TECH SPOTLIGHT

Top Tech Topics On Tap At The NAB Show

This year’s convention and marketplace in Las Vegas will cover a wide range of technology and engineering-related topics, with three of the most important at center stage — the FCC spectrum incentive auction and repack; next-generation digital terrestrial broadcasting; and Ultra HD formats like 4K and 8K.

Broadcast engineers attending the 2014 NAB Show April 5-10 (Saturday-Thursday) will travel to Las Vegas at a time of rapid, fundamental transition in the television industry, and this year’s edition of the annual gathering promises a rich lineup of sessions, speakers and papers aimed at equipping them to excel in this uncertain environment.

Three intertwined topics will be front and center during the convention’s conferences: the FCC spectrum incentive auction and repack; next-generation digital terrestrial broadcasting; and Ultra HD formats like 4K and 8K.

At least one or two or the topics will likely come up in the convention keynote speeches of NAB President Gordon Smith on Monday (April 7) and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Tuesday  (April 8) and in the Broadcast Engineering Conference keynotes of Kevin Gage, NAB EVP-chief technology officer, and Vince Roberts, EVP, global operations, and CTO, Disney/ABC Television Group. Both are scheduled for Sunday (April 6).

Rick Kaplan, NAB EVP, strategic planning, will lead an April 7 panel discussion on where broadcasters fit into the FCC’s spectrum policy. Panelists include David Redi, chief counsel, and Shawn Chang, counsel, of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Courtney Reinhard, chief of staff for FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly; and Howard Symons, vice chair of the FCC Incentive Auction Task Force.

Broadcast engineers searching for answers on how to protect their stations’ investments in RF equipment given the likelihood of a new channel assignments in the spectrum repacking may find some on April 8 during a presentation on future-proofing a DTV transmission facility by Nick Wymant, chief technology officer of Radio Frequency Systems. Advancements in antennas and mask filters that could make the transition easier will be discussed.

Jay Adrick, an independent consultant and former Harris Broadcast VP, will deliver a paper providing an update on the auction on Wednesday, April 9. Adrick will review the 600 MHz band plan, station compensation, how the repack will likely be implemented and when it will be done.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Broadcast engineers wanting to focus on the RF equipment needed to get ready for new channel assignments may benefit from a paper on preparing antennas, combiners and transmission lines for repacking. Presented by Dan Fallon, senior RF engineer at Dielectric, the paper will examine what equipment can be salvaged, what will need to be retuned and what will have to be scrapped.

Progress on development of a next-generation terrestrial broadcast standards will be the focus of a panel discussion on Sunday, April 6, during the Broadcast Engineering Conference. The session, chaired by Robert Seidel, VP, engineering and technology, CBS Television, will offer an in-depth look at the work being done on ATSC 3.0 and the milestones for its completion.

Presenters will include Skip Pizzi, senior director, NAB New Media Technologies; Rich Chernock, chief science officer, Triveni Digital; Luke Fay, senior staff SW systems engineer, Sony Electronics; Madeleine Noland, consultant, LG Electronics; and Yongkwon Lim, senior manager, Samsung.

Broadcast antenna design for future TV transmission technologies will be the focus of a presentation by John Schadler, Dielectric director, advanced antenna designs, on Sunday, April 6. Topics will include high-power antenna future-proofing, single frequency networks, variable beam tilt and convertible null fill.

Frank Hermann of the Panasonic R&D Center in Frankfurt, Germany, and Peter Siebert, executive director of the DVB Project, will also cast an eye toward the future of terrestrial broadcasting during their Technologies Beyond DVB-T2 presentation on Sunday, April 6. The pair will discuss the work of a special study group looking into whether DVB-T2 can be improved.

Whatever the shape of a future digital terrestrial standard ultimately becomes, a central component will be the compression scheme employed to ensure efficient spectrum use. A paper presented by John Pallett, director of product marketing at Telestream, on Sunday, April 6, will compare the performance of HEVC [high efficiency video codec] to older MPEG-2 and H.264 compression techniques. Pallett also will suggest what HEVC bit rates will achieve quality that’s comparable to H.264 and MPEG-2 encoding.

Rich Chernock, chief science officer, Triveni Digital, will chair a three-hour IEEE- BTS Broadcast Symposium Monday, April 7, on advanced coding to support the future TV technology. The symposium will devote an hour to HEVC and two hours to audio for next-generation broadcasting. Yan Ye, senior manager, InterDigital, will address HEVC, while Schuyler Quackenbush, founder of Audio Research Labs USA; Jeffrey Riedmiller, senior director, Dolby Labs; Jean-Marc Jot, SVP of R&D at DTS; and Robert Bleidt, general manager, Fraunhofer USA Digital Media Technologies, will address audio.

Engineers interested in higher resolution TV formats have a wealth of papers and presentations from which to choose. At least a dozen different looks at various aspects of 4K and 8K television are scheduled for the NAB Show.

Ranging from CBS Sports’ use of UltraHD slow-motion at the 2013 Super Bowl to the optimal HEVC profile for 4K contribution and 4K-to-8K TV up-conversion, the presentations will offer important insight into an array of high-resolution TV topics.

The Broadcast Engineering Conference will also address a host of other important tech issues, including OTT, cloud-based delivery and production, the use of drones for newsgathering, bonded and unbonded wireless bandwidth for IP newsgathering, CALM and television loudness, automated closed captioning, EAS and M-EAS, workflow, MAMs and over the top TV. (See the Broadcast Engineering Conference schedule here.)

At the convention, NAB will recognize Seidel of CBS and Jeff Littlejohn, EVP engineering and systems at Clear Channel Media with the 2014 NAB Engineering Achievement Awards during the Technology Luncheon on Wednesday, April 9. Seidel, who serves on various SMPTE, ATSC and NAB technical committees, played important leadership roles during the DTV transition and the adoption of HDTV.

Snapshot of Sessions, Papers, Presentations Referenced Above

Spectrum Auction and Repack

The FCC’s Spectrum Strategy: Where Do Broadcasters Fit In?
Monday, April 7
2:30-3:30 p.m.
LVCC Room: N235
Broadcast Management Conference

Future-Proofing Your DTV Transmission Facility
Tuesday, April 8
3-3:30 p.m.
LVCC Room S228
Broadcast Engineering Conference

TV Spectrum Auction and UHF Band Repack Update
Wednesday, April 9
11-11:30 a.m.
LVCC Room S227
Broadcast Engineering Conference

Repacking: Preparing Antennas, Combiners and Transmission Lines
Wednesday, April 9
11:30 a.m.-Noon
LVCC Room S227
Broadcast Engineering Conference

Next-Generation TV Broadcasting

ATSC 3.0 Update
Sunday, April 6
9-11:30 a.m.
LVCC Room S225
Broadcast Engineering Conference

Broadcast Antenna Design to Support Future Transmission Technologies
Sunday, April 6
2-2:30 p.m.
LVCC Room S225
Broadcast Engineering Conference

Technologies Beyond DVB-T2
Sunday, April 6
3- 3:30 p.m.
LVCC Room S225
Broadcast Engineering Conference

HEVC: Comparing MPEG-2, H.264 and HEVC
Sunday, April 6
4-4:30 p.m.
LVCC Room S225
Broadcast Engineering Conference

IEEE – BTS Tutorial: Future Television Technology – Advanced Coding
Monday, April 7
2-5 p.m.
LVCC Room S227
Broadcast Engineering Conference

Ultra-HD Formats

Design for 4K
Saturday, April 5
10:05-10:45 a.m.
LVCC Room S225
Broadcast Engineering Conference

UltraHD Slowmo and CBS at the Super Bowl
Saturday, April 5
11:30-Noon
LVCC Room S225
Broadcast Engineering Conference

Selecting The Optimal HEVC Profile for the Next Generation of 4K Contribution Services
Sunday, April 6
1:30-2 p.m.
LVCC Room S225
Broadcast Engineering Conference

MMT-Based Super Hi-Vision Satellite Broadcasting Systems
Sunday, April 6
2:30-3 p.m.
LVCC Room S225
Broadcast Engineering Conference

4K-to-8K Up-Converter with Super Resolution
Sunday, April 6
5:30-6 p.m.
LVCC Room S225
Broadcast Engineering Conference

MLB Network: Advancing the Way Audiences View Baseball with 4K Technology
Tuesday, April 8
9-9:30 a.m.
LVCC Room S227
Broadcast Engineering Conference

4K: A Strategic Approach
Tuesday, April 8
4-4:30 p.m.
LVCC Room S227
Broadcast Engineering Conference

4K and Copper Cable
Wednesday, April 9
9-9:30 a.m.
LVCC Room S228
Broadcast Engineering Conference

Ultra High Definition Television
Wednesday, April 9
9 a.m. – Noon
S228
Broadcast Engineering Conference

The Future of 4K UHD: Examining Methods to Acquire, Exchange and Distribute Content
Wednesday, April 9
10-10:30 a.m.
LVCC Room S228
Broadcast Engineering Conference

Ultra HD in 2014: A Real World Analysis
Wednesday, April 9
10:30-11 a.m.
LVCC Room S228
Broadcast Engineering Conference

4K Arrives! A Perspective from a Real UHDTV Broadcasting Experience
Wednesday, April 8
11:30-Noon
LVCC Room S228
Broadcast Engineering Conference

Keynotes & Industry Addresses

State of the Broadcast Industry
Gordon Smith, NAB, president & CEO
Monday, April 7
9-10:15 a.m.
Paradise Ballroom, LVH

FCC Keynote
Tom Wheeler, chairman, Federal Communications Commission
Tuesday, April 8
9-10 a.m.
LVH Ballroom A

Broadcast Engineering Conference
Kevin Gage, executive vice president, chief technology officer, NAB
Sunday, April 6
9-9:30 a.m.
LVCC Room S225

Broadcast Management Conference
Technology Change, Business Change
Vince Roberts, executive vice president, Global Operations, and CTO, Disney/ABC Television Group
Sunday April 6
4:20-4:45 p.m.
LVCC Room N235

Disruptive Media Conference
Rob Sekoff, president, co-creator, HuffPost Live
Wednesday, April 9
10:15-11 a.m.
LVCC Room N249

Media Management in the Cloud
Update on Industry Cloud Tenants
Mark Rampberg, general manager, Media and Entertainment, Amazon Web Services
9:10-9:40 a.m.
LVCC Room S225

Technology Summit on Cinema
Cinema: Act 2, The Future
Chris Cookson
Saturday, April 5
1:30-2 p.m.
LVCC Room S222

NAB Show-Related Web Links

Conference Overview

Broadcast Engineering Conference Schedule

Broadcast Management Conference Schedule

Disruptive Media Conference Schedule

Media Management in the Cloud Schedule

Technology Summit on Cinema Schedule


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