Congress, Airlines Tighten Grip on Lithium Ion Battery Rules and Regulations
Fri, 29 Apr 2016 10:00:39 -0400
On April 19 the United States Senate overwhelmingly passed its Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill by a margin of 95 to 3. The Senate demonstrated a unique ability to work together in a bipartisan way that should make air travel and cargo shipment safer and more efficient. However, the bill contains language that gives reason for pause as it will negatively impact the ability for sports production professionals to transfer lithium ion batteries. Section 2317 of the bill further authorizes the FAA to throw up additional obstacles to moving lithium ion batteries both by passenger and cargo aircraft.
Specifically, the bill codifies the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) February rules that prohibit the bulk air transportation of lithium ion batteries on passenger aircraft and prohibits the bulk shipment of batteries with an internal charge greater than 30%. The bill also explicitly points out FAA’s authority to regulate a passenger’s ability to bring lithium ion batteries into passenger cabins.
A quick read of these provisions may not raise many red flags until you consider the fact that ICAO’s new rules have already begun disrupting the supply chain. For example, an Australia based hearing aid company utilizing Swiss batteries has had to change its supplier and logistics around the new regulations – and stories like this continue to roll in.
ICAO’s provisions are currently set to expire in 2018 – but this bill proposes making them permanent and setting precedent for further battery regulations.
As the bill moves to the House for approval, it is unclear how its representatives will respond to the Senate’s version. Representative Bill Shuster and other members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee see privatizing air traffic control as a legacy issue – and it is not included in the Senate bill. Assuming the House and Senate reach a deal, there is less information regarding how the White House will respond.
While the House and Senate go back and forth, airlines are also changing their policies on shipping lithium ion batteries. Lufthansa Cargo has tightened its restrictions on dangerous goods shipments covered under ICAO’s UN3480 and UN3090.
The airline’s new rules do not prevent batteries packed in or with equipment, as a camera or related audio equipment would be, but this airline and others are committed to looking further into the issue.
As you can tell, there are several moving pieces at work here and regulations are being written in real time. Now is the time to let your voice be heard in Washington so that regulations do not arise that harm your business.
For more information and to get involved, please contact Logistics Supply Chain Coalition Executive Director James Voyles at email@example.com.
Grass Valley LDX Series Cameras Have Direct IP Interface
Wed, 27 Apr 2016 17:05:05 -0400
Broadcasters increasingly use IP networks with large bandwidth, and Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, offers cameras that make it easier to produce live programming efficiently across those networks. The LDX Series cameras have a direct IP interface on the camera itself, enabling live IP productions. The interface is available for XF-Transmission on the LDX Series and LDX 86 Series cameras through an eLicense software upgrade.
The IP interface on the camera enables broadcasters to connect LDX Series cameras directly to commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) switches on an IP network, transporting the full camera protocol through an IP network to the XCU base stations connected to another COTS switch on the same network. The system enables control of all cameras on the network through a centralized control room. Facilitating complete transmission protocol between the cameras and XCUs over IP networks enables broadcasters to capture events anywhere with no OB van required, reducing staff costs and opening up the possibility of managing multiple production locations from a central studio.
“We are seeing increasing interest in direct-IP broadcasting, and the adoption of fast, reliable IP networks is making that much more practical,” says Mike Cronk, SVP, strategic marketing, Grass Valley. “Our approach of offering a direct IP interface is ideal for the most demanding remote camera applications, including large studio complexes or universities with multiple sports facilities. And a big advantage is that, with IP, there is no latency to cause problems.”
With LDX Series cameras connected through the XCU Universe XF or to a 10 GigE IP network, the cameras can be mixed and matched to any XCU, which creates maximum flexibility between cameras, XCUs, and a complete production team. NEP The Netherlands, the first customer to take advantage of this capability, launched its Cloud Production comprehensive IP-based video-production platform in October and has already produced hundreds of live multicamera programs. With the centralized approach of Cloud Production, only the essential equipment — cameras, microphones, crew members — are needed on location. The rest is in its centralized data center.
“Users of the LDX series are leveraging the robust IP network infrastructure as well as affordable COTS switches,” says Cronk. “Only cameras are needed, so it’s easy for a broadcaster to begin direct-IP production on a small scale.”
NeuLion, Nielsen Partner to Bring Next-Gen Audience Measurement to OTT Video Services
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 17:16:56 -0400
NeuLion has announced that its Digital Platform and Encoder have been certified to enable Nielsen measurement on Nielsen’s Digital in TV Ratings product, enabling NeuLion content partners to add digital audiences to their National and Local TV ratings. Nielsen is the recognized leader in audience measurement, covering over 90% of the world’s population.
The NeuLion Digital Platform is an end-to-end platform providing licensed components from content ingestion, encoding and management to security, monetization, monitoring, and analytics. The robust platform streamlines over-the-top (OTT) video delivery for rights holders including Univision, Participant Media, the NFL, NBA, UFC, and is among the first video streaming platform providers to integrate Nielsen’s Digital in TV Ratings measurement.
The new capability will be highly valued by NeuLion customers seeking to measure audiences accurately across various Internet-enabled devices, including desktops, iOS, and Android mobile devices. Next up will be working with Nielsen to implement measurement on game consoles, streaming set-top boxes and even smart TVs in the living room. Thanks to the new measurement capabilities, content owners will be able to more easily sell ads across platforms based on consistent third-party measurement, and more effectively monetize their revenue across broadcast and digital platforms.
“Audiences in today’s always on, multi-device, on-demand world consume content very differently than they ever have before, and it is critical that our partners are able to effectively measure and track viewership and consumption on new platforms. By working with Nielsen we are able to bring industry-best measurement tools to our partners, helping them understand viewer engagement and better monetize their offerings,” says NeuLion CEO Dr. Kanaan Jemili.
“Providing deep audience insights to customers is a priority. Our team worked closely with Nielsen to gain Nielsen Digital Certification for the NeuLion Digital Platform, and we look forward to enabling the feature in all the streaming services we power in the near future,” adds NeuLion CTO Michael Her.
A recent Nielsen report showed an annual decline in both live TV viewing and the number of pay-TV households. At the same time, headlines about cord cutting households abound, while broadband only households increased by almost 30 in the last year, making it more crucial than ever before for content owners to have a keen understanding of their OTT audience metrics.
CTA Applauds Passage of Senate Bill Refining ENERGY STAR Requirements
Mon, 25 Apr 2016 17:24:11 -0400
The following statement is attributed to Douglas Johnson, vice president of technology policy at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM , regarding the U.S. Senate's passage of the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 (S.2012), which contains a provision providing an alternative to the ENERGY STAR program's third-party certification requirement for consumer technology manufacturers with a demonstrated track record of compliance:
"We thank Sens. Murkowski, Cantwell, Portman, Shaheen and Wicker for their leadership in helping to pass this significant bill modernizing our nation's energy efficiency policies. This legislation contains a vital and long-awaited update to the Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR program by relieving consumer technology companies with a demonstrated track record of compliance from the cost burdens and time delays of adhering to arbitrary, pre-market requirements.
"Our industry accounts for more than half of the overall savings achieved under the ENERGY STAR consumer products program. For an industry built on lightning-fast innovation and facing constantly-evolving markets, third-party certification is an unnecessary obstacle, since there is already a self-certification process to ensure compliance with federal standards in a variety of regulatory areas, in addition to an excellent track record of compliance with the program's requirements. Today's bill strikes the right balance of maintaining EPA's third-party requirements where necessary and providing relief when such burdens are not needed.
"For decades, ENERGY STAR has played a valuable role within the consumer tech industry and these updates will help maintain the health of our partnership. This bill will help continue the industry's leadership in advancing energy efficiency and move our nation towards greater and more cost-effective energy solutions. We encourage members of the House to work quickly and help ensure its final passage before the end of this Congress."
Even though there are more consumer electronics in U.S. homes than ever, those devices now account for a lower percentage of electricity usage per household, according to the CTA study Energy Consumption of Consumer Electronics in U.S. Homes in 2013.
NAB 2016: Sony Tapped To Provide Broadcast, Production Equipment to NBC Olympics in Rio
Fri, 22 Apr 2016 10:12:03 -0400
Sony is providing HD production technology to NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, for its production of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
NBC Olympics crews will use more than 100 Sony cameras to capture footage at event venues and record athlete arrivals, interviews, press conferences, and other assignments that require studio and portable recording and capture. Also, its HDC-4300 4K high-frame-rate camera system will be used for HD replays, and the PWS-4500 XAVC server will be deployed to capture and store high-speed HD content from the HDC-4300.
Several of Sony’s MVS production-switcher models — including the MVS-7000X series — will handle feeds from each sports venue to the compound within the International Broadcast Center and also originate HD cable coverage on NBC Sports Group’s various networks.
Hundreds of Sony professional monitors, a combination of its professional LCD video production and public displays and hundreds of the TRIMASTER EL OLED monitors (BVM and PVM series) will be used for critical evaluation.
“In each new Olympics, we are challenged to stay ahead of the curve and offer the best possible images to our viewers and the most production firepower and flexibility to our production teams,” says David Mazza, CTO/SVP, engineering, NBC Olympics. “Sony is always rolling out new production gear that ultimately impacts the viewing experience in the home, and this year will be no exception.”
To keep everything running smoothly, Sony’s Professional Services Group will deploying an extensive network of resources to provide 24/7 support for all broadcasting equipment and coverage. The Systems Solutions team and Project Management Office have once again been selected to help integrate the NBC Olympics production compound and studio within the International Broadcast Center in Rio.
“The equipment we will have on the ground in Rio, from our HD production technology to our newest 4K cameras for crisp replays, is the perfect combination of technology to meet the production requirements and deliver an outstanding telecast,” says Alec Shapiro, president, Professional Solutions Americas Group, Sony Electronics.