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Exhibitor Insight: Cobalt Digital—Ciro Noronha, EVP Engineering

Ciro Noronha
(Image credit: Cobalt Digital)

TV TECH: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trends at the 2021 NAB Show?

CIRO NORONHA: The big thing for the last 18 months has been remote work. Everybody wanted to work from home, and that includes broadcasters. In this context, “at home production” means “producing from people’s actual homes.”  A lot of the technology pieces required to make this happen existed already. What was missing was the drive to make it happen, and some “glue” to put the whole thing together. Any modern device is already managed through a network connection, typically a web interface—as long as you have connectivity, you can be at home, in another city or even across the globe and still configure/monitor it. Besides that, you need to be able to see what is happening in real time. A combination of low-latency encoding and decoding, widespread decent network connectivity, and advanced network protocols such as RIST give you this.

Another trend that is coming to fruition is moving baseband video to IP using SMPTE ST-2110, including 4K flows using 25G interfaces. Over the last few years, many have declared that “SDI is dead.”  Well, it isn’t, and it is still mainstream, but it is getting long in the tooth. New deployments are seriously looking at being all-IP. It is still more expensive, but we are getting there, and more native ST-2110 functions are appearing in the market.

TVT: What will be your most important product news?

NORONHA: Cobalt Digital will have numerous exciting new products and upgrades on display at the NAB Show. We are unveiling an openGear-based SMPTE ST-2110 solution with 25G interfaces and 4K support. This solution can operate either as a standalone bidirectional gateway or can be coupled with the award-winning 9904-UDX-4K card for additional native processing functions, including up/down/cross conversion, audio processing, 3D-LUTs and SL-HDR support. 

We will also highlight our new 9905-MPx multichannel processor, which can handle up to four independent 3G signals in a dense cost-effective package with optional 2110 support using 10G interfaces. This multipath design offers four channels per card with flexible AES and MADI embed/de-embed for each path. When used with our own HPF-9000 20-slot chassis, it provides up to 24 channels (6 cards) of processing in a single frame, representing a new level of openGear packaging density and resulting in unprecedented multi-input support and flexibility.

On the compression side, the 9992-ENC/DEC software-defined line provides professional-grade support for compressed audio and video. The cards, designed to meet the stringent requirements of today’s broadcasters, provide an ideal platform for transitioning to state-of-the-art encoding and decoding capabilities. The range will be shown with a number of new exciting features, including support for decoding Dolby AC-4 and Dolby E, as well as transport protocols such as SRT and Zixi. 

And if you’re looking to take it with you, Cobalt’s BBG-1300-FR enclosure can transform any openGear card (from any vendor) into a portable, standalone device.

TVT: How is your new product different from what’s available on the market?

NORONHA: Our ST-2110 product is unique in its feature integration: the same device can do scaling, color correction, static and dynamic HDR processing, and many other features, with native ST-2110 interfaces and 4K support (no gateways needed). This is offered in the openGear form factor, which allows customers to mix and match functions in the same chassis or achieve higher densities by using multiple cards—in a platform that ticks all the boxes, including hot-swappable cards and redundant power supplies. On our compression line, our 9992-DEC has the highest feature integration in the market, including audio and video decoding features and protocol support.

TVT: How has the COVID pandemic affected your company's business over the past year and half and how will it impact how you exhibit at this year's show?

NORONHA: At first, we were concerned, and we had a slow month or two at the beginning of the pandemic, but we’ve experienced several record-breaking months over the past year-and-a-half. We attribute that to our total dedication to finding out what our customers needed through constant communication in various new ways and adapting to meet the new types of requirements including changes in the manufacturing area. 

We did scale down our booth size a bit to adjust to the event’s overall downsize but will still have a very significant presence. We have lots of exciting new solutions to share with the industry and we sincerely look forward to seeing our customers, friends and colleagues in person.