NBC To Offer 4K UHD Coverage Of Rio Olympics

NBC Olympics will offer limited, delayed 4K Ultra HD coverage of the Rio Olympics in August as part of its overall production of the games, the network announced yesterday.

The 4K UHD coverage will be made available via cable, satellite, telco and other NBC partners, NBC said.

U.S. broadcasters currently have no way to transmit 4K Ultra HD over the air.

NBC Olympics’ 4K UHD coverage will be delayed by one day and will include the opening and closing ceremonies of the XXXI Olympiad.

Olympic sports action to be covered in 4K includes swimming, track and field, basketball, the men’s soccer final and judo, the network said.

One event in 4K UHD will be presented each day on the 24-hour delay.

The 4K UHD coverage will be provided by Olympic Broadcasting Services and Japan’s NHK to distributors in the United States.

NBC Olympics will produce the opening ceremony in 4K UHD, which will include with high dynamic range,  HDR, and Dolby Atmos sound.

Coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics begins Aug. 5 on the networks of NBCUniversal with delayed 4K UHD coverage beginning Aug. 6.



IEEE BTS To Conduct ‘IP Video for Broadcast Engineers’ Course

The IEEE Broadcast Technology Society will conduct its “IP Video for Broadcast Engineers” course July 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the PBS headquarters in Crystal City, Va..

Wes Simpson, owner of Telecom Product Consulting and an IEEE BTS member, will teach the course.

Registration is limited to a maximum of 30 students.

The course is organized into six modules, including:

  • IP basics
  • IP video
  • Consumer video delivery
  • IP contribution/distribution networks
  • Private and in-studio IP video
  • System-level considerations

The price of the day-long course for IEEE BTS members is $150; the non-member price is $175.

More information is available online.


NYC-based Chinese-Language Broadcaster Selects Octopus

Tang Dynasty Television in New York City has chosen OCTOPUS for its newsroom system and the OCTOPUS App for reporters int he field.

New Tang Dynasty Television in New York City has chosen OCTOPUS for its newsroom system and the OCTOPUS App for reporters in the field.

TV and online journalists at a 24/7 Chinese-language news broadcaster based in New York City will begin using the Octopus newsroom system.

The newsroom system project at New Tang Dynasty Television includes many Octopus app licenses, the company says.

The app will give the broadcaster’s journalists in the field access to all wires, rundowns and assignments via their iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

Journalists also can file from the field, edit stories and preview teleprompter text with the app.

“Using the Octopus app, we can send assignment notifications to specific television reporters,” said New Tang Dynasty TV Chief Engineer Russ Siew.

“They in turn can use their mobile phone or tablet to capture audio and video content and then edit stories in the field. They can then submit stories for approval complete with stills, full motion video and sound.”

More information is available on the Octopus website.

Brand Connections

Next Level Video Deploys JVC Sports Camcorder

The JVC GY-HM200SP overlays game scores on HD video directly in the camera.

The JVC GY-HM200SP overlays game scores on HD video directly in the camera.

Next Level Video, a Philadelphia-based sports video production company, has begun using JVC’s GY-HM200SP 4KCAM sports production streaming camcorder to cover youth lacrosse and soccer for its clients, JVC announced today.

A single operator using the camera can shoot, insert score graphics, record and stream a match live directly from the camcorder.

The camera includes the ability to overlay real-time scores on video that’s recorded or streamed in HD without an external character generator or switcher,

More information is available on the JVC website.

Let The RF War Games Begin

Camera crews gather days before the opening of the 2012 Republican National Convention to participate in RF War Games.

Camera crews gather days before the opening of the 2012 Republican National Convention to participate in RF War Games. Photo: Kevin Parrish.

Next up for Louis Libin and the other TV engineers coordinating frequency use at this year’s Democratic and Republican political conventions is a pair of what’s dubbed RF War Games — highly organized, methodical tests designed to track down and correct any source of harmful interference before each event begins.

“The RF War Games are a very, very important because they give us confidence that we understand what is going on inside the building and that there are no surprises,” says Libin, who has served as the top frequency coordinator at the political conventions for at least the past five presidential cycles.

For broadcasters, the games also provide an opportunity to make sure they have built out their wireless networks correctly and are not experiencing any interference.

The RF War Games are staged on the floor of each venue on two separate days leading up to each convention.

Typcially, three days before each convention all of the RF systems are brought online in a highly staged, systematic fashion to allow frequency coordinators to identify sources of interference, Libin says.

“We try to start with only the continuous systems on, meaning the IFBs, for example,” he explains. “Slowly we bring up wireless mics in the VHF, and then we bring in the lower UHF and then the upper UHF.

“And once those all sound clear, we have them turn on their communications, and then we have them turn on their microwave video,” he says.

The approach makes it easier to find an offending RF needle in the massive haystack.

Then one day before each convention the process is repeated to make sure that steps taken to correct any problems actually worked, Libin says.

Often the tests reveal the source of interference to be something other than broadcast equipment.

For instance, at the 2012 Republican National Convention venue in Tampa, Fla., a noisy lighting ballast in the convention hall generated wideband noise across some of the UHF and microwave spectrum to be used by broadcasters, Libin says.

“It seems like there is always a problem at the venues.”

And the RF War Games give Libin and the other frequency coordinators a chance to get on top of it before the conventions open their doors.

WLVT Streamlines Critical Monitoring Functions

WLVT, the public broadcaster serving eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, has streamlined its monitoring workflow.

The station, which includes Philadelphia and Reading, Pa., in its coverage area, has transitioned to centralized, software-defined monitoring with the assistance of the Qligent Point system. The new monitoring system has accelerated problem resolution and compliance monitoring, transforming the stations master control operations, according to Qligent.

Qligent Point has made it possible for the station to consolidate signal monitoring responsibilities to a single workstation. The system provides detailed information on audio loudness, closed captioning, EAS transmission and other pertinent video, audio and data events, it says.

“Qligent simplifies what was traditionally a complex single monitoring workload. Now it’s easy for any operator, regardless of technical expertise, to quickly determine a signal problem and where it’s coming from,” says David Guerrero, WLVT chief operating officer.

More information is available on the Qligent website.


Is ATSC 3.0 The Last TV Standard Broadcast Engineers Will Ever Use?

Will ATSC 3.0 be the last TV standard broadcast engineers in the United States ever use? Maybe, and not for the reasons you might think.

A thought-provoking blog, All Roads Lead to Rome, by Joel Espelien, a senior adviser for TDG (The Diffusion Group), about the future of TV asserts that the “see-and-select” type of user-interface we have all grown to expect from our digital devices will give way to voice commands enabled by artificial intelligence.

Espelien points to early examples of AI virtual assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and others, as indicators of where viewer-TV interaction and control are going.

“It is inevitable that they [AI virtual assistants] will become a top-level entry point for TV as well. (OK Google, are the Warriors playing?)” he writes.

But why stop there? Won’t AI begin touching life in more profound ways — both at home and at work, including in the television station engineering department?

Before you poo-poo the idea of AI monitoring racks of broadcast equipment — or more likely, blade servers running what amounts to racks of broadcast equipment, but in actuality are virtualized broadcast equipment functions — and transmitter performance, consider last week’s Forbes article “Artificial Intelligence Recreates Nobel Prize-Winning Physic Experiment — In One Hour” by Brid-Aine Parnell.

“Researchers have developed an artificial intelligence capable of recreating the physics experiment that won the 2001 Nobel Prize,” she writes.

The experiment creates something known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, and the AI system was able to do it in less than an hour, something that researchers from the Australian National University said would have taken a simple computer program “longer than the age of the universe” to accomplish.

Couple AI with advancements in robotics — and the unending quest to wring every last ounce of efficiency out of the broadcast workflow — and it’s easy to imagine maintenance around the station and transmitter site being a snap for something other than a living, breathing broadcast engineer.

Read On

Brand Connections

TVU Networks Announces ‘Campaign Contribution’

TVU Networks is making its portfolio of IP newsgathering products and services available to broadcasters worldwide covering the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

TVU Networks is making its portfolio of IP newsgathering products and services available to broadcasters worldwide covering the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

TVU Networks today announced it would once again make a significant campaign contribution effort -not a financial donation to a candidate, but rather contribution technology and services to assist broadcasters covering the 2016 campaign season and election.

The company will provide broadcasters worldwide covering the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign video contribution services and products from in and outside the venues of the Democratic and Republican conventions, campaign headquarters on election day and the sites of individual campaigns during the general election, the company said today.

Among the TVU Network offerings for the election are:

  • its family of mobile and fixed live video transmitters, including TVU One, TVU MLink and TVU Anywhere;
  • its stock of local cellular 4G and LTE data SIMS and dongles from all major national carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile;
  • remote and on-site technical support from TVU personnel;
  • complimentary TVU Anywhere app support for live video transmission from a smart phone;
  • dedicated broadband access from different locations, including inside and outside the Cleveland and Philadelphia political convention venues;
  • complimentary live video routing, switching and distribution with the TVU Grid; and
  • dedicated microwave mesh network in multiple locations.

More information is available at the TVU Networks website.

Mediaproxy Joins AIMS

AIMS logo RGBMediaproxy, a MelbourneAustralia-based company specializing in broadcast compliance logging, content monitoring and transport stream analysis, has joined the Alliance for IP Media Solutions, AIMS, the alliance said today. 

Mediaproxy offers products to broadcasters, IPTV, MSOs, cable and satellite providers worldwide. Its product portfolio includes the LogServer platform, which provides 24/7 multichannel recording, live monitoring and transport stream analysis of broadcast sources and real-time data.

AIMS is working to promote adoption, standardization and development of open protocols for media over IP. It’s initial emphasis is on the Video Services Forum’s TR-03 and TR-04 protocols, SMPTE 2022-6 and AES67.

WTIU Updates Automation, Storage Management

WTIU, the Indianapolis PBS station owned and operated by Indiana University, has installed a complete NVerzion automation and storage management solution to streamline operations.

The station is relying on NVerzion’s Component Level Automation System Solutions (CLASS) platform to control its entire file-based workflow, from recording to scheduling, playback and non-real-time (NRT) delivery..

“WTIU airs programming on four digital channels 24 hours a day, in addition to producing local, regional, and national programs,” said George Hopstetter, station director of operations and engineering.

The station’s previous automation system had reached the end of life, and WTIU was looking for a replacement that would support “legacy third-party equipment with minimal complexity,” he said.

WTIU’s  CLASS solution consists of a variety of hardware and software components, including:

  • NControl on-air playlists
  • NGest dubbing and recording software
  • NPoint  video preparation software and media events capabilities
  • NBase SQL media database manager
  • NView database viewer
  • NCommand machine status and control
  • NConvert traffic interface
  • NTime time-driven event scheduling
  • NGenius and XPansion storage management solutions
  • Ethernet Machine Control (EMC)
  • CPIM creative protocol interface module for XML traffic communications