Sony Acquires Crispin Corp. To Access On-Prem Tech

Sony has purchased master control, playout and automation specialist Crispin Corp. of Raleigh, N.C., the company announced at its NAB Show booth during a press conference. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

“You heard today that everything from ingest to collaboration all the way out to distribution, we have different products for that on AWS [Amazon Web Services],” said John Studdert, V.P. U.S sales and marketing at Sony, in an interview with TVNewsCheck immediately following the press conference.

“But we didn’t have anything that was on-prem, an edge device, and Crispin is exactly that.”

The announcement comes after the successful completion of joint project by Sony and Crispin to create a cloud-based ingest operation for Tegna, called the Media Clearinghouse, and an earlier project, Public Media Management, which provides master control and cloud-based distribution service for PBS.

Both projects employed Loading Dock technologies and master control automation from Crispin and Sony’s Ci media cloud services.

“It was a collaborative effort with the Sony engineers on [the Sony] Ci [Cloud], the Tegna engineers and Crispin engineers [to build the Tegna Media Clearinghouse],” said Alan DeVaney, president and founder of Crispin. “That is the way we work best, when we work as partners.”

Integrating Crispin’s technology into Sony’s will speed deployment of these types of solutions, said Studdert.

“We hope to repeat that [the Tegna and PBS projects] with a lot of other media customers, not just broadcasters, but everyone in media with repetitive tasks they would like to eliminate,” he said.

There will be no changes to Crispin’s workforce as a result of the deal, and the company will remain in Raleigh, DeVaney said.

“It is just amazing to have this umbrella of support that we haven’t had for 20 years,” he said.


Harmonic Tackles Channel Sharing ‘Fairness’ At NAB

Two pieces of good news from Harmonic for TV channel-sharers — whether they’ve signed on to a sharing agreement as part of the TV spectrum repack or they’re looking at how to implement a strategy to keep ATSC 1 service on-air while taking the long road to an ATSC 3.0 market transition — emerged April 23 after the company’s NAB Show press conference.

While mingling with several Harmonic employees, I asked if it is possible to find still more efficiency with MPEG 2 compression. What I wanted to get at is whether broadcasters can expect encoder technology to squeeze another digital subchannel or two into a 6 MHz assignment — something that could give broadcasters more options as they hammer out their sharing agreements.

Andy Warman, director of production and playout strategy and market development at Harmonic, confirmed that, indeed, more MPEG 2 efficiencies are possible and that the company will be demoing that at its NAB Show booth (SU1210).

Jean Macher, director broadcast market development Americas at Harmonic, provided further details.

We keep pushing the envelope on compression efficiency, and you will see that on the booth with a stat mux carrying four 720p channels in 19.4 Mbits,” he said.

Harmonic also is tackling the issue of fairness, which left unaddressed could be a point of contention between broadcasters sharing a single channel, said Macher.

When it comes to channel-sharing agreements, you need a way to make it fair and guarantee the broadcasters sharing the channel get the correct amount of bandwidth [defined in their channel sharing agreement],” he said.

A traditional stat mux inherently isn’t set up to address this issue. It examines the video signals it receives and dynamically allocates bandwidth at any given moment to the signal that needs it the most, such as a NASCAR race getting more and a talking head news show getting less.

Channel sharing introduces a foreign element to this mix, specifically fairness in bit allocation to competing parties. That never was envisioned when the stat mux was designed in the first place.

Harmonic is addressing that issue at the NAB Show.

“We came up with a new way of doing the statistical multiplexing where it is possible to define a guaranteed average bit rate in the long term while keeping the advantage of stat mux efficiency,” said Macher.

In the short term, this type of strategy will make the repack easier. Longer term, when the FCC authorizes 3.0, this attention to stat mux fairness will affect far more broadcasters than in the repack as the industry begins sharing channels en masse to keep ATSC 1 service on air locally while they build out and light up next-gen TV.  

To learn more, visit the Harmonic website.

TVNewsCheck’s List of Old, New Channel Assignments, Version 2

Once again I have emerged from the depths of Excel — this time with TVNewsCheck‘s  latest version of our chart of old and new channel assignments originally posted on Friday, April 14.

I want to thank everyone for sending comments to point out problems with the initial version. As I mentioned when I posted it, I knew there would be errors. I believe you will find this version to be much improved. It’s available here.

Perhaps the most important change is the correction of the column headings for current and new channels, which I inadvertently transposed on the first version.

I have also included the transition phase assignments for each station in Version 2 of this chart. Each station’s transition phase started Friday, April 13. Two other phase dates are important: when testing begins and its completion date.

Testing Begins:

  • Phase 1 = Sept. 14,, 2018
  • Phase 2 = Dec. 1, 2018
  • Phase 3 = April 13, 2019
  • Phase 4 = June 22, 2019
  • Phase 5 = Aug. 3, 2019
  • Phase 6 = Sept. 7, 2019
  • Phase 7 = Oct. 19, 2019
  • Phase 8 = Jan. 18, 2020
  • Phase 9 = March 14, 2020
  • Phase 10 = May 2, 2020

Completion dates are:

  • Phase 1 = Nov. 30, 2018
  • Phase 2 = April 12, 2019
  • Phase 3 = June 21, 2019
  • Phase 4 = Aug. 2, 2019
  • Phase 5 = Sept. 6, 2019
  • Phase 6 = Oct. 18, 2019
  • Phase 7 = Jan. 17, 2020
  • Phase 8 = March 13, 2020
  • Phase 9 = May 1, 2020
  • Phase 10 =July, 3, 2020

Two other notes. First, the cities associated with each call sign come from the FCC. There are a handful (fewer than a dozen) that I confirmed online either because the commission omitted them, which I doubt, or I fumbled things moving the info from one Excel table to another.

Second, I have omitted the Canadian stations because I only have so much time before the NAB Show. I will do them separately in the future, but I doubt I can get them done before going to Las Vegas. I also do not see the Mexican stations impacted by the repack in the FCC documents. I will do those, too, in the future, if and when I can find them.

I hope you find this helpful, and thanks for your patience.

Brand Connections

James Ruedlinger Rejoins ERI

James Ruedlinger has rejoined Electronics Research Inc. as SVP, engineering, the company announced yesterday. He will be responsible for managing ERI’s RF and Structural Engineering Groups.

A registered professional engineer, Ruedlinger spent about 15 years with ERI from 2000 through 2014. For the past two years he has worked for Crown Castle as an engineering manager.

“The timing is perfect for James’ return to ERI and he will strengthen the company’s already expanded manufacturing and engineering capacity ahead of the FCC repack of the television broadcast band,” said Kenny Brown, ERI COO.

More information is available on the ERI website.

List Of Stations Changing Channel Assignments In Repack

No doubt many in the TV industry are poring over yesterday’s FCC public notice and associated documents wrapping up the incentive auction and officially starting the 39-month clock to complete the TV spectrum repack.

Count me among those who are a bit bleary-eyed after focusing on one such document: “Final Television Channel Assignment Information Related To Incentive Auction Repacking.” (That file is available as an Excel spreadsheet download from the FCC.)

My mission was to extract only the stations changing channel assignments from the entire table of allotments and to present them in TVNewsCheck’s own list.

I have been through the FCC spreadsheet at least a dozen times, literally, to make sure I didn’t miss a station changing channel assignments, but alas, I am only human. So if you find an error, please email me and I will update this list.

Details Of ATSC 3.0 NAB Show Pavilion Emerge

The Advanced Television Systems Committee will showcase the capabilities of ATSC 3.0, the next generation TV standard, at the 2017 NAB Show in a special pavilion, ATSC announced today.

The ATSC 3.0 Pavilion located in the Futures Park in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center will present about a dozen companies with IP-based systems to deliver: UHD TV with HDR, interactive features and multi-channel immersive audio, it said.

The pavilion will also present more detailed information on the 3.0 technologies highlighted in the Grand Lobby’s “NextGen TV Hub: Powered by ATSC 3.0.”

Some 3.0 pavilion highlights include:

  • BBC Research and Development: Showing HLG HDR;
  • Dolby: AC4 encoding and decoding;
  • DTV Innovations: 3.0-compliant implementation of A/331 signaling, A/332 service announcement and parts of the A/324 broadcast gateway/scheduler candidate standard;
  • DekTek: 3.0 test modulators and demodulators;
  • ENESYS and UniSoft: A 3.0 scheduler/broadcast gateway called ATSCheduler; IPGuard and 3.0 modulator forming its Test Tree Business Unit;
  • Ericsson with Sony and Triveni Digital: targeted ad solution based on MediaFirst Video Processing;
  • Eurofins Digital Testing: Automated test tools for end-to-end conformance testing;
  • Harmonic: Electra X encoder handling 1080p60 with HDR and UHD channels;
  • The National Engineering Research Center: An interactive system that includes an ATSC 3.0 broadcast downlink and DRC uplink developed by NERC-DTV and SJTU.

Quincy Media To Buy 200 JVC Camcorders For Newsgathering

WXOW chief photographer Jimmy Kruckow uses one of Quincy Media’s new JVC GY-HM200 camcorders, which ultimately will be used by the group’s multimedia journalists.

Quincy Media is standardizing on ProHD and 4KCAM camcorders for news operations across its television broadcast stations, JVC Professional Video announced today.

The broadcaster owns and operates 22 television stations in seven states, including 19 that produce local news. The Quincy, Ill., -based media company is expected to buy about 200 JVC camcorders over the next two years, JVC said.

Quincy Media initially is ordering 31 of  the cameras, including 12 GY-HM200s 4KCAM compact handheld camcorders which will be used by multimedia journalists, and GY-HM890s ProHD shoulder-mount camcorders for ENG, Brady Dreasler, corporate director of engineering for Quincy Media said.

“We needed to standardize on one brand for purchasing power and support. JVC has stayed close and supportive of Quincy Media as a customer, and their products fit exactly what we’re trying to accomplish,” Dreasler said.

More information is available on the JVC website.

Brand Connections

AIMS Members To Back SMPTE ST 2110 With 2017 Introductions

Nearly three in four members of the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) are targeting the end of the year to begin offering products that are compliant with SMPTE ST 2110, the Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers’ professional media over IP networks standard that is in final draft form, according to a new survey of members released by AIMS today.

Seventy-two percent of members responding to the survey said they will begin shipping SMPTE ST 2100-compliant products by the end of this year, the survey found.

The survey asked about the types of ST 2110-compliant products companies planned to make available. Products are envisioned in 25 categories, including routers, line cards, video servers, switchers, encoders, audio and video processors, cameras, multiviewers, and integrated playout, the survey said.

At the upcoming IP Showcase at the 2017 NAB Show, AIMS members will participate in SMPTE ST 2110 interoperability demonstrations and show products expected to come to market in the coming year at the IP Showcase, which is part of the 2017 NAB Show.

To learn more, visit the AIMS website.

Vice Media Chooses Octopus NRCS

VICE Media has adopted Octopus 8 for its newsroom.

Octopus said today that Vice Media has selected its Octopus 8 newsroom software for its headquarters in New York City.

Journalists are using Octopus 8 to produce newscasts for distribution via HBO in the United States and on Viceland internationally.

Octopus 8 is being used in tandem with Vizrt’s Viz Pilot graphics and Viz One asset manager. This combination enables editors to select video material from Viz One and add graphics from Viz Pilot via a single interface, the announcement said.

Commands from a Viz Mosart are already preconfigured in Octopus story templates and story elements so there is no need to call any plugin or select anything from the media library.

“In October, we debuted a live news program, Vice News Tonight, which airs weeknights on HBO. Our aim is to provide a fresh perspective on what is happening in the world and to present it in a way that is engaging and up to the production standards of Vice and HBO,” said Lucy Paynter, real-time graphics art director at Vice.

More information is available on the Octopus website.

Pre-Registration Opens For ATSC Annual Conference

The Advanced Television Systems Committee has announced pre-registration is open for its ATSC 2017 Next Gen TV Conference, May 16-17, in Washington, D.C.

This will be the first annual conference during which most of the next-gen TV standard will likely be finished.

The event will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building.

To pre-register, visit the ATSC website.