Technology

Granite Tests TV Anywhere Tech

KOFY-TV, Motive Television to deliver content to multiple devices in San Francisco 5/30/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

Vegas PBS Streamlines Work Flow

When the public broadcaster Vegas PBS upgrades its Medway media transfer and format conversion software from Marquis Broadcast to the 2.55 version in early June, the move will once again highlight the importance of finding ways to streamline digital work flows and handle a wide array of file formats.

A year ago, Vegas PBS completed a brand new facility that took the station from analog tape-based work flow to non-linear digital production. “It was a humongous jump for us,” says Reginald LaFrance, producer and director of post-production at Vegas PBS.

Reflecting back on the transition, both LaFrance and George Molnar, the station’s director of engineering, IT and emergency response, explain that a key component of their successful shift was the Medway software.

“The biggest challenge is that the world is full of formats,” says Molnar, who adds that the Medway system allowed them to more easily deal with a number of different formats and move content through production equipment that had been supplied by several different vendors. “The end result is that it has improved the quality of the product on-air,” explains Molnar.

The quality is particularly important for Vegas PBS; the facility produces content for its own channels and also works with outside companies such as A&E and PBS for series produced in Las Vegas.

The June upgrade will streamline things even further, making it easier to move content between one of the soft seats of Vegas PBS’ Avid editing system so it works more seamlessly with the facility’s other editing systems and production equipment. —GW

As cable operators push to deploy
services that deliver multichannel TV to
multiple devices, broadcasters have also
been looking to capitalize on the growing popularity
of tablets, smartphones and other devices for video,
producing what some vendors have called a “gold
rush” in app development.

Few broadcasters, however, have gone as far as
Granite Broadcasting. The company recently announced
it would be working with
U.K. software provider Motive Television
on a wide-ranging test that
would deliver content from Granite’s
San Francisco market indie station
KOFY-TV to PCs, tablets and
other devices in viewers’ homes.

Peter Markham, chairman and
CEO of Granite Broadcasting,
notes that digital delivery has been
an important priority for the company
for the last two years and in
early May they launched the first apps for their local
newscasts. “We want to be in the forefront of testing
how we can get content into consumers’ hands in
all the different ways and on all the different devices
that people want to use,” Markham says.

In San Francisco, Granite will be testing an
ATSC version of Motive’s TV Anywhere and its TV
Anytime products. TV Anytime allows broadcasters
to deliver on-demand content, virtual channel
and targeted advertising into the home with their
terrestrial signals. The TV Anywhere solution is a
software product that allows content available on
one device in the home—such as a DVR, iPad or a
connected TV—to be watched on any other device
via the viewer’s home network.

As part of the test, Motive will be providing
homes with a set-top box and working with a research
company to decide how many boxes to
deploy so they have sufficient data on a variety of
subgroups and demos.

Leonard M. Fertig, CEO at Motive Television,
notes that their technology has already been successfully
deployed in Italy on Mediaset’s popular
digital terrestrial TV platform. “We had been looking
for a partner in the U.S., and we are very excited to
be trialing our technology in the most technologically
advanced market in the U.S.,” Fertig says.

Motive is currently finalizing an ATSC version of
their product and no fi rm date has been set for the
trial beyond the fact that it will occur sometime this
year. If the results are positive, Markam notes that
they will begin deploying the technology in some of
their larger markets, such as Detroit, with the hope
of eventually installing the technology in all their
stations that produce local news.

The test, however, raises some complex issues
about content rights and potential investments in
set-top boxes. While Mediaset has deployed set-top
boxes for its digital terrestrial TV service in Italy,
actual deployments in the U.S. won’t require large
investments in set-tops or deals with multichannel
operators, Fertig stresses.

Another potential stumbling block for broadcasters
eyeing such services is content rights for multiple
devices. Motive Television’s lawyers contend that
broadcasters will not have to acquire additional content
rights to deploy their technologies. “[Our] lawyers
say we can do this without violating copyright
laws,” Fertig notes. Some programmers, however,
have taken a different view and there have already
been some lawsuits filed by programmers against
cable operators over IPad apps.

That issue won’t, however, affect the San Francisco
trial. Granite’s indie station KOFY-TV airs no network
programming and produces a great deal of original
content. “We can test this without dealing with the
networks on rights issues,” Markham says.

E-mail comments to
gpwin@oregoncoast.com

Vegas PBS Streamlines Work Flow

When the public broadcaster Vegas PBS upgrades its Medway media transfer and format conversion software from Marquis Broadcast to the 2.55 version in early June, the move will once again highlight the importance of finding ways to streamline digital work flows and handle a wide array of file formats.

A year ago, Vegas PBS completed a brand new facility that took the station from analog tape-based work flow to non-linear digital production. “It was a humongous jump for us,” says Reginald LaFrance, producer and director of post-production at Vegas PBS.

Reflecting back on the transition, both LaFrance and George Molnar, the station’s director of engineering, IT and emergency response, explain that a key component of their successful shift was the Medway software.

“The biggest challenge is that the world is full of formats,” says Molnar, who adds that the Medway system allowed them to more easily deal with a number of different formats and move content through production equipment that had been supplied by several different vendors. “The end result is that it has improved the quality of the product on-air,” explains Molnar.

The quality is particularly important for Vegas PBS; the facility produces content for its own channels and also works with outside companies such as A&E and PBS for series produced in Las Vegas.

The June upgrade will streamline things even further, making it easier to move content between one of the soft seats of Vegas PBS’ Avid editing system so it works more seamlessly with the facility’s other editing systems and production equipment. —GW

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