Archive for the Engineering Category

SBE – Interactive Radio

Posted in Engineering, Events, Internet, Management, Operations, Solutions on October 15, 2010 by James Rowe

It’s fall and it’s time for the national meeting of The Society of Broadcast Engineers.  The 2010 SBE National Meeting is in Madison, Wisconsin this year and in a location where you can really focus on interesting subjects on the SBE agenda.  They’re gathering at the Madison Marriott West in Middleton on October 26th.  The meeting is in an area with some good restaurants and easy access to the highway for adventurous souls who will need to experience the capitol city.  I am quite familiar with Madison and the Marriott West.

SBE is calling this year’s meeting the “Broadcasters Clinic.”  I’m particularly interested in the very first session October 26th, Tuesday, 9:15 AM CDT, on Push Radio.

“PUSH Radio is a term that we’ve coin[ed] to describe[s] the advances in technology that we have experienced over the past several years and how they push the boundaries of the traditional time based studio to transmitter radio content delivery concept and permit a more flexible, free form methodology for content delivery – it could be used to empower listener interactivity, link to web content, decentralize the studio and put more employees out in the street interacting with the listeners, among other things.”

They’re discussing administration and the audience, not to mention interactivity and getting out among listeners.  I think it’s a really good way to begin the national meeting.

Register for the meeting at the SBE website. Rooms at the Marriott may be taken by now but there are other hotels nearby and IMHO you will need a car to get about the area and the city.

While I’m expressing my delight with the SBE let me mention their Broadcaster’s Clinic page is social.  There are Facebook and Twitter buttons at the bottom of the page with the call to “Get Social with the WBA,” the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

Spread the word. Get social. Get interactive.

Let me add if you’re planning to attend the first meeting of the SBE 2010 convention you will be interested in the new service launched by Rowe and Company.  This link will take you to the website with information on curaYtor Production.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC


Clip to Evernote



Live Video Production for Less

Posted in Economy, Engineering, NAB, Operations, Products, Solutions on March 22, 2010 by James Rowe

The annual bash for television and radio executives in the United States is just a few weeks away. Every year broadcasters from around the world flock to Las Vegas, Nevada in the tens of thousands to learn of innovations in technology and services.

There is one booth expected on the huge exhibit floor at the National Association of Broadcasters convention producers of live video for multiple platforms, television and the web, should visit. This post only suggests products to consider.

The competition for advances in media technology has increased especially as the economy has worsened. Major American broadcasters are still laying off workers and restructuring like KCBS in Los Angeles. ABC News is laying off journalists and closing bureaus this year so economic issues persist.

Broadcast Pix makes live video integration technology. Broadcast Pix is obviously targeting broadcasters. However, traditional media purveyors make up a very small portion of their market share according to inside sources. This is the decade of multi-platform and broadcasters require solutions to fit limited budgets. BP recognizes the new order of media production in my opinion.

I respect the view of WRAL-TV chief engineer Pete Sockett. Broadcast Pix quotes him in their marketing material. “… compared to building legacy HD control rooms, the Slate 5000 HD (BP top of line controller) reduces equipment costs by as much as $100,000 per studio because it integrates so many production elements into a single unit.” Sockett refers to a solution that reduces the requirement for control room operators to one.

Broadcast Pix underscores the value of cost savings with its solutions for live video production. BP has wrapped a number of control room tools into a single controller. The products make live video presentation more cost efficient whether for television or the web or closed circuit. The Massachusetts’ based manufacturer claims a 70 % reduction in control room costs with their products.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing next examines innovator in media technology.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

Video Presented on Paper

Posted in Engineering, Products, television on January 12, 2010 by James Rowe

Prognosticators of all sorts opine about the new decade. At Broadcast Newsroom Computing we believe their predictions deserve attention.

Let’s start by looking back at Popular Mechanics report on the trends that ruled the past year. We will consider only a few trends. The website notes the rise in the number of movie theatres capable of showing 3D films “mushroomed” to numbers in the thousands last year. Filmmakers now have a greater platform able to reach a larger number of consumers and to forecast profit from their productions. Furthermore 3D television was all the rage at the just ended Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Popular Mechanics wrote “a large line-up of 3D TVs and Blu-ray movies is expected to bring the experience home in 2010.”

PM highlights app stores as the rage with the Apple App Store offering hundreds of thousands of applications for its iPhone. Smartphone platforms like Blackberry, Palm and the new Android all followed with their own app stores. BNC will consider the increase in apps in a future post.

The magazine and website Popular Mechanics delivers a lot of words on the subject of future products. In a year old report “16 Wild Materials You May Find in Future Products” electronic paper is one that jumps out. It’s a technology for a thin flexible display of digital images. The article suggests “the material could be used to create a portable “origami DVD player,” which would unfold to reveal a big screen.”

Why consider these advances in technology? Let’s try to comprehend now how video will be consumed in this new decade. Will we watch 3D movies on fabric we unfold from our pockets in 2020? It’s possible with technologies existing today at the beginning of the decennium.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing, as promised, will next examine apps and what they mean to broadcasting.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

JVC Steps Up To HD File Based News Workflows

Posted in Engineering, Events, News Production, Solutions, television, video on September 2, 2009 by James Rowe

High definition file based news production for a third of standard cost.  JVC makes the promise.  KTWO television news in Wyoming and many others buy into the answer some consider less than gold.  The ABC affiliates chief engineer Terry Lane told Broadcast Engineering his station lacked the budget of major market stations making the move to HD.

Casper, Wyoming may be United States market 197 but they’re among many trying to reduce the cost of technology.  JVC’s site for professional products offers testimonials from major markets such as Detroit and Chicago too.  They certainly have endorsements to convince you of reduced cost, file based workflows with current infrastructure, and high definition production.

Lane purchased ten of JVC’s GY-HM700 camcorders for KTWO – two for in studio and eight for ENG.  He says he plans to buy another for roaming studio shots because JVC is “a budget-friendly choice.” 

The camcorders are compact, light and record to a hard disk or SDHC.  The secure digital high capacity cards, flash memory, come in 32GB sizes and are inexpensive enough to be used for archival storage. 

The SDHC cards and hard drives used with JVC cameras are compatible with most popular non-linear editing systems.  The fit into current infrastructure appears to be why The E. W. Scripps Company’s ten stations chose the JVC solution for HD.  Scripps Vice President of Engineering Michael Doback is the lead testimonial on the JVC site.  JVC marketing says it might be news to us they are competitive in broadcast news production but they’ve been at it for years. 

JVC ProHD camcorders capture video in MP4 or MOV formats.  The formats reduce the number of steps required to get to work with the video and at price points to make a cogent debate for the JVC tool used to capture high definition content.

Next week IBC begins in Amsterdam and while Broadcast Newsroom Computing will observe from afar we will have the hot news expected to be a dominant topic at the annual international trade show.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

Smart Acquisition Technology Makes Sense

Posted in Engineering, News Production, Products, Solutions, video on August 6, 2009 by James Rowe

The inventor of Smart Acquisition Technology has a family of products utilizing his creation.  Jim McKain, Chief Executive Officer of NL Technology, introduced SAT AI AutoIngest to improve file-based camera workflow with Avid Technology’s workgroups solutions.

McKain has an impressive pedigree. 

Well over a decade ago he developed metadata collection for disc based cameras

He developed the SAT metadata workflow for Football

He chairs the SPORTS-INTEROP Group with the NFL and NCAA

Almost every operations manager, chief engineer and information officer I’ve had opportunity to speak with recently is interested in file-based workflows.  The efficiencies to be realized are gaining hold in broadcast news operations. 

New Panasonic and Sony file based cameras reviewed in the past two posts here are both supported by AutoIngest.  NL Technology supports Ikegami’s GFCAM also. 

McKain is an Avid Technology alumnus as well as myself.  The AutoIngest solution is designed exclusively to address Avid’s workgroups solutions.  In honest disclosure Rowe and Company, LLC, with which Broadcast Newsroom Computing is affiliated, has agreements with NL Technology.

AutoIngest fits Avid’s workgroups in a “foolproof” manner.  Put a disc in a reader or carousel and forget about the media and metadata ingest into Avid’s Media Manager or Interplay products in true “hands-off” fashion.  NL Technology removes the disconnect between camera recorded files and information Avid seeks.

Clip renaming is a major feature of SAT AI.  Under the hood and out of the way of the driver, AutoIngest handles

    • metadata creation and transfer
    • Material Exchange Format (MXF) from OP1A to OP ATOM (Avid’s requirement)
    • 16 bit XDCAM audio to 24 bit Avid compliance
    • Patches MXF for P2
    • Spanned P2 clips
    • missing P2 clip segments

Acquiring content as a file grows with cameras and other digital rights management solutions increasingly entering the marketplace.  AutoIngest becomes a rare and first to market solution in the Avid environment.

BNC points you to the latest competitor in local news next week.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

Moore for Less

Posted in Engineering, News Production, Products, Solutions on April 28, 2009 by James Rowe

A half terabyte of data stored on a single DVD size disc is on its way.  General Electric Company, this week, announced it would present its findings on development of a microholographic storage disc at a conference next month.  The historic company has crossed the threshold according to Brian Lawrence, the scientist who leads GE’s holographic storage program.  He spoke with the New York Times.  “We’re in the ballpark.”

The research team at the company’s Niskayuna, New York lab believes it has  ability to store one hundred times the data of a single DVD disc on a standard size disc.  Moore’s law requires hardware to do more for less cost and GE officials told NYT they are there.

Consider simple disc storage today and what it costs. 

Format Storage Amount Cost per GB
CD 800 MB $1
DVD 5 GB $.75
Blu-Ray 25/50 GB $.50
Holographic Disc 500 GB $.10

GE engineers are certainly living up to Moore’s law.   NYT ‘s report quotes Richard Doherty, an analyst at Envisioneering, a technology research firm, saying “this could be the next generation of low-cost storage.”  Holographic storage appears practical and cost effective.  InPhase Technologies this year promises  holographic machines for $18,000 each and expensive discs for storage media.

Video production and health care industries are two enormous users of storage.  Evidence of falling costs for storage are all over price lists everywhere.  GE’s claim of microholographic discs with ten times the storage of Blu-Ray at perhaps one-tenth the cost is a major breakthrough.

Technology to handle broadcasting and news production advances and abides by Moore’s law.  Spending less for more is a need in these times.  GE’s promise of more disc storage costing far less per gigabyte is two to three years from reality.

Tomorrow Broadcast Newsroom Computing on program distribution.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC


No Sales Expected At NAB 2009

Posted in Economy, Education, Engineering, Events, IT, NAB on February 13, 2009 by Patrick Rowe

The National Association of Broadcasters largest event is shrinking and especially in the economic slump.  This year many broadcasters are sending fewer people or no one at all.  Cox Broadcasting is only sending its vice president of engineering Sterling Davis to Las Vegas in April.  TVNewsday led its email report last evening with this headline “At NAB Saving Money Will Be Key.”

Davis was quoted in the article.  "We’re not sending anyone to NAB — or anywhere else — this year.  Usually, we send at least one person from every market. But the decision was made in the third quarter.…It’s not just trade shows and it’s not just engineering. It’s also sales rallies, meetings. They’re all out of the budget."

In the article Chris Brown, NAB executive vice-president thinks IT vendors selling cost efficiencies will see lots of traffic as will manufacturers showing low-priced nex-gen HD gear.   “Technologies that deliver savings with speedy ROI will be winners in Las Vegas said Ardell Hill, senior vice-president broadcast operations Media General Broadcast.

These are the sentiments Broadcast Newsroom Computing is hearing from its sources.   Some vendors have pulled out of the huge show that once had attendance larger than the population of Peoria, Illinois.

Rowe and Company knows there is new technology and services to save money and in some cases the ROI is instant.   So keep coming back to BNC to learn more about how to cope with the vastly and rapidly changing economic landscape.

We’ve been on both sides of the business equation in broadcast news production – the vendors going to NAB to sell you whiz bang and the broadcaster who went to Las Vegas seeking a competitive business edge. Can’t make to it to Las Vegas, keep coming back to BNC to find out what’s going on outside and inside the convention but mostly how to help in the business.

Don’t miss Broadcast Newsroom Computing’s first educational serial “Very Simple Project Management.”  The posts ran February 7th to 12th.  Lots of tools and resources offered in the series.  There’s so much information, education and fun you’ll want to keep up with so subscribe to BNC.  We’re about education and solutions here and at Rowe and Company.

Patrick Rowe

Rowe and Company
275 Grove Street Suite 2-400 Newton, MA 02466 USA