(click thumbnail)Carl J. DempseyQ. What broad technology trends do you think will be front-and-centre at IBC2008?
3G (1080p) products will be a popular topic at IBC2008. I also expect that we’ll see broadcasters’ continued focus on new systems for delivery of media.
Q. What’s new that you will show at IBC2008 and what should broadcasters look for there?
While Wohler products are known for their extended lifecycles and long-term value, our product line features a number of exciting new products that simplify audio and video monitoring by meeting the specific needs of individual users and businesses. At this year’s IBC show we will also have end-to-end closed-captioning solutions. We offer a complete range of solutions for today’s broadcast applications, and each product is designed to offer flexibility and convenience in a quickly evolving marketplace.
The brand new RM series of LCD video monitoring systems is the most recent addition to our product line, and several models will be on display during the IBC2008 show. These lightweight, rackmountable LCDs feature both widescreen and 4:3 aspect ratios and are loaded with convenient features — audio metering, in-monitor name display, and a time-code reader, among others — that enhance professional monitoring of HD/SD-SDI video with embedded audio in the production environment. We designed our RM systems to support easy, cost-effective confidence monitoring, but they also can be employed in multiviewer applications when necessary.
We plan to showcase new end-to-end solutions to the closed-captioning issues that confront broadcasters working in the HD and mixed SD/HD realm. A joint venture with one of our key strategic technology partners, Elio Deluca of Europa Australia, has enabled development of our new HDCC-200A HD/SD-SDI dual-channel closed-caption encoder/decoder bridge and transcoder, a compact and flexible solution that simplifies closed-caption encoding of two independent SD and/or HD sources in any international standard. By encoding subtitles within an HD ingest workflow and subsequently decoding those subtitles back at the time of playout, this new card supports a single cost-effective video ingest and playout workflow, regardless of the availability of subtitles. It also adds to the bottom line by eliminating the need for duplication of SD and HD video storage.
The same technology that supports our unique closed-captioning solution is also at the heart of our modular Flexcore line. The openGear-ready Flexcore line uses a standard card and the user’s choice of IP core applications, which may include an HD-format dual-channel logo keyer, an HDVANC data inserter/extractor, as well as the HDCC-200A closed-caption encoder/decoder bridge, and our new range of fiber products including multidefinition optical transmitters and receivers with up to four channels per card. The growing range of options in our openGear line makes it easy for broadcasters to incorporate high-quality signal processing functionality into their workflows.
Our WohlerPlus line of audio products represents powerful audio monitoring, featuring state-of-the-art processing and monitoring tailored to the needs of digital broadcasting, whether for terrestrial broadcasting, video over IP, cable, or satellite. Offering a variety of DSP options, each unit can be configured to meet the unique needs of individual facilities. With the flexibility to adapt to users’ needs, these solutions maintain their value and contribute to lower operational costs even as a broadcast operation changes and grows. We have built our reputation on providing flexible and convenient monitoring solutions, and this new WohlerPlus range, the culmination of three years of research and development, delivers one of our best audio- and video-monitoring solutions ever.
Designed for real-time multichannel video monitoring applications, our Touch-it Digital multichannel-viewer video monitor switches up to 16 HD/SD-SDI video inputs through a combination of a 7-inch touch screen thumbnail display and 7-inch target LCD. The system is ideal for multiviewer applications in which space is limited and video sources are numerous. The unit offers versatile full-screen-resolution viewing of any video source with a single tap to the screen, making it easy for operators to select and focus in on any of up to 16 HD/SD-SDI mixed inputs. Taking cues from users of the Touch-it product line, we have refined the unit’s functionality and control configuration to ensure ease of use in demanding production environments, whether in the newsroom, studio, or a mobile unit.
Wohler is also delving into a new arena — the intercom space — by launching the new Touch-Comm multiviewer, a two-panel monitoring, routing, and communications device with state-of-the-art touchscreen technology and IP-based communications protocol featuring Intracom software. One panel can display up to 16 thumbnail video images; the second panel serves as a communications control panel that allows for multichannel intercommunications among users. This VOIP intercom system can be tied into any existing systems.
Q. How is your new product offering different from what’s available on the market?
We strive to develop and deliver clever solutions that bring new and needed functionality to the market. The scalability and functionality of our products are what separates them from most other systems.
Our highly scalable solutions, such as the openGear line and 3-Gbps-compatible products, can be easily adapted to the needs of users. By building our products on scalable platforms, we can offer users the functionality they want, when they want it. Rather than swap out a system entirely, the user simply updates the card inside the case. As a result, our solutions can offer the desired functionality and performance at an attractive price point.
We build our products based on the requirements of specific applications, and the end result is a line of highly integrated, compact products. We were the first to introduce Dolby support, and it now has become an industry-standard feature. Right now we are unique in integrating all relevant data into our monitoring solutions. These are just a couple of examples that illustrate how we provide critical functionality rather than superfluous capabilities that provide no long-term value to our customers.
Q. Where are you based, and how many employees do you have? Anything else we should know about your company?
Wohler Technologies is based just outside San Francisco. We currently have 96 employees, who are based at our California headquarters; our Wohler Europe office located in the United Kingdom; Wohler Asia in Hong Kong; and at our secondary engineering resource location in Australia. With the opening of satellite offices, focus on data-driven growth, and strengthening of our executive and sales team, we have increased our international business significantly across Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. These markets today represent more than 40 percent of our business, giving Wohler a stable base on which to continue development of clever technologies and to work with new partners in meeting the needs of broadcasters all over the world. We anticipate continued future growth, domestically and internationally, will be spurred by our recent advances and successes in audio and video monitoring and closed-captioning solutions.
Q. How many years have you been going to the IBC show and what’s your fondest memory? What’s your favourite restaurant or pub?
I’ve been attending the IBC show for many, many years — more than I care to remember, in fact. I have had many memorable moments at the show and in Amsterdam, but one of the best is the year that we signed the deal to provide A/V monitoring at the Athens Olympics. It was an important deal for us, and our monitoring systems today continue to play a critical role in coverage of the Olympic Games.
My favorite pub would have to be The Old Bell on the Rembrandtplein, though the restaurant at the Amstel Hotel is excellent. On brave moments I have enjoyed a herring sandwich at the RAI convention center!