SMPTE Publishes Archive eXchange Format (AXF) Standard
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:53:28 -0400
The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) published a standard that codifies the Archive eXchange Format (AXF). An IT-centric file container that can encapsulate any number and type of files in a fully self-contained and self-describing package, AXF supports interoperability among disparate content storage systems and ensures content’s long-term availability, no matter how storage or file system technology evolves.
“When faced with the need either to consolidate archives or to migrate them to new generations of storage technology, media companies traditionally have been forced to perform the costly and time-consuming integration of archive systems and other systems,” said S. Merrill Weiss, chair of the SMPTE Working Group on AXF. “Now, by abstracting the underlying technology of digital storage, AXF not only supports interoperability among today’s discrete storage systems regardless of the operating and file systems used, but also future-proofs digital storage so that content remains available despite changing formats and storage technologies.”
Designed for operational storage, transport, and long-term preservation, AXF was formulated as a wrapper, or container, capable of holding virtually unlimited collections of files and metadata related to one another in any combination. Known as “AXF Objects,” such containers can package, in different ways, all the specific information different kinds of systems would need in order to restore the content data. The format relies on the Extensible Markup Language (XML) to define the information in a way that can be read and recovered by any modern computer system to which the data is downloaded.
AXF Objects are essentially immune to changes in technology and formats. Thus, they can be transferred from one archive system into remote storage — geographically remote or in the cloud, for instance — and later retrieved and read by different archive systems without the loss of any essence or metadata.
AXF Objects hold files of any kind and any size. By automatically segmenting, storing on multiple media, and reassembling AXF Objects when necessary, “spanned sets” enable storage of AXF Objects on more than one medium. Consequently, AXF Objects may be considerably larger than the individual media on which they are stored. This exceptional scalability helps to ensure that AXF Objects may be stored on any type or generation of media. The use of “collected sets” permits archive operators to make changes to AXF Objects or files within them, while preserving all earlier versions, even when write-once storage is used.
The nature of AXF makes it possible for equipment manufacturers and content owners to move content from their current archive systems into the AXF domain in a strategic way that does not require content owners to abandon existing hardware unless or until they are ready to do so. In enabling the recovery of archived content in the absence of the systems that created the archives, AXF also offers a valuable means of protecting users’ investment in content. By maintaining preservation information such as fixity and provenance as specified by the OAIS model, AXF further enables effective long-term archiving of content. Resilience of data is ensured through use of redundant AXF structures and cryptographic hash algorithms.
AXF already has been employed around the world to help businesses store, protect, preserve, and transport many petabytes of file-based content, and the format is proving fundamental to many of the cloud-based storage, preservation, and IP-based transport services available today.
Many individuals and organizations have contributed to the development of AXF. The project was led by S. Merrill Weiss, president of the Merrill Weiss Group. Principal contributors included Brian Campanotti of Front Porch Digital, Karl Paulsen of Diversified Systems, James Snyder of the Library of Congress, Steve Posick of ESPN, William Hayes of Iowa Public Television, David Hostetter of Oracle Corporation, Merrick Ackermans of Turner Entertainment Networks, and John Eremic and Robert Wolfe of HBO.
CEA Unveils New Logos For 4K Ultra High-Definition Displays
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:58:53 -0400
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® today announced new logos to designate 4K Ultra High-Definition TVs, monitors and projectors for the home that meet CEA’s voluntary core characteristics for 4K Ultra HD display products announced earlier this year.
As devised by CEA’s Ultra HD Communications Working Group and approved without any objections by CEA’s Video Division Board, the logos are specifically designed to assist consumers in identifying these 4K Ultra HD products in the marketplace.
The logos will be made available for voluntary use by manufacturers for product packaging, marketing materials and promotional activities. Two logos will be made available for use – 4K Ultra HD and 4K Ultra HD Connected – mirroring CEA’s voluntary characteristics, which were designed to address various attributes of picture quality and help move toward interoperability, while providing clarity for consumers and retailers alike.
CEA also announced today that its Video Division Board approved the use of 4K Ultra HD as terminology to be used by CEA to describe the emerging category of display products with more than eight million pixels – four times the resolution of Full HD. This updates the terminology adopted by CEA in October 2012 to provide more consistency across the market.
“The new logos mark another important milestone as the inevitable evolution to 4K Ultra HD continues,” said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. “These logos and consistent nomenclature will help consumers navigate the 4K Ultra HD marketplace and assist them in having a great experience at retail and at home.”
In July, CEA upwardly revised its sales forecast for 4K Ultra HD. CEA projects unit shipments of 4K Ultra HD displays to reach 800,000 in 2014 - a marked increase over CEA’s initial forecast of 485,000 units - earning $1.9 billion in revenue, a 517 percent increase over the 2013 total. Revenue from 4K Ultra HD displays is projected to exceed $5 billion in 2015, an impressive total considering that revenue was virtually nonexistent three years earlier.
CEA is currently developing a licensing agreement for manufacturers who use the new logos.
Hitachi Intros 4K UHD, 2/3-inch Optics Production Camera System
Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:14:59 -0400
Hitachi Kokusai Electric announced that it has developed the SK-UHD4000, a broadcast 4K Ultra-HDTV camera system which uses the 2/3-inch B4 mount lenses of conventional (2K) HDTV broadcast cameras.
The use of standard HDTV lenses eliminates the need for optically degenerative lens mount adapters. This technological advantage allows broadcasters and production companies to effectively use their existing camera lenses to shoot video in 4K resolution, while capitalizing on well-established TV production workflows associated with normal HDTV cameras. UHD-1 or 4K is quickly becoming the mainstream high-end production picture recording format because of its high-resolution and picture quality.
The SK-UHD4000 is an equally innovative broadcast 2K HDTV camera system since it also has a market-leading, super-sampled, simultaneous 2K resolution image output. It foremost provides effective solutions to some the biggest challenges faced by live sports and television studio production today…one of which is the lack optical depth-of-field and practical lens controls.
The SK-UHD4000 is equipped with new 2/3-inch MOS sensors. These sensors acquire video images with no smear, high sensitivity, high resolution and increases in power efficiency. New functional developments in lens’ aberration corrections allow the SK-UHD4000 to make the best possible image by correcting optical flaws found even in the most expensive HDTV lenses. The camera system comes equipped with the full array of advanced production functions and tools that have become synonymous with HITACHI HDTV broadcast cameras.
Showcased at the Hitachi Kokusai Electric booth at IBC2014, pricing will be announced at the show.
Clear-Com Unveils LINQ Product Line
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:05:18 -0400
Clear-Comhas introduced the LINQ product line. LINQ interfaces are compact devices that enable connection of two-wire partyline with call signaling and four-wire audio over LAN, WAN or Internet IP infrastructures. Based on Clear-Com’s patented I.V.-Core technology, LINQ provides the industry with the next step in intercom/audio linking technology.
LINQ is available in two-wire (LINQ-2W2) or four-wire (LINQ-4W2) options. The LINQ-2W2 is both Clear-Com and RTS TW compatible. The LINQ-4W2 can interconnect with devices, such as analog ports of any matrix intercom system, analog telephone circuits, two-way radio gateways and audio consoles. A maximum of six LINQ IP interfaces can be linked together in any 2- or 4-wire combination.
LINQ uses the OPUS high quality audio CODEC. The bitrate, bandwidth, and delay can be changed quickly and smoothly without introducing any distortion or discontinuity in the audio. As a low audio latency communication link, LINQ can be used for natural intercom conversation, networked music performances and for audio signals that are transported via different facilities (transmission synchronization).
The creation of virtual partylines within a linked group is an exclusive feature. Channels from any of the six devices in the network can be linked to create common virtual partylines. At least two channels must be associated to each other. LINQ utilizes a touch-friendly web-based user interface to configure, control and monitor any device within a linked group.
Stephen Sandford, Product Manager, Clear-Com, said, “Clear-Com continues to lead the field of connecting or extending intercom over IP. LINQ is a simple yet significant development that enables users to expand their remote communications quickly and easily.”
NewTek Launches TalkShow VS-100 Video-Calling Production System
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:01:11 -0400
NewTek unveiled TalkShow VS-100, a video calling production system designed specifically for television studios and live video producers. With TalkShow, any television or live video producer can easily reach 300 million monthly connected Skype users and incorporate them as guest speakers into live programs with full-frame Skype video calls.
The turnkey TalkShow system builds upon Skype TX software from Microsoft for initiating, receiving, monitoring, and managing video calls, with a unique set of live production tools not found in other video calling systems. With TalkShow, users have access to customisable settings for fully color correcting live video calls (including features for automatic color balancing) as well as SDI-embedded audio, and compressor/limiter, equalisation, and adjustable head-room controls for further improving audio quality. These tools allow producers to deliver enhanced video/audio experiences that are critical when producing credible, high-quality broadcast programming and are simply not possible with standard desktop video messaging products. Additionally, producers using TalkShow with TriCaster multi-camera video production systems will be able to route Skype video calls directly to and from a TriCaster over a network connection without tying up an additional HD-SDI input.
“Almost every live TV and video program includes a conversation between people—whether it’s a news or entertainment show, a sporting event, or even a corporate meeting,” said Dr. Andrew Cross, president and CTO of NewTek. “While there’s been a growing trend to incorporate social media—such as live Twitter feeds—directly into these programs, integrating a two-way dialogue over Skype dramatically shifts the experience to a more engaging and participatory event. TalkShow truly breaks down the fourth-wall in traditional live television. It’s a fast, easy, low-cost way to reach anyone in any location with a simple Skype video call and to enrich program content with immediate access to the fresh perspective, analysis and opinions that only a guest speaker can deliver.”
Angie Hill, general manager for Audience Marketing from Skype added, “Skype TX is an important part of our offering to media so we’re delighted to welcome NewTek to the Skype family. We’re now able to bring new dimensions to broadcaster’s productions and inspire a brand new generation of media moments.”