Author Archives: Andrew Dodson

Jim Ocon Leaving Gray For Fox Television Stations

Jim OconJim Ocon, Gray Television’s innovative TV engineer, is leaving the group and joining Fox Television Stations as VP of engineering at KDFW Dallas.

Ocon, who is the mastermind behind the community hotspot newsgathering system, will work from KDFW Dallas, and have some group responsibilities when it comes to technology decisions. He will move his family from Colorado Springs to Dallas and start working for Fox in February.

He will report to Kathy Saunders, GM at KDFW, and Tim Redmond, VP engineering at the corporate level.

“Working at Gray has been a great experience and they have allowed me to do so much,” says Ocon, who joined Gray in 2008. “Even though I’m not going to somewhere with 50 stations, I see this as a step up, and feel that I can help make a big impact at a major Fox organization.”

The community hotspot program he invented aims to reinvent the use of the Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) band. The FCC has granted Gray a two-year experimental license to test out the system in Bryant, Texas, which hopes to provide the reliability of a microwave truck without the telescoping mast and the newsgathering freedom of bonded cellular technology without worrying about being knocked off the air due to cellular congestion. Tests in the Austin market will continue with Ocon’s new position.

Heading into the new year, Ocon has been developing a new studio at Gray’s KKTV Colorado Springs, Colo., which is relaying on the latest in broadcast technology, including robotic cameras on tracks and virtual reality. The station is planning a grand opening this spring.

Camera Robotics Pioneer Miles Spellman Retires

Camera Robotics Pioneer Miles Spellman Retires

M_Spellman_webThe man the helped Ross Video make a name for itself when it comes to robotic cameras is kicking off the new year by not worrying about going to work every morning.

Miles Spellman, a distinguished engineer that specialized in robotics, plans to retire at year’s end. He plans to travel more and spend time with his family.

Spellman wrote control software for the first fully roaming broadcast pedestal systems for a company TSM. Later in his career, Spellman and TSM colleague Bob Scotto branched off and started their own company Cambotics. At Cambotics, the duo designed and engineered a new generation of robotic camera systems. Spellman wrote all of the control and user interface software.

In 2011, Spellman and Scotto sold Cambotics to Ross Video, creating the Ross Robotics line.

Scotto plans to continue working on new camera robotic projects with Ross, with no immediate retirement plans in the future, according to the company.

Dyle Audiovox Receiver Now Compatible With Kindle

Dyle Audiovox Receiver Now Compatible With KindleDyle Mobile TV has made its way to Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

The company said Friday that its Audiovox wireless receiver, which was released in the fall, can now be used on the Kindle Fire, Fire HDZ and Fire HDX. Users must connect to the Audiovox device’s network in the Wi-Fi settings on the tablet and download the dedicated Audiovox app to watch live TV in select markets.

“This growth aligns with our commitment to strategically deliver live television to a larger consumer audience eager to embrace mobile television,” Salil Dalvi, co-GM of the Mobile Content Venture (Dyle), said in a statement.

The Audiovox receiver is compatible on iOS, Android and now Kindle tablets. The device sells for $100 on Amazon.

 

Infographic: Which Connected TV Box Is For You?

Is one of your New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 to save money by cutting the cable or satellite bill? It’s certainly a good — and popular — one.

I’ve been a big advocate for cutting the cord. On a daily basis, I rely on sleek Mohu indoor HD antenna for live over-the-air television and an Apple TV, which lets me rent TV shows and movies from iTunes, access my Netflix and Hulu Plus subscriptions and some extra content that Apple appears to be adding every couple months.

The Apple TV isn’t the only device on the market. I’m a huge Apple fan, but by no means would I endorse it as the best connected TV device on the market. Google’s Chromecast only costs $35 and Roku offers digital channels and apps that aren’t available on Apple, including Amazon Instant Video.

So how do you sift through the noise? This handy info graphic from VideoNuze.com should help. Make sure to let me know what you use to watch TV in the comments below.

Cutting the Cord Connected TV Devices

NEP Makes Big Grass Valley Purchase

NEP Makes Big Grass Valley PurchaseNEP has purchased 26 Grass Valley K-Frame modular video processing engines to be used with Kayenne and Karrera Video Production Centers to upgrade more than 30 of its OB trucks across the company’s fleet.

The K-Frames will be delivered over the next three years.

K-Frame measures in at 7 RU high with up to 5 M/Es (options available for 9 M/E frame and 14 RU high), allowing it to fit into tight spaces in OB trucks. The video processing engine is compatible with both SD and HD formats, with full 3G 1080p50/60 HD.

“The confidence that NEP has shown in selecting K-Frame is a testament to the renewed commitment grass Valley brings to supporting its broadcast customers across all production segments,” Tim Thorsteinson, president and CEO of Grass Valley, said in a statement.

Grass Valley showed off the latest version of K-Frame at the 2013 IBC show in September in Amsterdam. The latest version includes internal video clip storage and playback, greater macro flexibility and M/E multi-previewer function.

K-Frame is found in more than 75 production facilities worldwide today.

The Cameras Every Good Journalist Needs

The Cameras Every Good Journalist NeedsThis week, I’m working on a piece for our print publication Executive Outlook that breaks down the gear a well-equipped multimedia journalist (MMJ) carries with him or her in the field.

Without giving too much away, there hasn’t been a ton of surprises so far. Everyone tends to have a handheld ENG camera, some kind of bonded cellular transmission gear, a powerful laptop and a plethora of smartphone apps that they use on a daily basis.

When learning about what kinds of cameras MMJs are using, I was a little surprised that many don’t have some kind of specialized camera thrown into their gear bag. What do I mean by specialized camera? Here are a few cameras that every good journalist should have with them:

iPhone or Android Smartphone

This one is a given (and all MMJs have of one these, obviously). All good photographers, and probably videographers, will tell you that the best camera is the one that’s always with you, ready to shoot. Today’s smartphones tout pretty sharp lenses and strong image quality that more than passes what’s acceptable for breaking news coverage. Smartphones especially became that must-need camera when bonded cellular companies like TVU, LiveU and Dejero released apps that let reporters go live from the field straight from their phone, without worrying about any wires of transmission gear.

GoPro Camera

The GoPro Camera is like the fisheye lens on an SLR camera — it creates a neat effect, but when overused, people get sick of it pretty quickly. For $300-$400, you can’t beat the versatility that the small-sized GoPro offers. Its wide lens and HD video capabilities makes it the perfect auxiliary camera for perspective shots in large crowds or at major events. It’s size and ability to be mounted anywhere makes its a great tool for shots while driving. And when it comes to sports, you can’t beat throwing a GoPro behind a backboard to capture the thundering slam dunk of a basketball player.

Webcam

Most laptops today come with a builtin webcam. Now the quality isn’t anything amazing, but in tight situations where you need to be on air, or seen speaking in your story, a webcam offers that flexibility. It’s not uncommon to see broadcasts today where sources or reporters go on air via Skype or FaceTime. That’s made possible via the webcam.

Surveillance Cameras

I’m not sure where you draw the line when it comes to ethics, but for those investigative, hidden-camera pieces, you can’t go wrong with some surveillance cameras. Of course, they come in a plethora of shapes and sizes, depending on what kind of shot you’re aiming to capture. And hey, for $250, you can buy this cute, cuddly teddy bear nanny cam! Tell me who wouldn’t want that in their gear bag.

(Also worth asking, are local stations still doing hidden camera stories? Fill me in below in the comments section.)

Did I miss anything? Share below.

Comcast Adds Partners To SEEiT Twitter Platform

Comcast Adds Partners To SEEiT Twitter PlatformMore pay TV subscribers will soon be able to watch and record television shows through Comcast’s new SEEiT platform, which utilizes Twitter to allow customers to watch TV on a device or record programs to a DVR at home.

The newest TV partners to hop on board with SEEiT (pronounced See It) include, ABC Entertainment Group, A&E, AMC, Optimum TV, Charter Communications, Crown Media Family Networks, Discovery Communications, Fox Networks Group and Time Warner Cable. All are expected to be up and running on the platform during the first quarter of 2014.

Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer at Comcast, said he never intended to keep the platform solely on Comcast.

“Twitter was an ideal launch partner for us given the number of TV-related conversations happening there, and we’re encouraged by the early results during our ‘preview’ period,” Schwartz said in a statement. “These new partners will help enhance the experience by allowing more consumers to conveniently tune, record, or watch their favorite shows and movies from the places they’re discovering them.”

TV watchers can take advantage of SEEiT by logging onto Twitter and seeing specific tweets from partner TV shows. The Voice, for example, could send out a tweet that includes a SEEiT logo, promoting an upcoming show. By clicking on that logo, the user could choose to watch it on their device (it will prompt the user to switch to an app; it doesn’t play in the native Twitter app), or record the show to their DVR by logging into their pay TV account. Users can also set reminders that will be sent to their mobile device.

University of Missouri’s KOMU Picks Dejero For ENG

University of Missouri’s KOMU Picks Dejero For ENGKOMU Columbia, Mo., the NBC affiliate owned by the University of Missouri and operated by the Missouri School of Journalism, has chosen Dejero for its bonded cellular needs when it comes to ENG.

The rugged bonded cellular transmitters will let students file live reports from the field, and send back completed stories or clips of stories for editing and later broadcast.

Students at the station have had their hands on the Dejero producet for a few months now and have been able to broadcast a wide range of stories, including stories from away football games, crime scenes, city council meetings and weather-related news.

Recently, a story about a Missouri state appeals court overturning the conviction of someone who spent a decade in jail showed the students the true power of bonded cellular technology. The press conference was held in an upstairs hotel room, so running cable from an ENG van would have been difficult. With the transmitter, the news crew was able to go live with the entire press conference without worrying about hooking up to an ENG vehicle.

“One of the reasons the Missouri School of Journalism is so well respected is because we give our students hands-on experience with the tools and technologies they’re likely to encounter in their first television job,” Stacey Woelfel, associate professor of journalism at the university, said in a statement. “After using the Dejero LIVE+ 20/20 Transmitters, we believe bonded wireless technology will help shape the future of professional ENG.”

Elemental Encodes Full Frame Rate 4K Sports Content

Elemental Encodes Full Frame Rate 4K Sports Content

Elemental Technologies successfully demonstrated its ability to encode full frame rate 4K video content in real-time during a Major League Soccer match in Portland, Ore. last month.

Being able to encode 4K content at 60 frames per second is key for sports broadcasts, which most broadcasters agree will help drive consumer demand for 4K, also known as ultra HD.

In last month’s demo, an Elemental Live video processing system received high bitrate 4Kp60 AVC video in an MPEG-2 transport stream featuring content from a live soccer match between the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders. The system encoded and delivered a 4Kp60 HEVC output to a PC-based decoder with a final rendering showing up on an 84-inch Planar 4K TV. The content was shot with a RED Epic 4K camera.

Using HEVC encoding, the 4K video was being delivered at under 20 MB/s, says Keith Wymbs, VP marketing at Elemental.

Earlier this year, Elemental showed that its technology could deliver in real-time a 4Kp30, or 30 frames per second, stream from the Osaka Marathon.

“For 4K and sports to work, it needs to get to 60 frames per second,” says Wymbs. “Anything less and there’s jutter, because everything is moving so fast.”

Wymbs and the Elemental team are in London today, showing European customers their products and discussing the recent 4K demo.

The next step for Elemental, which is expected to happen sometime in the coming year, is demonstrating an end-to-end 4K delivery over the Internet, says Wymbs.

Trilogy Communications Appoints New COO

Keith Norton has been named the new chief operating officer of Trilogy Communications, a supplier of intercom solutions in the broadcast industry.

Norton, an engineer by training, comes to Trilogy after serving as CEO of Paradigm Secure Communications. He brings more than 30 years of experience at strategic, program and operational levels across the telecoms and government programs.

“Keith has a wealth of experience with commercial and defence businesses in the UK, Europe and the US,” Trilogy CEO Mike Knight said in a statement. “He is therefore a perfect fit for Trilogy as we seek out further opportunities for our class-leading communications product portfolio.”

Norton will be based at Trilogy’s head office in Andover, Hampshire, UK.