Tech Talk: What's New at NAB

A glimpse at some gear debuting at the big tech show in April
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Rugged Streambox For Extremes

Streambox, the Seattle-based firm that makes IP-based video encoders used by CNN, Fox News Channel and other broadcast news organizations to send live video through the Internet, will introduce a new rugged version of its Streambox portable video transport system designed specifically for mobile newsgathering, emergency response and armed forces operations.

The company says the rugged version of its laptop encoder is ideal for use in environments where extreme temperatures are the norm and exposure to adverse weather and rough handling is expected. The company says the new product meets or exceeds the U.S. military's MIL-STD-810F specifications for environmental reliability.

Streambox has traditionally run on a laptop loaded with the company's proprietary ACT-L3 compression software. The new system integrates Streambox into a super-compact portable device with extended battery life and a sturdy carry handle for easy transport.

The system measures 1.98 inches high by 11.8 inches wide by 9.65 inches long and weighs 6.8 pounds.

Snell Updates iCR, Kahuna

For NAB, Snell & Wilcox will be unveiling a new version of iCR, its software-based content-repurposing platform, and introducing some new features to Kahuna, its popular production switcher.

The iCR Version 3.0 is faster and has more support for mobile content applications, says Snell & Wilcox VP Joe Zaller. The file-based product features comprehensive format conversion for high-definition and standard-definition formats including resolution, aspect ratio, scan, and color space conversion with automated audio retiming. It also offers motion-compensated standards conversion using the Alchemist IP software system, which Snell says can now deliver equivalent quality to hardware-based standards converters.

Also, iCR V3.0 features advanced MPEG-4 authoring capabilities aimed at mobile TV, broadband, VOD and IPTV distribution, including encoding to a variety of formats such as ASP, H.263 and H.264 (AVC), AAC, AMR and Dolby D audio, and file-wrapping for a diverse outputs including ATSC, DVB and CableLabs Transport Streams, ISO MP4, 3GP and QuickTime.

To improve quality control (QC) processes within broadcast plants, iCR V.30 offers onscreen display of output levels and alarm states, and several fully automated functions. It allows the user to generate, review and annotate QC reports and export XML-based reports to asset management systems.

Other updates to the software-based system include a plug-in API (Application Programming Interface) that allows customers to integrate iCR into any workflow environment, and an enhanced SOAP/Web services interface to better integrate with environments controlled by automation and asset management systems.

U.K.-based Snell is also updating its Kahuna production switcher, which has found favor with Raycom and ABC-owned stations as well as cable networks like The Weather Channel and YES for its built-in upconversion and downconversion capabilities.

A major improvement to IMPAKT, Kahuna's integrated 3D DVE (digital video effects) option, is a new technology called "fluid effects" that allows live video to be wrapped onto virtually any 3D model without the need for rendering in an external graphics device.

IMPAKT also has new 3D models including film effects, such as bold, faded, or sepia color and tint variations; and global lighting, a surface effect that enables the operator to control light as it falls across multiple tiles in a 3D effects model and change the light source to simulate different types of light. It can also simulate wind blowing on flags and horizontal or vertical window blind effects.

Additional enhancements to the Kahuna platform include a quadrupling of the system's clip stores, enhanced third party integration capabilities, VDCP (video disk control protocol) control interfacing, and a series of new auxiliary panels.

For-A's video noise eraser

FOR-A will introduce a real-time video noise eraser, the DNE-2, which uses the Japanese manufacturer's best image processing technology to remove noise-filled signals from the picture without harming the quality of the original video.

In noise removal, information within a video is deleted and replaced with different information. If the replacement information is less accurate, it can lead to blurred contours and details in the image. The DNE-2 Noise Eraser uses the same type of motion-compensation technology found in FOR-A's FRC-7000 Frame Rate Converter to maintain a high level of accuracy in the replacement information.

The DNE-2 removes grain and dust noise from video that has been converted from film to video. It supports HD-SDI input and output and the following hi-def formats: 1080/59.94i, 1080/50i, 1080/24p, 1080/24psf, 1080/23.98p, 1080/23.98psf, 720/59.94p and 720/50p.

With 1080i format materials, the DNE-2 performs progressive conversion with video converted via pulldown, enabling noise removal with an appropriate frame rate. In addition to noise removal for telecine video, the DNE-2 can also be used for improving S/N (signal/noise) level, removing noise caused during image compression and as a preprocessor for producing package media such as DVDs. The product can also perform other image processing functions including process control, color correction, detail enhancer and audio delay.

Miranda's New processor

For monitoring applications, Miranda will show its new Kaleido-Quad-Dual dual quad-split processor, which combines two quad-split processors in a single, space-efficient one-rack-unit frame. Miranda is is targeting applications in mobile trucks that require high-density monitoring across multiple flat-panel monitors.

The processor, which is also available as a lower-cost, single quad-split version, provides full flexibility with respect to the sizing and positioning of the HD/SD/Analog video windows, which Miranda says differentiates it from traditional quad-split processors.

The Kaleido-Quad-Dual has 2 x 4 auto-sensing HD-SDI/SDI/Analog Composite video inputs, and two high-quality DVI outputs with up to 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution. The aspect ratio of the video windows can be automatically controlled by AFD (Active Format Descriptor) and WSS (wide screen signaling).

For master control operations, the Kaleido-Quad-Dual also offers advanced video and audio probing features including signal black, freeze and luminance too high, audio presence, overload, mono and out of phase alarms.

The display, which can be controlled via PC mouse or compact remote panel, can also include Embedded, AES and Analog audio level metering, along with Source IDs, tallys, aspect ratio markers and clocks/timers.Users can also instantly change layout configurations, and dynamically zoom one source larger to perform quality control or audio monitoring of an on-screen source.

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