2023 NAB Show Will See Plenty Of Choice For Today’s Modern Production Control Room

While the emergence of IP-based infrastructures has led to new ways of leveraging the traditional Production Control Room (PCR) and all of the hardware devices and software systems within, it continues to hold its important place as the center of an on-premise studio production in most content creation organizations.

Remote productions and cloud-based production are certainly changing the way we look at the PCR, but at the 2023 NAB Show attendees will see the latest technology used to produce content, whether on-premise or remotely, for TV and online. The choices will be wide and varied, leaving it up to the customer to figure out exactly how their business model works and which tools fit best.

It's also important to remember that SDI-based control rooms are still popular and continue to be built around the world, especially when the studio and control room are located in the same building. Whether it’s an IP or SDI facility, important components include video switchers, graphic systems, encoder/decoders, comm systems, multiviewers, monitor walls, servers, replay systems, conversion gear, technical furniture and so much more.

KVM Keeps Video Moving

IHSE USA (Booth N2946) will show its KVM and KVM-over-IP solutions that facilitate enhanced security, improved user environments, reduced equipment cost and versatility in operational procedures.

The company will spotlight low-cost KVM desktop solutions that support up to four computers with single, dual, triple, quad, or even five displays for each computer connected to the switch. Also spotlighted at the show will be a series of new 4K-over-IP extenders offered through sister-company kvm-tec (in Tattendorf, Austria).

IHSE’s Draco DPS 4X1 KVM desktop series KVM switches support a variety of computer systems.

IHSE’s Draco DPS 4X1 KVM desktop series KVM switches support a variety of computer systems.

Steve Montgomery, Senior Marketing Manager at IHSE USA, said that using KVM, system integrators can design the optimal infrastructure for all types of applications in mission-critical environments like broadcast production.

“KVM technology delivers highly reliable operation, lossless and low-latency data transmission of high bandwidth signals,” said Steve Montgomery, Senior Marketing Manager at IHSE, “coupled with flexibility in configuration and redundancy scenarios that meet every situational requirement and specification.”

The Draco DPS 4X1 KVM desktop series switches can be customized to support single-head, dual-head, triple-head, or quad-head computer systems. Starting with a base DisplayPort four-input, single-head package, up to 4K @60fps signals can be supported. The DPS 4X1 base unit is a standard two-slot desktop chassis with support for USB-HID, USB 2.0, and optional audio connections for up to four computers to a single DisplayPort monitor.

When more displays are added, users can expand the switch with the 4X1 video expansion card using IHSE’s standard six-slot chassis. All DPS 4X1 cards fit in any IHSE frame and integrates with all IHSE KVM systems.

Also on display in the booth will be sister company kvm-tec’s Scalable line, which supports networked multiviewer capabilities. Features include the ability to control four computer sources up to 120km away simultaneously via one keyboard and mouse. By simply moving the mouse cursor to the edge of each quadrant, operators have full control of the source. The control software also allows a full range of KVM extenders from kvm-tec to be added via a typical KVM-over-IP network design.

“From the smallest and simplest point-to-point extension to massive multi-switch matrix systems with thousands of concurrent endpoints, extensive KVM systems can be created using directly-connected devices over copper or fibre links for the most secure and responsive operation, or through IP connections to more widely spread and easily relocatable endpoints,” he said. “Combining both systems together achieves the best of both worlds in the creation of extended, secure and configurable solutions that are able to serve local and wide-area users over tens to hundreds of kilometers away.”

Anther company that supports secure KVM operations is Guntermann & Drunck (G&D), which is presenting its portfolio of KVM and signal processing solutions for the Broadcast industry at NAB show in Booth N1967.

G&D’s VisionXS series is a range of matrix compatible extenders, which this year will be expanded by new variants, so that for each application the suitable product can be used and every need can be covered. In addition to the already available DP-UHR variants for resolutions up to 4096 × 2160 at 60 Hz, the product range is now complemented by the new DP-HR variants for resolutions up to 2560 × 1600 at 60 Hz. This series uses the company’s lossless bluedec compression.

G&D’s VisionXS extender has two display port connectors that make it possible to operate two monitors at the same time while saving cabling effort and additional hardware by using only one transmission port.

G&D’s VisionXS extender has two display port connectors that make it possible to operate two monitors at the same time while saving cabling effort and additional hardware by using only one transmission port.

A new addition to the portfolio is the VisionXS extender with two display port connectors for dual-head applications. This makes it possible to operate two monitors at the same time while saving cabling effort and additional hardware by using only one transmission port. On the user side, the new option ensures better ergonomics and greater flexibility at workstations.

“We’re now able to offer a broad portfolio of classic and IP products, which gives us and our customers and partners the necessary flexibility to adapt to the most diverse applications,” said Jessica Lange, Marketing Director at G&D. “Control room applications especially benefit from transmission over IP. The use of existing cabling, switches and routers does not only save costs, but also provides flexibility and simplification through central administration.”

The latest in the VisionXS-IP portfolio supports Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). The makes it possible to supply power to the device using the transmission port. Therefore, the extender can be secured twice against failures: The device is connected via both the main power supply and the network cable, providing redundancy in case one power supply fails. The company said this guarantees maximum operational safety and reliability during continuous operation.

Finally, Apantac (Booth N2038) will also showcase its own KVM over IP solutions, bringing architecture flexibility and a variety of new capabilities.KVM over IP Extender/Receiver solutions extend and switch video signals, keyboard and mouse functions, as well as embedded and analog audio signals over IP. This allows operators to access all computers and servers on the network from any display, keyboard and mouse consoles. These receivers allow scaling of the incoming video to match the resolution of the computer console monitor, regardless of the source computer resolution.

Integrated Production Switchers Extend Their Reach

At this year’s convention, Ross Video (Booth N2201) is focused on what it’s calling “Hyperconverged Infrastructure,” that is, collapsing entire systems into a single processing platform.

A highlight of the company’s booth will be the new Ultrix Acuity production switcher. They’ve put the acuity switcher features inside the company’s Ultrix router to facilitate UHD productions. It includes a built-in multiviewer that can accommodate up to 20 display options, all with 100 pips, depending upon the I/O configuration. It also includes audio processing, giving the user the ability to embed and de-embed audio from the video on every input and output, and frame syncs (in every input in HD) and SRCs.

All of the signal processing and I/O for the Ross Acuity production switcher is handled inside the Ultrix router to facilitate UHD productions.

All of the signal processing and I/O for the Ross Acuity production switcher is handled inside the Ultrix router to facilitate UHD productions.

“The fact that all of these features are built into the platform gives you an understanding of how much power you get with one integrated system,” said Les O’Reily, manager of production switchers at Ross Video, adding that they chose the Ultraix as a platform for its production switchers is because it is “I/O agnostic.”

“Whether you want 12G single-link SDI blades, or 2110 IP blades, or highly configurable SFP blades, on a port-by-port basis I can pick SDI, fiber, HDMI,” he said. “The Ultrix gives us a lot more flexibility than we’ve ever had before.”

Integral to this solution is a new Software-Defined Production Engine, or SDPE blade, which houses all of the switcher’s M/E technology and processing. There’s six keyers per M/E, six background busses, four media stores, with video and Alpha, and the first two channels also have audio mixing.

This modular approach allows users to mount up to four SDPE blades in a single FR5 frame.

“This is important when you start getting into the node-based systems,” said O’Reily. “The fact that you can configure a distributed system by having multiple nodes or frames with multiple I/O, then through the Ultrix Broadcast Control System and Timeline Management System, we are able to set up sources on the switcher and when we select those sources, the entire system will sort out how to get it from the node and bring it into the local [on-premise] system.

“In this way sources that are not connected to the Ultrix Acuity that is housing these blades will still be accessible to the whole network.”

In the area of remote live production, Grass Valley (Booth C2408) will be show both hardware and software-based switching, playing off its marketing slogan “any panel for any engine.”

Whether using K-Frame CS X, the company’s latest software-based switcher (on prem or in the cloud), or K-Frame XP for both SDI or IP switching in full raster 4K 2160p productions, the TD’s experience remains the same.

The GV K-Frame XP video production center introduces a new generation of full raster 4K UHD products for live production.

The GV K-Frame XP video production center introduces a new generation of full raster 4K UHD products for live production.

“Traditional switchers continue to be in demand but today’s demands require ultimate flexibility,” said Greg Huttie, vice president, production switchers at Grass Valley, “whether that presents itself as adding and subtracting their I/O footprint or video processing capability, accepting multiple video formats, or simply adapting to an environment that changes from show to show.”

Huttie added that those changes could include producing in HD, UHD (4K), and/or HDR; where you could be processing on-prem one day and remotely the next. A key factor in these changes is to keep the user interface the same, regardless of what changes behind the scenes so that the TD doesn’t need to worry about what is located in the engine room or in the cloud.

Meanwhile, Sony's full range of video switchers, including the XVS Series and MVS Series for 4K and HD operations, as well as its line BVM (OLED) and LMD (LCD) series of broadcast control room monitors will be exhibited in Booth C8101.

Expanding Support For Image Monitoring

Apantac, developers of multiviewers, video walls, extenders and signal processing equipment, will exhibit its multi-format T# Multiviewer at the 2023 NAB Show. New features include a new NDI card for NDI integration, and support for up to 128 inputs and 16 outputs.

Apantac will also show its “smart” SDM modules for the Intel SDM platform, which now includes support for HDR processing.

Apantac’s multiviewers support different and multiple input formats, while outputting them onto a common format display surface.

Apantac’s multiviewers support different and multiple input formats, while outputting them onto a common format display surface.

“In the past few years, the industry went from 1080P to 4K, and now we are experiencing High Dynamic Range [HDR] trends,” said Thomas Tang, president of Apanatac. He added that on the broadcast side, customers are asking for 12G SDI, NDI and ST-2110 format equipment

For the ProAV market, the formats choices are much more scattered, he said.

“HDMI is a must, but there are also many AV over IP formats that are fighting to get to the top. One trend that is taking place, is the demand for Smart Display Modules,” said Tang. “This is where all displays will have HDMI as default., then every other format will be supported with an optional module that slots directly into the display. For the last few years, Intel’s SDM (smart display module) slot has been designed into many of the major displays manufacturer’s products.”

He added that currently there are many SDM modules that will accept 12G SDI, NDI, HDBaseT, SDVoE and many more to come. Of course, all those SDM modules supports HDR.

Tang said that one of the most important features of a videowall in a control room is that “the system should be able to accept different and multiple input formats, while outputting them onto a common format display surface.”

Streamlining Storage Workflows

Telestream (Booth W1501) will unveil new products aimed at streamlining the creation and production, distribution and monetization of video content. The efficient and fast managing video clips stored on premise of in the cloud has become an important part of production control room operations.

Highlights at the booth will include Kulminate Content Manager, a system to manage both on-prem and cloud storage. The new software provides a single point of access for content across an organization’s entire storage ecosystem.

Kulminate Content Manager software provides a single point of access for content across an organization’s entire storage ecosystem, including cloud and on-prem storage.

Kulminate Content Manager software provides a single point of access for content across an organization’s entire storage ecosystem, including cloud and on-prem storage.

It’s built on the company’s DIVA Core storage management technology and is integrated with Telestream’s portfolio of workflow orchestration tools. It also supports all major MAM, PAM, and automation systems.

By automating content management actions and triggering automated workflows, Kulminate Content Manager enables supply chain workflows that incorporate content movement, lifecycle management and media processing. It is planned for worldwide availability in Summer 2023.

Digital transformation is driving exciting innovation across media and entertainment workflows, and we want to ensure our customers can take full advantage,” said Jon Wilson, President and COO of Telestream. “We’re focusing the vast capabilities of our company on delivering software-centric and cloud-native solutions to give content owners, broadcasters, and video service providers the flexibility and tools they need to automate, optimize and scale their operations.”

By automating content management actions and triggering automated workflows, Kulminate Content Manager enables supply chain workflows that incorporate content movement, lifecycle management and media processing. It is planned for worldwide availability in Summer 2023.

At NAB, Telestream will also demonstrate its Lightspeed Live Capture multichannel video capture and processing technology as a software-only solution.

The Future Is What You Make It

The evolution of the production control room has significantly accelerated with the advent of IP and software-defined (virtualized) hardware, bringing new capabilities and reduced cost of ownership. Control rooms of all sizes have something to gain from the latest generation of technology systems. It’s just a matter of figuring out the right tools for the job. The answer will be somewhere on the show floor at this year’s NAB Show.

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