Technology

Stations Look for Help to Do More With Less

Focusing on channel-in-a-box and workflow management software at NAB 4/08/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern

Automation Update

Integrations using the broadcast exchange format, or BXF, between automation and traffic and billing systems are becoming more common, with a number of vendors planning to demonstrate capabilities for live logs among several other features at NAB.

“I think 2013 will be the year when you start to see some of the true benefits to BXF,” says Crist Myers, president/CEO of Myers Information Systems, which has been a long-standing proponent of BXF. “We are starting to see real interest from a number of clients.”

Myers is currently using BXF to integrate its ProTrack TV solution with automation systems for a centralized master control project among New York State public broadcasters.

WideOrbit and Harris Broadcast will also be showing integrations of their traffic and billing software and a variety of automation systems.

Currently, one of the key benefits of those efforts is greater flexibility in the sales process. By getting the traffic system to talk directly to the automation system using a BXF interface, broadcasters can run a live log that allows them to insert commercials or change a schedule almost right up until the material airs. In theory, this would give broadcasters the opportunity to sell more spots.

Myers adds that BXF has a number of additional benefits. “We’re increasingly finding that we are using BXF for more than just speaking to automation systems,” he says. “We are using it with MAM [media asset management module] and some other production systems as well. It has more legs than current uses would suggest.”

Raymond Baldock, VP of strategic alliances at Grass Valley, says his company will be offering a new interface using BXF to its Stratus media workflow application and K2 Edge integrated playout, or channel-in-a-box solution, that will also streamline various processes. “It would make it possible inside Stratus to recut a 30-minute program for later airing at 24 minutes,” Baldock says. —GW

The economy may be stronger, but systems
for streamlining workflows and automating
broadcast operations will once again be in big
demand at this year’s National Association of Broadcasting
show in Las Vegas, as stations and networks continue
to look for ways to do more with less by reducing
staff or producing more content with existing personnel.

In pre-NAB interviews, top engineers at Fox Networks,
Discovery and Scripps all noted that they will
be heading to the show with plans to explore both
channel-in-a-box solutions and software to manage
and streamline newsroom workflows.

“Miranda, Snell, Grass Valley and a number of other
vendors all have [channel-in-a-box or integrated playout]
products,” said John Ajamie, senior VP of broadcast
operations and engineering at Scripps Networks,
which is working on a major upgrade to its broadcast
infrastructure over the next few years. “It is getting so
they are not supporting a conventional solution.”

Station groups are also taking a closer look at channel-
in-a-box solutions. Shortly before NAB, Miranda
announced that its iTX integrated playout platform was
installed at WTLW TV44 and its second channel, the
West Ohio Sports Net, TV 44.2, a full-power, locally
owned television station in Lima, Ohio.

In addition to channel-in-a-box solutions provided
by Miranda and other manufacturers, some vendors are
also coming out with hybrid offerings that mix technologies
from several different vendors into a tightly
integrated solution.

The hybrid solutions address some of the concerns
broadcasters have had with channel-in-a-box solutions,
which make it difficult to use their existing automation
or other equipment.

To address that, NVerzion will be demonstrating
its Component Level Automation System Solutions
(CLASS) that uses software systems and controls to
integrate a broadcaster’s legacy hardware and software
systems into a unified platform.

During NAB, NVerzion will be showing a number of
examples of these systems integrating with products
from Ross, 360 Systems, Utah Scientific and others.

One configuration combines NVerzion’s CLASS with
360 Systems’ MAXX-500 digital video server, Ross Video’s
MC1 master control and XPression graphics systems;
another puts together CLASS with 360 Systems’
MAXX-500 digital video server and Utah Scientific’s
MC-40 master control and GS-4000 graphics systems.

Looking for Ease of Use

Software for streamlining, managing or automating
various production or broadcast tasks will also be on
display, as a number of vendors, including Associated
Press’ ENPS, Avid, Bitcentral, Dalet, Grass Valley and
Sony will either roll out or show new or upgraded versions
of their products.

Sony will be showing its Media Backbone Enterprise
and Management solution and its Media Backbone
Production system, notes Alec Shapiro, president
of Sony Electronics’ Professional Solutions of
America division.

“All of our customers, but especially the broadcast
stations, are looking to automate processes,” said Shapiro,
who added that systems for better managing workflows have become increasingly important as stations
look to distribute more content to more platforms.

To help with that, the Associated Press will be showing
its new ENPS Version 7, which has a simplified
user interface and is designed to make it much easier
to create content for multiple platforms.

In another important launch at NAB, Bitcentral will
be showing Core:news, a new news production, media
management, sharing and archiving solution. It has a
number of tools for streamlining field-based workflows
to speed content back to the station, automated multiplatform
delivery, faster access to stored content and
improved sharing of content.

Core:news also offers complete integration with
popular newsroom systems such as ENPS and Avid’s
iNews and is designed to help stations rethink their
workflows, many of which date from the days of tape,
noted Fred Fourcher, CEO of Bitcentral.

“It offers them a fresh start on their workflows and a
way to challenge the old assumptions that the workflows
of the past are the best way to do things,” he said.

Automation Update

Integrations using the broadcast exchange format, or BXF, between automation and traffic and billing systems are becoming more common, with a number of vendors planning to demonstrate capabilities for live logs among several other features at NAB.

“I think 2013 will be the year when you start to see some of the true benefits to BXF,” says Crist Myers, president/CEO of Myers Information Systems, which has been a long-standing proponent of BXF. “We are starting to see real interest from a number of clients.”

Myers is currently using BXF to integrate its ProTrack TV solution with automation systems for a centralized master control project among New York State public broadcasters.

WideOrbit and Harris Broadcast will also be showing integrations of their traffic and billing software and a variety of automation systems.

Currently, one of the key benefits of those efforts is greater flexibility in the sales process. By getting the traffic system to talk directly to the automation system using a BXF interface, broadcasters can run a live log that allows them to insert commercials or change a schedule almost right up until the material airs. In theory, this would give broadcasters the opportunity to sell more spots.

Myers adds that BXF has a number of additional benefits. “We’re increasingly finding that we are using BXF for more than just speaking to automation systems,” he says. “We are using it with MAM [media asset management module] and some other production systems as well. It has more legs than current uses would suggest.”

Raymond Baldock, VP of strategic alliances at Grass Valley, says his company will be offering a new interface using BXF to its Stratus media workflow application and K2 Edge integrated playout, or channel-in-a-box solution, that will also streamline various processes. “It would make it possible inside Stratus to recut a 30-minute program for later airing at 24 minutes,” Baldock says. —GW

 

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