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13 2014 Mar

Toolbox: Hardware & Software News for the Week of Feb. 17, 2014

Developments on the industry task force front as well as at Autodesk, SMPTE, Colorfront, SGO, Media Links, Signiant, Roland Systems Group

Key Media Industry Organizations Launch Joint Task Force on File Formats, Media Interoperability
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.–The launch of the Joint Task Force on File Formats and Media Interoperability was announced by its sponsors, the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA), Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), International Association of Broadcast Manufacturers (IABM), American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), and Association of National Advertisers (ANA). The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is participating as an observer.

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27 2014 Feb

ATBA Supports Broadcast Industry’s Top Techs on Spectrum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE      

ATBA Supports Broadcast Industry’s Top Techs on Spectrum

February 27, 2014 — The Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance (ATBA) supports the unanimous voice of the experts on the Broadcaster Panel at the recent HPA Tech Retreat in Indian Wells, California.  The industry’s top techs say that they will not surrender some or all of their spectrum back to the commission for auction to broadband wireless providers.

Mark Aitken of Sinclair Broadcast Group and board member of the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance was a panelist at the HPA Tech Retreat.

Louis Libin, executive director of the ATBA was pleased with the comments delivered by Aitken. “When Mark Aitken speaks, he speaks not as a high power broadcaster, but speaks to the significant value of all broadcasters including LPTV and translator stations.”

“Broadcasting relies on a network of high-power, low-power, translator and broadcast repeater assets that bring programming to all of America,” said Aitken, VP of Advanced Technology for Sinclair Broadcast Group. “If we are to survive as a broadcast industry, we must embrace and fully enable all of the many and varied participants in an increasingly hybrid connected society.”

According to Aitken, “any new broadcast standard must meet all the needs of all broadcasters rather than perpetuating an old-world view that all broadcasting is just about television, which is what politicians in Washington think of when they hear the word ‘broadcasting’.”

“ATBA believes that LPTV operators should be able to be prepared for the future standards, and be able to take full advantage of new technological innovations,” said Libin. “We are engaged in the discussion for the next generation of broadcasting because we believe that only through the adoption of new techniques can we offer innovative solutions. This will allow LPTV broadcasting to continue to expand on its pivotal role in meeting the needs of a diverse American data consuming public.”

At the HPA Session Aitken continued, “No matter what happens, if the next generation of broadcasting is planned using legacy ATSC 1.0 and MPEG-2 standards, everyone will be ‘half of a broadcaster’ because what you can do within the limitations of ATSC 1.0 is only half of what broadcasters are capable of doing.”

ATBA is currently advocating for preserving and promoting the efficient and effective use of all television broadcast spectrum. The ATBA has laid out to Congress an economic plan that would provide the possibility of true success in a forthcoming auction predicated on next generation technologies.

The Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance is an industry organization comprised of low power television broadcasters, translators, full power television broadcasters and allied industry organizations and companies.  The goal of the Alliance is to preserve and promote the efficient and effective use of all television broadcast spectrum. Visit www.BroadcastingAlliance.org for more information and to join.

 

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27 2014 Feb

HPA Tech Retreat Blog: the cloud, storage, metadata, more

Object storage is the key technology behind most cloud storage offerings and there were a number of exhibits at last week’s 2014 HPA Tech Retreat in Indian Wells, California, offering cloud-based storage of M&E content.

Zadara Storage is offering SAN/NAS-as-a-Service solutions with a Virtual Private Storage Array (VPSA). The VPSAs offer iSCSI block or NFS/CIFS file storage. The user keeps the keys that allow access to data-in-flight as well as data-at-rest encrypted data. The company is offering this VPSA service using leading cloud providers or with their Zadara Storage Engines.

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27 2014 Feb

Top Techs Have No Desire To Lose Spectrum Panelists

Panelists at the HPA Tech Retreat agreed with PBS’s Eric Wolf: “Channel sharing is a reasonable option for people to look at, but at the end of the day management has to look at this and say we can take a one-time infusion of cash from the auction and give up forever some portion of our spectrum, which is our bread and butter, and forgo a lot of future options.” But panelists weren’t in harmony on every issue. CBS’s Bob Seidel (l) and Sinclair’s Mark Aitken disagreed on the approach to the next-gen TV standard ATSC 3.0.

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26 2014 Feb

HPA Tech Retreat: MTI Film’s Carry On for on/near-set dailies

MTI Film product manager J.D. Vandenberghe took some time out of his day at this week’s HPA Tech Retreat here in the desert to tell us a bit about Carry On, an on-set, near set appliance, powered by Cortex Dailies

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26 2014 Feb

HPA Blog: A display made for humans

Indian Wells, California — At the 2014 Hollywood Post Alliance Retreat (http://hollywoodpostalliance.org), the session on “Better Pixels: Best Bang for the Buck” gave some interesting insights on how we can make better displays — displays made for humans. Participants on the panel pointed out research as well as subjective experiences with 4K as well as HD TVs show that 4K by itself doesn’t lead to a better visual experience.

The session participants said that higher resolution isn’t enough and that in addition to more pixels we also need faster pixels (higher frame rates) and better pixels (better contrast and extended luminance levels). If we really want to make a better display it must reach beyond the limitations of prior display technology.

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26 2014 Feb

HPA Tech Retreat: Transitioning to an Ethernet-Based Facility

Broadcasters and other media organizations are contemplating a move to an Ethernet-based facility for their live streams for a range of compelling reasons: flexibility, simpler cabling, better economies of scale and an easier move to Ultra HDTV. At an HPA Tech Retreat panel on “Professional Networked Media,” Fox Network Engineering & Operations Vice President Thomas Edwards led a panel of broadcast executives working to make that a reality.

It’s already a reality for the BBC, said Nicholas Pinks, Technology Transfer Manager for the British broadcaster’s R&D team. “[BBC Director-General] Tony Hall has defined the future of BBC production as IP: BBC on mobile, on demand, online and on TV,” said Pinks, who said that IP is flexible and enables sharing.

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26 2014 Feb

HPA Panel Discusses Pixel Count in Next-Generation Displays

A panel of experts from across the entertainment industry convened at the HPA Tech Retreat on Thursday morning to discuss the importance of increasing pixel counts in next generation televisions and displays. While so-called “4K” or Ultra HD televisions have now appeared on the market from nearly every major consumer electronics manufacturer, there has been some debate about whether simply increasingly resolution truly improves picture quality.

The seven-member panel, entitled “Better Pixels: Best Bang for the Buck?” was moderated by Dolby’s Pat Griffis, and included speakers with a range of expertise in motion capture and display. Many on the panel expressed some skepticism about 4K, and suggested that there are other changes to the current standards for display technology that may be more important in improving the viewer experience, including wider color gamuts, higher frame rates, and higher dynamic range.

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26 2014 Feb

HPA Tech Retreat Wraps With a Look at “Breaking the Model”

Disruptive content creation models and the resulting vulnerability of content assets were recurring themes at the 2014 HPA Tech Retreat last week, and the topics of discussion on the event’s last day. NSS Labs Sales Director Kari Grubin moderated a panel on “Breaking the Model” that took a look at both issues. She recounted her own “aha moment” at last year’s Tech Retreat, during an ETC panel featuring USC students talking about their media consumption patterns.

“Several students said they found and watched movies on the Internet,” said Grubin, who is also chair of HPA’s Women in Post. “That was a defining moment for me. How people look at content has changed. How has security changed?”

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26 2014 Feb

HPA Tech Retreat: Panel Ponders New Era of Post Production

In what was perhaps the most forward-looking panel yet to appear onstage at the HPA Tech Retreat, a group of six professionals from across the post-production industry made the case Thursday afternoon that the future of post would be more distributed, more accessible, and very much dependent on cloud technologies. The “Virtual/Distributed Post” panel, moderated by Creative COW‘s Debra Kaufman, featured individuals working to develop and deploy technologies that break the mold of traditional post-production facilities.

Rather than thinking of post-production as a serial process, the panelists agreed, where one step follows the next, it is time to start thinking of production as a parallel process, where many things can happen at once.

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