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Cutting Edge

iVast Cracks Codes

Streaming-video manufacturer iVAST introduced the Live Broadcast Encoder at NAB. The system allows real-time MPEG-4 audio/video encoding and simultaneous archiving for satellite and media backhaul, electronic newsgathering, and live event broadcasts. It reduces space required for storing source media by as much as 90% and lowers bandwidth and costs required for distribution. The company also introduced a multichannel head-end transcoder, an MPEG-4 digital headend system that integrates iVAST's MPEG-4 encoding and's Astria content processor. It transcodes up to 180 audio/video channels from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4.

Logical Sound Debut

Dolby Laboratories unveiled the Dolby Pro Logic II encoder for the broadcast market. It provides a matrixed, five-channel surround-sound signal through any existing analog or digital stereo. "This enables broadcasters to deliver dynamic five-channel surround sound over their existing analog or digital stereo infrastructure," says Tom Daily, marketing director, Professional Audio, Dolby Laboratories. "Dolby Pro Logic II processing offers the next-best solution for stations not currently able to make the transition to true discrete 5.1-channel audio." The DP563 Dolby Surround Encoder can be upgraded for $400 to include real-time encoding for Dolby Pro Logic II and Dolby Surround Pro Logic. New DP563 units will come equipped with the upgraded capability of Dolby Pro Logic II encoding, and will be available after NAB for $3,700.

Earth to Andrew

Andrew Corp. now offers a 9.4-meter dual-reflector Earth Station Antenna (ESA). The new antenna has a computer-optimized dual-reflector Gregorian optics system for high gain and improved radiation-pattern performance. One way that is achieved, according to the company, is with the use of close-tolerance techniques established for antennas operating at high frequencies. These ensure an extremely accurate surface contour, resulting in high antenna-performance efficiency. The new antennas are available for Ku- or K-band two or four-port configurations with linear or circular polarization. All 9.4-meter antennas comply with AsiaSat, APSTAR, Eutelsat, Intelsat(R), ITU-R, and U.S. FCC standards. It also has standard wind survival up to 125 mph (201 km/h) in any position of operation. Other options available include anti-icing equipment, waveguide cross-axis kits, and pressurization systems.

Zenith's Latest for VSB

Zenith Electronics announced a 50% reduction in the factory price of its top-of-the-line ATSC VSB Modulator, the DTVMOD-30, to $14,999. Even deeper volume discounts are available, it says, for strategic partners. The unit creates an 8-VSB Trellis-encoded signal from an ATSC MPEG-encoded bit stream. The modulated signal uses a standard 44-MHz intermediate-frequency (IF) output, which is upconverted to the desired channel and used by low-power digital transmitters for terrestrial broadcast. Standard features include ATSC-compliant 8-VSB Trellis-encoded modulation, ATSC-compliant 16-VSB modulation for high-data-rate applications in private networks, SMPTE 310M-standard bit-stream input, ASI-standard bit-stream or LVDS-parallel-standard bit-stream input, standard 44-MHz (center of channel) IF output, microprocessor control on board, and a one-year warranty.

Ai Repeats Transmission

Ai introduced the DTVR-100U ATSC DTV repeater at NAB. It includes an 8-VSB receiver, 8-VSB modulator (including precorrector), upconverter, high-power amplifier, and co-channel band-pass filter. Options include power metering, status monitoring, and remote-control systems. The repeater mounts directly on the precorrector board, which then corrects system group delay and nonlinearity. Ai says the channel-converter module has very low-phase noise and a very high-frequency stability using a multi-loop PLL local oscillator and high stable reference clock. System power is also controlled in the module.

Ascent Taps SeaChange

Ascent Media Network Services has selected SeaChange International's Broadcast MediaLibrary storage system to fulfill its near-line media-management strategy. In 1999, Ascent Media Network Services chose SeaChange to provide on-air Broadcast MediaClusters for playback of all its network clients. And now, networked to a near-line Broadcast MediaLibrary supported by Straylight Digital's media-management software, Ascent Media Network Services' on-air servers will have real-time access to more than 2,000 hours of programming and interstitial material, mitigating the work with multiple media sources to build program schedules. The Broadcast MediaLibrary uses TCP/IP networks to provide access to more than 24 TB (up to 6,850 hours) of content.

Notebook-Based Playout

On-Air Systems is introducing a notebook-based broadcast preparation and playout system called On-Air NBTV. The software-only system can be operated from a standard laptop or desktop computer equipped with a dual-port VGA card. It's designed to be used for scheduling, editing and playout of content, making it useful for remote contributions. A second VGA port is set up for PAL, NTSC or HD output. It supports MPEG-1, MPEG-2, Windows Media 9, DV, DVCPRO, TGA, JPEG and BMP formats in both standard and high definition. On-Air Systems also unveiled Version 3 of its On-Air Central suite of applications and two new modules: On-Air VR is a new application for easy 2-D VR and DVE; On-Air MediaManager is an application module that automatically tracks media files and transfers them to the playout system per playlist requirements.

Cove Unveils Z-Link

Cove Broadcast introduced its Z-Link product line of compact digital optical links for remote-camera broadcast operations. Fiber optics allows transmission distances of up to 6 miles with no loss of video or audio transmission quality. All three versions of Z-Link launched at the show comprise a camera unit and base unit and are compatible with all professional broadcast cameras. Along with the video signal, Z-Link handles return video, program audio, talk back and other data delivery without add-on products. The standard model handles composite and SDI video with an optional board for additional signals. The Hybrid Power unit uses a hybrid fiber/copper cable to provide the power to the camera unit; it's available in two models: Hybrid 100 (100 W) and Hybrid Max200 (200 W). Pricing starts at $15,400 for the Standard Model and at $23,870 for the top-of-the-line Hybrid Max200.

ENPS Goes Global

Several international broadcasters have selected AP's ENPS newsroom system for use in their facilities. Mexico's Canal Once, Panama's Corporacion Medcom, Canada's Citytv, Portugal's RTP, India's SaharaTV, Denmark's TV2 Lorry and Indonesia's TVRI are all using the system. Russia's RTV International is using it in its New York City bureau.