a couple of items stuck out in the minds of our correspondents.

RETIMING IS EVERYTHING

First was Cinnafilm’s Tachyon Wormhole, a retiming device that can lengthen or shorten any video clip. Products that can retime video clips have been around for years, but the Tachyon Wormhole is the first that can do it without dropping frames. The result is video that is as clean and smooth as the original, just shorter or longer.

The product was developed jointly by Wohler Technology and Cinnafilm. Introducing the Tachyon Wormhole in a press conference, Wohler CEO Carl Dempsey said that the device was the industry’s worst-named product. That said, he had plenty of good things to say about it.

“Until now, there has never been a file-based retimer,” Dempsey said. “And timing is important.”

Dempsey described a well-known German film director who created a 32-second-long TV commercial for Audi. With the director refusing to cut a single frame from the slightly too-long commercial, the ad agency used the Tachyon Wormhole to shrink the run time to 30 seconds―a version that was approved by the notoriously picky director.

As with previous retimers, using them can shrink playing time enough to add a commercial at each break. What the Tachyon Wormhole gives the industry is improved quality for such re-timed video.

SWITCH AND DISTRIBUTE 4K―OVER COAX

We all know that HD-SDI is acceptable for uncompressed 1080i video, and 3G-SDI is good for 1080p. However, until now, there have been no good professional standards for transporting uncompressed 4K video over coaxial cable.

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MACOM 12G SDI Reclocker test setup

At IBC 2014, M/A-Com Technology Solutions introduced 12G-SDI products that can transport uncompressed 12 Gbps ultra HD video over coaxial cable, and the company showed a demonstration that involved 200 feet of coax. M/A-Com’s solution consists of a family of integrated circuits that includes driver, reclocking and adaptive cable equalizer chips, which together allow transmission of 12G-SDI for reasonable distances without bit loss. M/A-Com also showed 12G crosspoints for switchers.

“Viewers are demanding 4K/UHDTV content to show on newer panels,” said Russell Thomas, product marketing director at M/A-Com. “By releasing the industry’s first complete 12G-SDI chipset to complement our line of 12 Gbps crosspoints, we are giving our customers all the key building blocks to construct 12G-SDI systems today that will support 4K on a single link.”

The company said that its chips also support legacy SDI data rates, as well as the MADI audio standard. Many organizations are interested in 4K/UHD, but professional facilities didn’t want to operate using an unholy hybrid of fiber-optic and HDMI cables. M/A-Com’s announcement is good news for a 4K future.

There were many other interesting things shown at IBC 2014, but those are a couple of items that stuck out in the minds of our correspondents. Only time will tell if they are accepted by the industry.