Stations Look for Help to Do More With LessFocusing on channel-in-a-box and workflow management software at NAB 4/08/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern
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
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
“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.