IBC Demos Reveal Advances Across IPTV Ecosystem

As a show primarily for broadcasters, IBC has its share of high-end cameras, studio lights, satellite uplink trucks and the like. But, like NAB and the telecom shows, IBC’s new media section is growing, blurring the lines between traditional broadcast systems and newer IPTV-based systems.

Along the way, the move away from extraneous mediums, such as videotape for acquisition, is putting particular codecs out to pasture and driving the adoption of newer industry standards. This article discusses innovations across each segment of the production process.

Acquisition—Panasonic and Sony
Cameras across the board are moving to non-tape-based acquisition, including consumer formats like AVC-HD, which is recording on hard drives or mini DVDs. But even the big players like Sony and Panasonic, who have XDCAM and P2 respectively, are trying to do push their products down into the lower end of the market. Panasonic announced a 32GB solid-state P2 card for an MSRP of $1,650, finally bringing its cards into a reasonable size and price range. Sony, for its part, promises its XDCAM EX will ship in November for less than $7,000, which puts it at the same price point as Canon’s XL-H1D HDV camera, which has been winning Canon quite a bit of business and cannibalizing sales from upper-end cameras. The Sony device, which records on PCExpress cards—meaning that it will fit in newer PCExpress slots on laptops that are replacing the PCMCIA slot—will also include two 8GB PCExpress cards for the $7,000 price. This move to PCExpress sized cards also puts Panasonic in a precarious position, since its solid-state cards are PCMCIA and can’t be used on newer laptops.

Encoding—Digital Rapids and ViewCast
As Adobe put itself squarely into the H.264 camp, several of its partners are announcing encoding solutions for H.264. One of the companies, Digital Rapids, announced that its media encoding and transcoding systems will support Adobe’s efforts. Digital Rapids’ Transcode Manager offers distributed media encoding from live, tape, or digital media file inputs when tied to the company’s hardware platforms, or software-only transcoding across multiple machines.

Another company in the encoding space, one that I mentioned in last year’s IBC roundup noting that they ran the risk of losing a prime slot in the encoding card market if they didn’t get into HD, has finally shipped an HD encoding card. ViewCast’s Osprey 700 HD card captures both SD and HD, with resolutions of 1080p, 1080i, and 720p. The company demonstrated prototypes at NAB in April and is also showing the cards off at this year’s IBC. Viewcast has announced that they are shipping immediately, and we plan to review this card in the not too distant future.

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