Streaming Media Presents the Best Products of NAB 2016
Didn't make it to Las Vegas for NAB this year? Or maybe you made it, but were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of companies spread over three halls and multiple offsite meeting suites. Or maybe you spent so much time in the North Hall's Virtual Reality Pavilion that you didn't see as much as you would have liked.
Don't worry; the Streaming Media and Streaming Media Producer editorial teams scoured the floors and sifted through hundreds of press releases to select the six products and services that capture the best of NAB. This year, we're also including honorable mentions that didn't make the cut but are worthy of attention, nonetheless.
The Best of NAB 2016
To better support its over-the-top (OTT) video delivery customers, Akamai has opened its first Broadcast Operations Control Center (BOCC) in its Cambridge, Massachusetts, headquarters. The center is staffed by a team that averages 12 but can expand up to 50 for major events. The BOCC's team will use tools based on Akamai's Media Analytics offerings to monitor and analyze OTT quality for live, linear, and on-demand video. Alerts will notify the team of network disruptions, so they can troubleshoot and make corrections quickly. Akamai says it will work with each customer to create the right encoding profiles and player configurations for their needs. The company also says that it will establish more BOCCs in the U.S. and internationally.—Troy Dreier
Aspera brings its large file transport skills to live video with Aspera FASPStream, a software line created to stream broadcast-quality video over the public internet. Built on Aspera's FASP bulk data protocol, FASPStream promises glitch-free transmission and quick start-up times. The service can deliver any live video source—including multicast, unicast, and TCP—and ensure its arrival without significant packet loss. For example, it notes that it can deliver a 50 Mbps stream with under 5 seconds of delay, carried with 250 millisecond round-trip latency and 3 percent packet loss. That's strong enough for live 4K streaming between continents.—Troy Dreier
The Ursa Mini is already available with a studio-friendly B4 mount. When paired with the new Ursa Studio Viewfinder and new firmware that allows the ATEM video switcher to control tally, talkback, camera control, color balancing, and lens control, it gives Blackmagic users a more professional studio camera alternative over the entry-level BMD Studio Camera. The studio workflow is further extended with Blackmagic Design's HyperDeck control integration, which allows the HyperDeck to be used as a source for video playback with or without slow-motion.—Shawn Lam
Shipping in summer 2016, this unique appliance accepts Quad SDI (6G or 12G), HDMI 2.0, and DisplayPort up to 2160p60. The hardware allows a single 4K camera feed to be divided up into four quadrants of any scale around the image. The resulting 1080p crops can then be switched as if there are four independent angles. Adding the optional RMC-180 CCU gives the producer a standard joystick PTZ hardware controller to move and zoom each angle.—Paul Schmutzler
This two-input standalone appliance fills the need that many conference and education clients have of mixing, compositing, recording, and streaming a single or dual video streams. The Monarch LCS can be used with traditional webcast services where you would push and alternate between a single A/B mix, but Picture by Picture or Picture in Picture composites (as well as streaming both inputs, and via a multiple-view video player) puts the viewing experience in the hands of the viewer, who can switch the view just as easily.—Shawn Lam
Microsoft's expanded its Azure Media Services with Azure Media Analytics, a platform of modular tools designed to help companies get useful insights from their videos. The platform's new components include Face Detection that not only detects faces, but also detects their emotions; Motion Detection that's able to filter out false positives such as shadows on a wall; and Video Summarization that consolidates long videos so they can be reviewed quickly. For the summarization feature, users can select the length they want for the final video. One of the platform's components is coming out of limited preview: Hyperlapse is similar to the Video Summarization tool, but is meant for action cam and cell phone footage; it can reduce a video's length and smooth jerky footage. Finally, one feature, Indexer, isn't new, but has new capabilities. Announced at NAB 2015, Indexer takes the speech from a video and makes a text file, which is useful for searches. It now supports six additional languages (French, German, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese, and Arabic) in addition to the previous English and Spanish. Currently in public preview, these services are free to test for Azure customers, but don't expect them to stay that way.—Troy Dreier
Advantech VEGA-7000 Server
Media Excel HERO VP9 Encoding to YouTube
NextVR VR Production Truck
Ramp Altitude CDN Multicast + Wowza Streaming Engine
We walked hundreds of miles of conference floors and watched scores of demos to determine the best streaming video products from this year's show.
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With a dedicated team working around the clock, Akamai aims to monitor OTT delivery and squash problems the moment they arise.
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Companies and Suppliers Mentioned