Weak Link Develops In Closed-Captioning Chain

Television broadcasters relying on Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) phone lines to receive closed-captioning data from broadcast closed captioners take heed.

The phase out of Plain Old Telephone Service phone lines may have a negative effect on closed captions for television.

The phase out of Plain Old Telephone Service phone lines may have a negative effect on closed captions for television.

Telephone companies across the country are slowly phasing those lines out, and their replacements may introduce data compression that will result in garbled captions and phone drop outs, the National Court Reporters Association, NCRA, is warning.

In a recent letter to the Society of Broadcast Engineers, the NCRA told broadcasters that POTS lines are “becoming increasingly difficult” to get. As a result, newly installed substitutes, such as fiber optic lines, digital lines or VoIP lines, may cause damage to captions, making them unusable.

“The onus falls on the broadcaster to ensure that it is in compliance with the captioning regulations from the FCC,” the letter said.

To read the letter, visit the SBE website.


Tom Wheeler

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will address broadcasters during the NAB Show on April 15.

Want to rub elbows with the FCC commissioners — or at least see and hear them in person?

You’ll have the chance at the 2015 NAB Show. Besides the customary address by the agency’s chairman to attendees, which this year will happen Wednesday, April 15, at 9 a.m., the other commissioners will provide remarks at the event as well.

The schedule calls for:

  • Commissioner Kevin O’Rielly to participate in a session on the incentive auction, Monday, April 13, at 2:30 p.m.
  • Commissioner Ajit Pai to offer insight at a session on OTT, Monday, April 13, at 3:30 p.m.
  • Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to offer remarks during a session on how broadcasters are using new technology to cover emergencies on Tuesday, April 14, at 2:30 p.m.
  • Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to speak Tuesday, April 14, at 3:30 p.m., to kickoff a session on interpreting law and regulation.

More details are available on the NAB Show website.

Tim Thorsteinson Appointed Quantel CEO

Industry veteran Tim Thorsteinson has been appointed CEO of Quantel, effective immediately, the company announced today.

Tim Thorsteinson has taken over as CEO of Quantel, effective immediately.

Tim Thorsteinson has taken over as CEO of Quantel, effective immediately.

Thorsteinson takes the reins of Quantel after serving in may top leadership roles at major industry vendors, including twice as the CEO of Grass Valley. He’s also served as president of the Harris Broadcast Communications division and president and CEO of Enablence.

Ray Cross has stepped down as Quantel chairman and CEO.

Snell acquired Quantel in March 2014.

More information is available on the Quantel website.


WSVN To Debut New News Set

WSVN, the Sunbeam Television Corp.-owned Fox affiliate serving the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., market, will debut a new news set March 8 after completing a two-month overhaul of its existing set, the Sun Sentinel reports.

WSVN logoThe project to upgrade the look of WSVN’s newscasts cost about $500,000 and includes three screens overlooking the newsroom, a vertical monitor stack and dramatic camera moves, the report says.

The station has produced its newscasts in front of a green screen with looping chroma keyed video showing its existing newsroom since undertaking the project in January.

To read the entire story, visit the Sun Sentinel website. (Note, the full story is behind a paywall.)


Cinegy Offers Free Evaluation Software

I have a friend who loves the word “free” — whether it’s trumpeted loudly in a commercial, print ad or some sign. In fact he has a little catch phrase he likes to say when he encounters the word: “Free rhymes with me.”

He’s not in the TV or video business, so I’m not too sure he would know what to do with this free offer, but if you have a similar bent you might think this offer has your name written all over it.

Cinegy announced today that it’s “providing everyone” with the opportunity to download a selection of products for a 30-day test run. The evaluation software includes Cinegy Air PRO, its real-time playout server and multichannel automation software; Cinegy Multiviewer, the company’s monitoring and analysis tool; Cinegy Live, its live stream mixer; and Cinegy Player, the company’s broadcast video player.

Cinegy requires those who wish to download the evaluation software to supply basic contact information.

Click to download:


Plura To Unveil High-Brightness Monitor At NAB

Over lunch, I was out walking my two dogs in the sun and enjoying the occasional song of cardinals in the trees.

Between trying to keep the pups out of the mounds of mud in the neighborhood thanks to AT&T burying fiber lines and trying to prevent the dogs from dawdling too long at any one particular fire plug or light pole along the way, I received a call on my cell phone.

Like most people who try to read a phone’s LCD display in the sun, the task was next to impossible. The intense sunlight washed out the display, and I was forced to spin around to try to block it out with my body just to find where to swipe to answer the call.

In the process, I managed to get tangled in the dog leashes and must have left them wondering what kind of crazy dance I was doing.

That incident gave me a sense of appreciation for a press release I received today from LCD video monitor vendor Plura Broadcast.

The company announced it will expand its PHB-3G Series of high-brightness portable LCD monitors with a new 7-inch model.

The PHB-3G Series monitors deliver up to 1300 cd/m2 of brightness without a hood or visor. A simple button touch lets users scale that brightness back to 100 cd/m2 for indoor use.

Now if only Plura could do something about my phone display.

To learn more, visit the company’s website.

Vitec Group Buys Paralinx

The Vitec Group has purchased wireless video systems developer Paralinx and will integrate the company into its Videocom Division, Vitec announced today.

Paralinx will join the Creative Solutions business unit of the Videocom Division, which also includes SmallHD and Teradek.

According to Vitec, Paralinx will continue to develop products for use on unmanned aerial vehicles as well as for content creators, while Teradek will concentrate on wireless camera transmission for cinema and television.

Paralinx was launched in 2012 by Dan Kanes and Greg Smokler. The pair focused their new company’s efforts on developing new HD wireless video tools.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Is There Room For A Wider HD Color Gamut?

Here’s an interesting idea: What if there were a way to improve the appearance of HDTV with the technology and standards being developed for 4K?

The thought never really crossed my mind until this week when I interviewed Larry Thorpe, senior fellow at Canon, about camera trends to expect at the 2015 NAB Show.

During our interview, Thorpe mentioned that the color gamut for 4K and 8K are considerably wider than that of HDTV. So far, so good. Nothing new here.

But then he said: “Folks are now saying maybe we should put the wide color gamut [BT.2020] color gamut in HD and make our HD look richer.”

Wait a second. How exactly will viewers at home with their HDTV sets be able to benefit? After all, most of their sets were manufactured years ago.

“You capture in a wide color gamut and in post remap to the existing capabilities,” said Thorpe.

“You will see a 10% to 15% improvement in certain colors,” he added.

NAB Summit To Examine Cinema Tech

Broadcasters have long cast an eye towards the motion picture slice of the business as a resource for innovation, and those gems that TV has adopted, modified and made its own have in turn driven even greater innovation in an effort to dazzle audiences and bring them back to theaters for more.
NAB Show Logo

It’s not necessary, here, to recount all of the Spy Vs. Spy types of one-upmanship that have occurred over the years between film and TV, but a few obvious examples have to be color, aspect ratio and 3-D.

Television broadcasters seeking to get a good feel for the latest cinema technology innovations will want to check out the 2015 NAB’s Technology Summit on Cinema, which is being put together with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.

The summit will take place April 11-12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Titled “Building the Future of Storytelling,” the summit will focus on many of the issues broadcasters are dealing with as they move forward with development of a next-generation digital TV standard, including immersive audio and an enhanced color gamut.

To learn more about the summit, visit the NAB Show website.

Variable Scan Mapping Broadens Lens Choices

There were lots of unpublished goodies I learned while reporting for today’s TVN Tech feature article on NAB camera trends that I will share with you over the next few days.

The GY-LS300's Variable Scan Mapping feature opens up a new range of lenses .

The GY-LS300′s Variable Scan Mapping feature opens up a new range of lenses .

First up is a feature available on the JVC GY-LS300 Super 35 4KCAM that works hand-in-hand with its Micro Four Thirds, MFT, lens mount.

As I wrote in the article, the MFT mount allows lenses to be interchanged on the camera –unlike the other two JVC 4KCAM products. Even PL- and EF-mount lenses can be used with the right lens adapter.

What I didn’t report in the article is that the camera has a feature that prevents the possibility of unwanted vignetting that could be created when a lens’s circle of view does not match the camera sensor.

Called “variable scan mapping,” the feature ensures that only the 16:9 portion of the image without vignetting is used.

According to Dave Walton, assistant VP of marketing and communications, at JVC, variable scan mapping “opens up a whole new range of lens options for the camera.”