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Best of IBC Editor’s Awards – Links & Infrastructure

Completing TVBEurope's definitive Best of IBC Editor's Awards round up, David Fox looks at Links & Infrastructure.

Blackmagic Design – Universal Videohub
Its new broadcast router will come either as a 72×72 5RU frame, or 288×288 18RU frame, with full deck control, SD, HD and 3Gbps auto-switching, redundant power supplies and, on the 288, redundant crosspoint cards. All cards are hot swappable with the power on, “so it is suitable for mission critical applications,” said Hersh Burston, senior product manager (pictured). The other big selling points are scalability and price – a 288×288 BNC SDI router without redundancy would cost of $56,355, which Blackmagic claims is about $200,000 less than a similar rival router.

Bridge Technologies – VB12-RF
A portable diagnostics tool for transmission engineers that covers IP, ASI and QAM and requires no external equipment or power supplies. “It can do deep analysis on the transport level and on DVB ETR-290. It integrates the IP world and the RF world in one handy unit,” that is smaller, lighter, and more rugged than competitors, claimed Philip Burnham, sales director (pictured). It can be used for on-site analysis, or be left for continuous monitoring with remote analysis via the internet, and can monitor ten IP SPTS/MPTS services in parallel, with optional expansion to a maximum of 50 services.

Draka/Fischer Connectors – Triax HD Pro+
Triax users (about 80% of European broadcasters) will be able to get more life from their camera systems thanks to this new Triax HDTV cable, rather than invest in new or completely refurbished trucks or camera upgrades needed to move to hybrid fibre optic/copper SMPTE 311m cable. “Triax is easy to use, robust, and handling is easy, as is cleaning,” said Fischer product manager, Daniel Spycher (right in picture). The system promises a “minimum 30% longer transmission distance,” up to 50% with some cameras, added Draka product manager, Oli Hentschel (left).

MultiDyne – LightCube
Designed for location use for ENG or sports broadcasts, this battery/AC-powered box provides fibre transport for up to 80 HD signals (in single or multimode configurations), 225 audio channels, Ethernet, composite signals, and intercom (with PL belt pack support). It can be fitted with a wide array of MultiDyne products, for use over long distances, and comes with an IDX or Anton/Bauer battery mounting plate.

Quantel – QTube
It will allow any media recorded on Quantel servers to be viewable, and frame accurately editable, anywhere in the world within 20 seconds. “It is a close-to-air workflow that works globally instead of inside a building,” said Dr James Cain, principal software architect (pictured). “It is not a web page, but an installed application, with the same interface you’d use in the facility.” It also allows users to locally ingest material and get it back home at the best quality for whatever time and bandwidth constraints they face. It can also be used to flow clips between servers.

RF Central – MicroLite
This small, energy efficient wireless camera transmitter uses MPEG-4 compression and can be mounted on the back of a Litepanels Micro on-camera LED light to take up as little room on the camera as possible. The package is designed for use with compact HD-SDI cameras, most of which would need an additional bracket to take a normal transmitter. It uses H.264 main profile, allowing a 30% bit rate reduction over baseline profile encoders, or higher quality video at the same bit rate. In its standard configuration the delay is 200ms, but a low delay option will be available.

Signal Telecommunications – Signal 3G ENG
“It provides uplink truck quality broadcast video in any environment, as long as there is cellular signal, whether is it 2G or 3G,” said CTO David Eygoren (pictured). It is able to utilise up to four different carriers and up to nine 3G USB modems (so can get 1Mbps on even an Edge connection with less than two seconds delay). It costs €16,000 in SD and €25,000 in HD for a transmitter and receiver. Users include CNN and TRT Turkey, and broadcasters in Italy, Egypt, Indonesia and the US.

T-Vips – TVG 450
This JPEG2000 gateway does ‘visually lossless’ (80-150Mbps) or ‘mathematically lossless’ (about 600Mbps) compression, allowing delivery of HD, 3Gbps 1080p and 3D over a variety of contribution links without quality loss. “It gives you really high quality, which is what you want for contribution purposes. It is 10-bit and low latency — dependent on mode, but less than 100 milliseconds for the whole chain,” explained COO Janne Morstøl (pictured). JPEG2000 supports multiple compression/decompression stages very well, where MPEG would lose quality on each stage. The box can handle four SD, or two HD/3G channels. ORF has already adopted it for its whole contribution network.

Telecast Fiber Systems – CopperHead 3400
This camera-mountable fibre optic connection will work with 3D or dual-link applications, such as slow-motion or 4:4:4 digital cinematography. It accepts a 1.5 or 3Gbps HD-SDI signal from each camera, and provides a1.5Gbps path each way for monitoring and 3D return, plus bidirectional data paths for two camera controls, plus 3D rig control, Ethernet, genlock, intercom and bidirectional audio paths over a long distance. It runs on tactical fibre cable or a SMPTE hybrid fibre if local power is not available.

Content Management

Prime Focus Technologies – Clear
This is content management via infrastructure and software in the cloud, which can bring considerable cost benefits. Of course, not everyone is happy having their content stored out of their control, “so, you can have a hybrid system where media is in house and Clear manages the media via the cloud,” explained sales consultant Peter Lambert (pictured), who claimed this is the only service offering this hybrid. “People are intimidated by the time and cost of logging and tagging metadata, and Prime Focus can offer this service from a less expensive location,” (India). It can also include compliance, subtitling and delivery to multiple platforms.