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Cutting Edge

Window Dressing for Weather

At NAB, WSI Corp., in Billerica, Mass., will unveil a windows motif for its Skycast weather-forecast visualization service. The new motif delivers a library of window images through which broadcasters can present photo-realistic animations of their weather forecasts.

Skycast offers weather-forecast presentation through video mirroring of the weather experience. Similar to time-lapse photography, Skycast takes thousands of metrics from WSI's computer models and maps them to video clips so that viewers see the forecast as clearly as if they looked through their window.

The window frames can be enhanced to complement the broadcasting station's on-air look and feel. Skycast is compatible with WSI's WeatherProducer system, an on-air meteorological workstation and graphics-production platform.

Tektronix acquires Adherent systems

Tektronix Inc., Beaverton, Ore., has acquired Adherent Systems Ltd., a technology provider whose MPEG measurement and analysis for digital video provides a good fit for Tektronix's similar MPEG test, measurement and monitoring products.

Adherent's technology and products will be combined with the Tektronix video business to develop offerings that will enable the broadcast industry to deploy MPEG technology for storage and transmission of video over broadband communication networks, including the Internet. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

QVC Makes A Deal With Sony

In upgrading its live TV broadcast facility in West Chester, Pa., to full digital production, home shopping channel QVC has purchased 20 Sony BVP-950 digital cameras. The manufacturer's Systems Integration division helped build the QVC facility in 1997.

One of the key benefits of the camera, according to QVC Chief Engineer Dave Muckel, is the camera's control system, which offers the network the ability to match the look of existing cameras and color setups among the new cameras in three separate areas within the QVC studio.

Power-efficient CEA Tubes for UHF

Litton Industries' Electron Devices Division, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corp., has developed constant-efficiency amplifier (CEA) tubes for UHF television transmitters that, according to the company, can provide stations with substantial cost savings through decreased power consumption.

The new CEAs are inductive-output tubes (IOT) that feature twice the power efficiency of standard IOTs and will be available in new transmitters from leading manufacturers in the fourth quarter, according to Litton.

The patented CEA combines IOT technology with a multiple-stage depressed collector (MSDC). Because of the electron-collection efficiency of the MSDC, power consumption is reduced by about one-half compared with any other electron-tube or solid-state technology. This allows the CEA to operate at a total-power-conversion efficiency of about 60%, compared with 30% for conventional IOTs in digital 8-VSB service. That represents a savings of roughly $20,000 per year per tube in power expenses.

ABC News to supply content for NGN

ABC News has reached an agreement to provide Next Generation Network (NGN) with daily news headlines and summaries to bring ABC News content to an even wider audience.

NGN screens are targeted to out-of-home consumers and are strategically placed in high-traffic locations, including convenience stores, quick-serve restaurants, pharmacies, office buildings and transit stations. NGN alternates customized content with advertisements and generates more than 50 million impressions weekly, according to the company.

Telestream and Bulldog team up

The Bulldog Group has entered into a technology partnership with Telestream to integrate Telestream's FlipFactory transcoding technology into its digital-asset-management software, Bulldog Two.Seven.

The combined technologies enable customers in the broadcast and Web-publishing industries to easily transcode video files from one format to another within the Bulldog application. This integration saves video producers, publishers and distributors time, money and resources, according to the company.