TV TECHNOLOGY: What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend at the 2018 NAB Show?
RICH REDMOND: Broadcasters grow more comfortable with IP technologies in the broadcast infrastructure with each passing year. As solutions continue to grow more robust, reliable and intelligent, broadcasters are expanding their strategies to leverage IP as their main transport medium for content delivery. The flexibility IP brings in multipoint contribution and distribution is particularly compelling for broadcasters that are looking to eliminate the costs of point-based legacy networking, and introduce new video, audio and data services that can be delivered to consumers in the most efficient way possible.
ATSC 3.0 for next-generation television will also loom large. ATSC 3.0 ushers in a whole new paradigm where broadcast TV stations can transmit an IP stream rather than a broadcast-specific transport stream, and interface with the growing array of video services based on the Internet. It also provides a foundation for targeted content and advertisements, improved mobile reception and 4K HDR content delivery over the air that will help broadcasters level the playing field against competing TV services.
TVT: What will be your most important product news?
REDMOND: In television, we will be laser-focused on demonstrating our over-the-air content delivery solutions for repack and ATSC 3.0. With repack, we have announced several major station group wins with Hearst Television, Raycom Media, Cordillera, Heartland Media and Quincy Media, and to date have 20 sites with repack projects up and running. That’s important to point out because it validates the strength of our repack strategy across products and services, including complete site audits in advance of installations.
For products, we have completely revamped our entire TV transmission lineup over the past three years with our Maxiva UHF (ULXTE liquid-cooled and UAXTE air-cooled) and Maxiva VHF (VAXTE air-cooled) transmitters. Our next-generation Maxiva XTE exciter, with integrated IP inputs, brings it all together for both repack and ATSC 3.0 needs moving forward. Collectively, we offer the youngest transmission product line in the industry, albeit with field-proven technologies, performance and efficiency.
Since repack and ATSC 3.0 introduce new systems and processes—essentially a completely new, native IP infrastructure for the latter—we’ll emphasize our next-gen control, monitoring and security platforms. This includes advanced monitoring with our StreamAssure solution, an SNMP interface to remote controls via IP connectivity, and advanced security features powered through our Intraplex IPConnect solution.
We have also restructured the user interfaces on our Maxiva transmitters. These will now be HTML5-based, which removes the security vulnerabilities of Java and all together delivers a more simple and intuitive user experience.
TVT: How is your new product different from what’s available on the market?
REDMOND: Key points include market-leading power density–for example, our VAXTE transmitter reduces rack space by two-thirds the amount of its predecessor–outstanding RF performance, and integration of the latest FET technology and high-power devices providing simplified channel changes without the need for failure-prone jumpers. The latter is critical to our achievement of parity power between ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0. That is important because our customers who buy for repack now do not need to invest in a larger ATSC 3.0 transmitter to achieve the same power levels as ATSC 1.0. We should also note that our Maxiva VAXTE transmitter is the first transmitter to support repack and ATSC 3.0 needs in low-band VHF.
TVT: What is it about the NAB Show that brings you back every year?
REDMOND: It’s hard to think of a better venue to meet new people and see old friends when it comes to the broadcast industry. NAB Show continues to be the premier world stage for broadcast and media professionals seeking to discover new technology, see products in person and meet face to face with their peers and collegaues. For us at GatesAir, that means an unrivaled opportunity to interact with customers and partners. This is a genuinely human benefit that can’t be replaced by webinars and virtual conferences.