Apple’s free update (iOS 6) has several new features, including a new Maps app that actually offers turn-by-turn navigation. But to me, the new Do Not Disturb feature is reason enough to upgrade.

Do Not Disturb Settings
(iOS 6)

Like most people, I have a love/hate relationships with my smartphone. It’s incredibly versatile and helpful, but it also makes me accessible all the time, even when I don’t want to be. International travel is especially challenging with notifications chiming away at all hours of the night. Sometimes I have turned on Airplane Mode to get a little peace and quiet, but that means I would miss an emergency call. And sometimes I would forget to turn off Airplane Mode and miss important notifications for a few hours. When I’m at home, I usually leave my iPhone downstairs at night, so it can happily ping away all night without disturbing anyone (other than the dog).

Now, with iOS 6, it’s easy to disconnect from the endless pinging of notifications. With the new feature Do Not Disturb, you can choose to silence the less urgent notifications – either manually or for scheduled intervals. I easily configured my phone to stop chirping between 10 PM and 7 AM. But I still get phone calls from my favorites, in case of emergencies.

Although it’s a great feature as is, I can think of a few things that would make it even better. For example, location-based settings would make the phone behave differently when I’m at home or away from home. And calendar integration would make it possible for the phone to automatically stop chirping during important meetings. But these enhancements might over-complicate what is an elegant and helpful feature in its current form.

Finally, with iOS 6 and Do Not Disturb I can now stand to keep my iPhone on my nightstand, instead of banishing it to the downstairs for the night. Who knows, maybe my dog will sleep better too!

I have to admit, I’m a fan of high-resolution imagery. I was an early adopter of HD at home and haven’t watched an SD channel in years. I’ve also seen Super Hi-Vision demonstrated in big theaters at trade shows for many years, and it is truly breathtaking. Last week at the IBC, there was a lot of talk about Ultra-High Definition TV (UHDTV) as a broadcast standard. For a summary of what UHDTV is, feel free to check out my previous post.

IBC Attendees Watch UHDTV on 85-inch Monitor

But after looking at UHDTV on a smaller screen, I couldn’t help but wonder: who actually needs Ultra-High Definition TV? Answering this question took a bit longer than I had hoped, but at this point I will just say it…

UHDTV is overkill.

This is not to say that UHDTV has no merits, nor that today’s HD can’t be improved upon. But if I were in charge, I would focus the industry on doing HD right, not on adopting UHDTV. High quality 1080p HD running at 60 frames per second would be a joy to watch as compared to the highly compressed MPEG2 garbage my cable provider currently charges me a premium for. The difference between today’s HD experience and “HD done right” would be easy for anyone to appreciate. But the difference between great HD and UHDTV would not be easy to see, if you could even perceive it at all!

In terms of spatial resolution, I’ve done the math and I encourage you to do the same. Click here to see my analysis in gory detail. I could go on about the limits of human visual perception, but suffice it to say regular old 1080p HD has enough pixels that you can’t see them at a normal viewing distance. Yes, this means that if Apple were trying to sell you a TV (which may happen soon) your existing 1080p HD TV would qualify as a retina display at the viewing distance recommended by SMPTE. So unless you are one of those people who like to sit uncomfortably close to the screen, you won’t even be able to tell the difference in spatial resolution between 1080p and UHDTV.

UHDTV faces other challenges. Although UHDTV televisions are now being released by major manufacturers, there is currently no UHDTV content available for consumers to watch. There are only four UHDTV cameras in the world today. And until more efficient codecs like HVEC are developed and implemented, UHDTV may actually look worse than HD. If you’ve seen what HD looks like on cable, imagine what the compression artifacts would look like if the codec were trying to describe 16 times more pixels!

Beyond the technology challenges, UHDTV will also face adoption challenges. When consumers are given a choice between convenience and quality, they almost always choose convenience. Ten years ago, consumers could have adopted high resolution audio – remember SACD and DVD-A? Instead, they chose lower quality MP3 because of the convenience. Likewise, although pro audio gear now supports 24-bit audio production at 192 kHz sampling rate, no one I know bothers with it. Audio has long since passed the “good enough” threshold and this same phenomenon is now playing out for video. To me, 8K is to video what 192 kHz is to audio — one step too far. Most consumers are happy with HD broadcast in its current, crappy state. And HD broadcast is already under threat from over-the-top content, most of which is streamed at resolutions lower than HD.

There’s no doubt that high resolution cameras are a boon to content creators, giving them more flexibility to tell the best possible visual story. I will also say that 4K makes sense for theaters with very large screens. But as a broadcast standard for the home, UHDTV just doesn’t add enough value for consumers over and above HD, especially when HD is done right. I know it would not be sexy to say, “after ten years, we’ve finally figured out how to do HD!” but that would be an advancement worth paying for!

For several years, I have enjoyed watching NHK’s technology demonstrations of their outlandish Super Hi-Vision format. With an 8K image (sixteen times the resolution of 1080P HD!) running at 120 frames per second, it’s like IMAX on steroids. And with 22.2 channels of surround sound, the theatrical experience is truly immersive.

NHK Demonstrates the Latest Super Hi-Vision Camera at IBC 2012
(click to enlarge)

But, like many people, I confess that I’ve been treating Super Hi-Vision like a science experiment – something cool and futuristic, but impractical and over-the-top (no pun intended). Imagine my surprise to see that last month Super Hi-Vision has spawned a bona fide ITU standard (Ultra-High Definition, ITU-R BT.2020). What’s more, at the IBC convention in Amsterdam last weekend, the NHK was showcasing a Super High-Vision camera that is actually a lot smaller than a washing machine! Some broadcasters and vendors were even speaking up in support of UHDTV as the “next big thing,” although not without lively debate from the doubters. I found myself wondering if maybe UHDTV might be on the brink of becoming more than just a science experiment.

I also wondered what UHDTV actually is, what variants it supports, and whether it is equivalent to Super Hi-Vision. This post provides a quick summary of UHDTV, what it is and what it isn’t. In a future post I’ll opine about who (if anybody) really needs UHDTV, but first it would help just to understand it.

UHDTV is a specification for a new motion image format derived from Super Hi-Vision, originally developed by NHK’s Science & Technology Research Lab. UHDTV specifies two image sizes: UHDTV1 has 4K resolution, while UHDTV2 has 8K resolution, that can run at a variety of frame rates. Super Hi-Vision is not exactly equivalent to UHDTV2, although it incorporates one variant of UHDTV2 as its image format. Here is a chart I put together to illustrate the areas of equivalence (marked in green) and variance between UHDTV and Super Hi-Vision:

UHDTV SHV Comparison Chart

Basically, Super Hi-Vision is equivalent to one of the variants of UHDTV (4320p running at 120 fps) plus 22.2 channels of audio. From my reading, ITU-R Rec. 2020 doesn’t specify anything about audio. Sadly, it appears that the ITU has decided that UHDTV should specify 18 permutations of image size and frame rate. That number increases when you consider color sampling and coding options. It seems to me the ITU should have taken this opportunity to simplify things, rather than repeating the unfortunate approach taken by the ATSC twenty years ago that resulted in fifteen HD variants.

To illustrate the spatial resolution of UHDTV, I have created a colorful graphic (see below) that accurately depicts the relative sizes of SD, HD and UHDTV images. By comparison, whereas an individual frame of 1080p HD content contains roughly 2.1 megapixels, a single frame of UHDTV1 contains roughly 8.3 megapixels, and UHDTV2 contains 33.2 megapixels. How’s that for spatial resolution?

Broadcast Standards: Size Comparison
(click to enlarge)

I have always found it interesting that motion imagery can get away with much lower spatial resolution than still imagery. Although scientists have described two phenomena that explain the human perception of motion (the phi phenomenon and beta movement) recent studies indicate that human interpretation of motion video is more complex than had been previously thought. It turns out the brain is not a camera capturing a fixed number of frames per second. The brain has much more work to do to interpret motion video than a still image, and therefore doesn’t have the cycles to ascertain spatial resolution in each passing frame.

This explains why a Bluray disc looks great on my TV when 24 frames per second are flying by. But an individual 1080p frame, at only 2 megapixels, can look blocky. And at only 24 frames per second, fast motion looks jerky. Clearly UHDTV does not have either of these limitations, given its massive spatial resolution and a temporal resolution that ranges up to 120 frames per second.

Not surprisingly, all this resolution comes at a cost. In case you’re wondering, at 120 frames per second, a UHDTV2 sensor is spitting out roughly 4 billion pixels per second at data rates that can exceed 40 Gbit/s. That’s a lot of data! Imagine having to gang together fourteen 3 Gbps dual link SDI signals to carry one uncompressed stream of UHDTV2! This explains why HVEC encoding is seen as necessary to efficiently store UHDTV streams, even though UHDTV is compression agnostic.

So, that’s the quick story on UHDTV. Wikipedia has a good article on UHDTV that I recommend you read, especially if you’re interested in the history of the format. In a future post, I’ll opine on the more difficult questions: is UHDTV practical? And who really needs UHDTV? Stay tuned…

The weather in Amsterdam was beautiful for IBC this year, giving the local Amsterdammers (or “Mokummers” as they say here – no, I didn’t make that up!) another great excuse to vacate the city this past weekend. As if being invaded by 50,000+ broadcast geeks wasn’t reason enough…

If you weren’t lucky enough to enjoy September in Amsterdam, or in case you were spending too much time enjoying the weather and not stalking the halls of the RAI, I offer this summary of the major vendor announcements at the show, organized roughly by product category.

This year, the IBC exhibition was characterized by many smaller announcements, so my apologies in advance for the gigantic post!

Asset Management

  • Avid highlighted Interplay Central version 1.3 with enhanced web and mobile versions. New features include a video sequence creation pane, frame-accurate shot lists, iPad script editing and remote search, as well as ISIS 2000 support and DNxHD 85/100 codec support
  • Axle demonstrated their new “radically simple” project and media management software solution. Axle runs on a Mac mini computer, providing a simple browser interface that lets you view, annotate and log all the assets on your shared storage server, from any location.

    Axle Media Management
  • Dalet showcased Galaxy, the latest version of their enterprise MAM platform, that includes a BPMN 2.0-compliant workflow engine, as well as a multitrack video editor, customizable data model, advanced tools for searching and indexing, and support for AS-02 and FIMS standards.
  • Grass Valley announced end-to-end 1080 50/60p support as well as new Stratus tools: Stratus for News and Stratus for Playout which are expected to ship by the end of 2012.
  • NETIA showcased new version of its production CMS solution. New features include the ability for users to personalize the user interface and modify the metadata template. NETIA CMS now interfaces with speech-to-text transcription systems for enhanced search.
  • Orad demonstrated the latest version of iFind MAM, Orad’s graphics asset management solution. New features include audio indexing as well as enhanced search capabilities.
  • Primestream announced version 3.5 for Fork, their production suite.
  • ProConsultant Informatique (PCI) showed a new SocialSeine module for Louise, their business management software. SocialSeine helps broadcasters optimize their content and brands for Social TV, providing realtime engagement data on social sites, along with analytics.
  • Quantel introduced Station sQ, an HD news production system based on Enterprise SQ, but geared towards smaller configurations.


  • AETA Audio highlighted 4MinX, their integrated multitrack digital recorder and mixer for studio and field applications.
  • Avid launched the Pro Tools|HD Native Thunderbolt interface, enabling flexible connectivity between a laptop or iMac and any HD I/O series interface.
  • Cobalt Digital demonstrated LMNTS, a loudness processing tool for EBU R128 and CALM compliance that operates directly on streams. Cobalt also demonstrated SpotCheck, an audio loudness measurement and logging system.
  • Cube-Tec highlighted their MXF Loudness Assimilator, enabling file-based correction for EBU R128 compliance.
  • Dolby continued to showcase their next-generation Dolby Atmos surround format.

    Avid Pro Tools HD|Native Thunderbolt
  • DiGiCo exhibited at IBC for the first time, showcasing its SD range of broadcast audio consoles.
  • Junger Audio showcasted M*AP, a new monitor controller and loudness measurement device in one unit.
  • Minnetonka demonstrated AudioTools Server 2.0 with updated loudness control and QC for file-based audio workflows, as well as Dolby Dialogue Intelligence integration. Minnetonka’s SurCode plug-ins have also been updated, enabling surround sound workflows with Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut, Avid Pro Tools, and Avid Media Composer.
  • Miranda debuted it’s advanced loudness control solution, ALC, which includes monitoring, logging and correction in real time during playout.
  • NUGEN Audio announced a suite of upmix and downmix plug-ins, developed in collaboration with DSpecialists.
  • RTW showcased the TM3 TouchMonitor, a 4.3 inch touch-sensitive loudness compliance audio meter.
  • SSL announced a new version 5 upgrade for the C100 broadcast console, which includes a dual operator mode for complex productions.
  • SSL showcased their new ScreenSound ADR tool, a suite of integrated software apps for dialog spotting, session preparation, session management and audio recording.
  • Studer announced an update to their VISTA FX module that enables 24 channels of Lexicon effects per 2U unit, the equivalent of two PCM96 devices tightly integrated into the console controls.
  • Sony launched Sound Forge Pro Mac 1.0, the first time Sound Forge has been available on the Mac.

Automation and Newsroom

  • ANNOVA Systems announced Vision, a new software tool designed to manage collaborative planning workflow in the newsroom.
  • Harris announced Versio, a new 1U channel in a box automation system, incorporating Nexio, Icon graphics and ADC automation.
  • Oasys demonstrated new functionality for their automated playout software, including enhanced file management, IP streaming, subtitling and instant configuration changes.
  • Octopus demonstrated version 6 of their newsroom computer system, including enhancements to the user interface, multilingual user interface, native support for Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as many other features.
  • Pebble Beach Systems showcased Marina, their all-new 64-bit automaton system running the Dynamic Channel Brander for the first time.
  • Pixel Power introduced Gallium, a new integrated scheduling, asset management and automation system.

Cameras & Rigs

  • Arri launched a range of kits for Blackmagic Design’s new Cinema Camera.
  • Black Magic Design previewed a manual version of its Cinema Camera with a passive MFT mount. The Cinema Camera, announced back at NAB 2012, recently started shipping to customers.
  • Canon highlighted their upcoming EOS C500 4K digital camera, which will ship next month. The C500 4K can output a variety of image formats including 4k 10-bit uncompressed RAW data, quad HD, 2K, and1080p. The camera can operate from one to 60 fps for 2K and 4K.

    Canon EOS C500 4K
  • Grass Valley launched the new LDX series of cameras, which support 1080p50/60, available now at prices from $60,000 to $100,000 for a complete camera solution.
  • FOR-A showcased FT-ONE, a 4K super slow motion camera that records up to 1,000 fps.
  • Ikegami showcased their new range of Unicam HD dockable cameras for studio and EFP use.
  • I-Movix demonstrated their X10 extreme slow motion camera that runs at 300 fps (1080) or 600 fps (720p), currently undergoing trials with broadcasters.
  • JVC showcased the new GY-HM600 and GY-HM650 camcorders, a GY-HMQ10 handheld 2K/4K camcorder, along with a new 17” RGB LED monitor and a technology preview of a new 32” 4K monitor.
  • Panasonic announced new studio cameras, as well as the innovative AJ-HPX600 portable camera, scheduled for release at the end of September 2012, the first AVC-ULTRA codec.
  • Sony announced the PMW-150, a new midrange XDCAM 422 camera that is expected to ship in mid-October.

Cloud Services and Online Video Platforms (OVP)

  • Aspera announced fasp 3, its next generation core transport platform. Aspera also showcased their On-Demand software system for line-speed ingest and distribution of media files to and from cloud-based object storage (like AWS S3). Aspera also demonstrated Shares, designed for customers who need to ingest or share large files in multiple locations.
  • Avid launched Interplay Sphere, enabling remote users to remotely edit content from Interplay Production and ISIS libraries, as well as upload local content from the field.
  • Adobe previewed Adobe Anywhere, a new server-based system for collaboration. Adobe Anywhere will enable WAN collaboration for Premiere Pro, After Effects and Prelude, sharing data on a central server. Adobe Anywhere is anticipated for availability during the first half of 2013.

    Adobe Anywhere
  • Brightcove attended IBC for the first time, showcasing their App Cloud Dual-Screen Solution for Apple TV.
  • Chyron announced that their Axis cloud-based graphics creation system is now available in Europe with additional language support.
  • Front Porch Digital is highlighting two new cloud services for their LYNX cloud platform. LYNXdr is a hosted disaster recovery service. LYNXlocal provides a local cache of LYNX cloud data.
  • Kaltura announced new products, including SDKs and reference applications for Google TV, Xbox, iOS and Android.
  • Kit Digital released a new version of their VoD Store solution, that allows content owners and service providers to establish fully-managed and monetized VOD capabilities.
  • Media-Alliance previewed their next-generation, cloud-based Borneo product suite.
  • Ooyala announced the release of new offerings for video streaming, personalization, discovery and monetization.
  • Quantel introduced new features for QTube, including media upload from iOS.
  • Reelway announced ReelSpirit, an add-on service for its ReelCloud MAM service. ReelSpirit allows users to create profiles, form groups, follow assets, EDLs and projects.
  • Signiant released Media Shuttle, their new file delivery solution, providing the convenience of public cloud-based file sharing without the typical file size limits or security risks.

Creative Tools and Technology

  • AJA launched Covid Ultra, a new high resolution OEM I/O card that supports processing and scaling for multiformat 4K, 2K, HD and SD workflows up to 60 fps. AJA also announced that their T-TAP compact thunderbolt/SDI interface is now shipping.
  • Autodesk announced extensions for Maya 2013 and 3DS Max 2013 3D, enabling artists to create more sophisticated physical simulations.
  • Autodesk Flame 2013

    Autodesk debuted the Flame 20th Anniversary Edition, also known as Flame Premium 2013 including enhanced interactivity, editorial timeline integration, 3D tracking improvements, color grading presets, an upgraded GPU pipeline and several other features. Autodesk also demonstrated their upcoming Smoke 2013 release.

  • Avid announced the availability of Media Composer version 6.5, including AS-02 support via AMA, as well as Interplay Sphere integration, advanced relink, advanced audio keyframing and 64-voice audio support.
  • Black Magic Design announced that their DeckLink HD Extreme 3D card now supports full resolution dual stream 3D.
  • Dolby demonstrated their Dolby 3D end-to-end system, which ensures a high quality, “comfortable” viewing experience on any 3D viewing device. Dolby 3D also includes 2D to 3D conversion in real time.
  • The Foundry announced Nuke version 7 that includes GPU accelerated processing nodes, enhanced 2D tracking and keying for rotoscopy, Alembic and Open EXR 2 file format support and several other features.
  • The Foundry announced Mari 3D version 1.5, their digital paint tool for VFX artists and game developers.
  • Grass Valley announced Edius Pro version 6.5 with stereoscopic editing and output, Flash export, proxy integration with K2 Summit 3G servers, integration with GV’s Stratus workflow engine, 10-bit color correction, Native RD support, loudness metering and several other features.
  • Matrox announced MX02 Dock, a thunderbolt device that provides connectivity with HDMI displays, USB peripherals and other devices.
  • NVIDIA demonstrated new advances in interactive on-air graphics, stereo 3D production, interactive simulation for film production and GPU accelerated video editing, all based on Quadro professional graphics processors.
  • Quantel introduced Pablo Rio, a software-only version of Pablo color grading and finishing system that runs on standard PC hardware with NVidia Maximus cards. Pablo Rio supports the Neo panel and the new Neo Nano compact panel. Quantel also integrated Imagineer Systems’ mocha Planar Tracker into Pablo as part of Pablo version 5.2, which includes a stereo3D multilayer timeline and aperture correction.
  • Quantel introduced the SynthIA Interaxial Synthesis tool, which enables the user to alter the interaxial distance between the two camera positions of a  S3D clip durin post.
  • SGO announced Mistika version 7, including several new features like high frame rate support and resolution support beyond 8K for UHDTV.
  • Rohde & Schwarz showcased Clipster DI, with a new high-performance render pipeline, IMF support and CPL version 5 support.
  • Sony previewed the upcoming Vegas Pro 12, with improved 3D workflow, scene-based color matching, and expanded editing mode.

Encode, Transcode and QC

  • AmberFin showcased their latest iCR products for ingest, transcode and playback, emphasizing their Unified Quality Control (UQC) capabilities that reduce cost, while increasing quality and efficiency.
  • Digital Rapids highlighted the momentum of their Kayak dynamic workflow platform, announcing the addition of more than 20 new partner companies to the Kayak ecosystem.
  • Digital Rapids Kayak

    Digital Rapids announced support for MPEG-DASH format (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP) in upcoming versions of Kayak, Transcode Manager and StreamZ encoder.

  • Evertz showcased The new Evertz 7880 series encoder/decoder for JPEG2000 SD and HD compression at variable compression rates on ASI or IP.
  • Eyeheight debuted its CC-3D hardware-based 1U stereoscopic color corrector and legalizer.
  • Harmonic showcased their new ProMedia Xpress transcoder, as well as demonstrations of MPEG-DASH streaming and HEVC compression.
  • Matrox announced that their entire line of MX02 capture devices support Telestream Wirecast, including VS4, a new HD-SDI capture card that supports up to four independent HD-SDI inputs in a single card.
  • Matrox introduced Matrox Monarch, an upcoming video streaming and recording appliance that will generate an RTP-, UDP-, or RTSP-compliant H.264 stream from any full resolution HDMI input while simultaneously recording high-quality MP4 or MOV files to any connected storage. Matrox expects Monarch to be available in Q1 2013.
  • Thomson introduced ViBE CP6000, a modular codec for contribution and distribution. The ViBE CP6000 enables an unprecedented eight HD channels per 1RU chassis.
  • Wohler announced the newest version of the RadiantGrid platform, acquired earlier this year. The TrueGrid media transformation and parallel processing engine manages file creation, standards conversion, QC and distribution.
  • Wowza unveiled version 3 of its Media Server software, designed to make internet streaming cost-effective for broadcasters.


  • Chyron announced Shout, a software app that brings social media commentary into broadcast graphics systems. Engage enables broadcasters to add interactivity, such as votes, polls and tweet battles into live news and sports programing.
  • Chyron also announced ChryonIP, a real time HD/SD CG that adds two channels of Chyron Graphics to NewTek TriCaster.
  • Orad highlighted TD Control, its device for managing broadcasting from multiple live video boxes. Orad also unveiled Morpho 3.0, with many advanced CG features
  • Vizrt highlighted several products focused on social media integration. Viz Virtual Studio provides integration with Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Vizrt also introduced Vizrt Skype interface and deeper integration with EVS production servers and updates to the LiberoVision 3D sports analysis platform.

Ingest and Playout Servers, Channel-in-a-Box

  • AJA announced new storage and dock accessories for Ki Pro and Ki Pro Rack.
  • EVS announced that XT3/XS production servers can encode to three formats simultaneously: I-Frame only for live replay, Long GOP (XDDCAM 50 Mbps) for media sharing, and proxy.
  • EVS announced enhancements to their OpenCubeingest products, introducing support for the JPEG2000 codec, as well as AS-02 and IMF mastering formats.

    Ross BlackStorm
  • Harmonic showcased enhancements to Spectrum ChannelPort for integrated channel branding, as well as MediaStore 5000, a new compact (2U) shared storage solution for Spectrum servers.
  • Qube demonstrated XP-1, their high frame rate and high bit rate server, capable of delivering 48 fps and high frame rate stereo content for cinemas.
  • Rohde & Schwarz showcased their Venice media production hub, which incorporates video server features, including ingest, playout, transcoding, transwrapping and transfer.
  • Ross Video announced software version 1.1 for their new BlackStorm production playout server.
  • Toshiba presented the ON-AIR MAX FLASH server that streams directly from SSD’s without CPU buffering or offloads. Toshiba is using a combination of SLC (for high capacity) and MLC storage chips.

Live Production

  • Autocue demonstrated their new Production Suite, a “studio in a box” solution aimed at reducing the cost of live studio production by incorporating a broad range of production functionality — switcher, graphics, routing, keying, switching, clip playback and recording – all in a single software solution.
  • Evertz demonstrated updated versions of VUE, including integrated widgets for their Mediator MAM platform.
  • EVS announced an open workflow collaboration with Adobe, including integration of Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 with EVS XT/XS servers using OP-1A MXF files or QuickTime movies, for quick turnaround workflows.
  • NewTek Tricaster 8000

    EVS highlighted C-Cast, a second screen app designed for Canal Plus subscribers. C-Cast instantly processes and transfers live multicam media from EVS XT/SX production servers direct to iPad and Samsung Galaxy tablets.

  • NewTek announced extensions to the Tricaster product line. The entry level TriCaster 40 is a compact, entry-level live production system for $4995.
  • NewTek also introduced their top-of-the-line TriCaster 8000, shipping later this year, with 8 fully re-entrant M/E rows, eight cameras and 14 configural outputs.
  • Roland debuted its new V-800HD multiformat live switcher, with eight 3 Gbps video inputs and 4:4:4/10-bit internal processing.
  • Sony introduced three new mid-priced video switchers, the MVS-3000, MVS-6520 and MVS-6530. Prices begin in the $40,000 range for the MVS-3000.

Storage and Archive

  • Avid highlighted the upcoming Interplay MAM Active Archive solution, as well as the ISIS 2000 Nearline server.

    Avid ISIS 2000
  • Cache-A announced a new, more durable version of their Prime-Cache5 desktop archive appliance, as well as software version 3.1, delivering 64-bit native support, Linux support, high-speed LTFS dubbing and LTFS tape spanning.
  • Facilis Technology announced version 5.6 of TerraBlock, with support for 3TB drives.
  • Harris Nexio Farad online storage now has RAID-601 data protection.
  • Object Matrix announced MatrixStore Quattro, a new storage system designed for OB trucks, as well as enhancements to MatrixStore Server and MatrixStore Hardware.
  • Promise announced Pegasus J2, a small Thunderbolt RAID array that delivers 750 MB/s of bandwidth. The Pegasus J2 starts at roughly $2,249 for a 12 TB configuration.
  • Rohde & Schwarz demonstrated SpycerBox Ultra, now with extended capacity to 96 TB.


Whew! One caveat before I sign off: I’m sure I missed some really important announcements. You never know, maybe I left some out intentionally to see if you are paying attention! So if you want to add any announcements, please comment and I’ll incorporate your suggestions.

Product Managers everywhere – you owe me a beer!

Hall 14 and Connected TV out front at IBC

For the past two days, I have been immersed in the chaotic energy of the IBC Exhibition. Along with roughly 50,000 of my closest friends I have roamed the 14 halls of Amsterdam’s RAI convention center, taking in hundreds of booths from more than 1300 exhibitors, to see what’s new and exciting in the world of broadcast technology. After two busy days, I am now attempting to digest all the pamphlets and notes I have collected. Incidentally, I’ve also been digesting a couple of Heinekens, which leaves me wondering why beer tastes so much better in Europe. Maybe it’s the atmosphere. Or maybe European brewers conspire to ship their worst batches overseas. But I digress…

Now that I’ve stepped back from all the hustle and bustle of the convention to take a “mental squint” at the first two days, it is clear to me that the Broadcast industry is beginning to adapt to their rapidly evolving landscape. For a few years now, broadcasters have faced a complex transition to an unclear future. But at IBC 2012 I see evidence that they understand the disruptive forces in play, as well as the emerging opportunities. My best attempt to summarize the mindset of broadcasters at IBC 2012 is as follows:

Broadcasters are seeking new ways to manage and monetize their content, reaching new audiences on new platforms, while evolving their existing business models in a time of intense change.

Given this outlook, it should be no surprise that Connected TV is the most prominent theme at the IBC show this year. Connected TV presents a potential migratory path for the Broadcast industry, integrating internet paradigms with traditional broadcast business models. Connected TV envisions a future where consumers can enjoy high-quality interactive viewing experiences – watching any content, whenever they want to, on any internet-connected device. For broadcasters, Connected TV promises a technology platform that will enable them to expand their viewership, retain existing advertising and subscription revenues, while spawning incremental revenue streams from new services.

Connected TV could be the win/win scenario broadcasters have been looking for. The concept is compelling enough that the IBC created an entirely new Connected World Hall right in front of the RAI center (roughly 80,000 square feet!) as a showcase. But based on the conversations I’ve had with my counterparts walking the show floor, this transition is going to take time, as broadcasters continue to wrestle with the challenges of the here and now:

  • Conversion from SD to HD. This transition is still in full swing in many geographies.
  • Integration of IT infrastructure with traditional broadcast technology.
  • Evolution from physical media assets to file-based workflow.
  • Expansion of internet and mobile content delivery.
  • Operational challenges stemming from increased complexity and budgetary pressures, including macroeconomic factors (especially in Southern Europe).

These challenges are not new – some of these evolutionary shifts are well into their second decade. But at IBC 2012, the Broadcast industry is starting to coalesce a compelling vision for the future. Yes, broadcasters are beginning to evolve! The key question remains, can they evolve quickly enough?


Thanks for reading this inaugural post for WireMosaic. As long as Amsterdam doesn’t suddenly run out of beer during the next 72 hours, I will continue to share my perspective on IBC, the state of the broadcast industry, and the latest news in media technology. Cheers!